Published On: Mon, Oct 31st, 2016

Delray Beach Wins State Award for Federal Highway Beautification Project

When city leaders embarked on a multimillion-dollar beautification project along Federal Highway 12 years ago, their goal was to create an inviting atmosphere to emulate the charm of Atlantic Avenue.

brt-cra-oct-21Since then, locals are pleased. And this week city officials learned that the

Florida Redevelopment Association has recognized the project as an outstanding redevelopment achievement in the Transportation/Transit Enhancements Category.

The project narrowed a two-mile stretch of Federal Highway between Southwest 10th Street and George Bush Boulevard.

“The former Delray US-1/Federal Highway corridors, in stark contrast with other downtown streets, had narrow sidewalks and minimal landscaping, which promoted high speeds, leading to triple the statewide crash rate within the main commercial core,” according to a news release from the CRA.

Through the US-1/Federal Highway Beautification Project, the Delray CRA was able to reconfigure the existing roadway to reduce one travel lane in each direction to accommodate on-street parking, a bike lane, and wider landscaped sidewalks, the release continued.

The FRA presents awards annually to projects that exhibit best practices in Florida redevelopment over the past year.

City officials conceived the plans for the Federal Highway strip during the city’s overall downtown visioning process in 2004.

They envisioned a strip where pedestrians would stroll safely on the sidewalks and cars would drive the posted 35 mph limit.

The city installed temporary traffic control devices in 2008 to test the proposed design. The results of the one year trial period indicated that the elimination of one travel lane reduced average speeds along the corridor by about six miles per hour, average crash rates by 50 percent and a 75 percent crash rate reduction at the intersections of Atlantic Avenue and the Federal Highway, officials said.

The project created a safer pedestrian environment, which enhanced retail opportunities, created additional parking in the downtown, and continues to create a sense of place within the US-1 corridor.

The project was funded through five sources: FDOT, which contributed $5 million, the Federal government, which contributed $2.189 million, the City, which pitched in $2,957, the CRA, which contributed $3,614 and the developer who contributed $178,734.

The FRA awards committee carefully selected the winners from a pool of entries from various redevelopment organizations throughout the state, according to the release. All of the entries embody the spirit of successful community redevelopment and revitalization.

The 300-member not-for-profit organization is dedicated to assisting Florida professionals and volunteers in community revitalization efforts. FRA advocates for quality urban economic development and urban infill and serves as a statewide clearinghouse for redevelopment information, the release said.

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