The Snowball Effect As the adage goes, “When I was your age, I had to…
Have you ever been walking on a road and realized that you should probably be on a sidewalk? Was there a lane for bicycles? Did the bus stop have seating or shade available? Where was the closest pedestrian crossing? We can all think of a road (or two, or three…) that could use some improvements, regardless of which community you live in.
If you take a look at Central Avenue in Kissimmee, the area boasts two hospitals and two elementary schools, yet major portions of the roadway lack sidewalks, have congested intersections and contain poor (if any) biking infrastructure to support the neighboring community. That’s why the City of Kissimmee is undertaking a planning study along the corridor, as well as its neighboring streets. The study consists of high-level evaluations of safety, environmental and geometric concerns. The needs, possible improvement options, and planning level cost estimates are currently being identified. The purpose of the study is to develop a multi-modal vision, rather than an auto-centric, to determine how to best meet the needs of the current and future end users, therefore establishing a long-term plan to guide the evolution of the corridor.
The study is slated to be complete by year-end, and contextual changes are being proposed to accommodate varying needs for the differing sections of the roadway, each based on principles of Complete Street and Healthy Community design. These aim to drive economic development, allow for multi-modal use, improve safety for people biking and walking, maximize opportunities for physical activity and improve access to jobs. Public involvement has been critical to the study’s success, as the City has conducted public workshops and utilized a project visioning team to share information and to invite feedback about the study.
The proposed changes are exciting, regardless of your preferred transportation method. For those walking, additional mid-block crossings, raised medians, an added school zone, trees and better lighting will create a safer and more comfortable experience. Riding your bike? An off-street trail could be in the works. If you’re hopping on and off the bus, you could see some bus stop relocations with added amenities. And, if you’re behind the wheel, additional turn lanes, a new landscaped roundabout and enhancements to the existing roundabout offer some perks. A LYNX Lymmo or circulator for all of the hospital and medical center guests and residents was also proposed, a plus for everyone in the area. With tremendous coordination, it is believed that a majority of the proposed improvements are going to be funded and completed within the next five years.
When implemented, these proposed changes will certainly lead to enhanced livability, improved mobility and increased safety for everyone in the area. We’re looking forward to seeing the next steps for this improvement project. For more information, visit the study website at www.healthycentralave.com, where you can learn more about the findings and sign-up for updates.