Editorial: First impression

The newly redesigned 13th Street overpass.

File photo
Published: Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 8:35 p.m.

First impressions count. And the first impression that awaits a visitor approaching Gainesville's new southern gateway is stunning.

This week, after months of delays and construction, the newly refurbished 13th Street overpass on U.S. 441 was opened. The result was worth the wait.

It's not just the striking orange “Double Helix” looming over the Depot Avenue Rail-Trail that grabs attention. Just as visually arresting is the staircase and planted terrace arrangement that now affords pedestrian access from 13th Street to the rail-trail. Red brick sidewalks and soon-to-be finished textured concrete serpentine walls in the medians north and south of the overpass all conspire to send a message to the newly arrived: Welcome to a city of innovation and imagination.

That impression is only enhanced and magnified after dark, when the overpass lights up like a beacon.

First impressions really do count. And the impression Gainesville's new gateway imparts is of a university community that is alive with ideas, energy and plans for a vibrant future.

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