Downtown Orlando celebrated the official opening of the Colonial Overpass Bridge today, with members of the City, Downtown Development Board, Florida Department of Transportation, press, bicycle enthusiasts and others in attendance.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said this bridge is an important part of improving safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, and adds to the 8.5 mile loop, or beltway, around the Central Business District. Although only a short segment of the 360 miles of bikeways through the city, this will be a key section that will link the Orlando Urban Trail, Ivanhoe Village, College Park and Winter Park to Gertrude’s Walk, the Lynx Central Station and Sunrail Station, the Central Business District, Creative Village and other points south.
Frank Gilbert of Bike/Walk Central Florida said this will help expand the mindset of bicycling from a form of recreation to a mode of daily transportation and a lifestyle.
“It used to take two minutes to cross Colonial Drive, a major auto thoroughfare through Orlando,” he said. “This was the longest delay and most dangerous spot in traveling between the North Quarter and the rest of the Central Business District.”
Mike Shannon of FDOT said he appreciated the City’s dedication to the Vision Zero project, which will help improve safety. He added that building bridges like this not only makes Orlando a great place to visit, but a great place to work and live as well.
Amanda Day, director of Bike/Walk Orlando, said this is an example of the power of saying “Yes.”
“This gives people a choice in transportation,” said Day.
Day went on to congratulate Dyer, the City and FDOT for taking bold steps like the Colonial Overpass Bridge in improving the safety and quality of life of residents of Orlando. The bridge begins between Garland Ave. and Orange Ave.