Orlando Residents Reimagine Robinson St.

Robinson Street—a major east-west corridor—is slated for a much-needed facelift. The Florida Department of Transportation has been working on the study and plan for nearly three years.

Robinson Street runs through the heart of Orlando and serves a diverse range of people who bike, walk, ride transit and drive. The road also borders Lake Eola Park – a major downtown destination where tens of thousands flock each year for festivals, races and other community events. The corridor passes through Milk District neighborhoods, ending at the Orlando Executive Airport.

On May 23, FDOT held an open house to debut its plan and get input from the community. Residents arrived at the First Unitarian Church to pore over the suggested redesign. Guests could wander through the space, stopping at different tables, each showing a part of the redesign and staffed by an expert who could speak to key elements of the concept development study.

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One big goal: to make the road more user-friendly for people who aren’t driving. During much of the day, Robinson is a busy, high-speed, 4-lane road. FDOT and the City of Orlando are proposing to shrink it down to three lanes for most of the corridor, then add a cycle track which will transition to a shared-use path. Planters would help separate bikers and walkers from the cars on Robinson. Using virtual reality, FDOT shared their additional crosswalk recommendations with a panoramic view of a raised intersection that will encourage drivers to ease off the gas pedal.

Not everyone liked the idea of getting rid of traffic lanes, however. Several people expressed concerns that the road is already congested during rush hour. FDOT’s goal is for drivers to start using parallel roads like Colonial or the 408, easing the traffic flow on Robinson. One benefit of the lane reduction is that the widened lanes will provide more room for buses and trucks, who barely fit on the road’s current narrow lanes.

In the center of the room, a giant map of Robinson Street draped long tables and soon became a colorful collage of suggestion-filled sticky notes.

If you couldn’t attend the meeting, don’t worry. You can still offer your feedback through June 3. Just send your comments to Heather Garcia, 719 South Woodland Boulevard, DeLand, FL 32720, or by e-mail at [email protected].

You can stay up-to-date on the study on FDOT’s project page.

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