Mixed Reaction On Gainesville's NW 8th Avenue Reconstruction Project,
GAINESVILLE - People are sounding off on the proposed change to a stretch of Gainesville's Northwest 8th Avenue. The road has been temporarily re-striped to reduce travel lanes from four to two. It's a $12,000 test designed to favor bicyclists but the city is actively inviting feedback.
The city is tracking every bicyclist, driver and pedestrian who uses NW 8th avenue, all the way through Thanksgiving. The goal is to present the results to the city commission before the holidays in December. And if a permanent change were to happen construction may start as soon as the holiday break.
Some say, "I don't think it's a good idea." Other say, "I am all up for it to stay like this." It's something that affects the many residents that use NW 8th Avenue to commute from one place to another and almost everyone's got an opinion about it.
The city set up a phone line to listen to people's comments and there have been more than 120 people calling in.
Roxana Urrutia is one of those people with a strong opinion, she says this change may push people to use their cars less and encourage healthier habits. "We're so sedentary and we go in the car everywhere, I think we need to promote walking and running and cycling and sports," Urrutia said.
While others like Michael Heel believe it's not necessary. "It's going to cost a lot of tax payers money and I am one of them so I don't think it's worth it," Heel said.
Right now NW 8th Avenue is being tracked Monday through Friday during business hours. if you'd like to monitor NW 8th avenue yourself, you can do so at home by visiting GAC-SmartTraffic.com
Chip Skinner with Public Works says soon there will be more than hotline for residents to express how they feel. "We are working on a website... We are still working on securing a domain name for that but once we have that and the website is developed here in the coming weeks then we will have that live. We'll also have a feature where people can comment on this particular project so that we can document whether they're in favor for it or not in favor for it," Skinner said.
Tim Davis an avid biker who uses NW 8th Avenue often supports the change and only hopes for one more thing, "I don't like to ride on the sidewalk, it's legal but I don't like to. I prefer to be on the road but now the road is great, the lane is great but it needs to be paved. Once it's paved, this will be fantastic," Davis said.
Whether the city chooses to make the change permanent or not, NW 8th Avenue will still be reconstructed and Public Works says that's because the road's lifespan has expired. The project will begin sometime in 2015 or when the county finishes their NW 16th Avenue Project.
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