Connecting the Blocks
Our goal is to become a fully connected city of tomorrow—a city that is anchored by mobility and walkability; a city that is pedestrian friendly; a city that depends less on vehicles and relies more on alternative modes of transportation.City of Fort Lauderdale State of the City 2013: Game Plan
The Connecting the Blocks program is a multimodal connectivity implementation program established to accomplish the Fast Forward Fort Lauderdale 2035 Vision developed with community input. During that visioning process, one of the primary focuses was the goal “We Are Connected: We move seamlessly and easily through a safe transportation system where the pedestrian is first.” Connecting the Blocks identifies needed infrastructure improvements to create a multimodal, connected transportation network within the city following Complete Streets Guidelines, and includes elements for the pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and vehicle systems.
In 2013, the City of Fort Lauderdale completed a comprehensive visioning process with its residents to determine what they imagined the city to look like in 2035. The outreach efforts for the vision included many differing formats and generated ideas, including creating a connected, multimodal transportation network. The Connecting the Blocks program was developed to implement the vision of having a connected community, where residents moved seamlessly and easily through a safe transportation system where the pedestrian is first. The program utilized the public input received during the vision process, as well as additional outreach specific to the transportation goals. The transportation network was then inventoried to establish a baseline and to generate a list of project needs to create Complete Streets across the city, utilizing the award-winning Complete Streets Policy that was adopted by the City Commission in October 2013.
The Connecting the Blocks program identified needed pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure improvements. Each treatment was considered based on the context of the roadway and includes categories such as Center City Boulevard, Commercial Avenue, and Residential Street. The current conditions of each roadway determine the needed improvements. The comprehensive list was then prioritized based on criteria developed utilizing ranking from various funding sources to assist in determining the viability of funding the projects in the future. Those criteria were weighted based on input from the City Commission. More weight was given to projects that improve safety, contain sustainable elements, fill existing network gaps, and support transit.
The Connecting the Blocks program grew out of the city’s vision process. The vision process began in 2011 and was completed in 2013. The Connecting the Blocks program process dovetailed with the visioning process and was adopted by the City Commission in 2013, as well. Implementation of the program has already begun. The implementation program extends for 20 years and is broken down into five-year implementation categories based on the prioritization exercise completed.
The program is being implemented through a variety of funding opportunities, including City Community Investment Program funds, Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization programming, the Florida Department of Transportation work program, Broward County funding, grant funds, and private developers.
The community will benefit by being able to travel to their daily needs in whichever mode of transportation they choose, with all modes being safe and convenient. This will improve the health of residents by allowing them to choose walking and biking as a viable mode of transportation, it will help to reduce traffic congestion for those choosing vehicles, and it will support public transit use by creating the last mile infrastructure needed to access transit safely. The resulting reduction in vehicle miles traveled, along with the addition of shade trees and landscaping, will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce heat island effect, and increase stormwater infiltration, which all contribute to a more resilient and sustainable community.