Plan proposed to improve bikers’ safety

Spinnaker

Junior business major Jason Hicks crashed his bicycle in January 2008 into the side of a car stopped at a stop sign. The car came from Lot 34 and stopped past the stop sign, impeding the path of the sidewalk. That’s when Hicks hit the car, he said.

But while UNF officials acknowledge the recent incidents with bicycles on campus, road improvements for bikers have yet to be made.

The current Master Plan states UNF will more actively embrace bicycles and pedestrian travel as viable alternate transportation modes, and UNF is doing well in enacting this policy, said Zak Ovadia, director of Facilities Planning.

“We’ve addressed 99 percent of what the Master Plan is calling for, and next semester we will get into it deeper,” Ovadia said.

According to UNF’s Capital Improvement Plan, $8 million will be set aside for road improvements in the 2010-2011 school year, along with $2 million the following year. The plan states the money will be spent on connecting the North-South Road to future Greek housing, residential housing and the North Parking Complex.

Wider sidewalks are planned to be installed on UNF’s existing roadways to facilitate bicyclists and pedestrian safety, but there are no plans in action right now to construct these on existing UNF roads, although they will be included in future road construction, Ovadia said.

The proposed widened sidewalks are called multipurpose corridors, according to the current UNF Master Plan. The corridors contain designated bicycle and pedestrian sections.

The proposal came from consultants who were hired to determine the best options for facilitating bicyclists on UNF roadways. The consultants were from England-Thims and Miller, Inc. and chosen out of three other consultants because of their superior knowledge on road planning, Ovadia said.

“The consultants said it is not possible to install bike lanes on existing UNF roads due to safety issues,” Ovadia said. “What the consultants did recommend was widening sidewalks and designating portions of sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists. These corridors would increase bicyclist and pedestrian safety.”

But there is nothing on the road construction project list for multipurpose corridors on existing roadways, said John Hale, assistant director of Physical Facilities.

“I know it’s been talked about, but there are no concrete plans at the moment,” Hale said. 

The current problem is not part of UNF’s budget crisis, said Richard Crosby, assistant vice president for Administration and Finance.

UNF receives its money from the state for road improvements, and Crosby said multipurpose corridors will be funded.

The problem is planning of the corridors. Solid plans for multipurpose corridors will be addressed with the next Master Plan, he said.

The completion of the next UNF Master Plan is scheduled to occur in 2010, Crosby said.

UNF is still in the process of seeking a consultant to begin the planning for the next Master Plan. The consultant should be found late December 2008, and Crosby said planning is scheduled to commence in February 2009.

E-mail Frederick Pecor II at [email protected]