Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Change Zoning Laws for Safer Roads

The Orlando Sentinel published the following op-ed:

(Click to enlarge)

Sidewalks three feet from travel lanes with cars whizzing by at highway speeds--about a half-mile from Windermere Preparatory School.

C.R. 535 in front of Windermere Preparatory School.  Posted speed: 40 mph.  Actual typical speeds: 40 - 50 mph.  No crossing walk across C.R. 535.  No wonder we don't let our kids walk to school anymore.

Our zoning laws require, or encourage development in the sprawl pattern, represented by the bottom of the diagram. All travel must go to, and concentrates on the collector or arterial road. Form-based codes can facilitate development in a more traditional, walkable form, represented by the top of the diagram.

The Orlando Sentinel published a very kind and supportive letter-to-the-editor from Marilyn Marks, on November 22, 2009:

Three cheers for Ideas that favor pedestrians

Rick Geller's down-to-earth My Word column, "Change laws for safer roads," on Tuesday was superb.

I never realized why I shudder while driving on West Colonial Drive's long, endless blocks of parking-lot fronts. It is maddening and just plain ugly.

You can forget parking at one place and attempting to walk to another store across the street. Why not consider the Miami plan, which creates better environments for the pedestrian? We should not continue to duplicate these Neanderthal-like massive concrete blocks of parking-lot frontages.

After all, this is Orlando, the City Beautiful, right?
         Copyright © 2009, Orlando Sentinel

Friday, November 13, 2009

Metro Orlando Most Dangerous for Pedestrians in the Nation

Typical road sprawl on Colonial Drive--Economically failing and unsuitable for pedestrians

Colonial Drive--An Alternative Vision (Courtesy: Canin Associates)

The report released this week by the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership ranks Metro Orlando #1 in the nation for pedestrian danger. The report states 50% of pedestrian deaths are occurring on road sprawl. Instead of balancing the needs of motorists and pedestrians, we're engineering roads with the dimensions and encouraging the speeds of interstate highways. Click HERE to link to the report.

In its lead editorial this morning ("Walk the Walk, Nov. 13) the Orlando Sentinel correctly identifies poor planning as a culprit and suggests more vertical mixed-use development, like in Chicago and Portland, instead of sprawl development patterns.

However, our zoning laws make that illegal in many instances.

Central Florida's local governments should look to the example set by Miami last September--a comprehensive new zoning code that integrates road planning with creating attractive, pedestrian-oriented environments. Click HERE to link to Miami's new zoning code website.