Shifting Traffic Patterns Cause Havoc On Alafaya Trail


    By Brian Yogodzinski


    Planning and risk management are two concepts that continue to be items which the County has not been able to master. Usually after a situation does not provide the desired results, lessons learned are applied to enhance future results. If lessons learned are being applied to the Alafaya Trail widening project, the desired results are not being achieved.

    In 2012, there was an unannounced traffic pattern shift when approaching the project when heading southbound. This is the area just south of Curry Ford Road where the two southbound lanes reduce to one lane. Previously the through traffic utilized the right lane. That shift moved the through traffic to the left lane.  Being unannounced, the traffic pattern shift caused chaos.  Chaos causes unnecessary traffic delays and an increase in the potential for accidents. The change actually had some positive effects which details of these follow but the issue was the manner in which the change was implemented.

    The traffic pattern for this same area was changed again and that change was also unannounced. The traffic pattern for the through traffic has been returned to the right lane.  This again caused chaos as the change was not only unannounced but was also unanticipated.  People were frantically attempting to merge left to right after being accustomed to merge right to left. This new pattern is anticipated to cause more issues. With the previous pattern of the trough traffic being in the left lane, most of the through traffic lined up in the left lane at the traffic light at the intersection of Curry Ford Road.  



    During the evening rush hour, the traffic in the left lane backups up past the Walmart Neighborhood Market. The traffic wanting to turn right on to Curry Ford Road is able to do such by using the right lane.  It also allows those drivers wanting to turn out from Walmart the opportunity to do such when the left hand lane is backed up. This revision of the through traffic to the right lane will worsen the situation for those wanting to make the right turn on to Curry Ford Road and also for those drivers attempting to turn on to Alafaya Trail from Walmart.

    The revised traffic pattern in 2012 had its merits but was poorly implemented since there was no notification of its implementation. For the current situation there was no need to change the through lane from the left lane to the right lane. The area could have been marked in a manner with lane stripes such that an adequate merge area still remained. The County made the change last year and did not learn how to apply lessons learned to the current event.  Planning and risk assessment continue to falter.  



    What the public needs is for the County to reassign resources with superior planning and risk assessment skills from other projects to this project to ensure that this project can remain on schedule and does not create added strife to the public.



    Brian Yogodzinski is a Mechanical Engineer from North Carolina State University with 25 years of experience, primarily in the power generation business.  During that time he became a specialist in the area of Transportation Engineering for the movement of over-dimensional and over-weight components such as power plant generators, combustion turbines, and steam turbines, with typical components ranging from 110,000 pounds to 1,000,000 pounds. He has extensive experience working with state and local authorities to ensure regulation compliances and safe transit of these commodities in the public domain. He currently works for a firm that builds equipment for and constructs power plants.