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

WINTER GARDEN, Florida. – For the past few years, MetroPlan Orlando, a regional transportation partnership, has developed a Regional Complete Streets Policy to guide and plan the design of Central Florida’s transportation network.

“Complete streets are streets built for people of all ages and abilities, so whether you’re walking or biking or taking the bus or driving, this street welcomes you,” said MetroPlan Orlando representative Cynthia Lambert.

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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 we need a balanced transportation system and the public highway is not just about moving cars, it’s also 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 can’t wait to get out and go everyday,” said Emily Black.

Black was out for a walk on Tuesday afternoon. She supports efforts to create more accessible roads for pedestrians and cyclists. She hikes the Winter Garden Trail three to four times a week.

Nilciene Alves said she also liked the track.

“It’s a safe place to walk and it’s a nice place and everyone (enjoys it),” Alves said.

She frequently walks around the neighborhood because she feels safe.

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

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MetroPlan Orlando has a plan on the books to revamp other roads in the Central Florida region, 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 that 39,824 people died in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, and bicycle fatalities were at historically high levels.

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

The US Department of Transportation has submitted a report to Congress saying it will prioritize the safety of multiple road users, not just vehicles.

For states seeking funding under President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Act, complete streets projects will be preferred.

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

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She said there is a long list of plans for complete streets in the area that are ready to go as soon as funding disperses.

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