DR. PHILLIPS Nearly 50 people attended the final community meeting for the Sand Lake Road traffic improvement study to hear what proposed improvements the county is considering for the problematic roadway.
The meeting was held on Thursday, Feb. 23, at Dr. Phillips High School and focused on the stretch of Sand Lake Road from Turkey Lake Road to South Apopka-Vineland Road.
Back in October, a community meeting was held that proposed three different options to alleviate congestion on the roadway. The attendees voted on the three different options, and the majority voiced their approval of Alternative 2. During the Feb. 23 meeting, representatives of the Orange County Transportation Planning Division presented more detailed information about Alternative 2.
“Obviously, we’re listening as a county to your concerns about Sand Lake Road,” said Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey.
Currently, that 1.3 mile stretch of Sand Lake Road has five-foot sidewalks, no bike facilities or bus transit stops and daily congestion at the Dr. Phillips Boulevard intersection. The study concluded that nearly one-third of the daily traffic traveling westbound on the roadway turn right onto Dr. Phillips Boulevard.
In addition, the study revealed that there were 859 car accidents on Sand Lake Road between 2012 and 2015. An estimated 24% of those - about 200 accidents - occurred on the westbound side of Sand Lake Road between The Fountains plaza and Dr. Phillips Boulevard.
Under the proposed changes of Alternative 2, a variety of lane improvements would be implemented between Turkey Lake Road and Dr. Phillips Boulevard. These changes include:
- a continuous right-turn lane traveling westbound on Sand Lake Road to Dr. Phillips Boulevard
- a pedestrian island on the north-east side of the Sand Lake Road and Dr. Phillips Boulevard intersection
- a westbound left-turn lane from Sand Lake Road into Plaza Venezia
- an extended left-turn lane traveling eastbound from Sand Lake Road onto Della Drive
- new curbing all along Sand Lake Road
- a 10-foot-wide shared-use path along the south side of Sand Lake Road
“It’s about creating a street that is complete and comfortable,” said Anoch Whitfield, representative for the Orange County Transportation Planning Division.
Alternative 2 also includes two different options to solve traffic concerns at the entrances of Plaza Venezia and The Fountains. Option 1 would install a diamond-shaped directional median at the intersection. This would allow traffic traveling in both directions on Sand Lake Road to turn into the plazas, but would prevent traffic exiting either plaza from turning left onto Sand Lake Road. Option 2 would install traffic signals and crosswalks at the Plaza Venezia entrance.
Neither option has yet been ruled out as it would require another traffic study specific to that intersection.
Several of the attendees at the meeting asked questions regarding specific details about the roadway, including landscaping, drainage and traffic light concerns. However, representatives from the Transportation Planning Division said that these detailed concerns can’t be answered until designs for roadway are created, which won’t take place until the study is complete.
While this meeting was the final community meeting regarding the Sand Lake Road study, county representatives will have another three meetings before the Orange County Board of County Commissioners votes on the issue in June.
The estimated cost of construction at this point is $8.85 million. Right now, the county only has funding available to see this project through to the design phase.
Proposed changes to Wallace Road were also discussed during the meeting, which included widening the road and creating a westbound right-turn lane from Wallace Road onto Apopka-Vineland Road. However, the county currently has no funding available for the Wallace Road changes.
To learn more about the Sand Lake Road traffic improvement study, visit sandlakeroadstudy.com.
Contact Brittany Gaines at [email protected].