The $4.6 million Prospect Park Mobility Improvement Project, funded by the Florida Department of Transportation, aims to bring larger bike lanes, improved lighting at the Powerline Road intersection and minor drainage improvements to the area. The project began in April 2020 and has an expected completion date in the spring of 2021.
Prospect Road Complete Streets Project
According to a complete streets study done by the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Prospect Road Complete Streets Project will change the look and the feel of Prospect Road from a car-centered roadway to one that serves users of all types and ages.
The project is part of a much larger project being funded by FDOT and begins in the city of Tamarac at Commercial Boulevard, continues through the cities of Fort Lauderdale and Oakland Park, and ends at Dixie Highway in Oakland Park.
The improvements that will be made include:
- Widening the roadway to accommodate five-foot bicycle lanes in each direction between Commercial Boulevard and Powerline Road.
- Repurposing the existing outside lanes to accommodate seven-foot bicycle lanes in each direction between Powerline Road and Dixie Highway.
- Improving existing roadway lighting with new LED fixtures at the Powerline Road intersection.
- Upgrading signage and curb ramps to current ADA standards.
- Milling and resurfacing the roadway.
According to information released by FDOT on the project, there will be some traffic impacts business owners and resident should be aware of. They include:
- Lane closures may occur from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday through Saturday.
- Lane closures may occur from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.
- Pedestrian detours will be in place during sidewalk closures.
- Access to residences and businesses will be maintained at all times.
Benefits Brought by the Project
There are health, safety and economic benefits to the project, according to the FDOT report.
Complete streets encourage healthy activities and communities because they are designed to encourage more biking, walking and transit use.
Additionally, the improvements will provide safer access to cross streets, walk to shops, ride the bus, drive to work and play. Other safety measures that will be included in the project include high visible crosswalks, LED lighting, curb-extensions, and green bike lanes.
The project also aims to provide a more welcoming environment, which will help raise property values, increase investments in the community and attract new businesses to the city while supporting the already existing ones.
Oakland Park Residents Are Doubtful of the Project’s Benefits
Despite the benefits laid out by FDOT, some residents aren’t so sure the project is in the best interest of the city.
Harmony Fleagle rides her bike regularly in the city and said she doesn’t feel the proposal is actually that safe for bicyclists. “As a bicyclist, I would say that five foot bike lanes are useless without a physical barrier between cars and bikes,” she said.
Additionally, she said she doesn’t understand FDOT’s reasoning that “simply painting a line will keep distracted drivers” from hitting those people on bikes. “Also, if there are bike lanes, has anyone thought of safe bike parking? What’s the point of allowing bike traffic if we can’t safely park, lock and shop,” she said.
Jamie Bartrug also doesn’t believe the project is the best use of the funding. “I think it is a waste of tax dollars. It’s very unnecessary when there are so many other problems in our community. The only thing that frosts me more is possibly paying overtime for workers to be on the street at 6:00 pm on a Saturday evening,” he said. “The money could have been used for upgrading storm drainage, sewers, water and underground wiring.”
He fears that the city’s water and sewer system will be compromised over time. “The new development at 21 st Ave and Prospect is going to additionally strain an overloaded sewer system. We do not need to be in the same boat as Ft. Lauderdale in a few years,” he said.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section of this post.
To learn more about the project, you can visit the city’s website at http://www.oaklandparkfl.gov.
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About the Author
Katina Caraganis is a Massachusetts native and has called South Florida home since 2015. She graduated college with a degree in communication studies and has received numerous writing awards during her tenure in journalism. When she’s not working for an online pet supply retailer, she spends her time training for a half-marathon in March and studying to become a certified nutrition coach.
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