Ocoee and Metroplan Orlando are working together on a project to improve a 1.2-mile stretch of roadway that includes Franklin Street and Silver Star Road.
MetroPlan and the city of Ocoee hosted an informational forum at the Women’s Club of Ocoee Thursday, March 14, to present the recommended road improvements and collect feedback from area residents.
Previously, Silver Star Road had been planned to be widened to four lanes with a center turn lane between State Road 429 and Clarke Road. But further evaluation of the roadway led MetroPlan and Ocoee to consider keeping it as a two-lane road, said Nick Lepp, the director of transportation planning for MetroPlan Orlando.
“Silver Star Road was planned to be widened to four lanes,” Lepp said. “But we wanted to take a new look at it and ask, 'Does it really need four lanes? Is there something else we could do to really improve the situation?' So after looking at the traffic, we didn't see that it really warranted that kind of widening, but we knew that it needed something to slow down the traffic and accommodate the cars, trucks, bicyclists, and pedestrians that will be coming through here. So that's why we wanted to take a more complete streets approach.”
The resulting alternative for the future road-improvement project intends to improve traffic flow, eliminate back-ups at several intersections and improve the connectivity of the road network by:
- constructing a roundabout at Bowness Avenue and Franklin Street; adding westbound and eastbound bicycle lanes;
- providing left-turn lanes and medians on Silver Star Road east of Ocoee-Apopka Road;
- adding capacity to northbound Ocoee-Apopka Road;
- using Bowness Avenue as the primary route connecting Franklin Street and Silver Star Road;
- and extending the west orange trail into downtown Ocoee.
The project starts just on the east side of Bluford Avenue and was supposed to end at State Road 429, but it was extended a short way to East Crown Point Road to get that trail connection.
“We're keeping it as a two-lane road, but adding opportunities for those vehicles to turn left whereas now they don't, which causes some backups and delays,” Lepp said. “And we're also going to add sidewalks and extend the West Orange Trail into downtown Ocoee. So the whole south side from Franklin Street will come in and that will bring you to downtown Ocoee, and it ends just past Bluford Avenue, but eventually, we'll be looking at phase two in the future that could bring (the trail) all the way around.”
The project starts from East Crown Point Road and Franklin Street to the west and ends a little east of Bluford Avenue and Silver Star Road, Lepp added.
The project is currently in the planning-study phase, which is expected to be completed by the end of summer. The project’s engineering team will then refine the design plans to add more details and establish funding sources for the project, which will be a combination of local and state funding. If the project is ultimately approved, it could be completed in about seven to 10 years. Lepp said.
“After this, we have to figure out which part the (Florida Department of Transportation) is going to do because most of it is a state road, and then which segments it will partner with the city on, and then it’s down to getting those sections done,” he said. “So we can go right into design and then hopefully construction. But that's still, probably, a good seven to 10 years out, but it won't have to be another 15 to 20 years out as it's currently slated.”
To view the project’s website and view the full concept plan of the recommended alternative, visit bit.ly/2CqMXlb.