One of the busiest roads in Gainesville is getting a facelift to modernize it and emphasize safety, the city announced on Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the city an $8 million grant to begin the work.
The revitalization will affect a 4.15-mile stretch of the roadway, and improvements will include:
- Slower traffic;
- Raised crosswalks;
- Narrower lanes.
The rework of the road will affect areas of high foot traffic, including the border of the University of Florida campus, Downtown Gainesville and the surrounding apartment complexes.
The award comes at a time of concern within the community around the recent increase in pedestrian and bike incidents within the city. There has been a noticeable increase in pedestrian-involved incidents in the last five years, 70 of which have happened on University Avenue. The Alachua County Commissioners addressed the issue, calling it a “traffic violence crisis” at the Jan. 23, 2023, Joint City/County Commission meeting.
University Avenue’s crash rate is twice the county average and triple the statewide average, according to a city press release.
“This award won’t be enough to cover the entire cost of the project,” said Andrew Persons, special advisor to the city manager. “This will get us started and well on our way to the vision we saw on the drawing board.”
The city and FDOT are currently talking over initial designs for the revamp, and public meetings will begin to open to the public in the fall and early in the following spring as they plan to start work on the project by March 2024.