GNV project to narrow NW 8th Avenue, add bike lane 

Vehicles drive on NW 8th Avenue.
Photo by Seth Johnson

Gainesville has selected a segment of NW 8th Avenue for lane reduction and other modifications as part of its Vision Zero initiative that aims to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists.  

If the project moves forward, the modifications would impact around one third of a mile of NW 8th Avenue that forms a part of State Road 20, from the Gainesville Police Department headquarters at NW 6th Street to U-Haul Moving and Storage at Main Street.  

This section of the avenue expands from a single lane road into a two-lane road with a center turn lane. The proposal would reduce the segment to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. The current outside vehicle lanes would turn into bicycle lanes.  

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The 7-foot bike lane would be restriped and painted to differentiate but would not have a barrier between it and the vehicle traffic.  

Gainesville identified the segment as a site for improvement from its Vizion Zero initiative, said Deborah Leistner, planning manager for the city’s transportation department. She said city staff looked across the city for areas to implement Vision Zero practices.  

The city and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) held a meeting at the Historic Thomas Center on Tuesday to receive public comments on the project.  

Several citizens spoke in support, saying that they need more safety as bicyclists. Joshua Ney, a member of the city plan board, said the project should go further by adding physical barriers between the bike lane and vehicle traffic.  

“I would not have my 12-year-old bike in this bike lane how you guys have designed it,” Ney said. “Now, I like it better than what is there right now.” 

According to FDOT data, this road segment serves an annual average of 17,200 vehicles per day.  

Others expressed concern about how the construction could impact business, potential cost and impact traffic, like emergency vehicles.  

Leistner said the project would cost $60,000 since no resurfacing is required to restripe the road. Ultimate control of the road rests with FDOT, but Leistner said the project would be a first phase with a protected bike lane coming later.  

She said barriers would require resurfacing the road, a process that would increase costs toward $2 million. As the road degrades and needs resurfacing naturally, the city might install bike lane barriers without much additional cost.  

If you want to provide comments to the city on the project, you can email by the May 13 deadline.  

FDOT and Gainesville continue to focus on Vision Zero projects in the city.  

Almost 16 months ago, Sabrina Obando died on NW 8th Avenue just a quarter mile west of the proposed project after a truck hit her in the crosswalk.   

Conversation has centered on University Avenue where the state has worked to install new traffic lights. Later this year, FDOT plans to install two raised pedestrian crosswalks and remove the temporary speed tables that have slowed traffic for the past two years.  

The city held a corridor study in January after declaring a joint traffic violence crisis with the county. Both commissioners directed their staff to coordinate on an education and enforcement component to assist the engineering side.  

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Linda A

The population of Gainesville continues to grow very actively. More and more housing is built. Where will all those cars go? Main Street and 6th Street have already been narrowed, and the traffic around UF makes using 13th St awful. Where are all those people who drive supposed to go? The typical answer has been "don't drive", which is useless. I'd like to see the infrastructure keep up with development.


And yet they want us to use UNPROTECTED bike lanes, ridiculous!

Donald Shoup

They can continue to drive but they will be asked to drive at a reasonable speed and we won't design our streets that encourage dangerous behavior.


They can stop driving when unnecessary and instead use alternatives like busses or bike themselves. And when they do drive if they absolutely need to, or if they feel like it, then they can go slow, pay attention, and stop killing kids in the streets.

They can also take alternative routes outside of the pedestrian and bike heavy areas downtown and around caomus instead of causing so much traffic. Its you in the car that is causing traffic, not the bicyclists.


What about the people in work trucks that maintain the buildings, roads, parks? You know, the ones that keep the lights on, the plumbing flowing and the ac blowing. I’m willing to bet that each and every person involved in these decisions, and this article, lives in houses and works in buildings with electricity, hvac and indoor plumbing. Not to mention emergency medical services which has said before that narrowing roads will make more difficult for ambulances and fire trucks to get around. Or is this one stretch of 8th the only place that is going to narrowed


Right, this side of town is growing with the development of more and more apartments being built which will cause more traffic, causing more congestion in the area. A lot of bicyclists blame cars for not paying attention when a lot of bicyclists don’t pay attention as well. I have had several pull out in front of me or swerve out of a bike lane because they are doing just what motorists do trying to text and ride a bike. There needs to be a common solution but this isn’t it.


The proposed bike lanes will not protect me from a driver on his phone and I will not use them. Instead. I will drive my 2000 pound killing machine on the road like everyone else.

If you are not going to physically protect bicyclists, do not bother putting in bicycle lanes

Sweet Pete

I drive and bike avidly in Gainesville. I agree 100%.


I am extremely unclear why city planning and transportation development in Gainesville is years, if not decades behind cities like Ocala even. The city of Gainesville has some of the poorest planned roads in America yet we are home to UF with an amazing engineering department. It's embarrassing and shameful to be honest. We have the space and ability to create BIKE/PEDESTRIAN ONLY pathways, bridges and route that avoid the roads altogether. Our roads need to be expanded, to avoid the congestion, snd provide better traffic flow to reduce accidents and speeding, NOT the opposite. Where is yhe logic on the city planning side of any of this?


W 34th and SW 20th continue to be unusable and yet unavoidable at all hours but sure the ONE road on that side of town not lousy with traffic is the one that needs work...