News and Public Media for North Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FDOT Cuts Funding For Active Streets

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) cut event funding for Gainesville’s bi-annual street fair.

Active Streets closed down nine blocks on University Avenue in February to offer free bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly activities including: yoga, Zumba, sidewalk-chalk, taste-tests and bicycle rides. The pilot event took place last October.

The Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MTPO) received a letter from FDOT on June 19, stating the department was going to stop funding the local Gainesville event.

The Active Streets funding came from FDOT's maintenance budget and was not meant to be long term, said Ed Seifert, FDOT district 2 spokesman.

FDOT initially funded the event in hopes that it could sustain itself for future events, according to the letter.

If FDOT cuts funding, Active Streets will need to finance $12,000 per event themselves, Floyd said.

He said it is highly unlikely the Active Streets event could continue without funding from a large sponsorship like FDOT.

Floyd raised more than $4,000 for each of the two events with the help of the City of Gainesville and Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency.

The $4,000 is used for police and trash services mandated by the city for event safety.

Raising more than $4,000 plus an additional $12,000, which FDOT initially provided, seems nearly impossible, Floyd said.

MTPO raised the issue during their monthly board meeting Aug. 3.

Six people spoke in favor of the Active Streets event, expressing concerns about the funding needed to continue the event.

Raymond Rawls, a local artist, said showing off his 23-foot, bicycle-powered gator sculpture at the event helps promote his business.

Marc Morrison, a University of Florida graduate, said he chose to live in Gainesville after graduation because it is a bike- and pedestrian-friendly town. Events like Active Streets help maintain that status by spreading safety awareness to the community.

Billy Hattaway, FDOT district 1 secretary of transportation, also spoke at the meeting, saying he will speak with the secretary specifically about continuing funding for Active Streets in Gainesville.

Active Streets received $24,000 total from FDOT for the first two events. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people attended each event, said Joseph Floyd, Active Streets Alliance executive director.

One thousand people attended Miami’s Active Streets event, for which FDOT provided $58,000. And two thousand people attended Tampa’s Active Streets event, which received $60,000 from the FDOT. Both events experienced lower attendance rates than Gainesville, but received more funding, according to Zak Lata, bicycle pedestrian coordinator for the FDOT.

Seifert said FDOT understands this is a very important program to the community and the department hopes it continues if not with their help, then through other means.

"As for long-term funding, we will have to look at our budget to see if that is an option," Seifert said.

Marrison said he thinks FDOT should find a more creative way to get funding for Active Streets instead of cutting it off.

FDOT cannot say at this time that they will the fund program forever, he said.

The board voted at the meeting that they would send a letter to the secretary disagreeing with FDOT's position on funding.

Nicole is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing