Safer Transportation For Bikers In Gainesville
GAINESVILLE - Green doesn't always mean go. The city of Gainesville wants to increase driver awareness by painting green boxes on the streets for bikers to use-- This is part of an initiative for safer transportation.
These bike boxes are part of the bike boulevard project here in Gainesville. Public Works is behind it. They hope to make some intersections easier to navigate for both bikers and drivers. You may have noticed green paint on the pavement of some well-trafficked streets in Gainesville. They're there for a reason. They're called bike boxes-- and they serve as a high visibility area dedicated to cyclists. The point is to reduce accidents with motorists.
Jared Goldstein a junior at the University of Florida and avid biker says busy intersections are a concern for him. "It's usually really hectic. I've had most times where I've almost got hit by a car," Goldstein said.
They've already installed the first box right hear near the University of Florida campus on Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest 13th Avenue. There is also a bike boulevard being created along West 12th street from Southwest 8th Avenue to Northwest 19th Lane. The boulevard will include green pavement markings, reduced posted speed and street signage.
Chip Skinner a spokesperson for Public Works said, "The boulevard is more of a traveling through area, much like a roadway for bicyclists, as where the bike boxes are a staging area to help make those turning movements easier for the bicyclists and safer for them as well."
Daniel Morales, a Gainesville resident said bike boxes are common and work well in his hometown, Portland Oregon. "It really helps during the day time with these bike boxes because drivers aren't quick to look over their shoulder for bikes and we don't have the lights on during the day... So it's not an attention catcher and this definitely prevents accidents and it makes more flow of traffic and no one is worried about getting cut off," Morales said.
A total of $29,000 was spent on materials and supplies for the two installations. The bike box and boulevard feature detection systems that help traffic lights change to reduce waiting time for riders.
"What is in the roadway is similar to what is at a traffic signal called vehicle detection loops. This area is a little bit more sensitive so it will actually pick up the bicyclists and trigger those signal movements. So that they can turn on a protected green arrow for instance," Skinner said.
If this pilot project works well, Public Works will identify other locations with a high volume of cyclists and look into expanding.
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