ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A main road through eight Orange County neighborhoods could get a major makeover based on a new recommendation Thursday from MetroPlan Orlando.
MetroPlan Orlando has been studying and reaching out to the community since 2017 for input on what to do with Corrine Drive. The study area includes the 2-mile stretch of Corrine Drive starting at Bennett Road through the Leu Gardens area of Virginia Drive over to Mills Avenue.
The Corrine Drive study recommendations from MetroPlan was presented to a small group of community stakeholders ahead of a larger community meeting planned in early May. Two types of recommendations were outlined in a nearly 50-page report.
Business owners, such as Ed Tomlienovich, have been waiting to see the plans ever since MetroPlan Orlando turned to the community for answers on how to fix the road.
“There have been a few accidents here and there, but mainly it’s just safety of the people,” said Tomlienovich, owner of P is for Pie. “They probably go 60 to 70 mph through there.”
The recommendations would make the lanes narrower and create landscaping designed for a road with a speed limit of 30 mph. The current road design encourages “drivers to go faster than the posted limit” of 35 mph, the report states.
The first recommendation proposes changes to the section of Corrine Drive between Bennett Road and Nebraska Street. The five-lane configuration includes eliminating the middle turn lane, allowing parking on one side of the street and creating a bike and walking path to accommodate students who go to Audubon Park K-8 School.
The second recommendation proposes taking away travel lanes for the section of Virginia Drive between Nebraska Street and Mills Avenue. The proposal might be harder for drivers to accept, since the four-lane road would shrink to two lanes.
"There are about 7,000 cars less that use that section,” project manager Elizabeth Whitton said. “Traffic counts have stayed the same, so we feel we have this design now and in the future without impacting the time it takes people to get around.”
Whitton added that the reduction in lanes should only create a total commute time of seven to eight minutes during rush hour.
A number of safety improvements are planned for certain intersections, including raised intersections and mid-block crossings.
Raised intersections are planned at Corrine Drive and Winter Park Drive. The raised intersections are meant to slow drivers down through the signalized intersections and put pedestrians at the same level as sidewalks, which minimizes the need for ramps.
Mid-block crossings are also planned in the school zone along Corrine Drive to help students crossing the street to the new Audubon Park K-8 School.
Finding money for road projects has traditionally been one of the sticking points for road makeovers. Corrine Drive presents a unique challenge. Orange County owns the road and the City of Orlando maintains it. A MetroPlan Orlando representative told Channel 9 both groups are working out funding for the project.
But how much the project costs depends on how much county and city leaders want to do. Doing all the recommendations at once will cost $9.3 million at current construction costs; taking a phased-in approach, which would implement changes over time, could cost up to $14.6 million.
MetroPlan Orlando released the nearly 50-page report Thursday for the community to see ahead of the community meeting planned for May 1 at 5:30 p.m. at Audubon Park K-8 School.
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