Gainesville awarded $8 Million USDOT grant to redesign University Ave.
Published on February 01, 2023
The City of Gainesville’s most famous thoroughfare will get a complete redesign thanks to an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The systematic transformation of University Avenue from busy main artery to community gem will cover a 4.15-mile stretch of roadway. Within years, slower traffic, narrowed lanes, landscaped medians and raised crosswalks will make the corridor safer for neighbors in the nearby residential districts, the lively downtown area and by the University of Florida campus.
The award comes at a time when the community is intensely focused on bicycle and pedestrian safety. Gainesville and Alachua County Commissioners unanimously passed a motion to address the “traffic violence crisis” at the Jan. 23, 2023 Joint City/County Commission Meeting. In Dec. 2022, Mayor Harvey Ward traveled to Washington, D.C. to share Gainesville’s most pressing issues with senior White House advisors—a conversation that included traffic safety.
“I’m thrilled to continue to work with the Biden administration on projects like this that will save lives and make Gainesville work better for all our neighbors,” said Ward.
The $8 million award announced today will enable the city to move forward with the first phase of resurfacing and restriping University Avenue. This will make the road safer in the short term while preparing for larger construction. As with the Destination South Main Project that transformed nearly a mile of previously industrial roadway from Depot Avenue to Southwest 16th Avenue, the finished stretch will bring fresh character and enhance safety along this trademark corridor.
In the past several years, University Avenue has seen a total of 70 pedestrian crashes with seven fatalities and 12 victims suffering serious injuries. The road’s crash rate is more than double the Alachua County average and more than triple the statewide average. When the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) signaled a willingness to allow the City of Gainesville to transform the corridor into a complete street, city staff got to work with research, design plans and grant-writing efforts.
“This award won’t be enough to cover the entire cost of the project. This will get us started and well on our way to the vision we saw on the drawing board,” said Special Advisor to the City Manager Andrew Persons.
The city is currently working in partnership with FDOT on the preliminary design and environment study to advance the design and implementation of the project. Public meetings will follow this fall and early next spring. Construction would then be slated to begin by March 2024.