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Maitland works to take ownership of downtown traffic

imgresThe city of Maitland is exploring different avenues to curb traffic in its downtown district. One of those routes includes taking one eponymous cut-through street into city custody.

At their last City Council meeting on Aug. 24, members of the Maitland City Council agreed to jumpstart talks with Orange County about taking over ownership of Maitland Avenue. Having control of the road would allow the city to consider putting the street on a “diet,” as proposed in the city’s 2004 Maitland Area Transportation Study, which would further discourage commuters to use the road as a cut-through to and from U.S. Highway 17-92 and Maitland Boulevard.

The proposed diet would take Maitland Avenue down to one lane in each direction, with parallel parking on either side.

Mayor Dale McDonald proposed reopening talks with the county to take over the road, after a previous Council last year voted to table the discussions. He said that by calming traffic on the road, it could give downtown Maitland a better sense of place.

“It becomes its own little Maitland-branded street,” he said. “… We want it to be the best Maitland Avenue that it can be.”

But that rebranding comes with a cost. Maitland’s Public Works Director Rick Lemke estimated that taking over the road and its maintenance costs could cost the city upwards of $1 million to $1.5 million every 10 to 15 years – or roughly a budget of $150,000 every year.

The Council backed out of discussions to take over the road previously after Orange County proposed a list of restrictions that Maitland would need to follow if given custody of the road. That included keeping the speed limit on Maitland Avenue at its current rate of 35 miles an hour, which Councilmembers found counterintuitive with their plans of calming traffic on the road.

Continue reading in the Winter Park/Maitland Observer, here.

By Sarah Wilson

 

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