GAINESVLLE, Fla. – Two new traffic lights are up along the westbound lanes of University Avenue on Northwest 16th and 19th Streets.
The lights are being installed by the Florida Department of Transportation.
“They were looking at where we are seeing pedestrians cross where we don’t have good signals. So, a lot of good data came out of that, and they found that at those two places lots of students are walking to their homes just to the north from the university,” District 4 Commissioner Bryan Eastman said.
Around noon Tuesday, only about a block away from the newly input traffic light on Northwest 16th Street, a University of Florida student was hit while riding his scooter.
City officials recently described Gainesville as a city in a traffic violence crisis.
Some students who frequently walk to campus believe the new traffic changes along University Avenue won’t have much impact.
“I don’t think it’s gonna do anything. It’s – I don’t know because like the roads still so busy and like there’s not really much I feel like they can do and like people will still cross when it’s like not a crosswalk,” UF student Lauren Mielke said.
But Eastman believes the University Avenue changes are a step in the right direction.
“That road is designed primarily as a state highway, so making sure that we are changing that over to the pedestrian quarter that it is today as opposed to the state highway it may have been in decades past is really important. The same is true of 13th Street,” Eastman said.
The new traffic lights are part of the Street Signalization project, an over $1 million initiative to improve pedestrian safety.
Although it’s unclear whether the new light at Northwest 16th Street would have prevented the collision today, the new traffic lights should be up and running later this year.