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UF students react to pedestrian safety measures on University Ave

UF students react to pedestrian safety measures on University Ave
UF students react to pedestrian safety measures on University Ave(WCJB)
Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 8:50 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - After losing two fellow gators to tragedy on University Ave, University of Florida students are grateful for the higher police presence along the road but still have some concerns when simply crossing the street.

“It’s really important that they make sure every measure is taken so that doesn’t happen again,” said student, Georgia Darwent.

After the deaths of freshmen, Maggie Paxton and Sophia Lambert, the City of Gainesville and the Florida Department of Transportation(FDOT) met with the UF Board of Trustees to discuss a three-step plan with short, mid and long term goals.

One short term goal is putting more police along the street and fifth-year student Georgia Darwent said it makes a difference already.

“With them just hanging around it definitely feels safer and it is a noticeable difference,” Darwent added.

First-year student, Christian Harris agreed with Darwent.

RELATED STORY: University of Florida officials present pedestrian safety measures on University Ave

“Having a police officer there at least makes me more comfortable that the drivers around where the pedestrians try to cross would be more responsible,” Harris said.

Plans to make the road safer include lowering the speed limit to 25 miles per hour and adding speed tables.

Darwent suggests lowering the limit even more during busier times of the day.

“So, like certain times of the day or on the weekend to have this road be 20 miles per hour instead of 35,” Darwent said.

The pedestrian safety efforts would also look at retiming traffic signals and building more traffic lights and Harris feels this will make him feel safer when crossing the street.

RELATED STORY: New study ranks Florida at #1 for pedestrian fatalities

“A lot of their light is taken up by pedestrians walking so I think maybe extending that light for them would give them more comfort to be like, okay I can wait for them to fully cross,” Harris said.

In April, FDOT will begin constructing Newell Gateway, a safer way to cross University Ave between Northwest 15th and 17th st. Long term initiatives are projected to take less than a year to complete.

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