I-4 downtown transformation: Create more foot, bike traffic unde - FOX 35 News Orlando

I-4 downtown transformation: Create more foot, bike traffic underneath?

I-4 downtown transformation: Create more foot, bike traffic underneath?

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) - One group wants to make Downtown Orlando pedestrian and bike-friendly by transforming I-4.

Project Downtown Orlando or DTO is sketching out some ideas to make this transformation a reality. Their goal is to have their ideas incorporated in the multi-billion dollar “I-4 Ultimate Project” that is set to break ground later this year.

"What we're really looking at is the area underneath I-4,” said Renaissance Planning Group President Whit Blanton.

The group is consulting the Department of Transportation.

“As they elevate I-4, there will be opened up opportunities for people to access downtown; people to ride bikes, people to walk, people to shop at different food vendors, for example," Blanton said.

The catch: weave their ideas when construction begins for the I-4 Ultimate Project. There will be four toll lanes added and more space.

Blanton says I-4 is important to the success of downtown.

"People can meet and greet, and get to know their neighbors and also break down some of the barriers that are between the east and west side of Downtown Orlando,” he said. “I-4 right now is kind of a barrier.”

This new idea to revamp downtown is not only focusing on I-4, but also surrounding key streets.

"Hughey and Garland are one-way streets,” Blanton said. “They're pretty fast; they're pretty difficult to cross and not very pleasant to walk along. There's an idea that we have which will create a linear park underneath I-4 or along Hughey and Garland.”

So imagine skate parks, basketball courts and different food vendors moving in to make Downtown Orlando more pedestrian and bike-friendly.

The group is meeting every month and plans to meet with the mayor in October to present their ideas. Group leaders hope to gain the mayor's support, especially before construction begins on I-4.

"As that project gets going any ideas that come out of the DTO can be incorporated to the reconstruction of I-4 and that will lessen the cost for everybody around and can be a win-win solution for everyone,” Blanton said.

If you would like to give your input on how to spruce up Downtown Orlando, the group will hold a public meeting outside on Wall Street to talk with people. It will be held on June 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

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