“The multi-acre Under-i project was touted as a way to connect Parramore to downtown Orlando via a membrane of public space, with planners looking to repair decades of segregation policies that were reinforced by the placement of the interstate with good design and placemaking, but it seems as if the City will be abandoning the project to build parking lots. Can you look into this?”


Despite the recent delay in its timetable and what the above reader may have heard, the City of Orlando is not shelving its plans to build a park under the I-4 interstate running the length of Hughey and Garland Avenues between West Washington Street and West Church Street, but they have recently shifted the original plans to include surface parking.

We spoke with city staff about the new plans, which include bringing back the parking lots that were closed in 2015. A total of 900 surface parking spaces were torn up at that time to allow for I-4 Ultimate construction which required raising the overpasses.

The under I-4 project has not be “shelved,” rather the original design that was proposed prior to the pandemic and the completion of Ultimate I-4 is now being reimagined. After receiving feedback from our residents and businesses, the city is working to create a space that serves as a multi-modal hub for biking, ride-share and parking while also incorporating cultural amenities, lighting, artwork and much more. As we work to refine the design, this space will fulfill its vision to bridge both the east and west and unite downtown by delivering creative and engaging experiences for all.


Since the original closure of those surface parking lots, large landowners and businesses on Church Street have been privately lobbying the city to bring back the lots, citing dramatic reductions in visitors due to the lack of parking, and it appears that they’ve succeeded, albeit on a smaller scale. Martin Hudson, an Urban Project Manager with the City of Orlando, shared that the current plan calls for the return of 500 parking spaces in total, with the rest of the land being used for public activations and park space, around the perimeter.

Hudson, who is also working on finishing up Luminary Green‘s construction in Creative Village, shared that he and his team will be testing a variety of tech tools in that park like projections and innovative lighting solutions, that will also be applied to the Under-i project when completed.

“We’re applying a lot of the lessons we’re learning in Creative Village to this park – it’ll be like Luminary Green on steroids. There are about 100 columns under the interstate that we are planning to project onto in the Under-i, as well as the entire roof/base of the interstate itself. We can create waterfalls, starlit skies, you name it, to make it a really special space that will entice people to want to visit downtown. Actually there are 101 columns but people keep making dalmation jokes.”


Hudson also shared that the park will feature a transit hub on Central Avenue for the nearby LYNX station as well as drop-off spaces for rideshare companies. Those parking lots can also be closed for special event programming too, so it will operate more as a flex space than a permanent pig pen for cars.

Church Street will receive some sort of special lighting treatments as well, with current calls for special archways, parking spots for food trucks, and built-in seating.

Plans for the new urban park, which you can see below, are still in the works and undergoing reviews and are likely to change in the coming months before it is completed sometime in 2024.

Do you have something you want us to look into for you? Send your question to [email protected] and we’ll check it out!


Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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  1. With the noise and fumes from I-4, a parking lot is the best use. I remember parking under I-4 30 years ago and not feeling afraid. Not sure it will ever be safe.

  2. Let’s get rid of bike facilities on Edgewater Dr. and call it a “Complete Streets” project, let’s get rid of the park we promised and replace it with redundant parking spaces even though are parking garages all over downtown and we’ve been promising weekend Sunrail with the transit tax.

    Some people need to get retired from City Hall.

  3. Lmao are we supposed to be shocked and surprised? These local entities (cities and counties) talk a big game about mobility and resiliency and actually dont gaf

  4. They did a “light show” back in the early 2000s. It does not make for activated public space bc there is no reason to be there. Flexible and purposeful programming ensures use and repeat visits. This is going to be a repeat, as one commenter noted, the same c.2000 end result of a sketchy space that wastes an incredible opportunity. Maybe attendance is down bc the businesses don’t offer anything worthwhile or there are better offerings elsewhere. The Yard in Ivanhoe has crappy parking yet still is pretty robust throughout the week.

  5. Looks like big business won and Orlando residents lose again. This new design is nothing like what was originally proposed and shown to the community. Such a missed opportunity. Shame on the mayor, city council, and downtown development board. Call a spade a spade. This is going to be a parking lot again.

  6. Compared to the old concepts they might as well say they did give up if the big plan is just to use 90 percent of the land for parking space. Making these big announcements made sense before but isn’t necessary anymore and probably detrimental, the public would be better of being told the project was completely abandoned that way they can build the parking space at their convenience without any outside pressure. Sounds a little ridiculous to have a ribbon cutting ceremony for parking 😆.

  7. The park is going the same way as all those fountains, lighted spires, murals/artwork, and all the other fabulous things we were promised with the construction of the new toll road down the middle of I-4. The SPUI at Colonial doesn’t operate at all as promised. The LED lights on the 408 bridges over I-4 work here and there. The beacon lights at the top of the spires at each end of the I-4 bridge over Colonial have never worked. The LED lights around the columns look trashy in that most of them are spotty and out most of the time, and the fountains that they did install are mostly just straight-up shooting fire hoses. Also, funny how, after College Park and downtown flooded, those retention ponds they built around I-4 at Colonial and other places were bone dry or barely had anything at all in them.

  8. Hopefully they change the plan so that there is no I-4 ramp dividing DTO and create this incredible public space!