Crossing the street is not always the safest pursuit, especially for the homeless at Dignity Village, who rely on the RTS bus system to get where they need to go.
The intersection of Northeast 39th Avenue and Northeast 28th Avenue has been the scene of two accidents where pedestrians have been hit by cars.
The first accident, back in November, happened when a man was trying to cross the street at the bus stop near GRACE Marketplace. The second accident occurred only a few weeks ago and was fatal. It’s a natural place for foot traffic, particularly to reach the inbound bus stop.
However, there is no crosswalk at the intersection.
Mark Venzke, a Dignity Village resident, must cross Northeast 39th Avenue to board.
“I had previously spoken with Alachua County commissioners about a year ago asking them to establish the crosswalk,” Venzke said.
Harvey Budd, Gainesville city commissioner, said a flashing light at the intersection would encourage drivers to slow down.
“I think it could make a big difference to the community and be very safe,” Budd said.
The caveat? This is a state road.
“Like anything, you know what they say about fighting city hall… fighting with the (Florida) Department of Transportation is always difficult,” Budd said.
Despite a number of accidents, officials have yet to come to an agreement.
Budd said he is going to try and bring up the issue at the next Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization meeting in February.
“If we have the folks at the city and the county hall all agree to work on this,” Budd said, “maybe we can convince them that this kind of crosswalk — if you wanna call it a crosswalk — is a way to solve the problem.”
It’s a problem Venzke hopes is resolved soon.
“It would mean that I would not feel trepidation as I approach the intersection,” Venzke said, “and I would not have to be quite as hypervigilant to assure the vehicles will not be coming my way.”