Orlando’s own Edgewater Drive is a national model for Complete Streets, according to a new report released by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition.
A Complete Street accommodates people of all ages and abilities traveling on foot, on bicycle, in transit, and in cars. Complete Streets legislation and policies are a huge step towards increasing bicycling and walking and decreasing bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities.
So why are Complete Streets such a big deal? Edgewater Drive is a prime example. The City of Orlando took an opportunity to turn a simple resurfacing into a four to three lane conversion project, adding bicycle lanes, a center turn lane, and wider on-street parking. The results were phenomenal.
Total collisions dropped 40 percent. The crash rate was cut in half. Injuries fell by 71 percent. And that’s all the more impressive considering reducing the lanes only decreased automobile traffic by 12 percent, while bicycle counts increased by 30 percent and pedestrians by 23 percent. More bicyclists and pedestrians – less crashes? It really works. Drivers are more likely to operate carefully and safely around cyclists and walkers when they’re used to seeing them.
Congratulations to the City of Orlando – Edgewater Drive is just the beginning for the City’s goal of a comprehensive network of streets accommodating all users.
Read the full Smart Growth America report by clicking here.
The newly improved street was clearly safer than before. Total collisions dropped 40 percent, from 146 to 87 annually. The crash rate was nearly cut in half, from 1 crash every 2.5 days to 1 crash every 4.2 days. Injuries fell by 71 percent, from 41 per year to 12 per year, and instead of 1 injury every 9 days, the reconfigured street saw 1 injury every 30 days.
These safety findings are particularly impressive considering that automobile traffic only decreased 12 percent within a year following the redesign, while bicycle counts surged by 30 percent and pedestrian counts by 23 percent.
As a result, more people want to be on Edgewater Drive. The corridor has seen 77 net new businesses open and 560 new jobs created since 2008. Average daily automobile traffic, which saw a slight dip following project completion, has returned to its original pre-project level and on-street parking use has gone up 41 percent.
The most dramatic results, however, were in long-term real-estate and business investment.
Since the project was first proposed, the value of property adjacent to Edgewater Drive has risen 80 percent, and the value of property within half a mile of the road has risen 70 percent.
Having a City with just one Complete Street is not sufficient to our network. Realizing it would be next to impossible to try to make each street perfect for every traveler, we instead use the national Complete Street standards to aim for a comprehensive network of streets that emphasize different modes while still providing quality access for each one.
As our City continues to grow it’s important for us as a City to continue to engage with our neighborhoods and Main Streets to ensure that we maintain and enhance our walkable communities.
– Buddy Dyer, Mayor
You can read the full findings of the Smart Growth America report by clicking here