ORLANDO – Anyone driving past Maguire Boulevard this morning, with a sharp eye, may have noticed an interesting sight: a construction crew laying down the cement for a new sidewalk, with a surprising figure helping out: Mayor Buddy Dyer.
The sight of Orlando’s mayor wearing a hard hat and thick rubber boots didn’t mean Dyer was moonlighting in a side job, or had been ousted from City Hall and was now in search of a new job. He was on hand with the City of Orlando Public Works staff, and Schuller Contractors, to heighten awareness of a public safety issue. As cities like Orlando continue to grow and attract more people – and, with that, increased traffic on the roadways – sidewalks, the mayor noted, help make it easier and safer for pedestrians to get around.
It’s part of a project called Orlando Walks – the first phase of new construction work being done as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to build more sidewalks in growing neighborhoods.
“Orlando Walks will help to improve pedestrian safety by providing a safe and connected sidewalk system,” the mayor said.
Dyer and members of his staff arrived at the street in front of the massive office complex at 3191 Maguire Boulevard around 10 a.m. today. A construction crew had already dug in the foundation where the long sidewalk was going to be installed, while a Cemex truck filled with fresh cement waited to be employed next to the trenches.
At the start of the foundation was a sign that read “Sidewalk Project – Building Safer Neighborhoods.”
The mayor arrived to fit into his hard hat, jacket and boots, and then met with the construction crew.
“Everybody’s looking good?” he asked.
The Cemex truck got into place and the crew began to pour the cement into the foundation for the sidewalk. As part of this “work-along” project, Mayor Dyer got right into the foundation and assisted the workers as they poured out, and then smoothed over, the cement used to create this new segment of sidewalk in Orlando.
The completed stretch of sidewalk is designed to connect the surrounding neighborhoods to an office park, retail and restaurants in the area. The sidewalk is directly across the street from the Fashion Square Mall and close to the busy shopping district along Colonial Drive in the Colonialtown South neighborhood.
The mayor’s office noted that this particular project was part of a total of 18 miles of new sidewalk expected to be constructed during the first phase of Orlando Walks, a long term project designed to meet the demands of a city with a rising population.
The new sidewalk locations were determined based on their proximity to schools, parks, bus routes, retail locations — and future SunRail stations. SunRail is a 61-mile commuter rail project that will run from Volusia County to downtown Orlando, and then onto Osceola County. It will cross four counties altogether and have 17 stops.
The mayor’s office noted in a news release that “Mayor Dyer participates in work-alongs to ensure the City of Orlando provides citizens with the high quality of service they have come to expect. Mayor Dyer has previously worked-along with construction staff during the rebuilding effort of the Lake Eola Fountain, as well as with Code Enforcement Officers and the customer service and development review areas of Permitting Services.”
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