Winter Park City, Florida

In January, I escaped the Ottawa winter for two weeks in Florida. Theme of the trip: new and old urbanism. I set my sights on two old “planned” cities — Winter Park, near Orlando; and Coral Gables, now a suburb of Miami. And two new urbanism places, Celebration and Tradition.

Winter Park is old urbanism that still works today.

Winter Park is a part of the Orlando metropolis. It’s much like Dalhousie or Hintonburg, but more up scale  with a higher proportion of apartments. And a downtown university campus also helps create pedestrian traffic.  Over the next few days,  let’s let the pictures do the talking:

fla jan 2013 065

A number of old Florida cities have brick paving in their historic neighbourhoods  The street surface is original brick from the ’20’s; the crosswalk is new brick. The “white lines” are cement in this case, in others they were white brick. These greatly added to the charm of the old areas,  streets do not look like speedways.

fla jan 2013 049

The city isn’t just lucky with its old brick streets, it is actively working to beautify them. Here is a side boulevard intensely landscaped and then labelled to add to its educational value:

fla jan 2013 050


And here is a wide side street that has had its centre removed from the motorist realm and given back to pedestrians. Note there is no curb — the lack of separation invites people to walk all over the street area; motorists simply slowed down. And yes, people were actually using these benches, although I tend to shy away from taking pictures with people in them:

fla jan 2013 053


The main street also had lots of new plant zones introduced to enhance the walking experience. There were few storefront vacancies, lots of sidewalk cafes, and some chain stores like Restoration Hardware, and Williams Sonoma, and lots of local independents:

fla jan 2013 048


We had dinner at a sidewalk cafe. Tables are not separated from the pedestrians by a fence, the through traffic winds its way between the tables, sharing the space with waiters and school kids going home, and the big umbrellas were parked right at the curb.

fla jan 2013 086


fla jan 2013 085

One thought on “Winter Park City, Florida

  1. Great pictures, and I can’t wait to see more.
    I wonder if cobblestone roads are a realistic option on any road or sidewalk that has snow cleared by plows. I think they would be chipped and knocked out by the heavy snow blades.

Comments are closed.