Road Alert: What’s up with Curry Ford?

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Photo by Victor Xok

The City of Orlando is a week into their two-block-long Safe Streets Initiative on Curry Ford, and people have a lot of feelings about it.

Orlando and the Central Florida Region have repeatedly placed in the Top Ten Metropolitan Areas for Pedestrian Fatalities in the country, most recently ranked by the National Complete Streets Coalition. Which is why the City entered, and was awarded a spot in the first-ever Safe Streets Academy, which offers training to local municipal governments on how to improve traffic safety.

The City announced that it was selected to take part in the Academy hosted by Smart Growth America in November, 2017. We wrote about it HERE. The two other cities selected included South Bend, IN and Lexington Area, MPO.

The City of Orlando made it public at that time that they would be using a section of Curry Ford to test their lessons in real time. According to the project website, the Curry Ford corridor, “exhibits a high level of bicycle and pedestrian crashes, compared to the total traffic volume.” According to a City spokesperson, there were six incidents on this stretch of road over the past five years.

The data collected from the project would be used as a model for Smart Growth America to share with other cities looking to implement innovative solutions, like road diets and on-street bike lanes, to solve transportation problems.

The project itself called for temporarily reducing travel lanes in order to add bicycle lanes in both directions, as well as installing new crosswalks.

Image via City of Orlando

City staff has been collecting the following data points and before and during the project and will continue to do so after the corridor is returned to its previous traffic patterns.

  • Vehicle volume, speed, and right/left turns at intersections to measure amount of side-street and cut-through traffic.
  • Pedestrian and bicycle volume.
  • Community input via emails, phone calls, and social media.

One of the ideas behind this study is to see that if by providing a buffered bike lane will the number of cyclists increase along the corridor as a result. Or at least increase awareness among motorists. The latter is harder to measure.

Following the restoration of the roadway at the end of the month, a community meeting will be held to share the results of the study and to get more feedback from residents and business owners in the district.

 

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