The City of St. Petersburg and FDOT are finally taking steps to improve the safety for cars and pedestrians on 4th St. N. As many of you know, this four mile long stretch of road has been the scene of numerous accidents and fatalities in the city over the years. These accidents have involved both cars and pedestrians. For those who live or work in the city, these safety changes are long overdue.
FDOT performed a study of the area in response to safety concerns, which included the lack of accessible crossings and the space between traffic lights. The goal is to cut down on the number of car accidents and improve pedestrian safety. The main conclusion was that there is simply not enough pedestrian crossings on 4th St. N.
Current Accident Statistics on 4th St. N. in St. Petersburg
According to FDOT, from 2014-18, there have been 1,501 crashes in the corridor. Included in those figures, there have been nine fatalities. The accident data revealed that 827 crashes occurred at intersections and 389 at unsignalized intersections. Almost 40 of the car accidents occurred when the driver was attempting a u-turn.
The safety changes along 4th St. N. will include extending eleven left turn lanes, converting 36 medians to directional median openings, building nine new pedestrian crosswalks with signals, and closing eight median openings.
The eleven turn lanes to be extended are located at:
The medians to be closed are located at:
East 74th Ave.
West 74th Ave.
West 76th Ave.
The new pedestrian crossing signals will have green, yellow, and red lights rather than flashing beacons. There is also going to be lighting at every mid-block crossing. Landscaping will be installed in the medians. The speed limit along the corridor will remain the same.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the winter of 2022 and will take approximately 200 days to complete. The project is estimated to cost $5 million and will be paid out of the St. Petersburg 2023 budget.
What Should You Do If You Are In An Accident on 4th St. N?
Car accidents and pedestrian accidents should be reduced all along 4th St. N. in St. Petersburg, but will still exist to some degree. Even with these extensive safety changes, there will still be careless and reckless drivers on the road. If you are in one of these accidents, you need to be prepared because the first few days after the accident are the most important. I advise that the following steps are taken:
1. Contact the St. Petersburg Police Department
It does not matter if the accident occurred in a parking lot or on 4th St., you must call the police to report the accident. You cannot feel sorry for the other person and simply exchange insurance information. I cannot emphasize how often people come to me and complain that the other driver’s insurance company is not handling their claim because the cause of the accident is in question. You simply cannot count on the other driver or his/her insurance company to do the right thing. Protect yourself and always call the police.
2. Take Pictures of the Accident
Everyone has a phone with a camera on it. I encourage my clients to take pictures of the accident scene before the police arrive. When I have pictures from the scene to use in my case, it really makes a difference. I understand that you might be in shock, but remembering to take these photos is important.
3. Seek Emergency Medical Treatment
The most important thing that you can do to help your case is to seek immediate medical attention. You do not have to take the ambulance to the hospital, but if you have any injuries, you should not wait. If you want to go to the emergency room, that is fine. If your injuries do not rise to that level, then go to an urgent care. Whatever you do, try to go the day of the accident. You would be amazed about how much more money an insurance company will value your case if you seek treatment asap.
4. Speak to a Car Accident or Pedestrian Accident Attorney in St. Pete
You do not need to hire an attorney immediately. But, you should speak to someone for advice immediately. There are many moving parts right after an accident. You do not want to place yourself in a situation where you unintentionally fall into a trap. It does not cost anything to simply call an accident attorney and it can really save you.