People are calling for change after a deadly wreck killed one UF student and injured multiple others

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 10:57 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - There is a growing memorial on the University of Florida’s campus to honor 19-year-old Sophia Lambert, the freshman student killed in Saturday night’s crash on University Avenue.

The road is no stranger to fatal crashes. In 2007 Lieutenant Corey Dahlem of the Gainesville Police Department was killed by a drunk driver. Last month Margaret Paxton was hit and killed while crossing University Avenue.

The city’s hands are tied, and they can’t make any changes to the road because the Florida Department of Transportation owns the road, but they can add additional safety measures.

“We can consider closing some roads, closing some intersections, those are potential things we can do. The big changes, though, are the things that we have to have access to the road to do, to make those design changes, that is something we are going to have to find a way to do,” said Gainesville City Commissioner Harvey Ward. “It’s going to be a financial strain, but it is something we are going to have to find a way to do.”

In a TV20 news report a week ago, Commissioner Ward warned about the dangers of state roads that run through Gainesville. He believes the road where Sophia was killed poses a particular problem.

“On 17th Street and Buckman Road, left turns are a part of the problem at this intersection.”

The commissioner thinks a partnership between multiple groups, including drivers and the city, can make the roads safer.

“Anything we do as a city government to make design changes to this road or any of our roads is all done with the intent of slowing people down, making them more intentional safer drivers. There is nothing that will make that change if people aren’t intent on safety when they get behind the wheel.”

He said, taking more time and obeying the law is essential in avoiding these deadly situations.

“Please take a little extra time to get to your destination. Whether you are driving, walking, riding a bus, riding a bike, take those extra few minutes for safety. It is not worth your life or anyone else’s to get there on time.”

Petitions have been created, calling for change on University Avenue.

Traffic Safety for UF Students

Install Speed Bumps On University Avenue

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