Expect increased police, more citations, following UF pedestrian deaths

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 6:44 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville city leaders met on University Ave to demonstrate their latest initiative in creating safer roads.

Several community leaders took the time to reflect on the importance of change needed to the roads — the only main change they will be acting on for now though, is increased law enforcement.

They’ve already gotten started, with what Assistant Police Chief Lonnie Scott is calling more citations and warnings than they’ve written in a while -- with well-over 100 citations issued.

“I want to make sure we are reminding folks why we are out here. It is too late for some folks and maybe our actions will help save one person. Everything we are doing, we do it like it was our kids or our family,” said Scott.

The plan is to increase law enforcement not just on University Ave but Archer and Williston road as well as 13th street-- a way to keep speed and pedestrian safety in check.

Mayor Lauren Poe says they cannot make any changes to the roads without state approval, but they have created a task force made up of city leaders, experts at the university, and law enforcement who will put together recommendations for short and long term solutions.

“If you start getting elected officials or grieving parents insisting on solutions ... it is not necessarily going to be what solves the problem. It is important to let the experts bring in recommendations and it will be up to us to implement them,” said Poe.

In a demonstration, city leaders and police showed what sort of scenarios will get drivers warnings or citations-- like speeding or not yielding to pedestrians when they’re in the road.

“We will make sure we do our part ... but the citizens also need to do their part,” said Scott.

City leaders say they will be revisiting this plan after 30 days to evaluate its effectiveness.

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