On March 18, 2014, the City of Altamonte Springs, Fla., approved a strategic vision plan for the East Town Center District of downtown Altamonte Springs, created by VHB. The East Town Center Strategic Vision Plan study area is 47 percent commercial, 28 percent residential, and 5 percent institutional. A focus of the Vision Plan is the 120 acres surrounding the new Altamonte Springs SunRail commuter rail station, including the vacant land east of the station.
A key element was the transit-oriented development (TOD) surrounding the SunRail commuter rail station, with expected ridership at 1,100 trips per day by 2016. Drawing on a deep history of planning TOD projects along the East Coast, VHB’s East Town Center Strategic Vision Plan ensures the city’s SunRail commuter rail station will be the nexus of activity and not just another drop-off and pick-up site. To this end, the Strategic Vision Plan proposes a dense, pedestrian-oriented urban area with safe and accessible pedestrian facilities, reduced parking to foster transit use, and mixed housing.
“The city has stepped in as master developer and is adding urban streets, a park, and a master stormwater system to accommodate future development,” said Jim Hall, planning and design studio director at VHB. “This sets up a ‘catalyst site’ to encourage economically sustainable development while being good stewards to the natural, social, and cultural resources of this growing community.”
The Altamonte Springs SunRail Station opened May 1. The Federal Transit Administration projects ridership for the 31-mile initial segment of SunRail at about 4,300 passenger trips per day, rising to 7,400 trips by 2030.
Information provided by VHB (www.vhb.com/florida.asp)