On October 12th, 2021 The City of Oakland Park held a neighborhood participation meeting to provide the community with an update regarding the ongoing NW 21st Ave improvements project.
The Zoom Meeting was attended by approximately fifty Oakland Park residents plus speakers from several different agencies that have been involved with the NW 21st Avenue improvements over the past couple of years. Al Carbon, Public Works Director for the city of Oakland Park, facilitated the meeting.
The many different aspects of the project were discussed by the various speakers and residents had the opportunity to ask questions and voice any concerns in real time.
Phase one of the project has been completed. This initial phase included the complete replacement and widening of the roadway bridge on NW 21st Avenue over the NW 39th Street canal. The addition of bike lanes from Oakland Park Blvd North to Commercial Blvd. Resurfacing and restriping of the entire roadway from Oakland Park Blvd, North to Commercial Blvd.
New stop lights have been installed at NW 21st Ave and NW 39th Street and NW 21st Ave and NW 44th Street. Finally new sidewalks were installed on both sides of NW 21st Avenue from Oakland Park Blvd to Commercial Blvd.
The next phase of the project will include the landscaping of the new center medians on NW 21st Avenue between Oakland Park Blvd and Commercial Blvd and the completion of painting the bike lanes solid green from Oakland Park Blvd North to Commercial Blvd. This should take place early in 2022.
While many safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists have been completed, residents who attended the meeting voiced their concerns about speeding, accidents, and the lack of safe crosswalks on NW 21st Ave near the playground at Veterans Park.
Residents also said that dedicated left turn arrow signals need to be added for North and South bound traffic at NW 21st Ave and Prospect Road. According to residents who spoke, traffic is backing way up during peak hours for those wishing to turn left from NW 21st Ave to Prospect Road, in either direction, due to the high level of traffic flowing North and South. There are already left turn arrows for those who wish to turn left from Prospect Road onto NW 21st Ave, but the additional arrows are needed to provide safe turning all the way around.
Speed limits on both NW 21st Ave and Prospect Road were also a hot topic with residents. The new 35 MPH speed limit on Prospect Road is considered by some to be too slow for this roadway. Some suggested raising it back to 45MPH or to at least 40MPH. On the other hand, other residents stated that speeding on Prospect is a serious problem and has resulted in numerous accidents, some with fatalities, in recent months.
On NW 21st Avenue, residents said that they want additional speed calming installed and dedicated, crosswalks with lighted crosswalk signage or pedestrian stop lights at two locations. The suggested locations for these crosswalks were NW 21st Avenue and NW 34th Street across from the playground at Veterans Park and at NW 21st Avenue and NW 35th Street just South of the bridge, by the Army tank in Veterans Park.
Residents stated they feel “unsafe” trying to cross NW 21st Ave to utilize Veterans Park and that their suggestions would improve pedestrian safety for the community.
Residents also want the bus stop shelters that were located on NW 21St Ave adjacent to Veterans Park returned. For some reason these bus shelters were removed during the construction. Also, they want the trees that were removed in the swale area next to Veterans Park replaced. Again, these were removed during construction.
Some residents also voiced concerns over the proposed secondary street naming of NW 21st Avenue between NW 26th Street and Prospect Road to honor the late US Rep. Alcee Hastings.
Residents who spoke on the matter said they felt residents should have been able to vote on this issue, not have it just passed by the Commission with no resident input.
Another community meeting to discuss the Prospect Road improvements is scheduled for Tuesday, November 9th at 6:30 pm via ZOOM. You can register for the meeting from the city’s website www.oaklandparkfl.gov
Jeff Barnes has lived in Oakland Park since 2001. Originally from Denver Colorado, Jeff moved here for the sunshine and he never looked back. He is a past board member of The Corals Of Oakland Park Neighborhood Association where he served as Vice President 2017-2020 and President from 2020 to 2021.
Jeff has lived on both the West and East sides of Oakland Park and is very well versed in Oakland Park history. A very active citizen, you will often see him at all the local Oakland Park events and meetings.
Jeff has worked in the Commercial Real Estate Management field for 20 years in downtown Fort Lauderdale. His hobbies include, classic movies, travel, writing and pretty much anything outdoors, weather permitting.