The Florida Department of Transportation announced their design for the Alton Road commercial corridor between 7th and 17th Streets. It contains the median which was unanimously approved by the Commission in July 2013, which was one of the alternatives presented by the FDOT, see below for a diagram of the alternatives. Of the three alternatives presented, ARRC selected Alternative 3, the one with the median. Read this blog post for our position on this selection. However, the design released this week does not meet our vision, nor does it address the Commission’s instructions to the FDOT from May 2008 which have been reiterated time and time again. Take a look at the design, before and after, and refresh your memory regarding the alternative designs presented by the FDOT.
But, before we show you the design, we’d like to reiterate our position that the median will 1) improve traffic flow by reducing stopped and turning vehicles mid-block, 2) improve safety (medians reduce accidents and dramatically lower the incidents of fatalities), 3) add beauty, 4) add shade which will reduce heat and make the roadway more pleasant for non-motorists, 5) be good for Alton Road’s businesses and 6) assist in achieving our goal speed of 30 MPH to bring the speed in line with the speed north of Michigan along the golf course.
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A Conceptual Rendering of Alternative 3 Prepared By ARRC
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Conceptual Rendering by FDOT
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The Full Design
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The FDOT’s design has always limited access at 9th, 13th, 14th, 14th Court, and 15th Terrace. We disagree with the reduction of connectivity and have stated so from the beginning. The FDOT also, always intended to move the entrance to the Deco Shopping Plaza between 15th and 16th on the east side. We disagree with this treatment, too. We advocate for full utilization of our city’s street grid system and to further leverage the grid at 3-way intersections, like 14th Court and 15th Terrace, to create quasi 4-way intersections with signals and pedestrian crossings.
Without connectivity, Alton Road becomes Alton Highway. It creates a separation between the businesses from east to west, making it difficult for patrons to cross the street to shop opposite another business. The lack of connectivity makes it very difficult for transit riders to easily access bus stops, like at 9th Street. Furthermore, an Alton Highway splits the community.
Also, if West Avenue is to be the location of bike lanes, and the FDOT is requiring the City to install bike lanes on all east-west connector streets from Alton Road to West Avenue, it marginalizes cyclists and the new bike lanes if they cannot cross Alton Road at every intersection.
The loss of access to the grid system should not be taken lightly. The City designed, built, and maintains this grid infrastructure. It is a vital part of the City’s transportation system and evacuation plan. The City should demand its full access be maintained.
A median has value and should not be scrapped because FDOT has failed to provide a well designed roadway that meets the needs of all users.
The City should work with the FDOT to resolve the connectivity issues.
Other issues also need to be addressed:
- The medians should be extended into the intersections to provide a safe harbor for pedestrians caught half-way across the intersection
- Location of street furniture and fixtures (cycle racks, benches, newspaper stand boxes, etc.)
- Loss of more than 90 on-street parking spaces
- Bus stop locations and configuration, and
The design can be improved and everyone should work with all due hast to make it so.
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