Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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Road widening to include OHS crosswalk changes

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Larger sidewalks, raised medians, and a major change to the Oviedo High School crosswalk will be built in Phase 2 of the Oviedo Ultimate Project, which plans to widen a 1.4 mile stretch of Broadway Street (State Road 426/County Road 419), from Pine Avenue to Adeline B. Tinsley Way, by next summer. 

The project started in January 2022 and has been split into three phases. Here’s the plan for its current phase – Phase 2, according to the Florida Department of Transportation: 

  • Two travel lanes in each direction, separated by a 22-foot-wide, raised-grass median
  • Adding bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides 
  • Improved pedestrian safety features at the Oviedo High School crosswalk

The construction will widen the road from two lanes to four lanes and introduce a grass median. Image courtesy of FDOT.

The project’s newest feature

FDOT District 5 Public Information Director Cindi Lane said that the project is introducing a pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB) at Oviedo High School.

A PHB is an overhead traffic signal. Once the PHB button at the crosswalk is pushed, it illuminates a yellow light to notify drivers that they will soon be required to stop. When two red lights are illuminating, drivers must come to a complete stop to allow pedestrians to cross the road, Lane said. 

“Unlike a traditional traffic signal, the PHB signal face remains dark until activated by a pedestrian, allowing motorists to proceed with the flow of traffic,” Lane wrote in an email. 


Instead of a green light, no lights on the PHB means that drivers can safely go and that no pedestrians should be crossing. Image courtesy of FDOT.

Oviedo Mayor Megan Sladek said the project will change the traffic pattern near OHS. She said that right now, a police officer stops traffic on Broadway Street for vehicles making a left out of OHS’s parking lot during dismissal, stopping everyone on Broadway Street.

Sladek said that the construction plans also include wider sidewalks and bike lanes. 

“Now, the sidewalks range from non-existent to 3-feet wide immediately along the edge of the pavement with no buffer between cars and the sidewalk. After construction, a 4-foot bike lane will allow a little space between people and cars, and in places, the sidewalk will be up to 10 feet wide,” Sladek said in an email. 

OHS Principal Trent Daniel said in an email that she’ll refrain from speculating about how the construction project will impact the school.

A focus on crash reduction

Lane also said that the project will prevent rear-end crashes by introducing new turn lanes and the raised, grassy median.

“The new median will also reduce the number of conflict points, or areas where vehicles can legally cross paths, thus reducing the number of crashes and making the roadway safer,” Lane said. 

FDOT provided crash data below that breaks down the number of rear-end crashes per year within the project limits prior to construction:

  • 2019: 27 crashes
  • 2020: 18 crashes
  • 2021: 29 crashes

Living with the change

Many readers have asked OCN about the land that has been dug up near Friendship Park. Lane confirmed that construction is included in the widening project. Broadway Street is being widened in front of the park, including a bike lane and a sidewalk. The project aims to increase safety for motorists and pedestrians accessing the areas around the park.

While many are excited to see the new improvements to the community, others feel that the construction has become an obstacle to their daily routine, and is changing the Oviedo that many residents grew up in.

“I don’t even take some routes because of how bad the construction is. Anytime you need to make a left turn, it’s insane,” said Michael Chambers, a 25-year-old Oviedoan who works in cybersecurity and is an Oviedo High School graduate. 

Chambers said the construction has caused increased traffic. He reminisced about his high school days when there was no traffic and construction. 

“The density of people they want to be here doesn’t match the area,” Chambers said. 

Kristhal Giron, 39, moved to Oviedo about a year ago and is excited about the new improvement plans in the Oviedo Ultimate Project. She emphasized the love she has for the city, and her anticipation of the new roads and overall infrastructure. 

“Expansion is good. I’m excited to be able to move around a lot quicker,” she said.


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