Winter Park reimagines its downtown as a haven for pedestrians, bikes
Winter Park is prioritizing pedestrian and biker safety in its new Downtown Master Plan, approved Tuesday by the town council.
The vision includes increased mobility, a sustained environment and a focus on culture and economy, while reimagining Winter Park’s downtown core along Main Street, from Village Drive to Kings Crossing Road, with new design and architectural guidelines.
A steering committee of 15 residents and town staff, as well as input from several public events, created the plan.
“We feel like we’ve gotten plenty of public feedback on the plan and we feel it’s right for the community,” Community Development Director James Shockey said.
The plan outlines recommendations for the town council to undertake and an implementation process.
Crucially, it highlights four priorities to begin to make changes to the streetscape, including restriping bike lanes on the existing road, adding public art through street furniture, midblock crosswalks and safety buffers for pedestrians, such as bollards. It also prioritizes showcasing the new transit hub at Cooper Creek Square with a temporary street closure during a summer festival.
Other recommendations in the plan are phased out over seven years with the ultimate goal of a completely new streetscape with new medians, bike lanes and reduced on-street parking.
The plan suggests the town address parking needs via increasing parking availability on side streets and at popular destinations, as well as continuing to expand the regional bus system, starting a bike sharing program and encouraging walking and biking through streetscape design.
Zoning the downtown core as an innovation district and completing a downtown trails project to assess demand for current and future trails are two other policy ideas in the plan.
Council members voiced support for the plan and passed it unanimously.
In other business:
- The council approved a change in the timing of the collection of the affordable housing fee for new developments. Previously, the fee was collected when the development received its certificate of occupancy. It will now be collected when the development files for a building permit.
- Winter Park’s municipal judge will be responsible for hearing alleged violations of the town’s liquor licensing authority, per an ordinance approved Tuesday.
- Council also approved the town’s three-mile plan outlining possible property annexations within three miles of the town.
- A resolution to waive fees for the town’s new public works building was tabled because of a discussion with East Grand Fire Department, in which the department requested the town not waive the EGFD impact fee for the project.
- New council member Jennifer Hughes was named Winter Park’s representative for the Transit Advisory Committee.
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