The roads on UCF’s campus and the area around the university are packed with cars, bicycles, skateboards and pedestrians. That can be a dangerous mix, so it’s important to know what you can do to keep yourself safe — and what UCF is doing to help.
It’s the responsibility of both drivers and pedestrians to pay attention to what’s around them and follow the rules of the road. Drivers should yield to pedestrians even when drivers have a green light. Pedestrians also are responsible for following traffic signals and rules. Pedestrians should always use a crosswalk and look both ways before crossing the street, even when they have the right of way. It’s important to remember that distractions like cell phones and headphones can be dangerous for pedestrians, too.
“Drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and skateboarders all share UCF’s campus,” UCF Police Chief Carl Metzger ’03MS says. “Let’s keep UCF safe for everyone by obeying the rules of the road.”
The UCF Police Department also has invested in pedestrian safety improvements on campus. In January, the university added “STOP for Pedestrian in Crosswalk” signage at five locations across campus. In addition, five crosswalks have been upgraded with flashing yellow lights. UCF police also have been citing drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians.
UCF is also focused on keeping students safe on the busy roads in the area. The university has partnered with Orange County and the Florida Department of Transportation to fund the construction of improvements to safeguard pedestrians and bicyclists on and near campus.
This project began with a study led by Orange County to determine what improvements would be most effective. A pedestrian bridge at the intersection of Alafaya Trail and University Boulevard was studied but ultimately ruled out by county traffic engineers. That’s because crash data shows that these accidents occur over a very wide area covering 4.6 miles, from Challenger Parkway to McCulloch Road on Alafaya Trail; from Rouse Road to Alafaya Trail on University Boulevard; and from Alafaya Trail to North Orion Boulevard on McCulloch Road. Traffic engineers concluded that pedestrians and bicyclists would not travel very far to use a bridge.
Instead, the county and state (which control these roads) are building a variety of improvements costing $8.8 million, including about $2.9 million from UCF. These upgrades are now being designed and construction should begin in early 2020:
- Pedestrian fencing and landscaping in the medians to funnel people to crosswalks rather than crossing at dangerous spots
- A new 10-foot-wide pedestrian/bike path on the east side of Alafaya Trail along UCF property
- New signalized mid-block crosswalks with textured colored pavement so pedestrians have more safe, highly visible locations to cross
- Improvements at major intersections, including high-visibility crosswalks and smaller turning radii that forces vehicles to slow down
- Textured crosswalks at smaller roads and driveways
- 8-foot-wide sidewalks
- Pedestrian scale lighting
- Additional wayfinding signage
In addition, some additional interim improvements were recently added or will be in place soon, including:
- Recently, pedestrian warning flashers were installed along northbound and southbound Alafaya Trail just south of University Boulevard. Similar flashers were placed on University Boulevard near Alafaya in 2018.
- “Watch For Peds” messages should be painted on the roadway near the warning flashers before the start of the fall semester.
- Flashing yellow arrows will be installed at three corners of the intersection of Alafaya Trail and University Boulevard to signal that drivers should slow down and use caution as they turn.
Safety is our priority, and we believe these improvements will make it safer for our students and others.