College students returning to the area will notice changes in traffic patterns made by the City of Gainesville and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The recent changes to West University Avenue and to roadways near the University of Florida are part of the city’s Vision Zero action strategy to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries from traffic accidents.
During the summer, the city converted Northwest 14th Street and Northwest 15th Street from two-way to one-way. The parallel streets function as a “one-way pair,” with traffic flowing in opposite directions. Specifically, traffic on Northwest 14th Street flows southbound between Northwest Fifth Avenue and University Avenue, while motorists on Northwest 15th Street drive northbound only between the same cross streets.
“More than 850 pedestrians cross University Avenue at Northwest 15th Street during the midday peak hour,” said City Planner Scott Wright. “By limiting the direction of traffic flow, there are fewer places where pedestrians and motorists can cross paths. That’s safer for everyone.”
On-street parking remains along both streets of the one-way pair. New are flexible yellow posts installed to separate bicyclists from motorists.
“Everyone has the right to move about safely, and system designers and policymakers share this responsibility,” said Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe.
In May, FDOT reduced the speed limit on West University Avenue to 25 mph between the area just east of Northwest 21st Terrace and Northwest 13th Street. The state also has installed temporary speed tables at four locations along West University Avenue where future crosswalks are planned. The speed tables are intended for speeds of 25 mph or slower.
“Temporary speed tables are designed to encourage reduced traffic speeds and enhance pedestrian safety along the roadway,” said Greg Evans, FDOT District 2 secretary. “We believe our continuing efforts in this corridor will lead to safer roadways for all residents and visitors to Gainesville,” he said.
Later this year, FDOT expects to install new traffic lights where West University Avenue intersects with Northwest 16th Street and with Northwest 19th Street. The city also plans to convert nearby Northwest 17th and Northwest 18th Streets into a one-way pair.
Maintaining well-designed infrastructure is part of the city’s strategic plan to preserve Gainesville as a great place for neighbors to live and thrive.