On Wednesday, February 29, 2012, national traffic calming expert and executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, Dan Burden, hosted a walkability audit of the intersection of County Road 535 and Overstreet Road here in Horizon West for several concerned parents of students attending Sunset Park Elementary.
During the brief walking audit, Dan, who indicated “gross omissions”, pointed out several problems but also shared practical solutions to implement.
The only thing as disappointing as our reason for having him there was the lack of participation by the school’s administration particularly after multiple email invitations and a phone call. We received no explanation, excuse, or reason for their lack of interest. It would be nice to have their partnership in pressuring the County for improvements for life safety for their students.
If you missed Beth Kassab’s Orlando Sentinel column “Suburbs Shouldn’t Settle For Riskier Roads” on March 4, you should know that the accompanying video was shot during the audit. I found it particularly illustrative with moms and a stroller walking in the foreground and vehicles zooming both directions in the background. Great job Beth and George Skene of the Sentinel!
Also, click to see an earlier assessment I performed on this intersection aslt fall. I feel Dan was able to better boil down the problems to immediate needs with solutions.
Please click for Dan’s assessment of and suggestions for this intersection. This will launch a PDF.
The neighborhood school, Sunset Park Elementary, is on one side of this dangerous intersection, and the families it serves reside on the other. Though it was not designed for this (but should have been), children walk to school each weekday through the intersection. I’ve spent some time considering the design of this intersection. The link below will download a PDF and explain the current conditions as well as safety features that should have been implemented.
Over the last few weeks, residents in Lakeside Village have come together again. They have been organizing to plea with county leaders to deny a request by Avatar Homes to remove the required southern connector road in Lakeside Village from the planned development. The planned development is a set of guidelines attached to the property that define how it can be developed.
The decision was continued from September 13 and September 20. The majority of those speaking in support of denial live in the neighborhoods of Newbury Park, Grande Pines, and Lake Mabel Shores. Since the closure of Reams Road, they have seen drivers short cut through their neighborhoods to exit onto County Road 535. The intended route from Reams is to drive north on Lakeside Village Lane, but this adds several minutes and approximately a mile of travel. The safety issues are self-explanatory as these are small neighborhoods with families with young children. [...]