Dear campus community,
In the wake of the tragic accidents on W. University Avenue that recently claimed the lives of two of our University of Florida students and injured others, the university and its partners have acted with urgency to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety conditions surrounding campus. In the short term, we are working collaboratively with the city of Gainesville, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the University Police Department to quickly respond and enact the following measures:
- Initiate an enhanced high visibility traffic enforcement program along W. University Avenue, SW Archer Road, SW 34th Street, and SW 13th Street (e.g., focusing on crosswalk, pedestrian, speeding and scooter safety violations)
- Install lighted message boards with speed monitoring, which will remain in place for the foreseeable future
- Increase permanent signage, including a “Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk” at Gale Lemerand Drive and W. University Avenue
- Repaint crosswalks to improve visibility along W. University Avenue
Looking to the future, we are starting two important projects with FDOT-- the construction of a pedestrian walkway at UF’s Newell Gateway (slated to begin construction as early as May 2021) and the introduction of two new signalized pedestrian crossings at NW 16th St. and NW 19th St. (slated to begin construction in the fall of 2021). In addition, we have proposed longer-term solutions to comprehensively improve pedestrian safety including a “Complete Streets” study and safety audit for W. University Avenue and SW 13th Street, as well as the construction of two shared-use paths that will provide safe parallel paths of travel for bicycles and pedestrians along roadway corridors. We will also explore the possibility of lowering the speed limits along roadways adjacent to campus.
There are also significant efforts underway in advancement of the UF Board of Trustees-approved plan for safety and security enhancements on campus. Several campus security projects contribute to improved campus safety including the use of license plate readers, enhanced LED lighting to promote safe passage through campus, and education programs for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, to name a few.
In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to work with our state and local partners to review and implement enhanced safety measures along our campus borders and roadways. We want to thank all our students, families, and members of the community for your thoughtful emails and suggestions on how we can work collaboratively to enhance safety on and near our campus. Moving forward, we will also establish a student safety committee comprised of representatives from multiple campus communities to ensure that we continually embed the student voice and perspective in ongoing planning.
Dr. Charles Lane
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
University of Florida
Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Florida