Monday, February 27, 2012

Orange County on Sidewalk Building Push

The Orange County Commission approved of fifty sidewalk building projects proposed by Mayor Jacobs' transportation planning staff last August, many presently under construction.  The County's press release notes that the sidewalk projects, as well as various roadway and traffic calming projects, "will improve safety at some of Orange County’s most dangerous streets and intersections, which is particularly noteworthy in light of Orlando’s unflattering status as the most dangerous place in the United States for pedestrians, according to a recent survey published by Transportation for America."  Here's a LINK to a list of the sidewalk and other roadway projects. 
Building a new sidewalk in Gotha near the Post Office.
Kids riding their bikes to school on the same street.  The sidewalk, when completed, will make their ride safer.  The  road, too wide for a residential street, induces speeding by motorists. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Street Design and Your Business, School, and Neighborhood--Public Workshops Tuesday, Feb. 28

I don't normally publish press releases, but this one is inviting West Orange County residents to something very informative and worthwhile....


National expert to share best practices in street designs that support economic development, safe access to schools, and neighborhood health

(Winter Garden, Fla.) – The public is invited to a series of free workshops that will address how residents and community leaders in West Orange can leverage streets and transportation investments to create places that are more supportive of economic development, active living, neighborhood health and safe access to schools.

Dan Burden, executive director of the national non-profit Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, will share how communities throughout the country and Central Florida are approaching transportation projects as a means to add value to land and improve quality of life for residents and visitors, while moving traffic smoothly and efficiently.

The workshops will explain how traffic-calming measures, road “diets,” intersections, trails, bike lanes, sidewalks and other street design elements affect commercial districts, school areas and residential neighborhoods. Two of the workshops will conclude with optional “walking audits,” during which participants assess nearby streets to identify firsthand some of the barriers to safe, productive streets, and to discuss ways to overcome those barriers. Members of the public are invited to attend one or all of the workshops, which are scheduled as follows:

·         Street Design & Your Business
8:30 to 9:15 a.m. (with optional walking audit until 9:45 a.m.), Tuesday, Feb. 28
City of Winter Garden City Hall, 300 W. Plant Street, Winter Garden, FL

·         Street Design & Your School
2:15 to 3:00 p.m. (with optional walking audit until 3:30 p.m.), Tuesday, Feb. 28
Lake Whitney Elementary School, 1351 Windermere Road, Winter Garden, FL

·         Street Design & Your Neighborhood
6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28
People of Faith Worship Center, 220 Windermere Road (co-located with Children’s Lighthouse, near Roper YMCA and Southwest Aquatics)

The events are free and open to all members of the public, including business operators, homeowners, students and parents, school officials, elected leaders, healthcare providers, municipal staff, consultants, emergency responders, seniors’ representatives, property owners, parks and recreation providers, and more.

“This area is full of opportunities,” Burden said. “We see some places doing it very well, such as downtown Winter Garden and other locations where streets have brought value and quality of life. But we also see places with incredible challenges to overcome. The good news is that there are many examples of how to overcome those challenges, and that’s what I look forward to sharing with folks during the workshops.”

The workshops are supported by the City of Winter Garden, Safe Streets West Orange and the WALC Institute. For more information, email

About Dan Burden
Dan Burden, executive director of the WALC Institute, has worked with more than 3,500 communities throughout the world to help them get “back on their feet.” In 2001, he was named by TIME magazine as “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.”  In 2009, a user’s poll by Planetizen named Dan as one of the Top 100 Urban Thinkers of all time.  His efforts also earned the first-ever lifetime-achievement awards issued by the New Partners for Smart Growth and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. Burden blogs about transportation issues for AARP. His work has been covered by regional and national news organizations, including the Associated Press, NBC Dateline, The Discovery Channel, National Public Radio and more. He served as the principal writer for the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning and Design Curriculum and also served as a main instructor for the National Highway Institute’s course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility Design.
About the WALC Institute
The WALC Institute is an educational, non-profit organization working to create healthy, connected communities that support active living and that advance opportunities for all people through walkable streets, livable cities and better built environments. The Institute is based in Port Townsend, Wash., and assists communities throughout North America and the world. For more information, visit, email or call (360) 385-3421