City of Gainesville Idalia update: no parking fees, parks closed, reduced bus service

Image courtesy of Alachua County

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With Hurricane Idalia strengthening and approaching landfall in the Big Bend region early tomorrow morning, rain and tropical storm-force winds are expected to arrive in our area overnight tonight.

The City of Gainesville has the following updates midday Tuesday:

  • If you need to get to a shelter, do so before nightfall as conditions are expected to deteriorate and drivers may encounter high winds, low visibility, localized flooding, or downed trees and power lines.

Emergency Shelters

Alachua County has opened two general population, pet-friendly shelters, and a special medical needs shelter.

General population, pet-friendly shelters:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St., Gainesville
  • Easton-Newberry Sports Complex, 24880 NW 16th Ave., Newberry

Special needs shelter:

Gainesville/Alachua County Senior Recreation Center, 5701 NW 34th Blvd., Gainesville

  • Those needing more information about the special needs shelter should call 352-955-2575. Those needing transportation to the special needs shelter should call as soon as possible.
  • Details including which items to bring to a shelter can be found here.
  • GRACE Marketplace and St. Francis House are providing storm shelter for unsheltered individuals beginning at 7 p.m. today.

Sandbag operations:

  • Pre-made sandbags are available today until 3 p.m. at the Public Works administration building, 405 NW 39th Ave. To best manage traffic to the Public Works facility, City officials ask neighbors to adjust their routes and drive north on NW 6th Street, turning right (east) on NW 39th Ave. There is a limit of 10 sandbags per vehicle.
  • Bags and sand to make sandbags are available until 3 p.m. today at Citizens Field, 1000 NE Waldo Rd. Please bring a shovel or trowel to fill sandbags at this location. Please access the site from NE 12th Avenue via Waldo Road, or travel south on NE 15th Street via NE 16th Avenue. A limit of 10 bags for filling will be provided per vehicle.

Preparedness Information:

  • Refill needed prescriptions. All health insurers, managed care organizations, and other health entities must comply with the state statute which allows for early prescription refills after the Governor issues an executive order declaring a state of emergency.
  • Prepare flashlights in case of power outage.
  • Have nonperishable foods for your family and your pets.
  • Now is the time to secure loose objects in your yard.
  • Now is not the time for heavy tree trimming; there is no bulk pickup for refuse collection until after the storm and cut branches can become projectiles in high winds.
  • Make plans to park your vehicles away from flood-prone areas and out of range of falling tree limbs.


  • City-owned parking lots and garages will not enforce any parking fees for the duration of the storm.
  • Parking in city-owned parking lots and garages will remain free through 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31.

Refuse Collection

  • There are no changes to residential waste pickup today.
  • After collections today, residents are asked to remove all waste and recycling containers from curbside before the storm arrives.
  • All waste and recycling collection will be suspended tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 30) for city residents, and is expected to resume on Thursday. Thursday service is expected to occur on Friday.


  • City offices and facilities close today at 1 p.m. and will remain closed tomorrow.
  • All city parks are closed and will remain closed tomorrow.

Regional Transit System (RTS)

  • Reduced bus service began at 1 p.m. today; the collection of fares has been suspended to help ensure riders get to safety.
  • There will be no bus service tomorrow.

Volunteer and Donations

  • Offers to volunteer time or donate items are welcome.
  • These offers will be coordinated through official channels.
  • Neighbors who wish to help can call 352-565-6449 beginning today at 5 p.m.

Additional resources:

  • Sign up for email, phone and text notifications at www.alertgnv.org.
  • Visit GRU.com/StormCentral for a list of important phone numbers in the event of service emergencies, as well as a link to the Gainesville Regional Utilities outage map with estimated time of restoration.
  • Visit www.safeGNV.org for additional planning tips and all emergency management updates.
  • Alachua County has activated the 311 Emergency Information line for questions and rumor control. Neighbors can dial 311 on cell phone or 352-264-6557 from cell or landline.