OVIEDO, Fla. – Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek is asking city residents to start walking and biking more often — her proposed solution to the city’s traffic and gridlock issues in areas like Mitchell Hammock Road and Oviedo on the Park.
“If we just adapt the new mentality and new people who come to town say, ‘Yeah, it’s not a big deal to bike a mile. It’s not a big deal to walk half a mile. I’m not going to get in my car to drive half a mile this time; I’m going to walk half a mile,’” Sladek said.
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Sladek said around 19% of trips taken in Oviedo are fewer than two miles.
“So if we can entice one out of five — or even half of those one out of five trips — to be taken in something other than a car, we could potentially, overnight, eliminate 10% of traffic,” Sladek said. “Talking about my daughter, she bikes to school because it’s less than two miles.”
But many Oviedo residents, even those who only drive a mile to work like Phil Vecchio, said they would not walk during the summer.
“I don’t know how I could do it. I have a hard time walking to the dog park in the middle of the afternoon or going for a walk around the lake,” Vecchio said. “It’s hot.”
Commuters said they’d prefer the city to widen Mitchell Hammock road, but Mayor Sladek said it’s too late, as too many buildings are already built too close to the road.
“It’s not feasible, there’s no way to widen Mitchell Hammock,” Sladek said. “So we have to accept the cards we’ve been dealt and that we’re not going to do eminent domain and take anyone’s house that lives in Lake Rogers or Kingsbridge West. We’re not widening the road. People have built up to the edges; we’re not going to knock down Starbucks to widen the road, either. So we got what we got, and we’ve got to work around it, whether it’s bikes, walking, golf carts, autonomous commuter vehicles that shuttle us around town and buses where we get enough population centers where enough people are going to the same places. It would be feasible.”
None of the 10 priorities in the City’s new mobility plan calls for widening any road — just extending a few, such as Oviedo Boulevard and Oviedo Medical Drive.
Another priority calls for painting markings and bike lanes on some streets and spending upward of $250,000 per year to run autonomous vehicles — self-driving trolleys.