City reveals what parking lots under I-4 could look like as urban park

click to enlarge City reveals what parking lots under I-4 could look like as urban park
Photo via City of Orlando
Back in October, Mayor Buddy Dyer said in State of Downtown address that the city was working with the Florida Department of Transportation to build an urban park under Interstate 4 that would connect the east side of downtown with the west. The project is still in the conceptual stage, but the city released a working plan of what that urban park could look like, and it's pretty exciting. 

Called the Bridge District, the project designs include five distinct areas, including: 

- The Market Walk: Located in front of Church Street Station and off of South Garland Avenue, this section has a boardwalk that connects the east and west; digital information kiosk; vendor kiosks, tents and pavilions; and a historic Church Street mural.

- Events & More: Next to The Market Walk, this area would include a "walk of light," with specialty LED lighting and projections; pop-up event spaces; life-size chess board; a skateboard/ bike play area that would have obstacles, ramps and jumps; dog run; a rally square; picnic tables and seating; and table sports like chess, checkers, dominoes, etc. 

- Family Time: This area is currently in front of existing surface parking off Pine Street, which the city labeled as a "future redevelopment opportunity." Family Time would include a splash pad, accessible tot lot, playground, food truck staging, more picnic tables, LYNX super stop, sandbox, open play area, interactive sculpture garden and musical super swings. 

- Urban Athletics: The biggest section of the five, this area would include shuffleboard/bocce courts; track loop; food truck staging; seating, multi-purpose hard courts, including ones for basketball and volleyball; administration pavilion; and indoor soccer fields with artificial turf. 

- Parramore Neighborhood Gateway: The last area, off Washington Street, is the smallest section. It will include a Parramore Heritage Walk that will highlight significant Parramore figures; a Parramore Heritage Mural that depicts the history of the area; and an urban trail from Westmoreland to Lake Eola. 

The project is referred to as "Under-I" in the design, but Dyer spokeswoman Cassandra Lafser says that is not the project's official name. City staff is still brainstorming ideas and concepts, so the name might evolve into something else. 

The land for the Bridge District currently belongs to FDOT, she says, and there is no partnership agreement in place for the development of the park or designated funding for it. 

"This is a long-term project and as construction under I-4 happens and that area changes, that vision and specific plans for the area will further formalize and we will know more specifics then," Lafser says in an email. "In the meantime, we will continue to work with FDOT to envision what this will look like and how we can connect the Downtown neighborhoods on both sides." 

See the plan for yourself below. 


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