The bridge is not the solution

4/5/2016 – Ground Zero at McCulloch and N. Tanner

The intersection of McCulloch and S. Tanner has become GROUND ZERO for traffic problems considering this new idea to cross the Econ at McCulloch Road.

Why am I completely against this crossing AT THIS TIME?

Numbers!  Purely numbers and facts!

LOS = Level Of Service.  LOS is a designation that Orange county uses to rate roads.  As shown below from the traffic study for the Lake Pickett North (LPN) (Rybolt) development, the section from Lockwood to N. Tanner is rated “F” (Exist LOS on the chart).

There is no worse designation!

Notice the cap of 880.  880 is the threshold that takes a road from “D” to “F”.  Notice the 1,300 (Peak Hr Volume).  This means that this section of roadway is 1,300 – 880 = 420 trips above an “F”.  In English, it is a really really bad “F”.  Like your kid getting a 30% on a test.  That’s a really bad “F”.  So this section is really bad.  You say, “What else is new, we all know that”.  Read on….

Lockwood to McCulloch LOS

Lockwood to McCulloch LOS

Let’s project some numbers based on LOS.

880 is an “F” for a 2-lane roadway.
2,000 is an “F” for a 4-lane roadway.

Let’s just say that Orange County 4-lanes McCulloch Road in this section so an “F” becomes 2,000 trips.

Without LPN, traffic is already at 1,300 so it is not an “F” if it were 4-laned but still not good.  LPN wants 1,999 homes.  Peak trips are about 2,000 trips overall and if you look at the little diagram below you see 50%.  That number means that LPN is going to contribute 50% of the peak trips or about 1,000 trips onto that section of roadway.

LPN percentage traffic on McCulloch

LPN percentage traffic on McCulloch

1,300 + 1,000 = 2,300 making that section of roadway an “F”.

And don’t forget the other mega development with over 2,000 units with traffic that will come over on Lake Pickett and up N. Tanner to the exact same interchange causing even more problems.

Don’t forget the traffic from the north that would otherwise go across on 419 coming instead down Lockwood or Old Lockwood to GROUND ZERO!

Folks, as good as it sounds to put this road in now and as much as you want to support this, it is by no means a solution.  All this will do is just add more cars to an already congested road and we will be in exact same mess or worse.

The solution is to first fix connectivity on the west side of the Econ and put in a 4-lane road called the Richard Crotty Parkway that goes from the end of Research Parkway over to N. Tanner.  This will divert traffic off of the section on McCulloch that is already an “F” and give it relief.  It will also provide a south entrance to UCF from the east as well as a way into Research Park.  After all, the developers have told us that the bulk of people who will be living in their houses will work at UCF or Research Park so doesn’t it make sense to give them a better way to get there.  My feeling overall is the density the developers on Lake Pickett North is too high for the infrastructure to handle and must be reduced.

Richard Crotty Parkway

Richard Crotty Parkway

Orange County must put this road in first before even thinking about crossing the Econ at McCulloch.

Key note:  Orange County must maintain roads above a certain LOS.  How will putting a bridge across the road fix anything given that in time, this road reverts right back to an “F”.

Any good soldier knows that the most critical factor in any war is supply line.  You can’t fight a battle with a broken supply line and that is exactly what Orange County is thinking about doing.  First you must strengthen your supply line before moving forward.  Fix the roads on the West side of the Econ before even thinking about crossing over.  Putting in another road across the Econ into a broken road system doesn’t solve the problem.

If you have read down this far, here is my view on LPN.  The density is way to high.  It is a land locked area with no good ways to move traffic and no way to effectively accomodate all the traffic.  It is also in an environmentally sensitive area located right next to the Econ.  If this is going to be a viable development, density must be reduced.  It is just too high.  On another note, no thought has been put into multi-modal transportation like buses, bicycles or other forms of transportation.  We are stuck in the world of cars and it is the reason our traffic problems are so intense.

 

 

 

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Traffic in East Orange County

2/14/2016 – Here’s what I know about the latest on roads in East Orange County

Here is what I know about the roads.

The Grow conceptual site plan

The Grow conceptual site plan

Let’s start with the project at Lake Pickett called “The Grow” which is the transmittal phase now and due to come up for an approval hearing soon.

“The Grow” is contributing 28 million in impact fees and proportional share money that will be allocated like this.  16 million will be used to advance the widening of Hwy 50 from the Econ bridge to 419.  This widening is on the FDOT long range plan but is currently unfunded.  When it does become funded and the money is allocated, the state will send the money back to Orange County, not “The Grow”  to be used somewhere on Orange County roads.  The other 12 million will be used to widen 419 from Hwy 50 to Lake Pickett Road.  This is the contribution from “The Grow” to the road issues we have in East Orange County.

What about the other county roads?

Over capacity segments in 2030

Over capacity segments in 2030

As you may know the mayor secured 300 million in bond money for Infrastructure that is under a name “INVEST in Our Home for Life” but is just called “Invest”.  200 million of this is allocated to the roadway system while the other 100 million to other infrastructure needs such as 15 million for bike and pedestrian improvements and other multi-modal transit projects.  28 million has been designated to be used in East Orange County.  Orange County is planning on widening McCulloch to 4-lanes from N. Tanner Road to Lockwood Blvd.  This will take a portion of the “Invest” money allocated to East Orange County.  The county does not currently have plans for the remainder of the funding until a traffic study is completed which is either underway now or will be underway soon.  The study is being paid for with “Invest” money.  We will not know where this money will be used or how until this study is complete.

Everything is on the table and is being considered in this traffic study but nothing is decided which includes the following:

  • A bridge over the Econ at McCulloch.  Notice I did not say to 419 but is certainly being considered
  • Widening Lake Pickett to 4 -lanes
  • A road from Lake Pickett to Woodbury
  • Widening Lake Pickett from Percival to Hwy 50
  • The Richard Crotty Parkway
  • Anything else that is discovered
408 Expansion Corridor Map

408 Expansion Corridor Map

Let’s dispel some myths that I have heard people say are definite.  Nothing is cast is stone such as:

  • Widening Lake Pickett from Percival to Hwy 50 is not cast in stone
  • A road from Lake Pickett to Woodbury is not cast in stone
  • A bridge over the Econ at McCulloch is not cast in stone

Let’s not forget the extension of the 408.  The second project group meeting is coming up and I will have an update in 2-3 weeks.

I have also heard that MetroPlan is performing a traffic study of the entire region which is a separate study from the one Orange County is performing so it will be interesting to see how that turns out.  Keep in mind these studies take time.  Many months in fact so be very patient.

It is great to see this focus and attention to our area and plans coming together to fix these roads.  But we still have a long way to go.

Richard Crotty extension

Richard Crotty extension

For example, the Richard Crotty Parkway, the red line on the map.  I cannot imagine the traffic studies not showing this road as a vital part of the roadway system.  We need another east-west road to move traffic.  We need connectivity from east-west to really create efficiency in our road system.  See a prior post about “Who Lives IN The DMZ Zone” and the second one called, “What is the DMZ Zone“.   Watch this video to see the DMZ Zone and connectivity.  I cannot imagine a bridge over the Econ at McCulloch unless the Richard Crotty Parkway is part of this study.  What that would do is have three east-west roads in the Rural Service Area crossing the Econ funneling down to two inside the Urban Service Area.  That would make no sense at all.  But Research Park is not too excited about the Richard Crotty Parkway and UCF is silent and neutral.

Also, Seminole County is not to thrilled with widening McCulloch or crossing the Econ at McCulloch so we will have to see how that plays out.

Sustany conceptual site plan

Sustany conceptual site plan

Let’s also not forget Lake Pickett North which was called “Sustany”.  I have heard this is coming back most likely in the the 2016 second cycle so we will have to see what that project looks like and how this will impact traffic.  The 2016 second cycle is from about September, 2016 to March, 2017 so the application will be submitted and you can expect community meetings a couple of months before September/October time frame.

But I am encouraged that we are moving in the right direction.  I have to admit I was somewhat dejected a while ago until I talked to some people recently and learned much of what I am relaying on to you.  In the world of Infrastructure wheels turn very slow and patience is all important.  All we can do is keep moving and keep coming up with ideas on how to keep this issue at the forefront in the minds of our elected officials to ensure we get the attention we deserve.

 

 

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8/28/2015 – How do we fix McCulloch and N. Tanner and help Hwy 50? The Richard Crotty Parkway!

We start with the Richard Crotty Parkway!  This has to be the first step.  It is all about connectivity and getting the east connected to the west.

What is the Richard Crotty Parkway?  It is a proposed East-West roadway on the Long Range Transportation Plan that starts at 436 and runs all the way to N. Tanner.  It is not a direct route.  It begins at 436 and runs along Hanging Moss Road which is halfway between Hwy 50 and University Blvd on 436.  It sort of winds its way over to Goldenrod Road and then follows a right-of-way that takes it along the Blanchard Park Trial to Dean Road.  It goes up Dean Road to Buck Road.  It follows Buck Road and then goes through to Research Parkway.

Richard Crotty Parkway

Richard Crotty Parkway

It follows Research Parkway through Research Park and here is where it gets interesting and why it is important to us in East Orange County.  It extends Research Parkway over to N. Tanner Road providing  another East-West conduit for traffic.  This extension would bring instant relief to N. Tanner and McCulloch Road and also help Hwy 50 as drivers who live around Bonneville could take this road over to Alafaya Trail.

I am going to focus specifically on the section of Richard Crotty from the end of Research Parkway to N. Tanner as it is where we get the best bang for the buck in East Orange County.  This is the red line on the map below.

Richard Crotty extension

Richard Crotty extension

To anyone that travels McCulloch and N. Tanner, I think it is very easy to see what the effect this road would have on traffic.  I would expect a very large percentage of the cars that would normally travel to McCulloch would take this option instead thus relieving congestion on N. Tanner and McCulloch.  This also provides a entrance to UCF and Research Park as well as easy access to Alafaya and University Blvd.  It seems like a no brainer, right?

In addition to this, there is already a utility easement as straight as an arrow that goes down the entire length of this one mile section so there are no houses that are in the way.  A one mile section of two lane road would cost about 3-4 million and four lanes would cost about 8 million.  No bridges, no right-of-way issues, just a straight road to N. Tanner.  Sounds great, right!

Richard Crotty Parkway looking East from Libra Drive in UCF

Richard Crotty Parkway looking East from Libra Drive in UCF

Richard Crotty Parkway looking West from Bonneville Road

Richard Crotty Parkway looking West from Bonneville Road

Richard Crotty Parkway looking East from Bonneville Road

Richard Crotty Parkway looking East from Bonneville Road

 

Richard Crotty Parkway looking West from N Tanner Road

Richard Crotty Parkway looking West from N Tanner Road

Not so fast.  We have issues.

Money is one of them.  When the Richard Crotty Parkway was put on the Long Range Transportation Plan it was before the recession.  When the recession hit, money became scarce and the parkway just sat on the plan unfunded.  It is still unfunded  Perhaps this portion of it can be accelerated through the “Invest” program.

Accident at Worchester and McCulloch

Accident at Worchester and McCulloch

But the big stumbling block is who owns the right of way.  I have heard that UCF owns the utility easement and Research Park maintains Research Parkway so the county cannot just move ahead and put in the road.  Research Park does not want this road to go through because it would increase through traffic in Research Park.  UCF has been silent on the issue.  While it is understandable that Research Park does not want pass through traffic, the traffic we have now is at a point where another East-West connecting road is sorely needed and this need will only increase.  It is just a matter of time before this road will have to be built to move traffic.  We all know that when the UCF Fall semester started, traffic on N. Tanner and McCulloch tripled and we have all seen or heard about more accidents.  I viewed one myself just west of the University Estates entrance a few days ago.  It is only fair that UCF and Research Park whose traffic contributes to the problem we have take part in the solution.

My personal feeling is this road will most definitely increase traffic on Research Parkway but I also feel the good news for Research Park is it will relieve cut through traffic on Discovery Drive by allowing cars that would otherwise use Discovery Drive to move through this new road and onto Bonneville Road and N. Tanner.

I believe it is time UCF, Research Park and Orange County come to an agreement on this road.    It is inevitable that this road will be built sometime in the future, why wait until it is way to late and do it now when we need it the most?

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