For South Florida Avenue ‘road diet’ test, what is success?
April 14, 2019 — Residents preparing for the proposed South Florida Avenue “road diet” might be wondering how officials will know if they’ve hit the right size.
Lakeland has invested in technology to monitor whether reducing the roadway from five lanes to three is a good fit for the Dixieland-to-downtown corridor. The $1.7 million program will reconfigure the roadway for at least one year and will be one of the largest studies conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation to date, according to FDOT spokesman Brian Rick.
“This is something that is unique in the state,” Chuck Barmby, the city’s transportation and development review manager, said. “Data is going to be key in telling us and the public what’s happening.”
“I think it’s the best idea that’s ever happened to Dixieland”
April 10, 2019 - Residents who sat down to percolate and collect their ideas on the proposed “road diet” for South Florida Avenue found instead of dreading the process, they have a reason to be optimistic about the experiment’s results.
More than 150 residents attended the Florida Department of Transportation’s open house Tuesday night in Sikes Hall at the RP Funding Center. Each individual was asked to sit through a short video presentation on the project before more than a dozen FDOT and Lakeland officials stood at the ready to answer questions with an extensive display of diagrams to help.
“I think it’s the best idea that’s ever happened to Dixieland,” Joy McMichael, an East Belmar Street homeowner, said.
McMichael is fully supportive of the one-year pilot program to reduce the number of lanes between Pine Street downtown and Ariana Street from five to three wider ones. She and her husband, Bob, said they’ve seen the volume of vehicles traveling along the corridor grow exponentially over the past 50 years. Now retirees, the couple said the narrow lanes, sloped sidewalks and speeding vehicles make it dangerous to walk or bike along the roadway.
Public meeting set for Tuesday, April 9, at the RP Funding Center
From 4:00 until 7:00 PM
See for yourself - The South Florida Avenue road diet project is complex and its impact will be wide-ranging. The city's planning department has produced this visual story board to highlight both the problems and solutions being taken into consideration. A year-long test - reducing the travel lanes - will begin in late spring, providing all stakeholders with "real world" data to inform and support the ultimate strategy. Use the video player controls to start and stop the presentation at any point to read the associated descriptions.
Citizen engagement - Lakeland Transportation Planner Chuck Barmby brings the Lake Morton Neighborhood Association up to date on the plans and progress of the South Florida Avenue Road Diet at the group's January 29th meeting. Concerns and questions centered on traffic diversion into the neighborhood and slower travel time through the area. Barmby invited FDOT colleagues and city coworkers to help.
"We appreciate the opportunity to provide an update to the neighborhood this evening. The presentation will include some graphics to show how the corridor will look during the test; FDOT has budgeted $838,860 for the test in its Tentative Five-Year Work Program that becomes effective on July 1st. The construction funding is shown in Fiscal Year 2020, which begins in July. The design is being conducted by FDOT and the City has been asked to provide funding for decorative planters in the test area. The number and design of those planters are still being determined, as well as cost," Barmby said.
This video, produced by the City of Lakeland illustrates some of the issues and concerns that have led to the approval of a year-long test to determine the effect and impact of reducing South Florida Avenue from five lanes to three - and widening the sidewalks - between Lime Street and Ariana Street.
Dixieland road diet gets a green light for 2019 test
LAKELAND — Come next year, Lakeland commuters will find out whether a road diet in Dixieland is too constricting.
In late 2019, the city and Florida Department of Transportation plan to implement a year-long trial run that will reduce traffic on South Florida Avenue from five lanes to three from Lime Street to Ariana Street.
The plan of the lane reduction would be to expand the remaining lanes and widen the sidewalks to encourage pedestrian use of South Florida Avenue through Dixieland and downtown.
Low concrete barrier envisioned
for South Florida Avenue downsizing test
To test the effects of downsizing Florida Avenue in Dixieland, planners anticipate separating cars from pedestrians with a low, four-foot-wide concrete barrier and decorative planters.
After seeing artists’ concepts for the planned “road diet” today, Lakeland Downtown Development Authority board member Eric “Bro” Belvin said he views the test as a needed boost for Dixieland businesses, their customers and nearby residents.
“You might be able to have street cafes if the planters are placed farther back,” he said at this morning’s LDDA board meeting. “This will make Dixieland a lot more user friendly and walkable.”