In regard to the proposed redesigning of University Avenue:
Ten years from now, maybe sooner, Gainesville will regret that we didn’t two-lane University Avenue when we had the chance.
I’m all for wider sidewalks, roundabouts, mid-block pedestrian crosswalks and all of the other enhancements they’re talking about adding to slow cars and stop killing people on University Avenue.
But make no mistake. If Gainesville’s “signature street” remains multi-laned, University Avenue will still be primarily designed for cars rather than the thousands of pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and other micro-mobility users who occupy University on any given day.
We redesigned South Main Street and Depot Avenue for people. And guess what? Cars can still easily travel on both those streets, but those corridors are safer for pedestrians and other living things precisely because they were designed to prioritize people over cars.
Keeping University Avenue four lanes is simply inviting people who drive fast to pass people who drive more slowly. And the faster people drive, especially when they are passing, the more dangerous cars are to walkers and runners, cyclists, scooter riders, skaters and other carbon-based life forms. For all practical purposes, slower drivers are traffic calmers.
Properly designed, two-lane streets can move traffic as efficiently, or more so, than multi-laned streets. Ask Strong Towns. And if you are going to install them, one-lane roundabouts are both more efficient and safer than two-lane roundabouts.
Anyway, I suspect the die is cast and there will be no further discussion about, gasp!, removing lanes. Apparently what’s being recommended will be good enough for City Hall, UF and the state DOT.
Because this is still autoAmerica. And so we must keep cars moving smoothly and efficiently on University Avenue no matter the cost to public safety, economic vitality or quality of life in the heart of GNV.