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Corrine Drive More Bike-friendly, Walkable? – $15K Grant Project Seeks Answers From Community

Corrine Drive more bike-friendly, walkable? – $15K grant project seeks answers from community

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C3 asks – “would you want to walk along this road?” Photo courtesy of C3.

The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) has awarded a $15,000 grant to Bike/Walk Central Florida (BWCF) and the Corrine Calming Coalition (C3). The grant will fund a 6-month study as well as a two-day, charrette (basically a community design workshop).   The workshop will help the Audubon Park community collectively envision what the future of Corrine Drive should be – and how it can better serve all types of commuters not just cars. Think Complete Streets.

There’s been a lot of talk to date about how unfriendly this stretch of road is for people who bike and walk.  The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board has weighed in on Corrine twice this year already – back in January and March  – calling for change.

Audubon Park is a place where people want to be – including those who bike and walk

People do want to bike and walk Corrine Drive.  The area that Corrine serves is already more than just a five-lane road for cars to speed through.

It’s home to the award-winning Audubon Park Garden District. Maybe you’ve visited the community market at Stardust Video & Coffee on Monday nights or strolled by all the cool storefronts (Park Ave CDs, Redlight Redlight, Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux Neighborhood Cafe a.k.a. B3, and Blue Bird Bakeshop are just a few that come to mind) or even hung out at the East End Market (a neighborhood market and local, culinary food hub kind of similar to the Chelsea Market in New York).

Corrine Drive is the lifeline for an innovative and eclectic mix of residences, boutique shops, restaurants and so much more (read additional info about the Audubon Park Garden District here).

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East End Market located in the Audubon Park Garden District on Corrine Drive. Photo courtesy of C3.

Comfort and safety are a concern with Corrine Drive’s current street design

Even with all these great places to visit – Corrine arguably is oriented more towards motor vehicles.  C3 leaders are concerned that its street design encourages drivers to speed.  They’ve identified gaps in the biking and walking infrastructure (you know – sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, etc.).  So people don’t feel comfortable – or even safe – 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, a nearly mile long road that 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).

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C3 has already engaged feedback from the community to find out what people like and don’t like about Corrine Drive’s current drive. And also how they want to see Corrine change. Photos courtesy of C3.

Charrette design workshop will ask community: “How should Corrine Drive be improved?”

The money from the WPHF grant will be used for a six-month study of Corrine. Planners will meet with residents, business owners and parents whose children will go to the rebuilt Audubon Park Elementary School.

The main question to be asked: “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.

C3 – in partnership with BWCF and WPHF – intends to hold a two-day charrette to discuss the potential solutions with area stakeholders. “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.


Side note: You might be wondering what exactly a charrette is…here’s a little Q&A below. Thanks to The Town Paper in Gaithersburg, Maryland for this incredibly helpful write up.

What is a charrette?
A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a mutual author of the plan.

Where is a charrette held?
The charrette is located near the project site. The team of design experts and consultants sets up a full working office, complete with drafting equipment, supplies, computers, copy machines, fax machines, and telephones. Formal and informal meetings are held throughout the event and updates to the plan are presented periodically.

What are the goals of a charrette?
Through brainstorming and design activity, many goals are accomplished during the charrette. First, everyone who has a stake in the project develops a vested interest in the ultimate vision. Second, the design team works together to produce a set of finished documents that address all aspects of design. Third, since the input of all the players is gathered at one event, it is possible to avoid the prolonged discussions that typically delay conventional planning projects. Finally, the finished result is produced more efficiently and cost-effectively because the process is collaborative.

How is a charrette organized?
Charrettes are organized to encourage the participation of all. That includes everyone who is interested in the making of a development: the developer, business interests, government officials, interested residents, and activists.
Ultimately, the purpose of the charrette is to give all the participants enough information to make good decisions during the planning process.

Where does the word “charrette” originate?
The term “charrette” is derived from the French word for “little cart.” In Paris during the 19th century, professors at the Ecole de Beaux Arts circulated with little carts to collect final drawings from their students. Students would jump on the “charrette” to put finishing touches on their presentation minutes before the deadline.

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