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Can Corrine Dr. become more biking and walking friendly?

Corrine Drive is a pothole-littered, five-lane road that bisects an eclectic community of homes, restaurants, boutique shops and businesses.

The problem is many believe the roughly mile-long street is walker and biker unfriendly because it is too wide and often carries speeding cars and trucks.

The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) has awarded a $15,000 grant to Bike/Walk Central Florida (BWCF) and the Corrine Calming Coalition (C3) to look for ways of improving Corrine.

The grant will fund a 6-month study as well as a two-day, charrette (basically a community design workshop).

Corrine arguably is oriented more towards traffic and C3 leaders are concerned its design encourages drivers to speed.  They’ve identified gaps in the biking and walking infrastructure (you know – sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, etc.) that discourage people from walking or biking.

“There’s a lot of issues concerning safety and the condition of the road,” said Vashon Sarkisian, a C3 member, which won the grant with BWCF.

Sarkisian, a senior urban designer with transportation consulting firm VHB, lives near Corrine, which once served as a main entrance into the now closed Orlando Naval Training Center.

Interesting history tidbit. The base, shut down during the early 1990s, is now the site of an upscale development of homes and businesses we know today as Baldwin Park (that’s right – Baldwin Park used to be a U.S. Navy base).

The main question to be asked by the study and the charrettes: “How should Corrine Drive be improved?” Possibilities include reworking the road to include more parking, bike lanes and crosswalks. “Right-sizing” the street is another option — something the City of Winter Park is currently considering with Denning Drive.

“We think we have a real chance to create a better environment for everybody,” Sarkisian said.

Right now, the road is owned by Orange County, but maintained by the City of Orlando. Just to the north, sits the City of Winter Park. All three jurisdictions have a vested interest in Corrine and will be included in the planning.  Such collaboration is key to the charrette process.

“We [WPHF] support the CCC and BWCF effort to gather resident and business input into the design of the community so they can develop a vision for the street that can support the needs of all residents and encourage safe walking and biking, particularly for the students of the soon to be opened new Audubon Park K-8 school,” said Lisa Portelli, WPHF Program Director and BWCF Board Member.

The WPHF grant is the latest milestone in an on-going dialogue and collaborative, visioning process that will help the community determine what kind of make-over – if any – is in store for Corrine Drive.

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