WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Walton County commissioners are looking for a way to make sidewalks safer for residents and tourists.
They think a lack of lighting could lead to dangerous situations.
In April, Walton County Commissioner Michael Barker noticed there was no lighting along sidewalks in 30A.
Barker brought the concern to commissioners to research the area and make it safer.
“Kids particularly, out late at night, grown-ups out late at night,” Barker said. “There’s a section of the sidewalks along 30A that’s not lit very well. It’s very dark and darkness a lot of times becomes a dangerous environment.”
Commissioners decided to move forward with a pilot program that will test out different solar-powered lighting in selected areas on Tuesday.
The multi-use path selected for the program spans 2 miles between County Road 83 and County Road 283 along County Road 30A.
“Lighting those pathways is strictly a safety element that we can provide rather than wait until something might happen because it’s too dark and we know it’s dark and i’d rather take care of that if we can,” Barker said.
The sidewalk was selected because of the lack of street lighting, no direct impact to adjoining developments, and because it’s outside of the wildlife conservation zone.
Walton County Resident Barbara Marano worries the lighting could take away from the scenic highway.
“I believe we need more light in the Seagrove area, rather than this section of 30A then they are getting public input after the installation of these lights, that is my concern,” Marano said. “If safety is an issue, we are definitely concerned about safety, but we don’t want an airport runway, this is a scenic highway a national scenic highway.”
However, Barker said they want to find a solution that is perceived well by the public.
“The number one thing about safety is to light areas up, and I’m not talking about lighting the sky, lighting up houses, lighting the beach, I am talking about lighting the paths where people are walking where they expect to be safe on,” Barker said.
The total cost of the project is a little under $200,000.