Newberry Bike Lane Puts Cyclists In Danger, Residents Say

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As Gainesville strives to become a more bike-friendly city, some are questioning a mile of Newberry Road where bike lanes abruptly turn into parallel parking spaces.

Daytime parking in unmetered spaces attracts both employees and customers because of the bank along with medical and insurance buildings in the area.

But that leaves bicyclists with only one option: sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians.

“I’ve almost been killed a few times,” said bicyclist, Beth Van Nostrand. “And it’s 99 percent of the time, it’s the traffic’s fault, but you know, I’m the one that’s going to get squished.”

One business owner in the area says he’s seen too many close calls.

“If they would make a bicycle lane out of it, that would be terrific,” said Angel Venega, the owner of a computer service, PC Techman. “There have been incidents where a lot of motorists are coming out, and they are looking out to make a right, and the bicyclists are coming this way, and they almost get hit.”

Parallel parking runs along Newberry Road from 38th Street to the light at 43rd Street. Anyone can use these parallel parking spaces, however, a lot of people are parking and walking across four lanes of traffic to get to the medical plaza. Doing so can be very dangerous with a 45-mile-per-hour speed limit.

Residents continue to raise the issue with local officials.

“The infrastructure has got to be there,” Nostrand said.

Although Newberry Road is a state road, the focus is to get the city and county, which do joint transportation planning, to take the lead on proposing a change.

Robert Hutchinson, an Alachua County commissioner, recently noted on social media that he appreciates people raising these sorts of issues to try to improve traffic flow and traffic safety for everyone.

About Brittney Smith

Brittney is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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