Preliminary results from the Florida Avenue road diet test in Dixieland are renewing controversy over the project, News Channel 8 reports. The city of Lakeland says that trips through the Ariana Street-to-Lime Street corridor are taking around 60 seconds longer but injury crashes are down 12.7%. Business owners are divided about whether the project is harmful or helpful. | See city Facebook posts for more info and comments
City Announces South Florida Corridor Art Infusion Grant Project
Building Facade & Mural Program
Alis Drumgo, CRA Manager said, “Dixieland has experienced an explosion of infill renovation projects over the last couple of years that brought us Born and Bread Bakehouse, Patriot Coffee, and Union Hall. We also owe it to the longstanding family businesses, boutique shops, eateries, and residents that have helped Dixieland hit its full potential over the last few years. For this project, we created a set of color palettes inspired by Old Dixieland. Art is a known contributor to revitalizing communities and we have a mission to add art to every redevelopment project. We’re excited about the buzz going into this and when it is all said and done, the facades will pop!”
This mural, facing South Florida Avenue at Frank Lloyd Wright Way, was commissioned and installed by Southside Cleaners and painted by Tim Haas.
Accidents up, travel delayed in early stages of Dixieland road diet
Sara-Megan Walsh and
LAKELAND — Lakeland's South Florida Avenue is looking a little slimmer these days in Dixieland.
After the road was narrowed from five lanes to three under the "road diet," it's new size is getting mixed reviews.
Construction of the South Florida Avenue's $950,000 redesign was completed in early September, several weeks ahead of Florida Department of Transportation's proposed one-year study period from October 2020 to 2021.
Three months later, residents and local business owners have gotten a chance to test drive the roadway. Jason Hagerman, a Dixieland resident, said he was originally staunchly against project but says his opinion and concerns have changed over time.
City looks forward to formal testing and citizen comments
FDOT’s counts collected back in January and February provide a data base line for future analysis and the current plan is for the City (CED, Traffic Operations and LPD) to work with FDOT to conduct volume and speed counts on the surrounding street network on an as-needed basis to address specific concerns that are raised during the test period (expected to formally begin on October 1st).
For Florida Avenue and surrounding State Highways, Traffic Operations has the ability to evaluate travel time in real-time and is doing that on a 24/7 basis. The next big step in the testing of the Florida Avenue corridor will begin with the start of school on August 24th and we expect comments and questions to come up in the days immediately following the start of the fall semester.
Artists’ concepts for the planned “road diet” - from LkldNow
Counting cars, not Crows!
We deduce that the freshly installed devices on South Florida Avenue and the Lake Morton neighborhood are part of the process to determine how traffic will re-direct during the road diet's test period. Yes?
Transportation and Development Review Managerfor the City of Lakeland
You are correct that the traffic counters are being used to collect baseline data from which to determine traffic changes related to the upcoming South Florida Avenue Road-Diet Test.
[The Florida Department of Transportation] is funding these counts at approximately 90 locations on the east and west sides of Florida Avenue from Beacon Road to Downtown. The counters are collecting vehicle volumes, speeds and classifications (cars, trucks, etc.).
The City’s Traffic Operations Division has also funded the installation of “Bluetooth” devices on signals on the Florida Avenue, Sikes Boulevard and Bartow Road corridors, which are already producing real-time information regarding travel times and delays on Florida Avenue within the Dixieland and Downtown areas.
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.
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.
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.”
South Florida Avenue at Lime Street - graphic tools allow viewers to slide a bar across the image to see current and proposed versions.