Reimagining Mobility Within Lake Nona
On the early afternoon of Nov. 12, the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) announced recipients of the BUILD grant at the UCF College of Medicine in Lake Nona. The BUILD grant stands for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development. Elaine Chao, USDOT Secretary was joined by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the formal announcement.
“The Administration is targeting BUILD Transportation grants to repair, rebuild, and revitalize significant infrastructure projects across the country,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
A check was displayed on podiums to be paid to the order of America’s Infrastructure for $883.5 million as part of the BUILD Grant Program. Another check was made out to the Orange County Government of Florida for $20 million for the Reimagining Mobility Project. This $20 million will go straight to the development of infrastructure within the community we call home — Lake Nona.
“I think it’s great today to have Florida chosen as the backdrop for today’s announcement given the tremendous impact that bill grants have had in creating a modern, robust transportation system … In fact, the state of Florida is first in the number of bill grants received as well as first in the dollar amount,” exclaimed Gov. DeSantis.
Over 666 applications for the BUILD grant were submitted and a total of 55 projects in 35 states were chosen. Those projects that were selected needed to provide potential to improve safety, to rebuild and refurbish the nation’s critical infrastructure, improve quality of life, and be ready for the future without hampering innovation.
“This is an incredible win for the region and yet another example of how the right public-private partnerships can distinguish themselves and win big when we collaborate together,” said Rasesh Thakkar, senior managing director of Tavistock. “The Local Alternative Mobility Network (LAMN) is a forward-thinking project within the Lake Nona living lab environment that will better position Orange County and Orlando for a new wave of multi-modal transportation solutions, all with a view toward scaling the learnings from this innovation to the rest of the region, the state and the country.”
The $20 million BUILD grant for Orange County will support the
investment in multi-modal transportation by adding several key elements:
-A full-service mobility networking hub connecting multiple forms of transportation
- Full-service hub facility for recreational and commuter users located in Lake Nona Town Center that will connect all modes of transportation and include restrooms with shower facilities, digital kiosks, seating, bike racks, storage, and access to dedicated parking.
-Infrastructure that supports a fleet of autonomous vehicles (AV)
- Infrastructure required for the safe and efficient operation of an AV fleet consisting of approximately 20 multi-passenger shuttles on the route network. Infrastructure includes dedicated AV stops, shared ROW lanes, dedicated AV lanes, and AV storage, maintenance, and vehicle charging stations. In addition, the AV system and its users will have access to the same services for the shared bicycle and electric assist programs to be offered in Lake Nona.
- NOTE: BUILD grant funds will not be used to purchase vehicles, only to support the infrastructure
-Bicycle Transportation Network (BTN), which consists of three facility types to accommodate various users:
- Multi-use trail network (MUT) provides commuter and recreational corridors for bicycle and pedestrian users alike
- Dedicated commuter way provides destination-oriented commuter paths for higher-speed travel
- Enhanced and expanded on-street dedicated lanes support the travel of bicycle users throughout the community.
- The BTN is complemented by strategically located support facilities, called “Recovery Zones,” that allow users to rehydrate, repair, and recover while biking.
- A linear park connecting a dense, mixed-use environment within Lake Nona Town Center, displacing a conventional automobile street with a dedicated bicycle commuter way, dedicated AV right of way, and pedestrian paths organized around an exposed stormwater conveyance waterway.
- Read more about Linear Park here.
-Linear Park Bridge
- A dedicated bridge over the highly traveled, six-lane Lake Nona Boulevard, providing bicycle and pedestrian access to the Lake Nona Town Center and Mobility Network Hub.
There will also be green link multi-modal routes to reduce storm water runoff. These infrastructure advancements will reduce congestion and improve air quality.
Jacksonville will receive an additional $20 million and Miami will receive $22 million to enhance a 10-mile mass transit corridor. Florida will receive $62 million overall in this round of BUILD grants.
“Today’s announcement will highlight innovative projects that will support Florida’s growing infrastructure needs and help lay the groundwork for the future of transportation system[s],” DeSantis continued. “Today’s announcement also speaks to our efforts to modernize this infrastructure system to keep up with Florida’s rapid growth. We need a stable and efficient transportation network here in Florida, but particularly in Central Florida which is a very fast growing area and those needs are going to continue to be in the future. When you have a lack of mobility, when you have congestion plaguing metropolitan areas, that costs money because it costs productivity, it costs time and it costs effort.”
Nearly 70% of the nation’s LAMN miles are in rural areas. One-fifth of Americans live in rural areas and nearly half of deaths occur on rural roads, according to Chao. This is a safety issue and these grants aim to build on the safety of residents as it’s a top priority.
“With this ambitious project, we strive to create better mobility options,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “This is about looking ahead to new technologies and innovative transportation solutions to ensure the future mobility of our residents and visitors. Tavistock has continued to be a great partner in our community espousing smart growth and innovation in community-building. We are pleased that they have stepped up to be the sponsor for this exciting project.”
Jessi Blakley, Vice President of Communications for Tavistock Development Company mentioned that Mayor Demings and Orange County have a huge focus on transportation and how one of their biggest priorities is safety and reducing traffic congestion.
“The focus of our grant really surrounded on automobile dependency. How do you reduce automobile dependency in a large-scale community? And so, we focused on that first mile and last mile. And so, by expanding people’s opportunities in the multi-modes in which they can get around the community — you’ve got the bike lanes, you’ve got also things like the scooters and mopeds, trail-ways for pedestrian paths as well as dedicated lanes for autonomous. So, it’s really just going to give people more options to get around the community.”
Tavistock has its boots to the ground ready to jump on this project as soon as possible. Permits have already been sent off and expected project completion is anywhere from three to five years.