Dec. 16 Meeting RE: Mills Ave. Improvement Project (Virginia to Dorchester), Intersections at Lake Highland-Marks St.‏

Neighbors,
Please try to attend this meeting on Wednesday. While this project is already designed, and while there are currently no plans to 4-lane Virginia, this is a good opportunity to remind the City Transportation Dept of our opposition to any widening of Virginia.

>>> From: Patricia.Newton@CityofOrlando.net
Date: November 30, 2009 12:58:02 PM EST
Subject: Dec. 16 Meeting RE: Mills Ave. Improvement Project
(Virginia to Dorchester) and Intersections at Lake Highland and Marks St.

Dear Neighborhood Leader,

The City of Orlando is hosting an Open House on December 16, 2009 between 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Colonialtown Neighborhood Center, 1517 Lake Highland Drive, Orlando (corner of Fern Creek Ave & Lake Highland Dr. / 407-246-4449) about the Mills Ave. Improvement Project (Virginia to Dorchester) and intersections at Lake Highland and Marks St. The design plans will be available for inspection and project representatives will be available to answer any questions.

We ask that you inform your association members and neighbors about this upcoming Open House. Please see the attached flyer for details
or feel free to contact me. I hope to see you on Dec. 16.

Patricia Newton, Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator
Office of Communications & Neighborhood Relations
City of Orlando
P.O. Box 4990
400 S. Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: 407.246.3245
Cell: 407.797.1474
Fax: 407.246.2584
http://cityoforlando.net

FDOT Meeting for Orange Avenue TODAY, 11/20/08 at 5p

Neighbors,

This is a reminder about the public meeting this afternoon (Thursday 20 November) at 5:00 at the Lock Haven Neighborhood Center at the corner of Alden and North Lake Formosa. FDOT will be presenting it’s revised plans for Orange Avenue at 5:30 and 6:30 with Q&A sessions before and after the presentations. Thanks to your involvement and the involvement of the Ivanhoe Village merchants, Senator Lee Constantine, Representative Scott Randolph, and Commissioner Robert Stuart, FDOT has substantially revised its plans for Orange Avenue resulting in the elimination of far fewer parking spaces than they had originally proposed. I hope that everyone will come out tonight to show FDOT that this project is still on our radar.

On another note, Ivanhoe Village is holding it’s first Jingle Eve celebration tomorow evening (Friday 21 November) from 6:00 till 10:00 featuring holliday musical performances along Orange Avenue from Ivanhoe Row north to the White Wolf cafe. I hope to see you there!

Gordon Spears
j-g-spears@earthlink.net

FDOT Project Update – Meeting next Thursday

Neighbors,

HERE is a flyer from FDOT regarding a public meeting scheduled for next Thursday to discuss the Orange Avenue resurfacing project. FDOT has already met with Ivanhoe Village, and has made substantial changes to their original plan and retaining most of the parking spaces that had been scheduled for removal. Thanks to everyone who wrote letters to our elected officials and the FDOT District Secretary. Our activism has certainly had an effect on FDOT’s plans.

Thanks for your participation!

Gordon Spears

Please send your comments to FDOT regarding their Orange Avenue plans

Neighbors,

Thanks to all of you who have sent e-mails to FDOT and our elected representatives regarding FDOT’s plans for Orange Avenue. FDOT and our elected representatives have started to take notice.

Our City Commissioner, Robert Stuart, recently sent a letter to the FDOT District 5 Secretary urging FDOT to find a way to avoid the negetive impacts that the project as planned would cause. In his letter, Commissioner Stuart asked FDOT to consider many of the same design modifications tha we have been asking them for.

On Monday, I and several of the merchants along Orange Avenue met with our state Representative, Scott Randolph, and our State Senator, Lee Constantine to update them on the project. Both our Senator and our Representative have contacted the FDOT District 5 Secretary, and Monday afternoon, she called me to tell me that FDOT will take another look at the project to try to avoid the negative consequences of the project. While the Secretary did not commit to any specific design changes, she did say that she thought there were other design alternates that could be used to avoid impacting our neighborhood businesses.

Our strategy of pressuring FDOT from both the top and the bottom seems to be working, but we still havent seen any changes to their design that will preserve the viability of our neighborhood commercial district or improve the safety of the cyclist and pedestrians who also use Orange Avenue. We cannot let up in our efforts now.

If you havent yet sent a letter or e-mail to FDOT suggesting modifications to their design, please do so, and copy our elected officials as well. FDOT has pushed their public meeting back from mid October until November. I will keep you posted on this, and I hope that as many of our neighbors as possible will attend this important meeting.

Thank you!

Gordon Spears

FDOT and The Death of Orange Avenue

Neighbors,

Here are PDF drawings from FDEP of their plans for Orange Ave at about 60% completion.

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The lost parking spaces are highlighted in orange.  FDOT proposes to eliminate about 30 praking spaces or almost a third of the available spaces along much of the commercial core of Orange Avenue.  With parking already scarce and the limiting factor along Orange, this could spell the death of Orange Avenue as a neighborhood commercial street in this section.  FDOT does not care about this – their mandate is to facilitate the safe flow of veheicular traffic regardless of the negetive effects on the communities through which their highways are routed.  Florida is filled with cities and towns where once thriving commercial districts have been gutted by FDOT in their pursuit of facilitating the flow of traffic.  FDOT has also ignored the use of this corridor by cyclist and pedestrians – their design studies and projectiosn were for veheicular traffic only with no data at all on other users of the right of way.

I have met with FDOT representatives twice together with representatives of the City and Ivanhoe Village regarding this each time meeting with a higher level person.  Each time, the FDOT indicated that they would not modify their plans to accomodate the continued commercial viability  of the Orange Avenue / Ivanhoe Village corridor.  Now the City is meeting with the next higher level FDOT supervisor regarding this.

In our meetings, I presented our neighborhood’s vision of the future of this section of Orange Avenue as a multi-modal pedestrian, cyclist, and transit friendly community corridor.  We support measures to calm traffic through this corridor by reductions in the width and number of automotive lanes, additional pedestrian crossings and bulb outs, dedicated bicycle lanes, and additional on-street parking.  This is our neighborhood’s commercial main street, and we oppose any modifications to increase the automotive capacity of Orange Avenue at the expense of its community character.
Our specific recommendations were:

1 – Reduce south bound vehicular travel lanes between NE Ivanhoe Boulevard and Highland
from 2 lanes to 1 lane and reduce the width of these lanes to no more than 11 feet,
thus allowing for a bike lane and additional on-street parallel parking next to
the Park.

2 – Provide a safe pedestrian crossing mid-way between the New Hampshire and Virginia
traffic signals where the sidewalk ends across from NE Ivanhoe Boulevard.

3 – Preserve all existing on-street parallel parking spaces through application
of alternate line-of-sight standards at curb cuts.

4 – Reduce the speed along Orange Avenue through both signage and environmental design techniques, thus reducing the line-of-site requirements for curb cuts, preserving existing on-street parallel parking, and enhancing pedestrian and cyclist safety.

To this list, I might also add that FDOT should include pedestrian and cyclist survey data in its pre-design evaluation.

Please take the time to contact your elected representatives from both the City and State.  While the City has a more sympathetic view (they are with us on this), they are not the boss of FDOT and have little say in how the right of way is configured.  Our state representatives ARE the boss of FDOT, so while they may be less aware of the problem, they also have far greater influence over FDOT’s decisions.  Please send your e-mails to the FDOT District Secretary and copy it to each of our City and State elected representatives.  Their e-mails are listed below.

Noranne Downs, FDOT District 5 Secretary – noranne.downs@dot.state.fl.us

Scott Randolph, Florida House, District 36 – scott.randolph@myfloridahouse.gov

Lee Constantine, Florida Senate, District 22 – constantine.lee.web@flsenate.gov

Gary Siplin, Florida Senate, District 19 – siplin.gary.web@flsenate.gov

Buddy Dyer, Mayor of Orlando – buddy.dyer@cityoforlando.net

Robert Stuart, City Commissioner District 3 – Robert.Stuart@cityoforlando.net

In composing your e-mails, please feel free to cut and paste from this message, and please cc me too so that I can keep track of our community involvement in this issue.

Thank you.  It is your involvement that makes our neighborhood a community.

Gordon Spears

j-g-spears@earthlink.net

(407) 758-8478