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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Broward road laws rewritten for walkers, bike riders
Complete Street concepts will roll out across county

Brittany Wallman, Sun Sentinel
10:33 a.m. EST, February 23, 2014


With the insertion of two words — "pedestrian'' and "bicycle'' — into Broward County lawbooks, the future has been altered.

Broward County commissioners this month tore up the car-dominated playbook that gave us asphalt raceways dangerous for those on foot. The new "Complete Streets'' laws and policies say roads should be designed for those outside of cars, as well.

Car drivers, that means it's time to share the roadway.

South Florida streets will increasingly incorporate wide bike and walk lanes, medians and even "parklets,'' where on-street parking spots are replaced with cozy spaces for people to sit.

Elements of the Complete Streets movement are already evident here, and now residents can expect to see more of it. Palm Beach County is not far behind.

Complete Streets are roadways designed "to enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities, regardless of their mode of transportation,'' the new Broward documents say.

Similar concepts or policy adoptions are also in the works in Davie, Hallandale Beach, Deerfield Beach, Sunrise, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Coconut Creek and Coral Springs, officials in those cities said.

Among the Complete Streets elements:

• Lanes on a diet: Driving lanes would get skinnier in order to make room on the sides for those with pedal power. Bike riders would get an extra buffer of a three-foot, striped lane between automobile traffic and the bicycle path. And the bike path itself might be painted green to clearly distinguish it from the roadway.

• More medians: Pedestrians would have a safe place to stop in case they don't make it all the way across the street before the light changes.

• Don't tread on me: Right-turn lanes, where cars swing around corners just as pedestrians are stepping off the curb to cross, could be eliminated.

• Seeing red: Fort Lauderdale has experimented with "all red" light phases, where pedestrians have freedom to cross the street because cars in all directions have a red light.

Proponents of the national movement, in use in 610 communities across America, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston, say it brings positive change to a community's health, environment, economy and safety.

"The change is going to take time. Nothing happens all at once,'' said Greg Stuart, head of Broward's Metropolitan Planning Organization, a transportation planning agency. "But the culture is going to change.''

Parklets and more

Though South Florida regularly shows up on lists of the most dangerous terroritories for those on foot or bicycle, Fort Lauderdale has recently become a leader in the movement to turn that around.

In August, the city agreed to try out "parklets.''

Parklets are small pedestrian havens created by restaurant or shop owners, who are allowed to take over parking spaces in front of their businesses. With the addition of couches and a potted plant, for example, a parking spot is transformed.

On Wednesday, Gran Forno on Las Olas Boulevard submitted the first permit for a parklet, City Manager Lee Feldman said.

The bakery will pay the city $650 for each of the two parking spaces. The owner has said he hopes the pedestrian pocket park will slow traffic.

Last week, the city was ranked third in the United States by the National Complete Streets Coalition, for the pedestrian-focused policies the city approved last September. Fort Lauderdale was the only city in Florida to make the list.

"We are honored to be nationally recognized as a City that is at the forefront of initiating mobility solutions to enhance connectivity, promote pedestrian safety, and encourage alternative modes of transportation," Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. "Jack" Seiler said in written statement.

Pedestrian evangelism

In Palm Beach County, MPO senior planner Bret Baronak says the redeveloped roadways won't just include space for non-drivers, they will go "above and beyond.''

Boca Raton and West Palm Beach have long stood out for pedestrian-oriented and bike-friendly layouts. That will spread, Baronak said.

"We've built our entire transportation system down here revolving around the car,'' he said. "We're getting close to the end of road building, and the focus now is on other kinds of transportation.''

On any given day in Broward County, 98 percent of the people traveling from Point A to Point B are doing so in an automobile, Stuart said.

That means fewer than 2 percent are on a bus, on foot or on a bike.

"There are people who think the car is king and it should rule the day,'' said Broward Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, a bike rider who pushed for the county's recent policy changes. "I think people are king.''

The paradigm shift in South Florida from car-centric to pedestrian-oriented could take some time, said Broward MPO planner Ricardo Gutierrez.

"It's not going to be easy,'' he said. "It's not going to happen all at once.''

And not all roads will be dramatically redesigned.

But, says Palm Beach County's Baronak, drivers should prepare for a change.

They're not going to be No. 1, anymore.

"If cars have to go a little bit slower,'' says Baronak, "so what's the problem with that?''
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/br...streets-broward-20140211,0,4416859,full.story
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
New crosswalk to light up Las Olas Boulevard

By Michael Turnbell, Sun Sentinel
April 23, 2014


FORT LAUDERDALE—
Be prepared to feel like a star — or at least a model — when crossing Las Olas Boulevard. A pedestrian's push of button will soon make the crosswalk at Southeast 13th Avenue light up like a miniature runway.

Yellow lights embedded in the street's pavement will activate like a strobe light to alert drivers that someone is crossing the street — something that at night can be difficult to see. The LED lights, which can be seen up to 1,500 feet away, also will work during the day.

The $50,000 crosswalk is set to make its flashy debut in early May — the first time the technology will be used on a public street in South Florida. City spokeswoman Monique Damiano said eventually it could be used in other locations with a high number of pedestrians.

It currently is in use on a private road at the Downtown at the Gardens mall in Palm Beach Gardens.

Officials hope the crosswalk will improve safety on the busy city street where a test of wills sometimes determines the right of way between drivers and those strolling.

"We've had severe problems with aggressive traffic," said Robin Merrill, founder of the year-old Las Olas Village Association.

Studies by the Federal Highway Administration show drivers who see a flashing or illuminated crosswalk brake sooner and yield to pedestrians more often than those in areas without them.

The number of accidents is about 80 percent lower than at standard crosswalks, according to California-based Traffic Safety Corp., which sold the lighted crosswalk to Palm Beach Gardens, Naples, Melbourne, Tampa, Gainesville and Jacksonville.

On Las Olas, drivers pick up speed as they leave the main shopping area and Southeast 13th Avenue is the point where Las Olas transitions from an urban setting to a fast road to the beach.

The city has imposed several measures to help pedestrians on Las Olas in recent years. In 2011, the speed limit was reduced between South Andrews and Southeast 15th Avenues from 30 mph to 25 mph.

Last year, the city modified two Las Olas intersections at Southeast Eighth and Ninth avenues to allow an all-red cycle, when only pedestrians can cross the street. It was the first such test in Broward County. Officials intend to bring the all-red cycle permanently back to both intersections in the near future.

The city also wants to reconfigure a stretch of Las Olas where the road widens to four lanes east of the bridge over the Himmarshee Canal. The plan, which would need county approval, would reduce traffic to one lane in each direction, with a center turn lane and bike lanes in both directions.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-las-olas-crosswalk-20140423,0,305928.story?track=rss
 

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North Broward moves ahead on education corridor

Four cities in northern Broward County are making progress on creating an education corridor – using walkable roads, bike lanes and bus shelters to connect a web of high schools, colleges and career centers.

Many of the transportation-related upgrades aimed at linking the education centers in Coconut Creek, Margate, Coral Springs, and Pompano Beach will be either completed or shovel-ready by mid-to-late 2015.

The project was first conceived more than a decade years ago. Types of upgrades include street resurfacing; covered bus shelters with benches, bike racks and other amenities, bike lanes, medians, sidewalks and landscaping; drainage improvements; and decorative pedestrian lighting.

One of the aims of the project has already started to take shape. Schools within the corridor are creating more programs that allow students the option of dual enrollment or to attend programs specifically co-created by more than one school.

"We're seeing budding relationships between the schools," said Sheila Rose, director of the Department of Sustainable Development in Coconut Creek. "There's a real attempt to develop the relationships."

Students at Atlantic Technical, for example, are encouraged to take classes at Broward College to get an A.A. or A.S. in addition to the technical degree Atlantic awards. Students in programs including health education, business and information technology can benefit from taking different kinds of classes at both schools, said Carol Baskin, special projects coordinator for Atlantic Technical.

Culinary arts students from Broward College, for example, go to Atlantic Technical for classes that give them the "commercial kitchen experience," because Broward College lacks such a facility, she said.

"A student who wants to do dual enrollment can more easily access that," Baskin said. "It's good to have more choices because there's a lot of different needs and different learning styles."

The cities are linking Broward College, Atlantic Technical Center, Coconut Creek High School, a branch of the Broward County Library, the Florida Academy of Learning, the Associated Builders and Contractors Apprenticeship Training School, Premier Academy, the Dave Thomas School of Choice, the Margate School of Beauty, and a future Margate charter school at Banks Road and Coconut Creek Parkway.

The corridor itself includes parts of Sample Road, State Road 7, Martin Luther King Boulevard, and Coconut Creek Parkway. It runs northwest to southeast from University Drive and Sample Road down to Martin Luther King Boulevard and Federal Highway.

Coconut Creek will be finished with its portions of the corridor by the end of November, Rose said. Margate and Coral Springs have both already spent a few million dollars on upgrades.

Pompano Beach, which joined the project later, is planning improvements to Martin Luther King Boulevard that will hopefully start construction in mid-to-late 2015.

Once the improvements are complete, the aim is to draw to the area people, jobs and businesses geared toward education.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/fl-education-corridor-update-20140827,0,792347.story
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
I like them, and use them. I'm just not crazy about their placement/designs; they very bulky and just look like they were slapped in/sloppy. I guess not as ascetically pleasing and most other cities.

Edit- PDF Map from the city with new bike rack locations. Not sure how up to date it is - http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/transportation/pdf/Bike_Rack_Locations.pdf
 
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