Complete Streets plan prioritizes road safety, infrastructure funding for Central Florida

MetroPlan Orlando has projects in the works that would bring safer roadways to Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Over the past several years, MetroPlan Orlando, a regional transportation partnership, has been developing a regional Complete Streets policy to guide and plan the design of Central Florida’s transportation network.

“Complete streets are streets that are built for people of all ages and abilities, so no matter whether you’re walking or cycling or taking the bus or driving, this street accommodates you,” said Cynthia Lambert, a representative with MetroPlan Orlando.

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MetroPlan Orlando is working closely with local governments in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties to create more Complete Streets.

“That means that we need to have a balanced transportation system and that the public roadway isn’t just about moving cars, it’s about moving people,” Lambert said.

She said a good example of a “complete street” is in Winter Garden along Plant Street.

“I love it and I can’t wait to get out every day and go,” Emily Black said.

Black was out for a walk Tuesday afternoon. She supports the effort to create more accessible roadways for pedestrians and bicyclists. She walks the trail in Winter Garden three to four times a week.

Nilciene Alves said she also loves the trail.

“It’s a safe place to walk and it’s a pleasant place to be and everybody (enjoys it),” Alves said.

She frequently walks in the area because she feels safe.

“If you don’t have a place like this, (you’re) in danger,” she said.

MetroPlan Orlando has a plan on the books to makeover other roads in the Central Florida area, including Corrine Drive.

Studies are underway to do the same in other congested areas, including 10th Street in St. Cloud and Rock Springs Road in Apopka.

In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 39,824 people died in motor vehicle crashes nationwide and bicycle deaths were at historically high levels.

“We want to see the day where there are zero deaths on our transportation system and this is one of the tools in the toolbox to help us get there,” Lambert said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation submitted a report to Congress noting it will prioritize the safety of multiple roadway users, not just vehicles.

For states seeking funding from President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Law, Complete Streets projects will be favored.

“Complete Streets really help us focus on safety and health. We want to give Central Floridians a place where they can be active, be more healthy, but most importantly be safe as they get from point A to point B,” Lambert said.

She said there is a long list of Complete Streets plans in the region that are ready to move forward as soon as funding is dispersed.

About the Author:

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.