FDOT Recommendations Cast Light on Hillsboro Boulevard Crossing Hazards
Five months after Thetus Fleming, Jr. died crossing a darkened Hillsboro Boulevard shortly before midnight, the state plans to make that stretch of Hillsboro Boulevard safer for pedestrians and bicyclists – in the year 2015.
“[The study] found frequent pedestrian movment across Hillsboro Boulevard due to the supermarket…”said the Florida Department of Transportation document. “…Countermeasures other than signalization are not feasible…”
That news was welcomed by a core group who had lobbied for the changes.
“They have finally seen the light – or will see the light,” said David Cody, whose speeches supporting the study were regular events at city commission meetings, after Fleming’s death. “(But) the individual who hit Thetus Fleming Jr. has yet to be brought to justice.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Traffic Homicide Unit continues to investigate the hit-and-run accident. What is known is that the 22-year-old was crossing at 286 W. Hillsboro Boulevard, at the Advance Auto Parts store, when he was struck by an eastbound 1999 Dodge pickup truck driven by Coconut Creek resident David Calderilla-Alcocer. Calderilla-Alcocer, who drove off, left Fleming in the road for 30 minutes before he was discovered. He was pronounced dead at the North Broward Medical Center.
FDOT’s safety study found that there was a perfect storm of circumstances at that spot. The grocery store on the south was a popular destination for pedestrians crossing Hillboro Boulevard at Northwest Second Avenue. Because there are no traffic lights at all, night time crashes at Northwest Second Avenue and Northwest Third Avenue (Martin Luther King) were 13 and 8 percent higher than average respectively, between 2008 and 2010.
Among the recommendations: a traffic light at Northwest Second Avenue; a longer clearance time in both directions at MLK, 2.5 instead of 1.5 seconds; a new crosswalk at Natura Boulevard; countdown pedestrian signals at Natura and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and a Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign in both directions.
As early as 2015.
“FDOT did the study and they are going to address these issues,” Preston said. “Now we try to get them to escalate things.”