In today’s technology-driven environment, drivers are more distracted due to their attachment to smart devices. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in reported crashes involving a distracted driver every day in the United States. In 2016, almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed by distracted drivers, averaging one pedestrian death every 1.5 hours.
As a signatory of the Tampa Bay region Vision Zero Hillsborough, the Temple Terrace City Council has set a goal of reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero. Under that guidance, the City of Temple Terrace Engineering staff has piloted an innovative way of addressing pedestrian safety with the introduction of THE TEMPLE TERRACE CURB.
Many city streets have Miami Curbs, also known as a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Drop Curb, which look like a concrete gutter and channel the water into a storm drain/curb inlet. These were popular in the past to allow driveway connections anywhere along a neighborhood road. With the increase of technological distractions in today’s world, Miami Curbs do little to protect pedestrians from getting hit by distracted drivers who may accidentally swerve off the road.
The City has proposed a pilot solution to retrofit these Miami curbs with a vertical curb (a header curb or an FDOT Type D curb) which a driver would bump into before driving up onto the sidewalk and hitting a pedestrian. It effectively is your standard curb and gutter (or FDOT Type F curb) but instead of replacing old technology, the city is augmenting what’s already in the ground.
A sample retrofit was installed with the construction of a new sidewalk on East 113th Avenue that allows access to the Temple Terrace Soccer Fields and provides an additional pathway to and from Greco Middle School. The base of the sidewalk was raised to the top of the curb to create a reinforced vertical bumper to alert and prevent wayward drivers from crashing into a pedestrian.
Initially, the City was averse to laying in new sidewalk at grade/level with the vehicular travel lane even though there would be a landscape strip/buffer. The plans for this project called for installing a standard curb and gutter (FDOT Type F Curb) to provide a 6″ vertical curb. However, after discussions with contractors during the bidding period, the city decided to revise the quote package to retrofit the Miami Curb with the Temple Terrace Curb to mimic the F-Curb for a significant cost savings of 40%.
The Temple Terrace curb is a cost-effective retrofit that provides a vertical barrier separating the vehicular traffic from the pedestrian traffic that did not exist with the Miami curb. To pursue the goal of Vision Zero by reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero, a new Engineering tool can be deployed.