Calls for pedestrian safety near UCF

- Thousands of students walk or bike to and from the University of Central Florida campus every week.  A new study is calling for big changes so they don’t get hit by cars, and your tax dollars will pay for the big safety plan.
We are talking about the UCF Alafaya Trail Pedestrian Safety Study.  It focuses on 4.6 miles of roads near the UCF campus.

It can be a dangerous combination -- thousands of cars drive on busy streets with walkers and bike riders trying to navigate their daily trips.  The new study looks at safety challenges for pedestrians and bicycle riders along Alafaya Trail, University Boulevard and  McCulloch Road near UCF.  It also focuses on safety solutions.

awad Ahmed is a research scholar at UCF.  He walks from his apartment to the campus and back four times a day, and he sees many close calls with cars and pedestrians.  “Sometimes it’s dangerous, because cars sometimes in this direction, they don’t follow the rules. Yes sometimes, it’s dangerous.”

UCF teamed up with the Florida Department of Transportation and Orange County Government on the pedestrian safety study.  Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards represents the UCF area. He explained the basics of the safety plan.  

Edwards said, “Very attractive vegetation, perhaps fencing.  Essentially borders to prevent pedestrians from crossing where they shouldn’t be crossing where it’s unsafe, and kind of herding them to where they should be crossing to make it safer there.”

The safety improvements will be paid for with your tax dollars from the county’s INVEST Program.  It’s a 300 million dollar fund for road construction and safety improvements across Orange County.

Edwards added, “This is a state road.  There is no gas tax money available in the near future to fund it, so we are going to go ahead and use our INVEST dollars, which come from our citizens, to go ahead and make this important public safety improvement.”

Staffers will brief Orange County Commissioners at their meeting this Tuesday, talking about the findings and recommendations of the study.  You can have your say on the safety improvements at a public meeting on May 18.  It will start at 6 pm at Union Park Middle School.

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