Bradenton police start ticketing drivers who block crosswalks. Will it help traffic?
A “Don’t block the box” campaign by the Bradenton Police Department kicked off this week to help cure the increasing traffic gridlock near Downtown Bradenton.
If you’ve ever driven near downtown during rush hour, you’ve probably seen a driver try to beat the red light and end up blocking the intersection; this is known as blocking the box.
Although it may be a common thing you see while driving, it’s actually against the law.
According to Florida law (F.S.S. 316.2061), no driver shall enter an intersection or a marked crosswalk unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection or crosswalk to accommodate the vehicle the driver is operating without obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians.
Drivers who violate this traffic law face a $166 fine, which is a price many locals have already paid.
This week, Bradenton police ticketed over 40 drivers for blocking the box on Ninth Street West near Sixth and Eighth Avenues.
Police spokesperson Meredith Frameli told the Bradenton Herald that the department decided to focus on the intersection after they were requested to do so by members of the community.
“We were requested by the community to focus in on that area,” Frameli said. “We’ve been out there this week because the community reached out and said, Hey, this is a big problem. Can you focus on this area?”
As part of their week-long “don’t block the box” detail, several police officers are stationed in the 600 block of Ninth Street West to monitor traffic and issue citations for drivers who block the box. The details end this weekend.
“If you’re blocking the box area, you’re blocking traffic and that’s going to add to more congestion,” Frameli said. “You’re stopping people who actually have the green light.”
“They can’t continue through, so that backs up the cross traffic. By trying to make the light, you’re essentially creating more traffic,” Frameli said.
The police have done similar enforcement along Ninth Street and other intersections with this problem, and they intend to do more in the future.
However, future enforcement dates and locations have yet to be decided, according to Frameli.
When the police shared news of the detail earlier this week on Facebook, the post received over 700 likes, more than 300 comments, and over 400 shares.
Residents took to the comments section to share other locations they felt needed the same kinds of enforcement and what they thought should be done to curb gridlock traffic in Bradenton.
Residents suggested changing the timing of traffic signals, adding turn lanes and repainting road stripes.
Unfortunately, according to Frameli, the police are unable to make those changes and advise residents to contact the Florida Department of Transportation with such concerns.