Moved to action by the high rate of pedestrian injuries and fatalities along Gulf Boulevard, the Rotary Club of the Gulf Beaches is launching a pedestrian safety campaign in the cities of Treasure Island and Madeira Beach. A press conference announcing the campaign was held Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at the Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Boulevard, Treasure Island in the Crystal Sands Ballroom. A guided walk along Gulf Boulevard led by the City of Treasure Island police took place after the press conference.
The idea for the campaign garnered the active support of the Pinellas County Sheriff, the Treasure Island Police Department, and Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, a regional coalition engaging local communities to make walking and bicycling safe and enjoyable. The partners all signed a letter of support that will be hand delivered to businesses along with a pedestrian safety kit. “This campaign supports local businesses in increasing awareness of the shared responsibility of pedestrians and drivers for road safety in our beach communities,” said campaign co-coordinator Bill Matthews. “It supports local businesses and law enforcement in increasing awareness of the shared responsibility of pedestrians and drivers for road safety in our beach communities.”
The first phase of the “Walk with Care, Drive Aware” campaign will focus on Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island and Madeira Beach. The Rotarians hope to expand the campaign with participation from other Rotary Clubs throughout the region and eventually the entire state. Rotary Club of Gulf Beaches Immediate Past President and campaign co-coordinator Sam Fallenbaum said, “I feel we now have an excellent program that has all of the components to make it successful for other Rotary Clubs to join our efforts.”
Bike/Walk Tampa Bay will help lead the campaign. “Getting groups like the Rotary Clubs involved in spreading the word about safe behaviors on our streets is what Bike/Walk Tampa Bay is all about,” BWTB Chair Jane Castor said. “Leveraging those partnerships has a greater impact than one group working alone.” Bike/Walk Tampa Bay will work with the Rotary to schedule WalkWise Tampa Bay interactive presentations for interested Rotary Clubs and for employees at businesses along Gulf Boulevard.
The Treasure Island Police Department looks forward to the partnerships with the Gulf Beaches Rotary Club, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the many businesses throughout Treasure Island to bring a pedestrian and bicycle safety message to visitors and residents. Treasure Island Chief of Police Armand Boudreau commented, “With a shared goal to build a successful information and enforcement campaign, we are confident this partnership will help to save lives and improve pedestrian safety throughout our area. The members of the Treasure Island Police Department remain committed to do our part in making a difference for those who walk and bike through our city and beyond.”