Transportation draft plan focuses on pedestrians, cyclists
Projects include enhancing trail system, planning for an elderly population
By Beth Kassab
Winter Park City commissioners want to create an “emerald necklace” of greenspaces, bike paths and trails that connect the city’s major parks and link regional trails such as Cady Way as well as improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety near schools and for an aging population.
The priorities emerged at a recent work session as the commission discussed the draft of a Transportation Master Plan that includes $141 million in projects over 20 years to improve traffic, parking, bike paths and sidewalks. Top goals outlined in the draft include preparing for the needs of a growing aging population, autonomous vehicles and promoting mass transit such as SunRail.
How the city will pay for the projects, estimated at a cost of about $7 million each year is still unclear after voters turned down a county-wide sales tax increase for transportation needs. Potential sources of revenue include a proposed extension of the Community Redevelopment Agency, state or federal grants or multi-modal transportation impact fees, city staff said.
The plan, a tool expected to help city staff have a better chance at securing grant funds, is expected to come before the City Commission for formal approval in the next month or two.
A few interesting nuggets from the plan include:
- An official bike map. The city plans to create a map for cyclists that can help users better understand how trails are connected and the safest ways to cross major corridors.
- A ticketless valet system. This idea calls for valet stations in busy areas like Park Avenue where shoppers and diners can drop off their cars. Instead of a paper ticket, however, they will receive a link and can use the link to retrieve their car from any point inside a designated area. That means a shopper who starts on the the north end of Park Avenue could make their way on foot to the south end and have their car brought to them there rather than returning to the valet station. This is one of the concepts being tossed around as a way to use technology to improve parking and reduce traffic in busy areas.
- A real-time parking app. In another attempt to make parking more manageable without spending an estimated $18.5 million on a new downtown parking garage, a parking app would track and predict where spots are available using cellular data. Drivers could look up availability near their destinations via an app created specifically for the city.
- Brick streets with more pavement and fewer bricks. The concept, which includes a photo of a street from Lakeland, calls for an extended concrete curb gutter pan — or flat surface next to the curb — that is wide enough for a bicycle or stroller path. Such a design allows more room for pedestrians without removing mature landscaping that often gets in the way of sidewalks along brick streets and without the maintenance associated with bricks.
Questions or comments? Email the editor at WinterParkVoiceEditor@gmail.com