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Curry Ford temp transformation encourages biking, walking

A temporary demonstration project in Orlando put Curry Ford Rd. on a road diet, creating a bike lane and new mid-block crossing for people walking.

For people biking and walking, many areas of Orlando present a serious traffic safety problem. In just 5 years, cars struck 16 people biking and 8 people walking along a 1.6-mile stretch of Curry Ford Road.

As part of their Safe Streets Academy grant, Smart Growth America hosted a month-long road transformation project in November of 2017. Working with the city of Orlando, it constructed a “road diet.” A .5-mile stretch of Curry Ford Road between South Bumby Avenue and South Crystal Lake Drive was converted to a two-lane road (down from 4) with add-on street bike lanes and a brightly painted mid-way pedestrian crosswalk.

The project did receive some backlash, especially from people who commute through the area. In the first two weeks of the road diet, the Orlando team received 142 emails, of which 39% were in favor of the project and 61% were opposed.

It was observed, however, that travel speeds slowed down and cars yielded correctly at the new crosswalk. Travel times increased by 5-6 minutes during rush hour; at other times, the travel time increase was insignificant.

Although this was a short-lived experiment, this project raised many important concerns and considerations. Isn’t it time that we consider not only the speed of cars, but the safety of all the road’s users? Designing smarter, complete streets will be a key part of working towards zero pedestrian deaths a year. After all, isn’t that what the number should be?

Read more about the findings in this great article from Bungalower. There will be a Community Meeting for the public to learn more about the project at 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 14 at the Dover Shores Neighborhood Center, 1400 Gaston Foster Road [GMap].

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