Florida Avenue – a no-man’s land

Photo by Melissa Díaz Hernández
Florida Ave., Hemet, CA.

■ By Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter

State Route 74, better known hereabouts as Florida Avenue, is a virtual no-man’s land or, if you prefer, Dodge City West, because one is always dodging traffic or pedestrians 24/7 every single day of the year. This has been going on for several years, but since 2015 pedestrians are practically daring to be maimed or killed.
Yesterday afternoon I parked my vehicle on Florida Avenue. On one side of the street is a motel, on the other a liquor store. In a matter of 30 minutes I watched as 14 people jaywalked from the motel to the liquor store, standing in the turn lane, waiting and then dashing into traffic. Several were nearly hit. Meanwhile, with various citizens illegally in the center of the street, at least one CHP cruiser and three from Hemet PD passed right on by, ignoring the jaywalkers.
Over the past few years, there has hardly been a week that goes by that without one or more pedestrians being injured or killed by ongoing traffic through no fault of the drivers. How long is the city and CHP going to argue over who patrols and who does not; who is responsible for patrolling and who is not; and who will actually do something about the mutilation and death of citizens who are too dumb to use the crosswalks?
Meanwhile the City of Hemet and CalTrans continue to bicker over an 8-mile median on State Route 74 from the mountains to the western end of the city.
Listen up folks. If we care anything about life and limb in this community, it is time we barraged the city and Hemet PD with letters to address this life-and-death situation.
Don’t say jaywalkers should know better. That’s not an excuse. That jaywalker may be one of your kids. I think if it hit you personally, you would see a different picture. People do make mistakes or are in a hurry. A plethora of jaywalking tickets along with citations for breaking common sense speed laws would go a long way to protect us from these illegal acts.
As a reporter with The Valley Chronicle, I would appreciate your input. rustystrait@gmail.com

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