Florida A&M University President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., joined members of the Tallahassee City Commission, other elected officials and community residents for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that marked the completion of the FAMU Way extension to Lake Bradford Road.
“The completion of the FAMU Way connection to Lake Bradford Road is an event of practical and symbolic importance to Florida A&M University. The roadway provides greater access to our campus at a time when we are looking forward to the resumption of in-person operations, as well as athletic and other events,” Robinson said. “The opening of this strategic corridor is also a reminder of our historical mission to provide access to educational opportunities for citizens from underserved communities.”
The project was completed in three phases. It transformed a roadway with a deep dangerous ditch running parallel to it into a safe and functional corridor, designed to accommodate motor vehicles, bikes and pedestrians.
The traffic and pedestrian east-west corridor runs from South Monroe Street to Lake Bradford Road along the northern perimeter of the FAMU campus. The protect extended FAMU Way from Wahnish Way to Lake Bradford Road and created three roundabouts, wide sidewalks, a multi-use trail connecting to the St. Marks Trail, a community gathering place at Lake Anita, a children’s playground, landscaping resulting in what Robinson and officials during the ceremony called “one of the most beautiful” roads in the city. The roundabout at FAMU Way and Wahnish Way has come a popular location for photography shoots.
“It’s amazing to see how beautiful this is,” Robinson said during brief remarks. “This is going to allow the rest of the world to see how much in this town we understand and respect the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, because the leadership in this community is committed to making sure that we address the needs of the entire city of Tallahassee and pay attention to those communities that have been underserved or neglected.”
Through collaboration with the FAMU School of Architecture and Engineering Technology and the History Department, stories about the history of the area were collected from past and current residents. These memories were incorporated into a historical narrative that now serves as a guide for the History and Culture Trail project being coordinated by the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency, which will recognize the area’s history in physical form along the corridor.
“It’s important to honor the history of this area, and to do that, plans are underway to help preserve and display the memories and stories of past generations,” said City Commissioner and FAMU alumna Dianne Williams-Cox.
As a college student, she commuted daily from Quincy using some of the nearby side streets to get to the campus. The new road simplifies the commute for future Rattlers who will pursue successful careers the way Williams-Cox and her fellow commuters did decades ago.
“FAMU Way is a transformative project, enhancing connectivity and providing a signature entryway into Florida A&M University,” Williams-Cox added.
Williams-Cox joined Mayor John Dailey and fellow commissioners in paying tribute to those who championed the project for more than a decade. They lauded former Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors, the late Charles U. Smith, Ph.D., a legendary FAMU sociology professor and crusader against racism, and members of the FAMU Way Citizen Advisory Committee, which includes FAMU employees and alumni, as well as former residents of the area.
Other improvements are planned in the area to enhance stormwater drainage adjacent to the road, construct a new skate park and add other amenities along the roadway, city officials said. The City is in the design phase of a proposed project to extend the corridor upgrades along the eastern leg of FAMU Way from South Bronough Street to South Monroe Street.