Take a walk on University Avenue

Seriously, what is the deal with University Avenue? Why does it seem to consume so much space in the news?

No mystery there. People, mostly pedestrians and cyclists, keep getting killed on University Avenue with distressing frequency.

Which is why the City of Gainesville and the Florida Department of Transportation, have spent so much time and money in the past few years trying to make University Avenue more a people-friendly street and less a high speed traffic corridor.

Still, if you want to know what’s wrong with University Avenue, and how to fix it, you really ought to get out, walk the avenue, talk to some knowledgeable people and learn for yourself what the problems are and what the solutions might be.

As it happens, the City and FDOT are inviting interested residents to do just that in a series of walking tours along six segments of University Avenue and intersecting 13th Street. The tours will be conducted on Tuesday, Jan. 24 through Thursday, Jan. 29.

“As we walk along the study corridors, the tours will feature a hands-on assessment of the different segments. In small group facilitated discussions, tour leaders will ask participants to consider the street from multiple user perspectives. The tours will feature stopping points along the routes to discuss context, safety, and comfort for all users,” Deborah Leistner, Gainesville’s transportation planning analyst said in an email this week.

You can sign up for one or more corridor walks by using the above QR code or going to this link.

There’s no question that University Avenue has changed over the course of decades. What was once a pleasant, business-friendly central avenue has been allowed to devolve into a dangerous traffic “stroad.”

But it doesn’t have to stay that way. We can envision a better future for GNV’s Signature Street. The best way to understand why that’s necessary is to take a walk on the avenue and see for yourself.

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