‘Complete’ streets a major goal in Parkland

Parkland is set to join a growing list of cities in South Florida that are planning to turn select roadways into complete streets, those that are designed for more than just vehicular traffic.

At a recent City Commission meeting, city officials expressed interest in incorporating features of complete streets into some of its roadways. The Complete Streets project is an initiative of the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO); the city, county and MPO are currently working collectively on the Loxahatchee Road project in Parkland.

Ricardo Gutierrez, who is in charge of the initiative at MPO, was impressed by the design features that Parkland already had in place. “You have a lot of the elements that we want in a complete street,” he said. “You have the sidewalks, the landscaping. We want to help you make it even better.”

Complete streets are designed for all modes of transportation; it enables safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. “Complete streets are for everyone; it allows people to have choices,” said Laurie Fucini-Joy, of Urban Health Partnerships, MPO’s consultant for the project. “It promotes walking and biking.”

Complete streets do not have a negative effect on vehicle traffic, Fucini-Joy said. “It is a myth that complete streets reduce vehicle capacity. Complete streets have the potential to move more people within a right of way.”

The Broward MPO endorsed the Complete Streets Guidelines in 2012; since then, cities such as Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach and Hollywood have either implemented some of the features or passed resolutions in support of the idea. The organization also has drawn up a plan for cities to use as a template.

Complete streets make roadways safer, Fucini-Joy said. “Orlando recently implemented a complete-street project. Since then, pedestrian volume went up by 23 percent, while bike volume increased by 30 percent. The number of crashes in the area went down as well. Studies show that a complete street brings more businesses to the area.”

Although a complete street has several features, not every complete street needs to incorporate all of these features, Fucini-Joy said. “A complete street in Parkland is very different from a complete street in Fort Lauderdale. Even within Parkland, a complete street in one location in Parkland is very different from a complete street in another location.”

Mayor Michael Udine was glad to have the city work with the MPO and the county on the complete-street initiative. “We are doing a lot of this stuff,” he said. “We already have a lot of these ideas in our code.”

Vice Mayor Christine Hunschofsky wanted the city to consider incorporating complete-street features in roadways near the proposed 55 and older community in the city.

“There are certain things you should be looking for in roadways and in sidewalks for those types of communities,” Hunschofsky said. “We might look at the roadways in that area a little differently than we would look at the other roadways that we have. That is a new element in our city.”

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/parkland/fl-cspf-completestreets-0717-20140719,0,5809577.story?track=rss

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