Sun Sentinel Broward Edition
Pedestrian, bike projects will be updated
Q: Why is Coral Springs not included among the $100 million in bicycle and pedestrian projects being built over the next five years? Many major roads have wide shoulders that could easily accommodate bike lanes, yet none exist except on busy University Drive.
A: Planners gave top priority to roads that could benefit from express buses, bus rapid transit or some type of streetcar or rail system.
Their analysis included a list of bicycle and pedestrian projects that would improve connectivity to these corridors, such as Broward Boulevard, U.S. 1, Oakland Park Boulevard and State Road 7 — all in the central or eastern part of the county where transit ridership is highest.
Meanwhile, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization has completed a corridor study on Hollywood/Pines Boulevard, where $20 million in bicycle and pedestrian projects have been identified. Another study is underway for University Drive and future studies will look at Sample Road and Sunrise Boulevard.
“We are going to be proactive at updating the map,” said bike and pedestrian coordinator Ricardo Gutierrez. “The map will show a more geop-graphical distribution of projects.”
Q: Until a year ago, a natural barrier of ficus trees helped reduce noise and soot coming from Florida’s Turnpike near the Sawgrass Expressway interchange. Now that the trees are gone and a new exit ramp from the turnpike to the Sawgrass has been built, the noise is unbearable. What is the criteria to get a noise wall?
A: Noise walls aren’t built until the highway is widened, and plans to add lanes to the turnpike from Atlantic Boulevard to the Palm Beach County line are on hold.
The widening from Atlantic to the Sawgrass exit was planned to go forward about seven years ago, but revenues declined and the work was postponed. The latest schedule shows design will begin in 2016.
The turnpike’s five-year work program is evaluated every year and that may change. The feasibility of building noise walls will be evaluated if the project is scheduled and funded.
Under state requirements, sound levels must reach 66 decibels to make a community eligible for a noise barrier, and the wall has to cut the noise by at least five decibels. In Florida, the wall can’t cost more than $42,000 for each home it benefits. The cost for noise walls varies on the height and length, location and the size of the project.
Q: The signals at Yamato Road and Cain Boulevard in West Boca seem to have been altered due to a paving project on Cain. It now takes an exceedingly long time to change no matter which direction you are driving. Can the signal return back to its old timing?
A: The project is not yet finished and crews are now installing pavement markings. Palm Beach County traffic engineering director Dan Weisberg said the vehicle detection loops in the pavement are damaged when a road is milled and repaved.
“With no working vehicle detection loops, the signal runs on a fixed timing pattern instead of [being] demand responsive. We need to wait a while for the asphalt to fully cure before we cut into it to install new vehicle detection loops,” he said.