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FDOT completes pedestrian safety improvements along University Avenue

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 4:31 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - After seeing pedestrian safety on University Avenue come under scrutiny due to recent hit and run accidents along the road, FDOT has announced what it is doing to improve safety.

Crosswalk enhancements, new signs, and tree trimming are all part of efforts to increase visibility of pedestrians crossing University Avenue.

This week FDOT is realigning the crosswalk at 13th St. and University Ave., and they will also install new crosswalks at the intersections of 34th St., 19th St., and 14th St..

Here is more from FDOT:

Additionally, FDOT has installed all new signs with bright sticks, which are long reflectors on the signposts, for better nighttime visibility. Locations include:

  • The intersections of 34th Street and University Avenue, University Avenue at NW 20th Terrace, and University Avenue and 13th Street have new “Use Crosswalk” signs to direct pedestrians to the proper crosswalk.
  • The intersections of 34th Street and University Avenue and Gale Lemerand Drive and University Avenue have new “Turning Vehicles Stop for Pedestrians” signs to alert motorists that pedestrians may be using the crosswalk.
  • The median of University Avenue for southbound traffic on NW 14th Street has a new “One way” sign to caution motorists that they can only turn right.

FDOT has also completed tree trimming on University Avenue at NW 22nd Street and NW 23rd Street. This will increase the visibility of pedestrians for motorists traveling along University Avenue.

FDOT conducted an initial partnering session on January 25 with city and county officials, the University of Florida, Gainesville Police Department, and the University of Florida Police Department. Another session is planned for February 10, 2021 and details regarding a listening session with the community will be forthcoming.

FDOT and the City of Gainesville are researching available technology to enhance pedestrian signal activation features at numerous locations along University Avenue. These features include:

  • Passive pedestrian detection at the intersections of Gale Lemerand Drive, NW 17th Street, and 13th Street to detect pedestrians as they cross and not require the push of a button to cross the road.
  • Illuminated push buttons at the intersections of Gale Lemerand Drive, NW 18th Street, NW 17th Street, and 13th Street to provide enhanced visibility of crosswalk buttons at these intersections.
  • Audible pedestrian signals at the intersections of Gale Lemerand Drive, NW 18th Street, NW 17th Street, and 13th Street to provide an audible tone for pedestrians indicating when it is safe to cross.

Other enhancements in the area include the installation of new traffic signals on University Avenue at both NW 16th Street and NW 19th Street, which is set to begin this August. These new traffic signals will create “short blocks” that should induce lower speed limits. This work will also include special emphasis crosswalks and enhanced pedestrian lighting to make the locations safer for pedestrians.

FDOT will continue to invest in high visibility enforcement, community education activities with increased signage, paid advertising for safety messages, and engaging with community partners to encourage safe, responsible habits on the roadway. In addition, FDOT’s coordination with the University of Florida, local law enforcement, and the City of Gainesville to discuss future enhancement projects in the area is ongoing.

These changes come at the heals of a number of hit and run accidents along the road that has killed University of Florida students.

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