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Denning Drive ‘right-sizing” workshop takes to the streets to make case for change

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Testing the walk time of the signalized crosswalk at Denning Drive and Morse Boulevard.

“Right-sizing” a street is no simple task, especially when it comes to including the community in the process.  And a road like Denning Drive in Winter Park has a lot of people concerned about its future for many, different reasons. The City of Winter Park rose to the challenge though hosting a hands-on, public workshop complete with a guided walking tour on Thursday, May 12.

Speedometer in hand, workshop participants explored a small segment of Denning Drive up close and personal. They observed the tendency for motorists to speed well over Denning’s 30 mph posted speed limit (they averaged around 40 mph). Note – we’ve mentioned this before but one major benefit of “right-sizing” a road is cutting down on speeding and speed-related traffic crashes. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports “right-sizing” projects can lead to a 19-47% decrease in crashes.

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City of Winter Park planning staff give workshop attendees an overview of Winter Park’s Complete Streets policy.

In addition to the walking tour, the City’s planning staff gave a brief presentation on their “right-sizing” proposal.  Attendees also broke up into small groups to share concerns and give feedback on three, different “right-sizing” concepts.  The City even gave people the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and sketch their own proposal.

Real quick though – let’s rewind a bit – in case you aren’t familiar with this project or even this area in Winter Park.  You should know that our board fully supports “right-sizing” Denning Drive (read more here).  Here’s also some previous stories we’ve done on the project to give you more background: read “Slimming Down Denning Drive” and “We need you! Give your input on Denning Dr. at these community meetings.”

The Denning Drive corridor houses several neighborhoods and communities like Hannibal Square and the Village Park Senior Living complex.  There are retail shops and office buildings including the Winter Park Village complex and the Center for Independent Living.  Four different LYNX bus routes run up and down the street.  Some motorists prefer driving on Denning Drive over Orlando Avenue – less congestion. People also walk and ride their bike here. Martin Luther King Park is a popular destination too.

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A commuter on Denning Drive boards a LYNX bus with her bike.

Long story short, there are many types of commuters with different needs on Denning. Similar to the findings from the City of Orlando’s Robinson Street corridor study workshop last November – their mantra was one street, many users (read our coverage here). On Denning, we have people who live, work and/or play along this stretch of road as well as some people who are just passing through to get to other destinations.

So in a nutshell, attendees were wondering – if Denning goes from four to two lanes, will they be better off or not?  The City of Winter Park believes that everyone will be better off if the “right-sizing” occurs, whether you drive, walk, bike, ride transit, etc. City staff estimate commute times for motorists will see little to no increase (at max 4.3 seconds), but they anticipate the “right-sizing” will encourage more biking and walking and help reduce speeding.

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A commuter skateboards on the sidewalk along Denning Drive. Participants at the workshop expressed concerns over how current sidewalks are either too narrow or disconnected.

Even so, some resistance to “right-sizing” Denning seemed to come from motorists.  They were worried that making Denning Drive two lanes will cause a back up for drivers whenever a LYNX bus makes a stop.

Other participants wanted to see wider sidewalks and safer, more accessible crosswalks, especially for wheelchair users and seniors.

There was also discussion about what  type of bike infrastructure would best support both novice and experienced bicyclists. Green-paint, bike lanes? Protected bike lanes? A shared path for biking and walking?

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Workshop participants evaluated three, right-sizing concepts based on how they might benefit different types of commuters.

Case in point.  Making a street a complete street is a complex, balancing act.  In order for it to be complete – it has to be designed to anticipate and meet the needs of people walking and biking, riding transit, driving, etc.

The City of Winter Park continues to seek input from the community and will host another public meeting on June 7 at 5:30 p.m. at the Winter Park Civic Center.

Check out some highlights from our live Twitter coverage of the workshop and an event photo album below.

Speeding is a problem.

Some major themes from the workshop: ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities, fixing disconnected sidewalks, identifying best locations for bus stops, avoiding more traffic and congestion.

Meeting the needs of different types of people who bike.

More photos from the workshop.

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Corrine Drive more bike-friendly, walkable? – $15K grant project seeks answers from community | Best Foot Forward

  2. Pingback: Can Corrine Dr. become more biking and walking friendly? | Best Foot Forward

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