City Approves Safety Enhancements for S.R. 426

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Winter Park commissioners have submitted a list of improvements, proposed for a troubled stretch of State Road 426, to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The improvements are the result of community and stakeholder meetings that began with the Winter Park Road Crisis Campaign, aka Fix 426.

The group, made up of residents living along Osceola, Brewer, and Aloma avenues, began efforts last year to enlist city and state assistance in addressing speeding and safety concerns. According to data compiled by the Crisis Campaign, approximately 666 crashes occurred between 2017-2022 that resulted in two deaths, 203 injuries, and 424 incidents of property damage

A petition of 650 names was collected in support of improving pedestrian and driver safety, and a June 13 meeting brought members of the community together with representatives from the city and FDOT to discuss two project maps with different configurations of approximately 18 safety measures.

FDOT used feedback from the meeting to create a preliminary list of proposed measures, which was presented to city staff in June for revisions and approval. Items selected by City Commission for development include:

  • 25 MPH pavement markings
  • Raised intersections with high visibility crosswalks
  • Raised crosswalks with pedestrian hybrid beacons
  • Pedestrian barrier walls
  • In-lane decals
  • Internally illuminated raised pavement markers

While progress is being made, there is still a long way to go.

“Even after the next community meeting, there’s a six-to-nine-month period where (FDOT) will be doing design of some kind,” said Mayor Phil Anderson during the July 12 city meeting, adding that he hopes FDOT will reconsider its criteria for traffic lights at Cortland Avenue and in the Henkel Circle/Trismen Terrace area. Traffic lights have previously been requested and denied, and additional traffic studies have been scheduled.

Anderson also spoke highly of FDOT’s attention to the safety concerns, and the speed with which it has responded thus far. “This was not even on the horizon for their 10-year plan,” he said. “And then, all of a sudden, the designs get funded now.”

Commissioners also voted to request FDOT to submit designs for a possible bike path, and to add pedestrian hybrid beacons to all raised crosswalk and intersection designs proposed for the area. The call button-activated lights direct motorists to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. The penalties for ignoring the beacons are the same as running a red light.

An example of a raised crosswalk with a pedestrian hybrid beacon, located where a traffic light would be. Image courtesy of: Winter Park Road Crisis Campaign

Lakewood Drive resident Pamela Peters addressed commissioners during the June 12 meeting, saying she has been hit by a motorist while jogging, and that her sons were involved in a 4-car accident while driving on Aloma Avenue. She applauded the proposals, but noted that, while pedestrian safety improvements are good start, they do not address the difficulties of entering and exiting driveways and neighborhood access points along the road.

“The primary problem is not for the pedestrian, in the sense of crossing the road, but how (we can) get in and out of the neighborhood,” she said.

The final map of safety improvements will be presented for public discussion at a community meeting in August or September.

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