ORLANDO, Fla. — A new project to improve safety for people walking in a busy tourism corridor will be the first of its kind in Central Florida.

What You Need To Know

  • FDOT is making safety improvements to Apopka Vineland Boulevard in tourism district

  • There have been 23 crashes and two deaths since 2015 involving pedestrians and cyclists

  • Workers are installing restricted crossing U-turn intersections, which prevent left turns

  • To turn left with an RCUT, a driver must go right and make a U-turn, which reduces T-bone crashes

The improvements are coming to Apopka Vineland Road near Interstate 4 and Walt Disney World.

“It's tough. It takes forever to get across," said Kyle Werner, who was visiting from Nazareth, Pa. "They've got to do something about it. It's nuts." 

Since 2015, there have been 23 crashes on Apopka Vineland Road involving pedestrians and cyclists. Markers show the spot where two of those crashes resulted in deaths.

“The area is seeing a lot of growth and a lot of traffic, not just from motorists but from pedestrians," said Allison Colburn, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation.

FDOT has started construction to make changes on Apopka Vineland Road, from International Drive to Hotel Plaza Boulevard near Disney Springs.

The area’s first restricted crossing U-turn intersections are being built. These RCUTs prohibit drivers from making left turns off side streets. Instead, drivers have to turn right and make a U-turn.

“The reason why we eliminated the left-hand turn from the side streets is because that reduces the chances of T-bone accidents," Colburn said. "It reduces the number of conflict points or locations where a vehicles could cross paths or where vehicles could cross paths with pedestrians."

Walkers will cross Apopka Vineland Road diagonally, with the center median keeping the cars away from them.

The Federal Highway Administration says the intersection improvements will also help drivers. It found RCUTs reduce travel time by as much as 40% compared with a traditional intersection.

Additionally, they can handle up to 30% more vehicles traveling through the intersection.