General Items of Note:
Mayor Buddy Dyer encouraged everyone to think local this holiday season as everyone shops for their friends and loved ones. The holiday season is a special time of year — filled with family, friends and community. Frequenting those businesses in our community that are part of our Downtown and Orlando Main Street Districts will help support and strengthen the local businesses in our community and keep several residents employed.
On Friday December 19, Commissioner Ings and Mayor Buddy Dyer will celebrate the completion of the construction of the I-Drive congestion relief project – making it easier for our residents and tourist to patronize our I-Drive businesses and attractions. The 1.5-mile long project includes a new exclusive lane for buses, new wider-sidewalks and bike lane improvements making this heavily traveled area much safer for pedestrians and bikers.
OPD HQ Update
Last week, we officially began the construction process for the new Orlando Police Department Headquarters by demolishing the existing building on the future site. The new state-of-the-art headquarters for the Orlando Police Department will improve department operations, utilize the latest technology and make the department more accessible to the community. The 94,500-square-foot building will not only further enhance our City’s safety, but will also help to spur development along the Orange Blossom Trail. Construction of the building is expected to start in April 2015 with a completion date of summer 2016.
Agenda Items of Note:
Mayor #2 – Matching Grant Awards
The City Council voted on funding for 14 Mayor’s Matching Grant projects. This funding provides for the opportunity for our nonprofit organizations or schools to partner with community organizations, businesses and the City to offer programs that address neighborhood needs, engage our City’s youth in constructive, adult-supervised activities during non-school hours and improve education. These projects involve hundreds of volunteers and will impact the lives of thousands of residents and youth through mentoring, creative arts, academic, cultural, career exploration and athletic programs. Representatives from some of these organizations were in the audience Monday or viewing live on the City’s Website. Mayor Buddy Dyer applauded these groups for their efforts to do good work in our community.
B #5 – Contract for Supportive Housing
This agenda item is a contract with the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) to assist the City in its goal to place 300 of the chronic homeless individuals in Downtown Orlando into permanent supportive housing over the next three years. CSH has helped other communities around the country that have made significant progress on this issue, including Houston, Texas, which has reduced chronic homelessness by 58 percent in three years. This is an important step, as our community continues to work together to solve the issue of homelessness through our region.
C #7 – Funding for Best Foot Forward
A funding agreement was on Monday’s agenda for the best foot forward initiative. As our region continues to embrace alternative modes of transportation, it’s important to support programs like this that are focused on preventing pedestrian deaths and injuries in our community. Since the program launched in 2012 we have seen results in the City such as:
- Nearly 1,800 drivers have been issued warnings for failing to yield to a pedestrian at targeted intersections within city limits.
- OPD has cited almost 550 drivers with tickets or violating the yield law at targeted intersections.
- Compliance (yield rate) has gone from 17-percent at the start of education to an average of 45-percent in the City
Most importantly, behaviors are changing with Best Foot Forward. Mayor Dyer encourages everyone to yield to pedestrians and join in this mission to prevent accidents and improve safety, while encouraging walking as a safe, fun form of transportation and healthy activity.
Ordinance 2nd Read – Chapter 55
Before the hearing opens
Today we are proposing expansion and amendment to our vehicles for hire ordinance. An expansion that will allow Uber and Lyft an ability to operate legally inside the City of Orlando using their current business model. We are able to do this without compromising on the safety of our residents and visitors. We’ve received a lot of public input about letting Uber and Lyft operate in the City of Orlando. And We Hear You. We have and continue to want Uber and Lyft in Orlando as well. This is why we’ve worked for the past six months to make changes to our regulations. Changes that would allow Lyft or Uber to no longer be considered illegal, as they are under our current ordinances.
Your input to this process has been important to us. You’ve asked us to consider additional changes. Changes that make it more affordable for Uber and Lyft drivers to apply for a permit and also levels the playing field on rates with traditional taxis. Today’s ordinance proposes just that.
One area where the City will not compromise is on important safety measures that protect our traveling public—things like providing background checks on drivers, proper insurance coverage and third party vehicle inspections. These are things, you as a consumer should expect and these are things you should demand from me as Mayor.
I’m proud that Orlando is leading the way as one of only about a dozen major cities across the country that have put forward a legal framework allowing Uber and Lyft to operate legally within the city. All while still providing our residents and visitors with safe transportation options. Again, thank you for the input you have provided on this topic.
Part of how we’ve been able to become a world-class city is by having you, as residents, engaged in our City.