Residents Seek Bike Lanes, Sidewalk Improvements

transportation planning map Lakeland roads need to be made safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, according to residents responding so far to a request for comments about transportation needs.

County transportation planners have set up an interactive map where residents can speak their minds about improvements they’d like to see.

The effort is called Momentum 2040 and its goal is to plan for improvements needed for the year 2040, when Polk’s population is expected to grow to 1 million.

Most of the ideas submitted so far are for immediate needs. (In a funny exchange, a person publicizing the map at a recent city meeting asked who knew where they would be in 2040, and an elderly man said, “I do.”)

The map has three comments clustered around Florida Avenue in the Dixieland area:

  • Amy Campbell responded with a bicycling opportunity: “I’d like to see traffic calming measures taken on South Florida through Dixieland, which would make room for bike lanes and increased pedestrian activity.”
  • A similar comment came from someone using the initials FM: “Reduce from 5 lanes to 3 lanes. Add trees, ‘cycletrack’, and wider sidewalks. Currently has excessive lane capacity, and is destructive of adjacent property value (and thereby tax revenue) given nearby parallel alternatives.”
  • Jane Hammond pushed for pededstrian improvements: “We need to make a cross walk for elderly pedestrians crossing S. Florida Ave at the Lakeland Presbyterian Apartments. Both bus stops, northbound and southbound, need improving for the safety and well being of seniors using these stops daily.”

Joyce Irwin had two requests for bike lanes:

  • Along Lake Parker Avenue north of Main Street: “There are no bike lanes on this road. I am forced to ride the sidewalk as there is no adequate shoulder. The sidewalks have lightpoles and street signs as obstacles on the walkway.”
  • In Eaton Park: “I live on Maine Avenue and ride my bicycle and the bus. There are limited sidewalks and literally no bike lanes or adequate road shoulders to walk . I have observed also that most drivers along this roadway do not obey the 35 mph speed limit.”

A request for better bike lanes on Cleveland Heights Boulevard came from Mary Crowe: “It would be nice if the shoulders on Cleveland Heights Boulevard could be re-done into a dedicated bicycle lane.”

The interactive map sponsored by the Polk Transportation Planning Organization, allows residents to vote and comment on others’ suggestions.

Here’s a video promoting the Momentum 2040 effort to seek public comment: