In 2014, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) launched an initiative to help chart the path for progress for Orlando’s city center entitled Project DTO, short for Project Downtown Orlando. The CRA encompasses the areas north to Lake Ivanhoe, south to Gore Street, east to Summerlin Avenue and west to Westmoreland Drive, which includes the North Quarter neighborhood. As part of this stakeholder driving project, the recommendation was made that the city perform a study on the impacts of converting the North Quarter roadways from one-way to two-way corridors.
The final vision is the result of two four-day workshops consisting of intensive public engagement that occurred last summer and builds on prior recommendations by the Community Redevelopment Agency and City staff that recommended consideration of two-way operations. The responses from stakeholders to the design proposals were overwhelmingly positive. The central element of the North Quarter Vision is the restoration of two-way travel for cars and bicycles on Orange and Magnolia Avenues from Amelia Street to South Ivanhoe Boulevard, providing greater access to businesses, simplify directions, and reduce dangerous driving.
The Vision also addresses the challenges at the north and south ends of the area. Linking the newly configured two-way streets with the expanding I-4 involves reconfiguration of the streets and intersections at the north end of the corridor to balance traffic entering and exiting the interstate. The result is a more connected, rational grid layout, better east-west connectivity between College Park and Ivanhoe Village and an improved pedestrian atmosphere.
Finally, the plan coordinates with the city’s plan for the 8.5-mile Orlando Bicycle Beltway by including high-quality bikeways separated from motor-vehicle traffic by physical barriers. One of these barriers includes landscaping and addressing a gap in the beltway that will connect the Orlando Urban Trail to the newly opened Colonial Drive Overpass.
Since the bridge opened in April, it has gained notoriety for the vistas of Downtown it provides and is currently averaging about 4,400 trips a month. Creating a safe and connected system of pedestrian crossings and bicycle trails will help improve the livability of the North Quarter by increasing safety and promoting alternative transportation.
As of June 2019, the City expects the design for the trail gap to be completed by this December. Once the design is finished, city staff will begin procuring a construction contractor to build the trail connection starting in early 2020. For the entire North Quarter Vision and two-lane road configuration, the city is still finalizing a funding strategy and a timeline for implementation.
This part of the project is estimated to be complete by the end of 2021. For more information on these projects, visit orlando.gov, or contact our transportation department at (407) 246-2281.
I am looking forward to all of the improvements coming to our wonderful North Quarter neighborhood, which will provide more connection to our other great city neighborhoods and amenities. Thank you for your support of our great city, and feel free to drop me a note with your ideas or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.