UF partners with city, state to improve pedestrian safety

The University of Florida, the city of Gainesville and the Florida Department of Transportation continue to create a safer pedestrian and traffic environment on and around campus. Projects continue to be completed and will continue through the summer and into the fall.

Improvements already in place along West University Avenue include adjusted stoplight timing that forces vehicles to progress more slowly along these stretches of road and ultimately reduces traffic speed, increased and improved signage and freshly striped crosswalks.

Upcoming changes include FDOT plans to install four temporary speed tables at crucial locations on University Avenue in early May. These traffic calming devices will serve as effective countermeasures to encourage reduced speeds. Once installed, FDOT will evaluate the impacts these installations have on speeding on the roadway and further assess the need to lower the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on University Avenue.

Additionally, in the fall, signalized crosswalks will be installed at both 16th and 19th streets, enabling pedestrians to cross University Avenue more safely.  The 16th Street location is integrated with a university project to improve the pedestrian connection to Newell Drive and Plaza of the Americas. FDOT also plans to install two raised crosswalks with pedestrian signals and lighting upgrades along West University Avenue.  

The improvements are part of a larger goal referred to as "complete streets"—those that can safely accommodate users of all ages and abilities including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, transit riders, and scooters alike.  

"We are always intent upon improving safety for our students," said UF Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Charlie Lane. "The recent incidents resulting in death and serious injury to our students have served to galvanize our greater campus community in making lasting changes that will improve vehicular and pedestrian safety for years to come."

Additional safety enhancements are being evaluated for University Avenue and Southwest 13th Street to more fully realize a “complete streets” vision for safe travel around the university.

"The goal is to work with the city and the Florida Department of Transportation to reimagine University Avenue and prioritize bicycle and pedestrian access and safety in that corridor," said UF director of planning Linda Dixon. "That translates into rethinking the operations and design of that corridor."

“The Florida Department of Transportation appreciates the strong relationship it shares with the University of Florida,” said FDOT District 2 Secretary Greg Evans. “We believe that working together to create comprehensive and focused safety improvements will result in changes that are beneficial to not only UF students, but to all residents and visitors to Gainesville. We will continue to work with our local safety partners to further our goals of a safer roadway.”

Emily Cardinali May 4, 2021