Gainesville city commission candidates discuss transportation at forum

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Gainesville, Fla. (WCJB) -- Getting around town safely was on the mind of Gainesville city leaders at a candidate forum sponsored by the Gainesville citizens for active transportation. Three seats are being contested in the March 17 election.

The Gainesville citizens for active transportation or GCAT gave the seven attending candidates four questions about transportation ranging from e-scooters to public safety to free rides on RTS and each candidate's vision for Gainesville's future.

Chris Furlow, president of GCAT said, "Well it has to be safety. Whenever you have thirty people per year on average dying in Alachua county just getting from one place to another. It's absolutely ridiculous. It needs to stop. The city of gainesville has started a vision zero policy to try to find solutions so that there are no more fatal crashes. And people don't die just getting to school or work or going to the doctor or wherever."

The forum gave time for questions during closing statements but didn't leave a period for public comment.

Joshua Ney, Gainesville resident and cyclist said, "I was disappointed, I thought the questions were kind of bad honestly. I didn't like the question about scooters. They seemed very prejudiced against it. Me; anything that gets people out of cars is a good thing."

For the district at-large 2 seat, the candidates are Scherwin Henry, Gabe Kaimowitz, Paul Rhodenizer and Reina Saco. The district 2 candidates are incumbent Harvey Ward and David Walle. The district 3 candidates are incumbent David Arreola and Jennifer Reid. Paul Rhodenizer did not attend the forum.

Ney, who cycles every day, felt like safety wasn't fully addressed.

"None of the candidates tonight talked about that. About children being able to bike safely in this city without getting killed."

Ney says that even today as he was riding down the bike lane that cars came way too close to him. He says that he's disappointed that candidates didn't talk about children riding bikes safely or adding bus lanes to major roads.