New York Avenue is set to get a facelift – an effort to bring the charm of Park Avenue to another downtown Winter Park road.
The Winter Park Community Redevelopment Agency Board voted on Aug. 10 to tentatively provide funding for a streetscaping project for New York Avenue, running north to south from Fairbanks Avenue to Canton Avenue.
The $762,000 project would add new paving, sidewalks, landscaping, irrigation and new curbs to make it more difficult for drivers to park illegally along the road.
This project was originally accepted in the 2007 CRA strategic plan, but didn’t receive funding because of the economic recession.
“This is part of downtown Winter Park,” said Economic Development Program Manager Kyle Dudgeon during a July 20 CRA work session. “It has the potential to be on par with Park Avenue as far as streetscaping.”
But some City Commissioners questioned the need to beautify New York Avenue due to the road being underutilized.
“I know you’re doing this for beautification, but I don’t see a lot of pedestrians on that street,” City Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel said.
Mayor Steve Leary said during the July work session that he hopes to see the intersection of New York and Lyman avenues improved due to its chaotic nature after a train passes through, an observation he’s made in the past.
“I think everybody here has experienced crossing at Lyman and New York,” Leary said during the Aug. 11 City Commission meeting last year. “When those gates go up it’s an absolute rodeo. It’s a free-for-all and nobody stops.”
Public Works Director Troy Attaway last year attributed the confusion to the large size of the intersection. The stop sign on Lyman sits so far back that it throws off the cycle of alternating drivers, he said.
Economic Development Director Dori Stone said that railroad improvements to help make the intersection safer would cost an additional $600,000, an option that City Commissioners agreed to explore in the future.
Funding for the New York Avenue project still needs to be approved along with the rest of the city budget, which will go before the City Commission for a first reading on Sept. 14 before Commissioners make a final vote during their Sept. 28 meeting.