Driving a car ended for me in 2013 when I had a stroke and I said good-bye to my car. My appreciation for other people who lost their license due to illness or aging suddenly became acutely apparent. I never realized how hard it was to be reliant on someone else to get from place to place.
The wait … the frustration … the annoyance!
Before I moved to Lake Nona I was married. My husband was always available to drive me around because he did not work. That is another story on my journey.
It is amazing how much Lake Nona has grown since my granddaughter and I arrived. It is being developed as an upscale living community with beautiful homes, apartment living, and some awesome places to work and play.
When we first arrived, we were going to move into Landon House at Town Center. However, we decided to move across Lake Nona High School. It appeared within walking distance to Walmart, was on a bus route, was on a bus route and the community was super. Arriving in August, when thinking about Walmart and its’ neighboring stores, we did not calculate “walking distance plus heat factor equals “pretty much miserable.”
It is difficult getting around Lake Nona without a vehicle, and it is worse getting anywhere outside of Lake Nona. When I was driving, I never thought I would miss sitting behind the wheel of a car in miles of traffic waiting for updates as I crawled home from work. In fact, I use to joke with my friend it was my dream was to have a chauffeur. If the chauffeur was nice looking and the car was a Volvo. A girl can dream!
Reliable public transportation is important for a person who does not drive to live independent in a community. When we first moved to Lake Nona, there was a functioning bus stop right in front of Dwell Nona Place Apartments. Access to a bus was part of our decision path for choosing Dwell. Soon after we moved in, the bus stop was deactivated which was disturbing.
I live on Narcoossee Road, which is a main highway in Orlando, Florida — in the growing community of Lake Nona which is said to be planned for close to 100,000 residents. The community has recently been in national magazines as a one of the fastest growing, innovative communities in the United States. There should be public transportation up and down Narcoossee Road linking to the buses that serve the Lake Nona Community (also known as Medical City).
As a Veteran I am fortunate, because the VA contracts for my medical transportation to the Orlando Veterans Hospital in Lake Nona and any community providers I am referred to such as Florida Hospital at Celebration. I am thankful that the VA works closely with Owl Transportation to ensure I have transportation all my appointments.
Access Lynx is available to me for those scheduled rides if I can plan at least 24-hours in advance, as it is a reservation service that provides door-to-door pickup service. The service sends an accessible small bus or van which is nice at an affordable price of no more than $7.00 one way. The downside to riding with Access Lynx is timing because they require a two-hour window to get you to any destination or drop you off.
We always have the option of taking Uber or Lyft, but the expense adds up fast as the cost on an Uber ride within Lake Nona is at least two times the cost of Access Lynx and the cost going outside of Lake Nona can be up to four times as much.
Pressure should be put on the Orange County Transportation Authority to consider the value of restoring bus service on Narcoossee, particularly if the demand supports the service. As more medical facilities, sports facilities and hotels are built buses will be a fantastic way for people to come to Lake Nona to get to work helping to manage traffic.