Action needed now on Pensacola’s deadliest street
Last night, I approached the scene of a tragic hit-and-run on West Cervantes and M streets where a one-year-old child and an adult woman were killed crossing West Cervantes Street near Pace Boulevard.
My heart is with the family that suffered this tragic loss of life. I’m confident the Pensacola Police Department will track down the individual that cowardly ran from the scene and will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
Florida has the 2nd highest pedestrian fatality rate in the United States and Cervantes Street is Pensacola’s deadliest street — a veritable combat zone where one pedestrian after another has been injured or killed trying to cross the roadway. In this 10-block stretch of Cervantes, there are no crosswalks and only minimal, outdated, dim streetlights that do little to illuminate the roadway.
After more than a dozen pedestrian fatalities and several dozen injuries and near-misses in the last two decades on Cervantes Street, the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, and the Florida Department of Transportation have had ample time to replace and expand streetlighting and install crosswalks. In this newspaper article from 1997, the same story was being told 21 years ago regarding the rising death toll of pedestrian fatalities along Cervantes Street. The time to act is now.
The steps that can — and must — be taken now include immediately placing more officers on Cervantes Street to enforce speeding, installing new lighted crosswalks, and replacing outdated, dim incandescent streetlights with modern, bright, LED lighting to properly light the roadway.
Going forward, Cervantes Street must be narrowed to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety, along with enforcing speed limits and expanding the LED streetlight system, as recommended by the 2017 city-wide streetlight study. We must implement a clear public timeline to implement these safety measures, with a goal to eliminate all traffic deaths citywide through these common-sense solutions.