KEY LARGO -- A meeting between state road officials and local law enforcement has prompted a second look at a controversial crosswalk.
The newly-installed crosswalk at mile marker 99.7 alerts drivers of pedestrians using the pathway with flashing yellow lights on each side of the divided highway and in the median.
Yellow lights, though, are a signal for caution and don't register with drivers that they must to stop to allow pedestrians to cross, says Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay, a vocal opponent of the installation.
In June, a crash occurred at the crosswalk when a motorist struck a car that had stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the highway. The collision caused a chain reaction that damaged four cars and sent one driver to the hospital with minor injuries. The pedestrians were not injured.
State Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, has characterized the crosswalk as dangerous. Her office, with Ramsay, met last week with Florida Department of Transportation officials to discuss ways to improve the crosswalk.
Among the possible changes discussed were additional warning signs for the crossing and changing the color of the flashing lights from yellow to red. Ramsay said.
Those proposals will be hammered out in a follow-up meeting between FDOT and sheriff's office officials.
The installation of the crosswalk in April surprised many residents and business owners. However, the Key Largo Federation of Homeowner Associations asked FDOT for a crosswalk between mile marker 99 and 100 in 2010.
The federation recently issued a letter saying crosswalks were among the corridor improvements sought by participants in a county-led Key Largo master plan process in 2006.
The main beneficiaries of the amber-lit walkway so far have been bayside restaurants that sit across the highway from the Port Largo hotels. But nearly any given weekend, pedestrians can be seen ignoring the crosswalk and crossing U.S. 1 during breaks in traffic.