Thursday, May 19, 2011

Winter Park Commission Urges FDOT to Adopt Complete Streets

The Winter Park City Commission unanimously adopted a Complete Street resolution--to gradually make streets safe and comfortable for motorists and non-motorists.  Importantly, the City urged the Florida Department of Transportation to follow suit.

WMFE-FM's Mark Simpson reported on Winter Park's resolution at THIS LINK.  He interviewed me for the news report in front of an apartment complex across from a Lynx bus stop on Lee Road--a four lane divided highway.  There's no painted crosswalk in the highway--or any relatively safe place to cross to the bus stop--for more than a half-mile in either direction. 

During the interview, a lady in an electric wheelchair zoomed into the thoroughfare while cars whizzed by her back and forth at 45-50 mph. 

Photo by: WMFE's Carly the intern.
The report states that I persuaded lawmakers to start adopting Complete Streets principles.  Truly, the credit goes to Florida Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, who has expressed that Complete Streets principles should apply at both the State and local levels.  Senator Gardiner had language incorporated into the Community Planning Act of 2011 giving local governments the tools to use Complete Streets and street grids to implement "transportation concurrency," which is Florida's system of widening roads to accommodate new development.  Under the old concurrency system, a motor vehicle capacity deficiency would require the widening of an arterial road (making it less safe for pedestrians), despite the presence of a parallel road, or the ability to create a grid or other alternatives for motorists.  The new language gives much needed flexibility to local governments. 

FDOT has adopted Complete Streets in its 2060 long-range plan.  For the lady on the electric wheelchair, we can't wait that long.