A 62-year-old California woman was seriously injured in Key West Friday night after a car struck her while she was walking in the 3600 block of North Roosevelt Boulevard across a state-designed crosswalk, police said Saturday.
Jennifer Kimmel was struck in one of the crosswalks the Florida Department of Transportation installed in 2014, angering locals who find them extremely dangerous since they don’t stop traffic for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Kimmel was listed in stable condition Saturday, police said.
She was walking southbound in the crosswalk directly in front of Capital Bank, 3618 N. Roosevelt Blvd., at about 8:30 p.m. when she was struck by a car driven by Nicano Torres, 56, of Key West, according to police spokeswoman Alyson Crean on Saturday.
She was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. Crean did not comment on her condition or give details about her injuries in a brief news release.
Two lanes of Key West’s most heavily traveled road were closed for approximately two hours.
“Details will be released as they come available,” Crean said.
In 2014, when the Florida Department of Transportation completed its $41.5 million, two-year-long reconstruction of North Roosevelt Boulevard, the agency installed several new crosswalks along the busy road where the speed limit is 35 mph.
Some have flashing amber lights and signs that mark them as pedestrian walkways but none stop traffic and the lights flash repeatedly.
“I've been complaining to FDOT about these since they went in,” said Monore County Commissioner Heather Carruthers late Friday. “I know I'm not the only one.”
In October 2016, the city’s pedestrian and bicycle coordinator made a priority “urging FDOT to remove crosswalks on North Roosevelt Boulevard that are unsafe and deemed unnecessary; requesting the installation of High-intensity Activated Cross Walk Signals (HAWK)” at the instead.
To cross North Roosevelt at an FDOT crosswalk not affixed to a traffic light system, a pedestrian must enter the four-lane road and hope all four lanes of drivers pause at the same time to ensure safe passage.
“I call them pedestrian flypaper,” Leigh Pujado, of Key West, posted on Facebook in response to the crash report. “You cannot see the pedestrian often until he or she enters the walk.”
Key West police Chief Done Lee has said the crosswalks are not well-lighted and confusing to drivers and passersby.