Even as Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson & other leaders “celebrate” the so called completion of the Alafaya Trail widening project, serious safety problems persist.
By Brian Yogodzinski
With the Alafaya Trail Widening project coming to closure, several oversights are now visible. These oversights should have been apparent to the designers during the design phase of the project. The other potential situation was that the county was not willing to incorporate these features due to the incremental cost for each of these features. Following are the highlights of the oversights.
There was no need for two right hand turn lanes for southbound traffic turning on to Innovation way. Even looking in to the future, one turn lane was all that was needed.
Southbound traffic approaching the Innovation Way/Avalon Park Boulevard intersection observes lights that indicate there should be two through lanes for traffic going straight. Viewing the five lights from left to right the light the configuration is as follows: two left turn arrows, two round lights, and a right turn arrow. It is not until drivers see that the marking on the pavement that it is understood that there are two right hand turn lanes, one corresponding to the right hand turn arrow and one to a round light. Depending on the time of day, it can be challenging for the through traffic to merge in to the left hand lane because of the volume of traffic occupying the left lane to turn left on to Avalon Park Boulevard. The road should have been configured such that there were two southbound through lanes or the right hand lane should have been the through lane.
The county took the opportunity to put in one right hand deceleration/turn lane for the Wisper Palms complex. Given the volume of traffic at other intersections and that the land was available, right hand deceleration/turn lanes should have also been installed at the following:
Northbound traffic – entry to Stoneybrook at Stoneybrook Boulevard
Northbound traffic – entry to East Wood at Golfway Boulevard
Northbound traffic – entry to the Reserves at Alafaya
Eastbound traffic – Innovation way to southbound Alafaya Trail
Red light running is a continuing problem created by traffic turning right from Avalon Park Boulevard on to northbound Alayafa Trail. The issue poses a significant safety issue when the Alafaya Trail northbound traffic has the right of way. An electronic sign should have been installed that prohibits a right turn when the northbound traffic has the right of way.
With the project not fully completed, it is unclear if the county has any plans for traffic light timing adjustments and vehicle sensor installation. Most drivers are probably tired or looking at all of the other vehicles also stopped at the intersections waiting for the lights to change while no traffic passes through the intersection because the green lights are for the lanes with no traffic.
Brian Yogodzinski is a Mechanical Engineer with a degree from North Carolina State University with over 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.