Battle over Ridgewood Street sidewalk heats up ahead of next month's Orlando City Council vote
The Orlando Municipal Planning Board is meeting Tuesday to discuss the future of a contested block of sidewalk in downtown Orlando.
The sidewalk in question on the 500th block of East Ridgewood Street cuts through St. James Cathedral School.
The Catholic school wants the sidewalk closed to pedestrians and bikers for safety.
But Lake Eola Heights Historic Neighborhood Association Board member Hilary Wyatt said she wants the sidewalk to remain open to the public, at least some of the time.
“From our perspective, from the neighborhood's perspective, the best possible outcome would include St. James having that ability to close the sidewalks off during instructional hours, right, while students are actively on campus learning," said Wyatt. "And then reopening the sidewalk access to the public outside of the instructional hours.”
Wyatt said overall, she hopes for a peaceful conclusion to the process.
"I'm very hopeful. I'm looking with you know, sort of hopeful eyes toward this decision and hoping that we can find a new path with St. James and the neighborhood to find a solution that really truly benefits the public. And the students both.”
The city council will take the municipal planning board’s recommendations into consideration when it takes the issue to a vote next month.
In 1996, the Diocese of Orlando successfully petitioned to get the same block closed off to cars. The compromise was to keep the sidewalk open.