|In the United States, one life is lost every 12 minutes because of a traffic crash. Closer to home, on average, 19 people are killed in traffic crashes each year on our City streets and another 82 people suffer severe, life-changing injuries. These are not statistics, they are people – mothers, fathers, brothers, cousins, neighbors, and friends. Our first responders witness the impacts of traffic crashes and have the agonizing task of notifying family members their loved one will never come home.Many of those impacted by vehicle crashes in Lakeland are what we call vulnerable users, pedestrians and bicyclists who are not protected by the exterior frame of a vehicle. In 2021, Smart Growth America listed the Lakeland-Winter Haven area as the 9th most dangerous metro area in the United States. As a state, Florida was ranked the second most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians. The community would be outraged if 19 people died every year in our parks, schools, or other facilities, but we tend to accept in on our roadways. A single traffic fatality is too many and we can do better. That’s why City of Lakeland leadership has firmly committed to Vision Zero.|
What is Vision Zero?Vision Zero is Lakeland’s goal to eliminate traffic related deaths and severe injuries by 2040.
What are City employees doing?A group of City employees from multiple departments have formed a Vision Zero Committee with the common goal to make Lakeland’s roads safer by using the Safe System Approach promoted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Here are the key aspects of the Safe System Approach:Safe Speeds: A pedestrian will almost always survive a crash if the vehicle is traveling under 20 miles per hour. As the speed goes up, the pedestrian’s chance of living goes way down. Designing for lower speeds creates safer roads.Safe Streets: City engineers will locate areas with severe crashes and design solutions such as traffic calming measures, improved road designs, crosswalks, protected bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, and better signage to make City roads safer for everyone. Education and Outreach: City staff will develop education campaigns to raise awareness about road safety issues such as the importance of responsible behavior, obeying traffic laws, the importance of seat belts, and mutual respect among all road users.Enforcement: Law enforcement will enforce traffic rules and the City will support state and local laws that align with Vision Zero goals.Data-Driven Approach: Use safety data to guide decisions for designing roads and for project funding.
What can you do?Traffic safety is a shared responsibility.Look out for pedestrians at crosswalks, turn slowly around corners, and always yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, regardless of the rules of the road.Remember that when you are behind the wheel, your vehicle can take someone’s life or cause serious harm, no matter which person violated the rules.Choose not to exceed 25 MPH on local streets in Lakeland. Follow all traffic laws.Never park too close to a crosswalk. It is not only illegal, but it makes it hard to see approaching pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers.Look up. While distracted driving is one of the leading causes of crashes, it is also one of the most preventable. When behind the wheel, keep your eyes on the street.Never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol.Drive extra slowly and cautiously around schools and parks. Never flee a crash scene. Always call 911 if you hit a pedestrian or cyclist. Getting the person to the hospital quickly could save their life.
|Historic Home Workshop Returns for 15th Biennial EventOctober 14|
Historic homeowners are invited to attend the 15th Biennial Historic Home Workshop hosted at Florida Southern College on October 14, 2023. The Workshop will take place in the Ordway Building located at 1049 Frank Lloyd Wright Way from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.With the last Historic Home Workshop occurring in 2019, historic preservationists are looking forward to presenting this free Workshop once again.“Learning how to maintain a historic house and plan for appropriate repairs is critical for homeowners who value their home’s architectural integrity and charm,” said Emily Foster, Senior Planner, Historic Preservation for the City of Lakeland. “The Historic Home Workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from experts in historic building restoration about specific topics concerning maintaining and living in a historic house.”The Workshop will include nine sessions ranging on topics such as wood window craftsmanship and restoration to discovering a home’s historic past. Each one-hour session will be conducted by local or statewide experts. Light refreshments will be provided.
|Cardboard Boat Challenge coming to Lake HollingsworthThe 18th Annual Cardboard Boat Challenge and Lakes Festival will take place on Saturday, October 14, 2023, at the Lake Hollingsworth Boat Ramp located at 920 Lake Hollingsworth Drive. The Lakeland Education/Action Drive and the City of Lakeland is hosting the event to raise awareness for area lakes.The cardboard boat challenge is a great team building and family friendly event. The challenge is to design, construct, and race a boat made of cardboard around a marked course on Lake Hollingsworth. There are several ways for boat builders to participate including pre-built, on-site built, corporate, community, family, and youth categories.|
|Inneract AllianceRed Ribbon Run – October 28|
The 2023 Red Ribbon Run, presented by title sponsor Publix Super Markets, will kick off on Saturday morning, October 28 at Lake Mirror in Lakeland with the Kids Fun Run for K-8 students, along with the Family Fun Run in which parents/adults may run with their children. New this year will be a World Tour area with healthy snacks and activities highlighting different cultures around the globe.
Registration is FREE at InnerActAlliance.org for students in grades K-8 who pre-register before October 28. There will be a $5 fee to register on race day. Parents may pay a $5 fee to run with their child in the Family Fun Run. Race check-in begins at 7:00 a.m. at Lake Mirror Auditorium, Family Fun Run takes place at 8:30 a.m., and grade heats begin at 8:45 a.m. (times approximate). There will also be weekly challenges with themes of nutrition, anti-bullying, and fitness for kids to complete and post challenges on the InnerAct Alliance Facebook page to earn points for prizes. For more information or to register for the event, visit www.InnerActAlliance.org
|Kelly Branch Library Now Open!|
Conveniently located inside the Kelly Recreation Complex at 404 Imperial Boulevard, the Kelly Branch Library is Lakeland’s newest small public library branch. At this location, library users can browse and borrow from collections of popular library materials for children and adults, get a library card, pick up requested items in self-serve book lockers, and return materials borrowed from any Lakeland public library. Business services available at the Kelly Branch Library include public WIFI access, technology assistance, printing, faxing, and scanning services. Chromebooks can also be checked out for use within the facility.
|Annual Swan Roundup October 10-11The City of Lakeland Parks Division will be on Lake Morton at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 for the 43rd Annual Swan Roundup. Parks & Recreation employees will be carefully gathering the swans to get them ready for their annual veterinary check-up. The swans will be confined in large holding pens on the south side of the lake for their annual wellness examinations, on October 11. My Pet’s Animal Hospital will begin the examinations at 8:00 a.m. The Annual Swan Round-Up allows the City’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department to closely monitor the health and vitality of Lakeland’s swan population. |
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|Andrew Gash, with the Communications Department, breaks down the City Commission Meeting in our video series “Meeting Minutes.”Watch Past Episodes|
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|ART around TOWN|
|Looking for a little culture?See what Lakeland’s visual and performing arts have to offer.|