The modern day history of roadway design is a testament to answering society's need for creative ways of linking people, resources and communities. Whether country lanes, neighborhood streets, urban boulevards or prototypical freeways, roads are part of an innovation legacy for continuous improvement in advancing physical and social connectivity.

However, too much of a good thing is not always good. Planners and Urban Designers have begun to reverse the trend of overbuilt and underutilized streets and highways that, in hindsight, are detrimental to the urban fabric. Over recent years, the concept of complete streets has emerged as a response to the all too common practice of expanding two-lane, local streets into four-lane arterials once traffic loads hit a certain point-roughly 6,000 cars a day. The original thinking held that wider roads meant better traffic flows, but this came at a cost to all other users of the road corridor. In retrospect, the recent, rational answer has been the shrinking and even removal of vehicular lanes to allow for the recapture of space for bike lanes, widened sidewalks, on-street parking, crossing islands and traffic calming devices. In support, research shows that redesigning streets in this manner does not impact travel times; rather, pedestrian traffic tends to soar as moving traffic is buffered and vehicular speed is decreased. Meanwhile traffic flow typically stays even in such corridors as drivers divert to other parts of the overall roadway network.

Constraints of space in which to construct new roads are also causing a progression in development of alternative transportation choices. It's about changing the culture of how we use streets. Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access and mobility for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. By incorporating a holistic approach to roadway design, we can enrich social engagement, improve public health, strengthen local economies and better support both recreational and ecological needs. Reintroducing pedestrian traffic, alternative modes of transportation and landscape elements is a smart and viable means of creating better, more livable communities.

As Planners and Landscape Architects, we employ multiple design strategies for improving street functionality. Each project must carefully respond to its community context while preserving character-defining elements and conserving resources. Establishing a cohesive design palette that extends through all visual elements such as street trees, curb extensions, mass transit pullouts, well-defined crosswalks, appropriate lighting and pedestrian signals, provides for improved circulation and allows the user to fully experience a space in the best possible way.

Evidence is mounting, that if designed intelligently, complete street corridors enhance regional economics, promote better health and can improve environmental awareness. As such, long-range planning must be influenced by an evolving land-use and development ethic that places pedestrian prioritization as the main focus of street design for healthy communities.

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Redefining the Fort Lauderdale Beach experience, EDSA's design of the Las Olas Corridor creates strong visual and physical connections to the beach while prioritizing pedestrian circulation and shaping and iconic public gathering space. As Design Team Leader, EDSA brought an innate understanding of future development needs, sustainability preferences, transportation innovations and programming opportunities to the assignment. Influenced by the natural environment and hard urban edge of the Intracoastal Waterway, the legacy public space project establishes a fluid connection between usable green spaces, preserves view corridors and creates a flexible urban plaza and Intracoastal promenade. In an effort to improve overall walkability and create a destination arrival sense, the corridor plan resembles and deconstructed resort experience with consolidated parking, organically established boundary markers, an arrival courtyard, plaza amenity deck and pedestrian connections from water to water. The newly created design aesthetic has the potential to increase the amount of public green park space by 220%, uniting residents and city leaders in a more sustainable future.

EDSA is currently responsible for design leadership and team management in addition to providing overall design and construction period services that address the realignment of Las Olas Boulevard as well as redevelopment of Oceanside Park, the Intracoastal promenade and Channel Square Canal. EDSA's relationship with the City of Fort Lauderdale dates back to the late 1980's with our transformative design of a vehicular-centric environment into a memorable pedestrian oasis on the famous beachfront.

Freehand Visions Sketch Carnival

EDSA remains committed to educating, mentoring and inspiring future Landscape Architects from around the globe. With a passion for those pursuing a career in the design profession, EDSA is leading by example, creating opportunities and positively influencing the design curriculum.

Hosting students from Ball State University afforded this next generation of Landscape Architects a chance to explore the possibilities extended by their career of choice. Guided by Principal J. Robert Behling, students visited The Breakers Beach Club, and EDSA project, where they were exposed to the design development process and strategies for implementation. Students also participated in a Graphics Workshop where they networked with other team members, learned new drawing techniques and immersed themselves in the EDSA culture.

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