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Crosswalks and safety improvements coming to 5th Ave. North in St. Petersburg

FDOT is planning to resurface 5th Ave. N and is looking to make other improvements at the same time.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Safer streets for all.

That's a long-time priority for the City of St. Petersburg. In 2015, the city adopted a Complete Streets Policy, which aims at making streets and roadways safer and more comfortable for all.

There's been a number of projects since then, including the latest plan to improve 5th Avenue North which is a major road running across the heart of the city practically from the beach to the bay.

"There is a history of crashes on this road," said Evan Mory, the transportation and parking management director with the City of St. Petersburg.

Residents in neighborhoods surrounding 5th Ave. N received notices in the mail asking for input about making the street safer, specifically regarding crosswalks.

In about a year, FDOT will resurface the road and add four additional crosswalks at 55th St., 46th St., 40th St. and 22nd St.

The city is working with residents to decide which style median is better in the crosswalks. It can either be bigger, which is more efficient for walkers, or smaller, which can be easier on turning vehicles.

"I think it's a good idea to have a crosswalk here, especially at rush hour," said Real Lafond, a longtime Historic Kenwood neighbor who will benefit from the added crosswalk at 22nd St.

In a five-year crash analysis, FDOT determined there were 1,184 crashes on 5th Ave. N, resulting in six fatalities and 38 severe injuries.

"Unfortunately, we still have a high rate of pedestrian crashes, fatalities and automobile crashes. It’s a Florida problem, we’re not immune to it in St. Petersburg," added Mory.

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