Fort Lauderdale is among the few Florida cities in which a car is not necessarily a requirement. Our close-knit community of neighborhoods makes walking and cycling from home to work and to entertainment a real possibility. Even so, we have opportunities to improve our streets and we’re doing so – making them safer and easier to traverse for all travelers no matter the mode of transport. Our Complete Streets policy is the foundation. Adopted in 2014, Complete Streets calls for Fort Lauderdale roadways to accommodate equally pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation and vehicles, while offering the access that residents and businesses need. This means making our streets even more walkable, and using technology to improve traffic flow.
These steps have the added benefit of supporting our sustainability goals. Promoting alternative transport, and improving traffic flow, generally correlate with reductions to greenhouse gas emissions. The landscaped medians and swales that Complete Streets advocates serve as a safe haven for pedestrians, but can also be wildlife habitats. The trees there, cool and cleanse our air. Newly designed swales help with floodplain management. Streets where people want to walk, have the room to walk and can do so safely promote local purchasing.
Walkability involves teamwork between our urban planners who focus on land use and development of places, and our transportation planners who focus on how travelers get between those places. The results can be as varied as setting sidewalk set-back requirements to make room for travel, and painting the surface of busy intersections to slow and calm traffic
Redesigning streets also means thinking about what is on the ground and underground. Our Transportation and Mobility Department works closely with our Public Works Department to make the most out of construction projects. Implementation of quick draining or reflective paving, and installation of LED lighting are some of our recent innovations.
Digging up a street can be costly and inconvenient. The goal is to put a street back together better than it was before. By maximizing the return on every project, we not only maintain our streets, but use every opportunity to improve them for people now and in the future. That's sustainability!