City plans future sidewalks improvement project

Map where some of the sidewalk improvements will be done. [Image supplied.]

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Posted April 8, 2022 | By Ocala Gazette Staff

The City of Ocala provided the “Gazette” with some information on March 31 explaining the scope of its new sidewalks improvement project.

The project generally includes construction of approximately 2.3 miles of needed sidewalk improvements to close sidewalk gaps and upgrade existing sidewalks to meet the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) standards, according to Ashley Dobbs, marketing and communications manager at the Office of Strategic Engagement.

The following locations, per the city, are where the project will be focusing its attentions:

  • W. 7th Street from N.W. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue to N.W. 6th Terrace (both sides);
  • E. 21st Street from N.E. 36th Avenue to N.E. 38th Terrace (north side);
  • W. 3rd Avenue from S.W. 2nd Street to S.W. 3rd Street (east side);
  • W. 3rd Street from S.W. 2ndAvenue to S.W. 1st Avenue (north side);
  • W. 1st Avenue from S.W. 2nd Street to S.W. 3rd Street (west side);
  • W. 1st Avenue from S.W. 3rd Street to S.W. 5th Street (east side);
  • W. 5th Street from S.W. 2nd Avenue to S.W. 1st Avenue (north side);
  • E. 24th Street from S.E. 36th Avenue to S.E. 32nd Avenue (both sides); and
  • W. 32nd Avenue from State Road (SR) 200 to S.W. 34th Avenue (south side).

Additionally, approximately 0.21 miles of S.W. 32nd Avenue from SR 200 to S.W. 34th Avenue will be resurfaced, according to Dobbs. The project will be constructed through a joint agreement between the City of Ocala and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

The city will fund $38,092 of the project, while FDOT will fund the remaining $1,246,666, for a total construction cost of $1,284,758.

Pedestrian Fatalities

According to statistics provided by the Ocala Police Department (OPD), pedestrian fatalities involving moving vehicles in the city are quite common.

“The majority of pedestrian crashes are caused by pedestrians crossing improperly,” said Jeff Walczak, public information officer for the OPD, on April 1. “Many of them are drug and/or alcohol-related—the pedestrians, not the drivers—and the majority of the night time crashes are caused by pedestrians not wearing any bright or reflective clothing.”

Last year, moving vehicles struck six pedestrians; four of those accidents were fatal, according to OPD statistics. In 2020, 11 pedestrians were harmed, 10 of which died from their injuries (one death involved a pedestrian on the sidewalk).

Six pedestrians were struck by moving vehicles in 2019—all six accidents were fatal.