A project that’s reshaping Denning Drive is taking another step forward.
Winter Park had a stretch of Denning Drive from Morse Boulevard to Canton Avenue shut down starting Wednesday to allow road work – part of an ongoing project that’s converting the four-lane street to three lanes, with the center lane serving as a turn lane.
The project makes room for a 10-foot-wide, multi-use trail along the east side. It’s all an effort to create a path along Denning that’s walkable – a positive direction for the city, Public Works Director Troy Attaway said.
“I think it’s really important to improve that,” Attaway said. “Unfortunately in the ‘60s and ‘70s there were roads that were widened in anticipation of some great traffic movement that never really occurred. What we’re doing is reclaiming asphalt that’s underutilized and making it more functioned for different modes than cars.”
The stretch of Denning Drive between Morse Boulevard and Canton Avenue should be closed for roughly two weeks, Attaway said. After a total of six weeks of construction, workers will then move on to the fourth phase of the project from Canton Avenue to Webster Avenue. That section will also be closed for two weeks within a six-week span of construction. The project will then conclude with a final, fifth phase up to Solana Avenue just to widen the existing path along the road.
Despite the road getting narrowed down to three lanes, Winter Parkers shouldn’t expect any heavy traffic along Denning, Attaway said. The road carries less than 10,000 cars a day – well under the capacity of a four-lane road and even a two-lane road. To put things in perspective, Lakemont Avenue sees 20,000 cars a day, Attaway said.
“I had no doubt that we could continue to carry the 10,000 cars a day and have no traffic problems whatsoever,” Attaway said. “We don’t anticipate traffic is going to decrease at all, but we don’t see any problems with continuing to carry what was here.”
The project first began back in fall 2017 with a stretch of Denning Drive from Orange Avenue to Fairbanks Avenue. That completed length of road today features some tasteful landscaping with oak trees planted in the medians along the center lane. That choice of landscaping and the narrowing of the road actually makes the street safer, Attaway said, explaining that it makes drivers move slower down Denning Drive.
“As a motorist you kind of drive whatever speed you feel comfortable at, regardless of what the speed limit says,” Attaway said. “Studies have confirmed that for many years – it’s kind of the comfit level. A big, wide road makes you feel comfortable going faster, and so by narrowing it down, we feel like subconsciously you’re going to look at it and go ‘It’s a little tight or narrow, I’m going to go slower.’”
Attaway said the Denning Drive project will hopefully be finished by late August.