11/27/2015 – Letter to Orange County regarding roundabouts on McCulloch Road

Below is my email requesting roundabouts on McCulloch Road.

From: rj@fixmyroadway.com [mailto:rj@fixmyroadway.com]

Sent: Friday, November 27, 2015 8:31 AM
To: Orange County
Subject: Will a roundabout work at McCulloch and Worchester?

Respected Orange County elected officials and staff,

I am copying UCF staff so they are aware of this correspondence, Seminole County officials as McCulloch is the dividing line between Orange and Seminole and MetroPlan as I understand a traffic study of this area will occur early next year.

Over the past 5 years as traffic has increased, we have tried three times to get a stop light put in at McCulloch Road and Worchester Drive because residents of University Estates cannot exit safely onto McCulloch Road.  Each time the requested study is performed the numbers do not support a light. Even thought there is three times the traffic on McCulloch needed for a light, there is only 75% of the needed number of cars exiting University Estates.   A traffic light will most likely never be approved.  But after thinking it through and talking to many people about a light the conclusion is that it probably is not the best idea.  Something must be done soon as each year as UCF grows larger, our problem gets worse and it is only a matter of time until my biggest fear becomes a reality.

An idea that some people have expressed is putting in roundabouts.  Because it is sort of out of the norm, the first thought that comes to mind is “no way”, but when you really think it through it makes all the sense in the world especially at these intersections. Please watch this video (https://youtu.be/WwvVkxSfFTw) and keep an open mind as you view it as many people believe that the dynamics of this road makes it a perfect fit for a roundabout.  A traffic light would stop traffic on McCulloch and bog down N. Tanner causing a buildup of commuter traffic.  But a roundabout would keep traffic flowing and also allow residents of University Estates and Madision Park to exit safely.

After proposing this to our community both on Facebook and NextDoor the general consensus is it is a good idea.  There was no negative feedback.  At the bottom of this email is a full listing of the comments from Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/fixmyroadway/) and NextDoor (you have to be part of the neighborhood to view the site) for your review.  The Facebook post was viewed 556 times and the NextDoor post went to the residents of University Estates who subscribe to NextDoor.

I respectfully place a formal request for two roundabouts on McCulloch Road.  This seems to be an opportune time for this request as District 5 has been allocated 28 million for road in East Orange County from the INVEST money.  These roundabouts would be placed at each entrance to University Estates.  If statistics are right, the 105 accidents that have occurred on this stretch of road in the past two years will be dramatically reduced.  I would appreciate a response to my email and some indication on where Orange County stands on this issue.

Sincerely,

RJ Mueller
407-913-5563

 

NextDoor.com comments:

I think it would be better than doing nothing, but I believe we would still have trouble entering the roundabout because of the steady stream of traffic coming through it. They don’t have to yield to let you in, you have to wait for an opening.

 

I think this is a great idea. As for the steady stream of traffic coming through it, they don’t have to yield to let you in, but they will be going slower than they are currently due to the very nature of it being a roundabout and not a straight street.

 

I think it is a great alternative to a light; however, there needs to be two roundabouts — one for each UE entrance. The east entrance is a problem due to the opposing apartment complex. There are always cars going in/out of that complex.

 

I’m glad this idea is again being considered as I still think it’s the best solution for UE residents. I concur they’re needed at both UE entrances vs. just one.

 

It is a good idea and it seems to be the only thing that could alleviate the problem at the moment. If there was a petition that went around to university estates residents as well as Madison would that help with the hard heads in Orange County?

 

Another reasonable approach is to request the county adjust the timing of the traffic lights at McCulloch/Tanner on weekdays from 7-9am in order to provide an extra interval of time when the lights turn from red to green, this will create larger gaps between cars heading west on McCulloch and allow our cars additional space to get onto McCulloch.

 

The City of Oviedo is beginning to use roundabouts as a new way to control traffic at intersections. You can see how well it works where Oviedo Blvd., Frankling St., and Geneva Dr. all meet. According to their website athttp://www.cityofoviedo.net/node/164….

Benefits of a roundabout:

Efficient traffic flow:
30-50% increase in traffic capacity
Reduction in pollution and fuel use:

Improved traffic flow for intersections that handle a high number of left turns
Reduced need for storage lanes
Money Saved:
No signal equipment to install and repair
Savings estimated at an average of $5,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs
Service life of a roundabout is 25 years (vs. the 10-year service life of signal equipment)
Community Benefits:
Traffic calming
Aesthetic landscaping

Lives Saved:
Up to a 90% reduction in fatalities
76% reduction in injury crashes
30-40% reduction in pedestrian crashes
75% fewer conflict points than 4-way intersections
Slower vehicle speeds (under 30 mph):
Drivers have more time to judge and react to other cars or pedestrians
Advantageous to older and novice drivers
Reduces the severity of crashes
Keeps pedestrians safer

 

If they’re re-timing the light, please start at 6:30 AM. I have a difficult time getting out before 7.
But then they’d also have to look at retiming the McCulloch/Lockwood/Orion light in the evenings as well.

 

All of Elaine Powell’s information is good proof that the roundabouts should be the way to go. Thank you for the comprehensiveness of your reply, Elaine!

 

Great idea!

 

Facebook.com comments (https://www.facebook.com/fixmyroadway/):

The City of Oviedo is beginning to use roundabouts as a new way to control traffic at intersections. You can see how well it works where Oviedo Blvd., Frankling St., and Geneva Dr. all meet. According to their website at http://www.cityofoviedo.net/node/164….
Benefits of a roundabout:
Efficient traffic flow:
30-50% increase in traffic capacity
Reduction in pollution and fuel use:
Improved traffic flow for intersections that handle a high number of left turns
Reduced need for storage lanes
Money Saved:
No signal equipment to install and repair
Savings estimated at an average of $5,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs
Service life of a roundabout is 25 years (vs. the 10-year service life of signal equipment)
Community Benefits:
Traffic calming
Aesthetic landscaping
Lives Saved:
Up to a 90% reduction in fatalities
76% reduction in injury crashes
30-40% reduction in pedestrian crashes
75% fewer conflict points than 4-way intersections
Slower vehicle speeds (under 30 mph):
Drivers have more time to judge and react to other cars or pedestrians
Advantageous to older and novice drivers
Reduces the severity of crashes
Keeps pedestrians safer”

 

In Lusaka, capitol of Zambia, Africa, there are much bigger roundabouts than here in the States. If they are bigger, it would help heavier traffic.

 

Sounds good!

 

Yes! Roundabouts are all over Europe and the Northwest and we need more here in C. Florida. Often times we are even to quick to add a traffic light where a roundabout could better serve the roadway.

 

I think it would only help if it were further east from the entrances of the subdivisions. If it’s implemented at the intersection itself I don’t think it will help because it won’t stop the constant flow of traffic to where UE traffic can make the left turn.

 

Problem with roundabouts is nobody in the state of Florida knows how to use them

 

They need to lower the speed limit on mcculloch. With all the traffic the speed limit should be 30 mph.

 

All right hand turns work all the time. Proven fact.

 

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UCF Board of Trustees

11/19/2015 – UCF Board of Trustee Public Comment

Below is my public comment to the UCF Board of Trustees regarding traffic in East Orange County.  We have a regional problem that needs all parties to help with a solution.

Letter requesting traffic study from Seminole County to MetroPlan.

Letter from MetroPlan agreeing to do traffic study.


Good morning, my name is RJ Mueller and I live at 14366 Stamford Cir just behind UCF on McCulloch Road.  The reason I am here is to ask for your help with traffic on the east side of UCF.

I have lived in University Estates since 1993 and have watched UCF grow from 10,000 to 63,000 students.  I work at UCF and am heavily involved in my community.

Over the years wonderful things have happened in our community mostly as a result of UCF and its commitment, involvement and cooperative efforts.  Some recent examples:

  • Street lights will be added to a neighborhood close by to make it safer for the community through cooperation between UCF and Orange County.
  • UCF is partnering a pedestrian and safety program on University and Alafaya with Orange County.
  • A beautiful retirement facility on Old Lockwood Road was approved through Seminole County.
  • Other examples of community involvement are the downtown campus, Northview and the new hotel that will be built on University property.

All this is magnificent but comes with growth.  Our challenge in East Orange County is the road system.  It has not kept pace and is now a regional problem.  Focus and attention has been west of UCF but there has been little focus east as it was deemed rural.  It is not rural anymore and people have settled and will continue to build east of UCF.  Over 4,000 homes in two developments may be built on Lake Pickett Road.

Here is some information that may interest you.

  • Many of the roads east of UCF are failing or are already in failed conditions.
  • There are only two east-west roadways in this area, Hwy 50 and McCulloch Road.
  • Even when Hwy 50 is expanded to 6 lanes, it will still fail by 2030.
  • The one mile stretch of road between Lockwood and N. Tanner on McCulloch has had 105 accidents in a two year period.
  • When a new semester starts, traffic backs up down McCulloch and then half way down N. Tanner past the elementary school making it almost impossible for the residents of University Estates to exit onto McCulloch because of the never ending stream of cars. So much so that we had to hire off-duty sheriff deputies for traffic control so our residents could exit.

There is a solution?  The solution is connectivity which starts with the one mile stretch of road from the end of Research Parkway going east to N. Tanner.  This road is already on the Orange County long range plan and is part of the Richard Crotty Parkway.  If this road could be built, it would solve many traffic problem.  I have two letters for you to review.  One from Seminole County asking MetroPlan to do a traffic study of this area and one from MetroPlan saying they will.  We have a regional problem.

I am here to ask for your help, consideration and involvement.  Thank you for your time.

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