South Florida Avenue Road Diet Construction Slated to Start April 27th
LAKELAND, FL (April 24, 2020) | On Monday, April 27th, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is slated to start construction for the Road Diet Test and Traffic Study through the Dixieland area on South Florida Avenue. The $950,000 project will construct a new traffic pattern on South Florida Avenue from Ariana Street to Lime Street in downtown Lakeland. The new traffic pattern includes reducing South Florida Avenue from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. Once in place, the new traffic pattern will be studied for effectiveness over the next year. For more information on this FDOT project, please visit swflroads.com/sr37/arianatolime.
City of Lakeland Transportation Planner, Chuck Barmby said, “The construction on the South Florida Avenue road diet project is expected to take five months to complete.” He added, “We continue to get a lot of questions regarding the impact to neighboring side streets and we are certainly going to measure that along with other traffic patterns during the one-year test period that will start when the construction is complete. It is also important for the community to know that the Citrus Connection established a new bus route called the Peach Line that does not have any stops in the one-mile construction zone.”
Visitors to the area know that traffic lanes are much narrower than today’s standards through the study area and sidewalks are right next to the busy roadway. These safety concerns moved FDOT to initiate the South Florida Avenue traffic study through the Dixieland area in 2016. This was a “first-of-its-kind” study in Florida that included traditional transportation analyses, and innovative components such as a marketing analysis, a day-long community planning meeting (known as a charrette), a week-long design studio within a storefront on the corridor, public meetings and interviews with stakeholders in the study area.
The study also evaluated potential development sites, parking inventory, and short and long-term transportation alternatives including a road diet through which Florida Avenue would be reduced from four to two through lanes between Ariana Street and Pine Street. Following the completion of the Corridor Study, the FDOT conducted a more detailed walk-through of the Florida Avenue corridor through which participants identified safety, maintenance and other physical problems with the road that could be addressed through routine maintenance activities are stand-alone construction projects and this was the start of planning on the road diet project. The City of Lakeland created a storyboard that helps give background information on the project. The storyboard can be found here: http://bit.ly/LakelandRoadDietTest.
The City of Lakeland was incorporated in January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida. With a current population of over 100,000, Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years. With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor. The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third-largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 110 years ago.
For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore lakelandgov.net.
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