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Orange County speeds up changes to ‘dangerous’ intersection near high school

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County traffic engineers are expediting changes to an intersection that’s seen multiple collisions between vehicles and teenagers on their way to and from school.

The problems with the Avalon Park and Timber Springs Boulevard intersection were first highlighted by WFTV in January, after a car hit a 14-year-old riding her scooter to class.

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Commissioner Maribel Gomez-Cordero, fielding requests from nearby homeowners, began pressuring public works staff to expedite a long-promised traffic light to make the intersection safer.

After two weeks – and another incident in which a teenager rode their bike into the side of a car – county staff proposed forbidding left turns out of the Timber Springs neighborhood to reduce the number of conflict points at the intersection until a light can be installed in 2025.

“The accidents happening on this intersection, the drivers are not following the traffic safety rules,” Commissioner Gomez-Cordero wrote.

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However, the HOA wasn’t happy with the originally proposed design. Neighborhood leaders argued that preventing left turns would funnel more cars to the next intersection down the road with a traffic light, which they said already backs up.

They also noted that the crashes happen because drivers are looking left at oncoming traffic, regardless of if they’re turning left or right onto Avalon Park, and they don’t see the teenagers to their right who aren’t stopping at the intersection.

“The left turn lane is not a solution,” Timber Springs HOA President Glenn Rubinstein said. “It’s creating a bigger problem.”

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In response, Gomez-Cordero’s staff said engineers were modifying their proposal, and installation would happen quickly after the changes were approved. Staff didn’t specify if the changes included allowing left turns.

Rubinstein said the better solution was to put a crossing guard at the intersection, which residents have also long called for.

Gomez-Cordero’s staff said a traffic study would need to be conducted before a crossing guard can be considered.

“The Sheriff’s Office did respond and stated that they will be requesting increased patrol presence at this intersection,” they wrote.

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