‘No child should have to die because we are on the Eastside of town’: Parents, city leader want safety measures on E University Ave after 4-year-old dies
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Parents and city leaders are expecting more pedestrian safety measures on East University Ave. after the death of a 4-year-old Dylan Roberts.
“It’s really sad that little man had to lose his life for this to come to this,” Reshall Scott said.
Roberts was walking with his siblings when he was hit while crossing East University Ave. on Oct. 27and later died.
According to Gainesville Police, the driver received no citations. TV20 hasn’t been informed on how exactly the accident happened, but the four-door sedan was headed West.
“Traveling away from me to my back was in the left hand lane and that’s when the accident occurred,” GPD Spokesperson Graham Glover said.
Dylan lived with his mother, Megan Durant, in the Pine Meadows neighborhood across the street from Fred Cone Park. Several groups of children were seen doing exactly what Dylan and his siblings did, crossing the street illegally. Children are expected to walk three to five minutes up the road to cross the street.
“On every side of town they have those crosswalks but they don’t have that over here on the Black side of town,” Nakeisha Sullivan said.
Sullivan and her son live in Pine Meadows. She and her neighbor, Reshall Scott, said measures have been taken to protect UF students on West University crossing the street but not on the east side.
They also say they are in need of speed bumps in neighborhoods in the area because there are always drivers going over the speed limit.
“They need speed bumps in this neighborhood, to slow them down and they need that cross walk so when they’re crossing the street to go to the bus stop, or across the street to go to Cone Park, they need that,” Sullivan added. “These children are just as important as other children on either side of town.”
“They are posing a very legitimate question that, trust me, I am posing as well,” Commissioner for the district Desmon Duncan-Walker said. “We know that East University has seen a number of tragedies within the past year.”
Commissioner Duncan-Walker is planning to tackle that by taking staff to the scene later this week and throughout those to come.
“I’ve asked for our staff to come out immediately so that any modifications that we can make right now, we can begin to implement,” Duncan-Walker said.
She plans to suggest a study of pedestrian patterns in all of East Gainesville to the commission at Thursday night’s meeting, as she says this is not the only road in the area that needs improvement.
“No child should have to die just because we are on the Eastside of town,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan and are working on a petition to the city to implement those measures and get fences around the units facing the road.
East University Ave. is a state road, so the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) sent TV20 a statement.
“FDOT is aware of the crash that occurred last week on East University Avenue (State Road 26),” Spokesperson Troy Roberts wrote. “As procedure dictates, FDOT reviews fatal crashes on state roadways. If there are any improvements that can be made to enhance the safety of our facilities, FDOT will work to implement them.”
Family members have set a GoFundMe to help Megan Durant with funds on funeral expenses for her son.
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