The main street of the Audubon Park Garden District needs a makeover and residents, business owners and drivers are being asked to voice their opinions on its new look.
“We want to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians,” said Cynthia Lambert, public information manager for MetroPlan. “One of the residents’ biggest concerns are cars speeding down the corridor.”
The study ask for pubic feedback on ideas for improvement, however, there is zero funding for construction, Lambert added.
There’s been talk of a road diet (cutting lanes of traffic), adding a walking and biking trail and improving connectivity and accessibility.
The road straddles several jurisdictions, complicating the process. Corrine Drive is owned by Orange County but maintained by the City of Orlando. It was originally built to move heavy equipment from the former Naval Training Center to US 17-92.
Everyone has an opinion on how the corridor should look in the future. Drivers want easier access and bikers see Corrine as a connection to the Cady Way, Bumby Avenue, Lake Baldwin and Orlando Urban trails. Business owners welcome the new look but some mom and pop stores are concerned about losing customers during reconstruction.
Residents have formed the Corrine Calming Coalition that has advocated for beautification and improvements. The 35-mile-per-hour road between Bennett Road and U.S. Highway 17-92 has become a shortcut for Baldwin Park and Winter Park residents on their way to downtown Orlando and Interstate 4.
Some are worried change may bring more traffic.
Marie Crofoot, who has lived in the Merritt Park neighborhood for 31 years, said she’s worried about how it will impact her neighborhood.
“We live in a neighborhood filled with small streets that are tight and lush with vegetation,” Crofoot said. “Any increased traffic will be a hazard. Our neighborhood is already a big cut through to Florida Hospital and this will only encourage more.”
The thriving Corrine Drive retail district has recently witnessed a gentrification with a host of new businesses and restaurants. John Rife bought a church and turned it into an eclectic neighborhood market and culinary food hub. He said he’s worried that some smaller businesses may not survive a long construction process but it will mean better walking, biking and driving conditions in the long run.
“There will be an economic impact to small businesses but the long-term investment is worth the challenge,” said Rife, owner of the East End Market. “Looking at the reconstruction of Winter Garden’s main street, businesses are thriving now. We’ll find a boost in business when it’s all over.”
Ed Tomljenovich has owned P is for Pie Bake Shop for a year and a half but is not ready to decide on a Corrine Corridor redesign yet.
“I won’t be sure until I see how the plans are laid out,” he said.. “I need to know if there will be islands with trees, if they plan to cut off turn lanes into my shop before I know if it will help or hurt us.”
About 1,000 people have completed the survey, which ends May 30. MetroPlan is also reaching out to all 45 of the business owners along Corrine Drive.
A public workshop will be held this summer and MetroPlan will present a draft Corrine Drive Corridor Plan to the public before sending it to local governments by the spring of 2018.
The final step is to look for a funding source to pay for the improvements.
Take the study at: CorrineDriveStudy.org.