Traffic in the future

7/24/2015 – What is the fate of East Orange County!

We support responsible development

We support responsible development

I just read this article in the East Orlando Post.  Racist, Classist & Homophobic Remarks Made At Save Orange County Meeting.  I am not familiar with East Orlando Post but the writer is in favor of the developments on Lake Pickett.  I never thought I would see an article with a title like this talking about a development but here it is.

I attended the same Save Orange County (SOC) community meeting this writer talks about in the article and what I witnessed was more of a “SOC rally” than a “community meeting”.  It seemed that anyone who spoke in favor of the developments was suppressed by not only SOC but also the crowd that had gathered.  I intended on speaking but once I realized it would have been out of place as it was very obvious the rally was geared specifically for those against the developments, I thought it best to be a good guest and just listen.

The entire rally was geared to getting as many people to the Board of County Commission (BCC) meeting as possible.  The strategy is to overwhelm the commissioners with numbers and appeal to them politically in order to force them to vote against the developments.  This is the only strategy that can be employed as there really is no other legitimate reason to oppose the developments other than traffic.  Just saying you don’t want the land owner to develop their land is not a legitimate reason and is sort of hypocritical seeing most of the people at these meetings and the ones that spoke at the Planning and Zoning Commission (PNC) meeting live in subdivisions or lots that are not 10 acres and in fact displaced the rural land they are so passionately trying to protect.  I know of only one couple of all the people who spoke who actually lives a “rural” life on 10 acres.  That argument will fall on deaf ears so the only recourse is to overwhelm the commissioners and threaten them politically.  The map below shows where the people live who spoke.  Two did not even live out here.

6/18/2015 - PNC Speakers

6/18/2015 – PNC Speakers

One gentleman who I assume to be the writer of the article did speak in favor of the “GROW” and as he said was allowed to say a couple of sentences but when SOC realized where he was going with his point of view, he was immediately cut off.  He did speak up and ask if it was a community meeting and if he was allowed to express himself and was given a couple more sentences before again being interrupted by SOC and the crowd all chiming in at once.  He was subdued with loud voices, shouts and heckling.

UCF Professor

UCF Professor

It was also interesting that a woman who identified herself as a UCF Professor attempted to discredit those in favor of the developments.  I think she said they were paid by the developer to be there and speak and I also thought I heard her claim that flyers have been circulating at UCF recruiting students.  The crowd applauded.  I would very much like to see one of those flyers.  I would also like to know something about this person as I heard her speak briefly at the last community meeting and noted that she started her comment with, “I am a UCF Professor and in my professional opinion …”.  Whenever I hear someone start a speech with those words I have to wonder what makes her a professional and how she has a professional opinion.  I have been in the middle of this whole thing for years now and the first time I saw this person was at the last Orange County community meeting.  She seems to have come out of the woodwork only recently so I have to question her “professional opinion” and what her real depth of knowledge is on this subject.  Who does she know?  Has she ever spoken at a BCC meeting?  Has she ever met with a commissioner?  Has she met with OC staff?  Does she know the developers?  Or does she only know what SOC is telling her and the propaganda she has read?

I witnessed the same type of behavior at the last Orange County community meeting.  I was appalled at how the crowd spoke to and treated the Orange County staff and was even more appalled when one person attacked Commissioner Edwards on a personal level by somehow insinuating that being a Republican was bad and that because he lived in Winter Park, he was an outsider.  I saw this person speak at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting recently and noted her address.  It was interesting that the address she gave was a few blocks off Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.   If that is her correct address, I am trying to figure out how she came to be at the community meeting speaking out against the developments.  I had to wonder what she was doing out here.

Board of County Commissioners

Board of County Commissioners

When a person did try to speak in favor of the developments at that meeting he was boo’d and heckled by the crowd as were others.  Anyone supporting the developments was never given a chance to fully express themselves.  But that’s not how it works down at the BCC chambers.  People will not get away with the conduct exhibited at these community meetings.

One woman even called Mr. Nastasi, the Orange County traffic manager, a liar in front of 200 people.  She was very worked up and emotional after listening to all the comments being made before she spoke.  I wonder if she regrets that.

This is getting nasty with people losing their minds and manners and attacking people because they have a different point of view.  I understand this is an emotional subject and people are trying to protect their way of life, but it doesn’t mean we should abandon all respect for one other.  It is a very sad state of affairs.

Traffic in East Orange County

Traffic in East Orange County

My concern is and always has been traffic.  That is what is driving these developments and that is how they have even succeeded this far.  Orange County alone does not have enough money to fix our traffic problems.  Neither do the developers or the state or the Expressway Authority.  But combined we do and that is the only way this will be fixed.  Whether you know it or not, the planets are aligned and this may be the only good solution to our traffic problem that we will see in our lifetime.  I do not believe they will align like this again.

Our traffic problems in East Orange County will take close to $80 million to fully fix our roads.  When you look at traffic you have to think differently.  We are conditioned to think in the here and now.  But you have to think 10 – 20 years into the future.  This was the hardest concept for me to grasp.  We think that if money becomes available somehow the roads will instantly appear.  But it takes 7 – 10 years to build a road so when you look at a road imagine what it will be like in 7 years knowing the increased traffic that you have seen coming over the last few years.

McCulloch started getting very congested in 2010 and every year has become increasingly worse.  It is now a streaming string of never ending cars at rush hour.  In fact, traffic has become so bad that our Board of Directors for University Estates just instructed our property manager to investigate what it would take to have an Orange County sheriff direct traffic during rush hour at our intersection of Worchester and McCulloch when the new UCF semester starts.  At a cost to the HOA of course.  Now project yourself forward 7 years to 2022 and imagine what it will be like then if nothing is done.  If you can objectively do that you will realize the real predicament we are now in.  McCulloch will be a parking lot.  Whether you like it or not, we are dependent on Orange County to fix this problem and you may not like the solution but it is has to be done.

We have a problem that cannot be ignored.  Anyone who thinks traffic is not a problem and it will not get worse  is not being realistic.  And if anyone thinks that widening Hwy 50 is the end all answer, that too is unrealistic.  Mr. Nastasi presented the facts but no one was listening.  Instead they were finding things in his presentation to attack.  But if you were listening you would know that by 2030 all of our roads are overcapacity.  If developer money is not the answer then what is?  I would like to hear traffic solutions from all the people opposing the developments and give an alternative answer.  If you have the answer, please share because so far I have heard only complaints with no solutions.  Are you thinking about the thousands of people trapped in traffic everyday and the thousands more that will be trapped if we cannot come up with a solution?  Think about this when you decide to speak to the BCC on Tuesday and tell them no.  What is your solution to this problem if it is not a combined effort by all involved?  We cannot simply wish this problem away.

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7/22/2015 – $200 million – where is it going?

In this short 3 minute video clip, hear Joseph Kunkel who is the Orange County Deputy Director of Engineering explain to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) exactly where the $200 million dollars will be spent from the INVEST in Our Home for Life program.

East Orange County gets some too!  $38 million which has yet to be determined exactly what roads it will be designated to fix.  I believe this is because talks are in progress with the developers of the Lake Pickett properties and a Road Agreement has yet to be finalized.  Keep in mind that District 5 has a $350 million deficit when it comes to infrastructure needs so the $38 million is not enough to fix all our roads.  It is a good start and if a Road Agreement is finalized, we have a good start to fixing our road problems.

 

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7/20/2015 – INVEST in Our Home for Life

Orange County Board of County Commissioners is in the middle of their budget workshops.  You can view them on Orange TV and see where our money is being spent.

One topic that peaked my interest was the 300 million dollars for Infrastructure and other improvements to the county.  200 million will be allocated to Infrastructure.  Although this sounds like a lot we have a long way to go because Orange County has 1.6 billion in infrastructure needs.  It is a good start.  This is being funded by a bond issue taking advantage of the low interest rates and the high bond rating that the county enjoys.

The roadway improvements include new roadways or expansion of existing roadways that will relieve traffic congestion throughout the County.

This will have to be approved by the board.

Invest in Our Home for Life

Invest in Our Home for Life

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Planning and Zoning

7/19/2015 – Lastest Text Amendment Draft Document

Below is a link to the latest draft of the Lake Pickett Text Amendment for your review.

7/14/2015 – Lake Pickett Draft Text Amendment.

Overall this amendment looks to me as though Orange County is working hard to ensure the residents who live around the Lake Pickett properties do not experience a lifestyle change.  Here are some key points I read while going through the amendment.

Key points:

  • This amendment is only for Lake Pickett and no other area in Orange County so it can be fine tuned just for these properties
  • The text amendment is written to protect the lifestyle of the residents who live next to this property through the use of Transect Zones.  Low density on the outside of the property and increasing towards the center and on Hwy 50.
  • The amendment is full of statements designed to protect the current residents.  Statements like this:
    • “the transition of development from surrounding rural neighborhood densities and preservation areas to more dense development clustered towards the center of the Lake Pickett Boundary”
    • “Compatibility is ensured on LP lands through the use of Transect Zones, conservation best management practices, neighborhood design principles, and interconnected open space systems, and streets with a strong pedestrian/bicycle orientation”
    • “Preserve the rural lifestyle and character of existing communities”
    • “Preserving Conservation Areas”
    • “Providing Open Space Areas for the preservation of green space and community character”
    • “Provide a transition between existing development, which is rural in character and located along the perimeter of the community, and more intense uses within the Lake Pickett Boundary”
    • “Transitional treatment of the edges of the Lake Pickett area, that is contextual, is critical for achieving compatibility with existing adjacent development
    • “Lands located along the perimeter within the Lake Pickett Boundary shall be of the same development intensity as adjacent lands outside Lake Pickett”
  • There are four “zones” called Transect Zones:
    • T1 – natural – no development
    • T2 – allows 2 units per acre – no commercial
    • T3 – allows 5 units per acre – no commercial
    • T4 – allows 12 units per acre – commercial allowed
  • T4 is only allowed in Lake Pickett South along Hwy 50.  Nowhere else.  No commercial or T4 in Lake Pickett North.
  • Buffers
    • “The buffer along Lake Pickett Road shall average 200 feet in width on each side, and in no case shall such buffer be less than 100 feet”
    • “The buffer along South Tanner Road shall be a minimum of 100 feet in width.”
      Note:  this was not in the last draft, it has been added since the last PNC meeting, I was concerned about the buffer along S. Tanner.
    • “All buffers within each community shall be dedicated as conservation easements or conservation tracts”
    • “a minimum of 300-foot buffer shall be provided along the County boundary line and designated as T1 Natural Transect Zone “
  • Requirements for all Lake Pickett Future Land Use Map (FLUM) Amendments requirements include submittal of the draft conceptual regulating plan, proposed development program, a justification statement, an OCPS Consistency Determination Application, a Transportation Study, and the proposed community meeting schedule must be met at the time of submittal. Depending on the circumstances of the LP application, additional information may be required for transportation, utilities, drainage or other pertinent data as determined by Planning Division staff.
  • The Lake Pickett Transportation Term Sheet and corresponding Transportation Network Agreements shall require a financially feasible, long-range transportation infrastructure funding framework and capital improvements program. The planned transportation improvements shall ensure the overall safe and efficient movement of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists through an interconnected multimodal transportation network. Potential funding sources for projects may include the following:
    • Developer Contributions Road Impact Fees
    • Available State or Federal Highway or Transit Funds
    • Municipal Service Taxing Unit/Municipal Service Benefit Unit
    • Tax Increment Financing District
    • Community Development District
    • Others as approved by the Board of County Commissioners
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Charter Review Commission

7/19/2015 – Public Comment at the Charter Review Commission Meeting

On June 25th I was able to speak during public comment at the Charter Review Commission meeting.  I spoke about placing a one cent tax on the 2016 ballot that would bring in 350 million per year and completely wipe out the infrastructure deficit of 1.6 billion dollars in four years.  None of us like taxes but Orange County needs money to fix our roadways.  There just is not enough money coming in from fuel tax and impact fees to keep up with the road system.

If you want to view the entire meeting with Commissioner Brummer explaining the tax he is proposing, you can view the video here.

If you don’t know about the Charter Review Commission, you should.  This is the commission that reviews the county charter and makes recommendations for changes.  The last commission met in from March, 2011 through June, 2012 for 2012 changes.  This commission started meeting in Feb, 2015 and will continue with workshops and meetings into next year.  The Orange County Charter is like the Constitution but at a county level so it is very important.

Your input is welcome.  At every meeting the chairman talks about ways to get the community involved and increasing attendance.  They seem very interested in ensuring your input is considered.  Here is the link to the video clips of the meetings: Orange TV Charter Review Commission meeting video.

If you want to be involved just send an email to charter2016@occompt.com and ask to be placed on the distribution list.

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Ted Edwards District 5 Commissioner

7/16/2015 – Followup memo by Commission Edwards on CFX use of toll revenue

As a follolwup to the Orange County Board of Commissioners meeting, Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the rest of the board discussed District 5 Commissioner Ted Edwards‘ concerns regarding a possible proposal from the Central Florida Expressway Authority that would authorize the use of toll money for non-expressway related projects, such as Sunrail, which faces challenges in funding.

Central Florida Expressway Authority Memo from Commissioner Edwards.

Central Florida Expressway Authority Memo from Commissioner Edwards

Central Florida Expressway Authority Memo from Commissioner Edwards

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Board of County Commissioners

7/13/2015 – Will the Board of County Commissioners pass the Lake Pickett Text Amendment

In order to predict if the Board of County Commissioner (BCC) will pass the Lake Pickett text amendment, we have to explore why the Planning and Zoning Commission (PNZ (also known as Local Planning Agency -LPA)) passed the text amendment to change the Comprehensive Plan (CP) and then passed both applications unanimously.

Down below read about the biggest concern if the text amendment is approved!


BCC meeting date - 28th

BCC meeting date – 28th

Before we explore why the LPA passed the text amendment, here is what is coming up on July 28th.

At 2 pm on 7/28 there will be a Board of County Commissioner (BCC) meeting to decide if the Lake Pickett text amendment will be approved or denied for “TRANSMITTAL”.

There are 3 votes that will take place.

  • Approve/Deny the text amendment to change the Comprehensive Plan (CP)

If the Text Amendment is approved the door opens that allows the applications votes to take place.  If the text amendment is not approved, the applications will not move forward.

  • Approve/Deny Lake Pickett South application
  • Approve/Deny Lake Pickett North application

As you can clearly see the most important vote is the text amendment and even though I spoke in favor of the text amendment passing there two main flaws in it that need to be fixed and one to me is a huge concern as explained below.


Let me go through some of the arguments I have heard opposing the text amendment and why the BCC will most likely not seriously consider some of them.

“We moved here with the understanding that this land is zoned one house per 10 acres and we demand it remain one house per 10 acres.”

The BCC cannot accept this as a reason because as one of the Planning and Zoning Commissioner (PNC) said, the CP is changed all the time through the re-zoning process.  It is what the BCC does.  Their main job is to manage land use and a change to the CP is a common occurance.  If this is your argument, you need to understand that the BCC cannot accept it as a valid reason.  Every land owner including yourselves have the right to re-zone your property or make changes to it providing it is approved through the re-zoning process.  The process decides if it will be approved or denied but using the claim that the CP cannot be changed and should remain cemented in stone is not a valid argument.  Review these video clips to hear the PNC Commissioners explain the process.  There is nothing written anywhere that a land owner can prevent another land owner from developing their land just because they don’t want it developed.

View this video as Commissioner Baldocchi explains how the CP is changed.
View this video that supports changing the CP – start at minute 1:30.
View this video to hear the discussion on density – 1 house per 10 acres.

The one PNZ commissioner who voted against the text amendment did so reluctantly as he clearly explains why a text amendment as well as the application will most likely be approved.  He did vote “no” to the text amendment but did vote  “yes” to the applications which seemed a bit strange ??.

View the video clip showing the commissioner explain.


“We want the county roads to remain rural and not be changed.”

At the last community meeting which was all about traffic, a presentation was made by Mr. Nastasi who explained that by 2030 all of the county roads in this area will be over-capacity with or without these communities.  I was amazed at how people in the room either didn’t believe what he was saying or just chose to ignore it.  It was a classic example of emotion ruling logic.  While emotion is powerful, we are now at a point that logic will overrule emotion because the BCC has no choice but to consider ways to fix the roads.  They must maintain the roads at a certain LOS (Level of Service).  Review these video clips to hear the PNC Commissioners talk about traffic.

View this video as a PNZ commissioner explains why.
Another PNZ commissioner talks about traffic being huge.
Hwy 50 cannot be expanded over 6 lanes.
Roads have been neglected for a long time.

In the second video clip, the commissioner states that “if Mr. Nastasi says the delta is closed”, she is referring to having enough money to fund the roads.  I firmly believe that Orange County will not approve these developments if the money is not secured to fix the roads.   I believe that Commissioner Edwards will not make an approval motion unless he is 100% confident the roads will be fixed with the money from these properties and any other funding sources he and staff can find.  I believe the fate of these developments rests on fixing the roads.  If the developers cannot come up with enough money to fix the roads, these applications will not move forward.  At this point in time, the county is trying to put together a “Term Sheet” also known as a “Road Agreement” to fix the roads.  I have heard that Commissioner Edwards is working very hard on this to ensure the money for the roads is secured.  If there is one commissioner who I would want on my side it would be the “2010 Real Estate Lawyer of the Year”.  And guess who that is.  yes, our commissioner, Commissioner Edwards.  We have a built in lawyer working for us.

Traffic problems is what we were all screaming about for years and what the county is focused on fixing.

I believe the only valid reason to oppose this text amendment and the only one that will stop it would be not securing enough money to fix the traffic problems.


“We will vote you out if you don’t do what we say, we elected you and we will un-elect you.”

Every politician has to be concerned about votes and popularity with his/her constituents.  At the same time, he/she has to do his/her job and weigh the needs of the few against the needs of the many.  He/she must also weigh what people are really concerned about.

There have been many petitions gathered and many people attending meetings but what motivated those people to sign the petitions and attend meetings.  Was it to maintain the rural lands or is it because of the traffic concerns.  If signs are any indication they all echo the fear of 15,000 more cars on the road and none even mention maintaining the rural lands so it would seem traffic is the motivation.  Constant and repetitive images of traffic jams and cars piled up on one another is a very real motivator.

Each commissioner will have to decide if people are signing petitions because they want the rural land preserved or if they are upset over traffic and wants the roads fixed.  The last community meeting was very emotional and was motivated entirely by traffic concerns.  That meeting became hostile at times and almost abusive filled with emotion all because of traffic.  The previous meeting was also emotional as everyone expected that traffic was going to be discussed and when it was not, everyone was very upset.

TRAFFIC!  Want more cars -sign the petition

TRAFFIC! Want more cars -sign the petition

TRAFFIC!  images of traffic jams and cars

TRAFFIC! images of traffic jams and cars

The question is does the BCC focus on fixing the traffic problems so people can travel the roads or do they back off to preserve the rural lands and allow the roads to become increasingly congested and go into over-capacity.  We will know on the 28th.

TRAFFIC!  15000 more vehicles

TRAFFIC! 15000 more vehicles


What is my biggest concern?

I am very concerned that the text amendment will pass “AS IS”.  For the most part it is fine but it has two very glaring flaws that must be addressed.  I hear there is another draft coming out soon.

  • Buffers are not really buffers in LPS (Lake Pickett South).
    The perceived buffer on S. Tanner is actually part of one acre lots which is really not an actual buffer.  According to the map it is T2 which allows a density of 2 units per acre.  What is to stop the developer from switch out the one acre lots for 2 units per acre down the road if the text amendment is approved.  I would like to see a true 100 foot T1 buffer all the way down S. Tanner.  View this video clip to see what PNC Commissioner Demostene says about the buffers.
  • No cap on density – this is the big one!
    I don’t know if it is possible and am trying to understand this issue but I would very much like to see a cap on density inside the text amendment.  My concern is that the text amendment will be approved and the applications will not.  Even if the applications are approved, nothing stops the applicants from pulling them back.  I am concerned that because there is no density cap, the applicants can come back with higher density that fits the Transect Plan.  All that is required by the text amendment is the following:
  • T1 – natural, undeveloped.
  • T2 – allows 2 units per acre
  • T3 – allows 5 units per acre
  • T4 – allows 12 units per acre

While I still support the text amendment it doesn’t mean we don’t have issues that need to be ironed out and locked down.  And if the traffic issue is not fully addressed then there is not point in passing the text amendment or the applications.

 

 

 

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7/6/2015 – Appointment to BPAC

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is an all volunteer committee that is part of MetroPlan.  If you are not familiar with MetroPlan, read this post.

I am an avid cyclist and ride to work every day to my job at UCF.  I think our roads are not cyclist or pedestrian friendly and I intend to make a difference starting at UCF and moving out from this hub making our roads and drivers more aware of cyclists who may want to use our roadways for commuting or pleasure.

If you want to follow my post, Follow me on Facebook at both FixMyRoadway and my new Facebook page at BikeSafeCFL.

The emails below are in reverse order so start at the bottom.


From: rj@rjmueller.net [mailto:rj@rjmueller.net]
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 9:37 PM
To: ‘Mighk Wilson’
Cc: ‘Cathy Goldfarb’; ‘Cynthia Lambert’
Subject: Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Mr. Wilson,

I would like to volunteer my services to serve on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

I have always rode bicycles but started cycling seriously about 15 years ago while training for triathlons. One thing led to another and I started riding with groups around the area. I rode with the B group out of Lakemont Elementary on Saturday mornings and now ride with the Winter Park group. Riding with other cyclists peaked my interest in cycling and now that I live close to where I work I ride to work on my commuter bike every day.

I work at UCF and live a couple of miles away. Even though it is a short distance I have ridden to work every day for the past 5 ½ years and have never driven to work in a car. I ride rain or shine, hot or cold. I believe more people should ride to work on bikes and save the roads for those who have a longer distance or simply can’t ride bicycles. I also believe people who do work farther away and could use mass transit should be able to ride to the bus or train and be able to load their bike on the vehicle and use it for transportation from the station home or to work.

We have a long way to go here in Orlando to truly make our community bike friendly. As an example I was very dismayed when Alafaya Blvd was four-laned from Lake Underhill to Avalon Park and there was no bike lane on the roadway. There is a wide sidewalk but a good cyclist knows that it is more dangerous to ride on the sidewalk than on a bike lane. I would like to see every new road or every improved road have a true bike lane. This should be mandatory going forward.

I would also like to see all mass transit vehicles have areas to store bikes.

I know these ideas are in the works already so I am not telling you anything new so consider me an advocate for these ideas and any other ideas that will make Osceola, Orange and Seminole counties a safer and bike friendly place to leave.

Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,

RJ Mueller


From: Cynthia Lambert [mailto:CLambert@metroplanorlando.com]
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 4:16 PM
To: ‘rj@rjmueller.net’
Cc: Cathy Goldfarb; Mighk Wilson
Subject: RE: Information on how to get involved with MetroPlan

RJ,

Thank you for your interest in helping improve our community! Good to hear from you again. There are a couple of opportunities to get involved with us and give regular input into the transportation planning process.

You already mentioned the first option, which is the Citizens’ Advisory Committee. These seats are appointed by local governments. So in your case, you would contact Orange County and let them know of your interest. They have an online application that you can fill out here (please indicate that you’re interested in serving on the MetroPlan Orlando Citizens’ Advisory Committee when you fill it out): https://apps.ocfl.net/Secure/mmrb/BoardApplicationPartOne.asp

The second option is our Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which may be a good fit since you mentioned your interest in cycling. We are actually now accepting applications for open positions on that committee. These particular seats are appointed by the MetroPlan Orlando Board, so our staff handles the process. More info here, including instructions on how to apply: http://www.metroplanorlando.com/news/open-volunteer-positions-on-bpac-721/

We have pages on our website that tell a little more about what each committee does:
• Citizens’ Advisory Committee – http://www.metroplanorlando.com/board-committees/citizens-advisory-committee-CAC/
• Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee – http://www.metroplanorlando.com/board-committees/bicycle-pedestrian-advisory-committee-BPAC/

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Thanks,
Cynthia

Cynthia Lambert, APR
Public Information Manager
MetroPlan Orlando
One Landmark Center ♦ 315 East Robinson Street ♦ Suite 355 ♦ Orlando, Florida 32801
P: (407) 481-5672 Ext. 320
C: (407) 758-2592
F: (407) 481-5680
Email: clambert@metroplanorlando.com
www.metroplanorlando.com

Connect with MetroPlan Orlando on our website, Facebook, and Twitter!

*Please note: Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from local officials regarding organization business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your e-mail communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.


From: rj@rjmueller.net [mailto:rj@rjmueller.net]
Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2015 7:43 PM
To: Info
Subject: Information on how to get involved with MetroPlan

Hello,

My name is RJ Mueller and I live in Orange County on the east side next to UCF. I have been working to improve the traffic situation in East Orange County by communicating with my commissioner, Commissioner Edwards as well as the mayor and other commissioners. I have spent several morning down at the BCC chambers talking about the issue and have recently spoken during public comment at both MetroPlan and the Expressway Authority. My focus is to help make a positive change and help residents understand the plans that are being worked to improve traffic. I would like to become part of the Citizens Advisory Committee and would like to know the steps involved to do this. I am also an avid cyclist and bike to work every day so I am also interested in being involved in helping to get our roads more bike friendly and safer for cyclists.

Any help you could give me would be appreciated.

Regards,

RJ Mueller

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7/1/2015 – An update on the Lake Pickett Properties

A few months ago I spoke at River Run church regarding traffic in the area. At that time there was no plan to fix these roads and there was not enough focus on the area. Many things have changed since that time. Through great time and effort, East Orange County now has a very intense spotlight shining on it because it is the only large area in Orange County with this many traffic issues and there is no doubt people are very upset over traffic. This area has been neglected for a very long time and no money has been put into the infrastructure out here.  But now we have the attention of the county commissioners as well as the mayor and the Orange County staff.

We also have the land owners of the Lake Pickett properties who are working with the county to help develop these areas in a responsible way. They are being required to contribute 40-50 million dollars that will go to fix these roads.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs

In addition to this, the mayor made this announcement in the 2015 State of the County address recently.

“The capstone announcement outlined a proposal for one of the largest capital investment projects by Orange County, a $300 million initiative called “INVEST in Our Home for Life.” The funds will be spent on roads, parks, pedestrian safety projects, public and fire safety facilities and affordable family housing in Orange County.”

These funds coupled with the developer funds will get our roads fixed meaning the roads will accommodate the existing traffic as well as the traffic forecasted from these developments.

The alternative is no funding for roads and by 2030 all of the roads are over-capacity. This just can’t be allowed to happen. We have an opportunity now to have a say in how these properties are developed in one cohesive and organized way or the flip-side is to oppose it and end up with what I believe will be a much worse situation.

I watch each and every Board of County Commissioner meeting and keep in touch with the people downtown. I speak at many meetings during public comment and just recently spoke at the Charter Review Commission workshops in favor of a one cent sales tax for four years. This county has an infrastructure deficit of 1.6 billion dollars and a one cent sales tax for four years will eliminate that problem.  Here is my post of my public comment.

Many people are resisting this change but that is precisely why we are in this situation with our roads. It is because we are our own worst enemy and keep telling Orange County to go away. But we are at a point now when Orange County can’t go away because they must maintain the roads to a certain Level of Service. If you watch the videos closely you will pick this up rather quickly.

Rip Van Winkle

I liken our situation to Rip Van Winkle.  If you remember the story, he was a young man who left his sleepy little village to go hunting with his dog and woke up 20 years later with no dog and his village turned into a town with many more houses and shops.  He was bewildered and disoriented.  We are Rip Van Winkle and have been asleep for 20 years.

I am not sure how this all happened around us but I feel like Rip Van Winkle.  We can’t turn the clock back and undo it so we have to find a way to deal with it.  My approach is to embrace it and make it what we want it to be.  Opposing it can work for some period of time but the clock can’t be reversed and what is here is here to stay.  We are the town now that Rip Van Winkle walked into after 20 years.  He couldn’t go back and neither can we.

There has been a video a day posted and this will continue for the next week or two before the Board of County Commissioner meeting on July 28th. The videos are less than 3 minutes each so as not to bore you too much. We are at critical mass now and we should all be watching this closely.

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