New hotel planned near ORMC could mean addition of pedestrian bridge

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ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando doctor planning to build a hotel to cater to Orlando Regional Medical Center patients wants to add a pedestrian bridge across South Orange Avenue to connect his property to the hospital.

For pedestrians crossing South Orange Avenue in the area of ORMC, not using a crosswalk means taking a big risk.

Rosen College of Hospitality dean Abraham Pizam said hospital hotels can be found around nearly every major medical city in the country.

"Because of convenience -- what is more convenient than stepping out of your hospital and getting into your hotel room or vice versa?" said Pizam.

The plans for a hotel project would allow visitors to ORMC to be close to the hospital. But Pizam said that with the amount of traffic between the hospital and the site where the hotel will sit, the addition of a pedestrian bridge is key to make it all work.

"There is a very significant advantage to having a corridor or its own entrance that is easy to accommodate," said Pizam.

Although plenty of people would benefit from a pedestrian bridge not everyone would be able to use it because on one side of the street the only exit will be going into the hospital

That would mean an investment by Orlando Health to keep their building and patients safe, and restricting the bridge to those who have reason to visit the hospital and keep out those using the bridge just to dodge traffic. 

"If the bridge gets built, access codes and procedures will be put in place to control safety and security for team members, patients and for visitors," said Kena Lewis with Orlando Health. 

The city's Municipal Planning Board is expected to approve the plans Tuesday