GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2022) ‒ Declaring, “We’ve reached a point of emergency on our roadways,” Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward opened a discussion at yesterday’s Joint City/County Special Meeting focused on solving what he terms a “traffic violence crisis in our community.”Following a conversation in which Alachua County Commission Chair Anna Prizzia and Gainesville Commissioner Casey Willits both disclosed having been hit by cars while riding bicycles in Gainesville, the commissioners voted unanimously to commit resources aimed at improving traffic enforcement, engineering and education efforts countywide.Gainesville and Alachua County commissioners specifically requested the development of a new public education campaign. Alachua County Communications Director Mark Sexton suggested it would be appropriate to convene a Joint Information Center (JIC). With both commissions in support of the idea, this group of communicators, representing governments, agencies and partners across the county, will work together to coordinate, develop and share crucial traffic safety information in the coming year.For the Gainesville City Commission, traffic safety is a top priority and this declaration is the most recent in a series of efforts to reverse the upward trend in traffic accidents.
- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which manages University Avenue, has signaled a willingness to allow the City of Gainesville to transform the roadway into a Complete Street. This approach requires streets to be planned, designed, operated and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation.
- As a result, Gainesville has applied for Complete Street funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program. Award announcements are expected this spring. If selected, Gainesville will use the funds to begin resurfacing and restriping the roadway in preparation for a full Complete Streets redesign.
- The City is working with an engineering firm on a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study to envision the Complete Street transformation for University Avenue. Public meetings are planned for this fall and early next spring, with the study to be released by March 2024.
- This week, City transportation officials are leading corridor walks along West 13th Street and University Avenue in Gainesville. The walks, which begin today and run through Thursday, are open to the public. The conversation will focus on plans to redesign parts of the City’s main thoroughfares to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety. Neighbors are asked to register in advance.In one of their first actions of the New Year, Gainesville City Commissioners adopted updated guidelines Jan. 5 for sidewalk lights in newly developed areas, making sure the brightness and spacing meet FDOT lighting standards. This is designed to help pedestrians and bicyclists stay safer at night.The commission adopted a Vision Zero Policy in 2018 with the goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries in the City of Gainesville by 2040. Yesterday’s joint declaration is among the actions Gainesville City Commissioners are taking to continually reaffirm their commitment to achieving this goal.
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