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For over a decade, the challenge of how to better utilize South Florida Avenue while making it a safer street for all members of the community has persisted in Lakeland. Now, thanks to the State Road 37 South Florida Avenue Road Diet, the potential for change is closer and more possible than ever.

In 2016, the Florida Department of Transportation launched the South Florida Avenue Corridor Study. The purpose of the study was to assess and address the needs of South Florida Avenue and point the street in a better direction. Enter The Road Diet.

For the last 18 months, The Road Diet temporarily removed two of the narrow travel lanes from Ariana Street to Lime Street, to allow the street to have 11 ft wide lanes, which is today’s standard for roads. Temporarily removing the lanes allowed the study to monitor the impact of removing the lanes and expanding the width of the ones remaining, providing the city of Lakeland with data and information to find the best and most appropriate solution to South Florida Avenue’s issues. Removing the lanes would also allow space for sidewalk expansion, eventually allowing South Florida Avenue to be more inclusive (and safer) to walkers and bikers. Now, 18 months later, the data is in. And the city of Lakeland is ready discuss the findings of the study.

On July 11, 2o22, the City of Lakeland and the Florida Department of Transportation is hosting a public meeting to allow the community to weigh in on the Road Diet project before a vote takes place by the commission on how to proceed with South Florida Avenue. The meeting will be held at the RP Funding Center (Sikes Hall – J) and will take place at 5 p.m. You can find more information about the city held meeting and the State Road 37 South Florida Avenue Road Diet here.

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