Orlando putting money into Project DTO

- The City of Orlando is beginning to implement the first changes to downtown Orlando, as a result of the recommendations of its task force called Project DTO. The committee came up with nearly 100 recommendations to improve the city after months of meetings. Now the city will put $5 million into what that group found.

Mayor Buddy Dyer isn't celebrating just yet, saying "There's a lot of great recommendations from DTO that are going to cost a lot more than $5 million."

One reason is that a little more than $3.3 million will come right off the top to fund the purchase of Constitution Green, land the city desperately wanted to preserve as a city park at the corner of South Street and Eola Drive. That leaves the city with about $1.5 million to work on other things the city wants to change in downtown.

We asked Mayor Dyer what he would like to get started, "Some that immediately come to mind are 'Under Eye,'" he said.  "Under Eye" is the working name for the park that will go under Interstate 4 in the area just north of Church Street near the Amway Center. The city is hoping money from the state and federal government for the Ultimate I-4 reconstruction project will help pay for that goal.

Mayor Dyer is also looking at other roads.  "The road diet that we would like to put on Robinson is another major one that comes to mind."  Robinson is a four-lane road that runs next to the north side of Lake Eola. It has no crosswalks, and that concerns Mayor Dyer. Putting it on a "road diet" would reduce the road to three lanes and add a bike lane.

"Right now, the capacity on that road is far in excess of the traffic that actually uses it, and making that road which is actually on the north side of Lake Eola Park more bike and pedestrian friendly, I think will enhance the experience for everybody downtown, not just the folks that are driving cars."

The final project the mayor hopes can be studied with the $1.5 million is taking cars off of Magnolia Avenue and turning it into a giant pedestrian walkway with only bus traffic allowed.

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