Polk residents want sidewalks installed after 2 pedestrians kill - WFLA News Channel 8

Polk residents want sidewalks installed after 2 pedestrians killed

Posted: Updated:
Two teens have died while walking along Old Dixie Highway between Lakeland and Auburndale. Two teens have died while walking along Old Dixie Highway between Lakeland and Auburndale.
Two teens have died while walking along Old Dixie Highway between Lakeland and Auburndale. Two teens have died while walking along Old Dixie Highway between Lakeland and Auburndale.
Two teens have died while walking along Old Dixie Highway between Lakeland and Auburndale. Two teens have died while walking along Old Dixie Highway between Lakeland and Auburndale.
James Hayton thinks homeowners should donate part of their land for a sidewalk. James Hayton thinks homeowners should donate part of their land for a sidewalk.
POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Some Polk County residents fear that if sidewalks are not installed, more people are going to die while walking along Old Dixie Highway.

But, Polk County officials say the project is costly and complicated and may have to wait.

Two teens have died while walking along Old Dixie Highway between Lakeland and Auburndale in the past five years. While thousands of residents have signed a petition to get sidewalks put in, some people who live along Old Dixie Highway are not willing to help make it happen.

James Hayton is in a state of shock. He does not understand why people who see the dangers along the roadway each day won't give up part of their land for a sidewalk.

“Donate the property,” Hayton suggests.

He's passionate about the proposed project because just last August he witnessed the moment when 17-year-old Enrique Hernandez was struck and killed while walking to school.

Hayton says it was a tragedy that broke hearts and should have raised awareness about the danger that still exists today. “I saw three people walking up here today- a car almost hit them,” Hayton said.

Months after the deadly accident, the county says the sidewalk project could be a long time coming.

“We'll eat this elephant one bite at a time,” Deputy County Manager Bill Beasley said.

The roadway is now split into three sections. Two of those are bordered by homes and some homeowners aren't willing to donate land to make a sidewalk installation simple.

Beasley said there are many challenges that make it costly, “Now I've got to move that sidewalk closer to the road and I've got to put a curb and gutter around a rural road.”

But, Hayton says the answer should be easy when it comes to safety.

“There have been two deaths out there and I’d like to say we're very sensitive to that and I'm not here to presuppose what judgment should be made on that call,” Beasley said. “I have a limited amount of resources and we have a significant number of needs.”

A second section of the roadway is not bordered with homes and has been approved for a sidewalk. Plans are for the sidewalk to be installed by the end of the year.

As for the rest of the road, it all depends on where it stacks up against other county sidewalk projects, as far as priority and cost. Beasley said some of the other roadways in the proposals have had fatalities as well.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:15:59 GMT
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
  • Venice man says he has melting dashboard in his Toyota Camry

    Venice man says he has melting dashboard in his Toyota Camry

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:01:38 GMT
    Kayser Sayeg doesn't allow his wife to drive her 2008 Toyota Camry on long distances.In the hot Florida sun, the dashboard melts and becomes incredibly sticky.Aside from being a nuisance to clean, it causes a glare in the windshield, sometimes making it difficult to drive
    Kayser Sayeg doesn't allow his wife to drive her 2008 Toyota Camry on long distances.In the hot Florida sun, the dashboard melts and becomes incredibly sticky.Aside from being a nuisance to clean, it causes a glare in the windshield, sometimes making it difficult to drive
  • Apple recalls iPhones for battery trouble

    Apple recalls iPhones for battery trouble

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 8:16 AM EDT2014-08-26 12:16:28 GMT
    Noticed your iPhone's battery life getting shorter? You may be eligible for a free replacement.
    Noticed your iPhone's battery life getting shorter? You may be eligible for a free replacement.
  • NewsMore>>

  • TRAFFIC: NB I-75 blocked near Fruitville Road

    TRAFFIC: NB I-75 blocked near Fruitville Road

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:39 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:39:30 GMT
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 past Fruitville Road are blocked Wednesday morning after an accident.
    Northbound lanes on Interstate 75 past Fruitville Road are blocked Wednesday morning after an accident.
  • School officials to explain new Florida Standards

    School officials to explain new Florida Standards

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:13 AM EDT2014-08-27 09:13:59 GMT
    The majority of state's now use Common Core, a learning system that demands the same basics for every student. This school year, Florida is rolling out it's own tweaked version called the Florida Standards.
    The majority of state's now use Common Core, a learning system that demands the same basics for every student. This school year, Florida is rolling out it's own tweaked version called the Florida Standards.
  • Duke Energy to announce changes

    Duke Energy to announce changes

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:02 AM EDT2014-08-27 09:02:58 GMT
    Jolted by customers fed up with Duke's rollout of a plan to avoid duplicating meter reader routes, it appears the utility is ready to throw in the towel. Wednesday morning, we expect the company to announce changes that could include bill credits.
    Jolted by customers fed up with Duke's rollout of a plan to avoid duplicating meter reader routes, it appears the utility is ready to throw in the towel. Wednesday morning, we expect the company to announce changes that could include bill credits.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.