The Gainesville Police Department plans to start an enhanced traffic enforcement program.
This traffic enforcement initiative, known as Gator STEP, follows the death of a University of Florida student who was standing on the sidewalk on Saturday night in Gainesville’s Midtown neighborhood, along with two other pedestrian deaths over the past year. A department press release stated officers intend to work with the City of Gainesville and UF to educate and provide safety for the community.
The program will work alongside the University of Florida Police Department to conduct traffic enforcement along the university’s roads. The roads are West University Avenue, Southwest Archer Road, Southwest 34th Street and Southwest 13th Street.
Police plan to focus on violations geared towards crosswalks, pedestrians, speeding and scooter safety.
They also plan on conducting a crash analysis of the area between the 1300 and 2200 blocks of West University Avenue to identify what types of crashes take place there and how they occur.
Saturday’s fatal crash occurred on the corner of Northwest 17th Street and West University Avenue.
The police believe the program will provide the community with additional tools to address recent accidents, some of which took the lives of students.
City Commissioner Harvey Ward expressed his thoughts on the traffic problem.
“Our city must – and will – address the traffic safety issues leading to injury and death,” Ward wrote Wednesday in a Facebook post. “We will do so thoughtfully and effectively, and we will find a way around the walls built around the problem by FDOT over the years.”
Thursday afternoon’s Gainesville City Commission meeting is also expected to have discussion of possibly removing street barriers that had been added in September as a means of reducing indoor spread of COVID-19. Ward intends to discuss traffic safety in the meeting.