This video shows how some students get back from class at UCF on a bike to Northgate Lakes apartments on McCulloch Road

Why am I posting a video showing this?

The roads around UCF are very different when it comes to the attention they get in the way of improvements. For example the main entryway to UCF is University Blvd with Alafaya Trail bordering the western end of university property. Alafaya Trail is six lanes as is University Blvd. Both sides of Alafaya and University have sidewalks and Alafaya Trail has six signal lights in a span of 2 miles. More than enough lights for pedestrians to cross.

I have to comment that for bicycle commuters, even these two roads need a lot of work. The bike lane on Alafaya Trail is narrow and only separated by a thin white line while cars whiz by at 45-50 mph. It is very disconcerting and dangerous to ride a bike on the bike lane on Alafaya Trail. And believe it or not, there is no bike lane at all on University Blvd. I am not sure what traffic planners think commuter cyclists are supposed to do, ride on the sidewalk? That just doesn’t work when a person wants to get to work or school. After all, what is the difference between a car commuter who wants to get to work as fast as possible and a bicycle commuter? They both want to commute as fast as possible. To be fair, there is a project underway right now to improve pedestrian and bicycle experience on Alafaya and University but I have no details on what the plan entails.

When it comes to other roads though, they just don’t get the same attention. I am speaking about McCulloch to the north and Tanner to the east. The only reason I can think of as to why this happens is that they are still thought of as rural and lightly traveled. I think that mindset is changing because of resident input but so far I have not seen or heard of any plans to improve them for car or cycling commuters.

All we can do as residents is continue to raise the awareness of issues on these roads with Orange and Seminole County as well as UCF and continue to offer solutions to the issues.

We have two rather large apartment complexes on McCulloch between Alafaya and Lockwood. How do some students get to school and back at UCF on a bike from Northgate Lakes apartments. Let me show you.

At the end of the video are ways to improve the experience for these bike commuters that will make it safer and easier for them to get to class as well as promote bike commuting which will help reduce traffic on these roads.

Just my humble suggestions for improvements.

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296 multi-family apartments going in just east of the 408 on Hwy 50

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Community Meeting for the 296 apartments proposed just to the east of the 408 on Hwy 50. They are on the corner of Bonneville Road and Hwy 50. I was not in favor of the apartments.
The apartments look very nice and the concept is good. They are higher end apartments catering to professionals and will not be student housing. The developer is the same group who put in the apartments on the north side of Hwy 50 to the west of Woodbury next to the Publix. I think they are called EOS apartments.
But with that said, I am not in favor of these apartments given our current traffic woes here in East Orange County. The timeline to complete these apartments if approved is the end of 2017 which is right about the same time as the 6 laning of Hwy 50 will be complete. We already know that even 6 laning Hwy 50 is only a temporary fix and the hope is the 408 will be extended but there is no guarantee of that happening as the study is in process now and won’t be completed for another year.
The traffic from these apartments will only add to the existing bottleneck. Traffic in the morning will try to find alternative way to go east and some will end up on Lake Pickett to Tanner and onto the already over-burdened McCulloch Road as it is the only other east-west roadway. Until we have a solid plan on how traffic on McCulloch is going to be reduced, it would be very negligent to approve this apartment complex.
In addition to this the parcel of land is actually 20 acres and these apartments will occupy only 10 of the 20. This could be the reason the application is under 10 acres as that is considered small scale and has less hurdles to jump over. So what happens down the road to the other 10 acres. Perhaps another 300 unit apartment complex or commercial which will add more congestion. I don’t see how the landowner will leave 10 acres undeveloped.
I sort of feel sorry for the landowners and developer of this property as they have a great idea and I am sure the apartments are great but with all our traffic problems this is just at the wrong time and place. This is like blocking the smallest part of an hour glass as these apartments will be at ground zero of all the problems on Hwy 50.

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Traffic on McCulloch – 1/11/2016 – the semester has begun!

This video shows traffic on McCulloch Road on November 18th at 8 am when UCF was in session, on December 16th when the semester ended and also traffic on the first day of the semester – 1/11/2016. All of these times were at about 8 am. This morning was chaotic for drivers on McCulloch. It is apparent that traffic dramatically increases when UCF semester is in session as opposed to when it is not.

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Watch this video with suggestions to help make UCF roads more bike friendly

I rode through UCF on my bike to see what kind of improvements the roads needed to make them more bike friendly. You may not know this but Orlando and Central Florida has one of the worst bike and pedestrian records in the country. I was expecting to find a drastic need for bike lanes and other major improvements but what I found was quite surprising. While there is need for improvement, I didn’t find anything drastic. With some minor effort the roads could be made much safer for cyclists.

So why don’t students commute more on bicycles to school. My feeling is the main problem is driver awareness. I am under the firm belief that most drivers don’t think bikes should be allowed on the roads much less be in the same lane as a car. This is the mindset that must change if we ever expect our roads to be safer for pedestrians and cyclists which in turn will help reduce traffic congestion.

This video shows some very simple and inexpensive ways to greatly improve the roads inside UCF and make them safer for cyclists. I believe the cost of these simple changes will pay back in dividends with a reduction in energy costs, parking spaces and even health benefits.

Please share this video to help make these changes within UCF to get more people commuting by bicycle.

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