How to Use a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB)


It’s not hard… Use common sense!

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Crosswalk flashing beacons criticized by Brevard officials; 18 to be installed along A1A


https://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/2019/03/14/crosswalk-flashing-beacons-criticized-brevard-officials-18-installed-along-a-1-a/3106988002/

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Motorists, What Does it Mean to “Share the Road” with Cyclists?


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We need a culture shift. Big time. Here’s a great article with some help for motorists on what it means to “Share The Road”: https://floridabicycle.org/for-motorists/

(P.S. If you’re viewing this article on your phone the formatting is much better if you select “Desktop Site”.)

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Rockledge Walkability Plan Post #11: Special Districts (Now, Isn’t That Special?)


transect zones plus sd

Barry Watkins, 22 Feb 2019

Our proposals for improving walkability in Rockledge include adopting a SmartCode for the City. Let’s look in some detail over the next few posts at how this will help our neighborhoods evolve into more walkable places.

Special Districts – Driving-Oriented and Industrial Uses

One big thing that will help to create more walkable places in our city is to separate walkable uses from car-oriented uses. The SmartCode does this thru the use of Special Districts. Two Special Districts could accomplish what we need in this regard – an Auto-Oriented Special District (SDA) and an Industrial Special District (SDI). These zones would serve to push certain uses that are less conducive to walkability away from planned walkable centers and into specified locations at natural edges of activity.

Examples of businesses that would be located in an Auto-Oriented Special District

The Auto-Oriented Special District (SDA) would be where we would locate car-oriented businesses that by nature create a lot of car traffic such as big box retail, drive-thrus, auto sales, auto parts stores, and gas stations. This district would be located near the edge of town or in small pockets at the edge of walkable villages and very limited in acreage.

An Industrial Special District would house industrial uses that can’t readily coexist too close to residences

The Industrial Special District (SDI) would isolate some industrial uses from walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods. Small amounts of well-defined light industrial uses could be embedded in the walkable zones if they meet certain criteria. The SDI Special District is designed for entities such as larger format, low-density industrial, industrial that produces a lot of truck traffic, and any industrial use that produces too much noise or fumes to coexist too close to residences. SDI should be located near highway access and hidden from view from passing traffic and from neighboring areas with a landscaped buffer.

Auto-Oriented and Industrial businesses that already exist in the city should be grandfathered in and allowed to remain in their current locations. New approvals after the adoption of the new SmartCode would fall under the new standards.

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Rockledge Walkability Plan Post #10: Preserving Neighborhood Character


rockledge village concept 2019-02-08

Barry Watkins, 8 Feb 2019

The walkability plan we are proposing for Rockledge is an evolving plan. The picture above is the latest update to the village concept plan. We want to make our neighborhoods and commercial corridors more walkable while preserving the things we love about our existing neighborhoods. Mixed use and form-based codes such as the SmartCode allow for the preservation of the character of places while also allowing very targeted changes in a positive direction. How do we do this? For one thing, the code requires that each neighborhood be carefully mapped lot by lot and prescribes citizen involvement every step of the way to ensure that the quality and character of the neighborhood will never be diminished, but only enhanced and improved. This is critical. Portions of neighborhoods can be designated to evolve as walkable village centers. Quality and character are preserved by defining building heights, front yard setbacks, landscaping, architecture, and uses that are fully compatible with the surrounding homes. This is a delicate balance, and the services of well-trained professionals who are experienced at planning walkable communities should be utilized to help guide the way.

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This neighborhood store and cafe in Orlando, 903 Mills Market, is a great example of how commercial can peacefully coexist right next to existing residential. It serves as a great neighborhood amenity and doesn’t disturb the residential character of the place.

Village centers in our plan would be custom tailored for each location. A detailed design of the center would be spelled out in a neighborhood regulating plan. When a property owner wishes to develop, make a change, or change the use of their property they would be required to submit a site plan detailing the use, parking locations, building locations, etc. to the local review board for approval. Changes would have to be compatible with their neighbors and follow strict guidelines for signage, lighting, noise, etc. In this manner village and town centers can evolve naturally over time. The overall direction of each improvement is managed by the neighborhood regulating plan and the city’s walkability standards.

rockledge village concept tc 2019-02-08

The Town Center as proposed above would convert Barton Blvd. into a mixed use higher intensity walkable center. Buildings could be up to 4 stories, most future buildings would be attached with very small front setbacks from the sidewalk. A free mix of neighborhood-compatible, walkable uses would be allowed. This corridor could provide a good number of office employment opportunities within about a 10 minute transit commute or drive from anywhere in the city.

rockledge village concept barnes 2019-02-08

The image above shows three villages centered on Barnes Blvd. The orange areas are conceptual village center designations. These would serve daily needs within a 10 min walk from surrounding homes. They would be zoned T5 with surrounding areas zoned T4 and T3. (See our article introducing the SmartCode here. You can download and see more about the SmartCode at http://www.smartcodecentral.com.)

Barnes and Murrell NW Corner Shopping Center

Parking lots like this one in front of SkyZone at Barnes and Murrell are good candidates for transformation into walkable centers by introducing traditional small blocks.

aerial barnes and murrell

A proposed Walkable Village Center at this intersection would allow the large parking lots to be divided into small blocks lined with mixed use buildings with retail on the ground floor and office and/or residential uses above. This transformation would be similar to the picture below.

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Image from The Sprawl Repair Manual by Galina Tachieva

This is post #10 in a series. |<Beginning <Previous Next> End>|

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We Are Working to Reverse this Trend!


https://www.fastcompany.com/90294569/the-number-of-pedestrians-killed-by-cars-keeps-going-up

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Rockledge Walkability Plan Post #9: Which Path Will You Choose?


Two alternatives: Sprawl Vs Walkability. Image by Dover Kohl. https://www.greaterplaces.com/street-design/i/9701278/commercial-corridor-retrofit

Barry Watkins, 4 Feb 2019

The above image by Dover Kohl serves as a fantastic illustration of the two main choices for the future of Rockledge: 1) Status-quo sprawl on the left, and 2) Walkable development on the right. Drive around town. Try walking or biking to the store or to go out to eat. Many, many places around our city (and county) much more closely resemble the sprawl illustration above and almost none resemble the walkable illustration. Most are somewhere in between, but I think you’ll agree that the vast majority of places in Rockledge, especially along our major roads, have the basic character of sprawl, and are not built well for walking. Which picture would you rather our city look like? Which of the two options above would be the more desirable place in which to live, work, shop, and visit?

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Shopping Center Barton and Murrel. Standard sprawl arrangement with a vast amount of unused parking in front, buildings set far away from the street.

Why are we continuing to build things this way?

Who decides which future course our city will take? We do. Our current land development codes were set in place years ago and intentionally produced the current automobile-centered sprawl environment. Many places across the country and around the world are realizing we need a better approach. In order to change what we’re getting we need to make some changes to our codes. Changing the codes is the way to shape a different future. Developers, design professionals, and builders are all used to following the rules. When we make walkable places the law of the land that’s what they will build.

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Places like Celebration, Florida were built with walking as a priority. The code absolutely shapes the place.

Sprawl vs Walkability: Some basic differences

Here are a few basic things we need to regulate differently in order to produce walkable places along our major roads:

  1. Give more space to pedestrians and cyclists and less space to car traffic. Decrease the number of vehicle lanes, and narrow the lanes to 10′ Max. Reduce the number of turn lanes, add landscaped medians. Give more space for walking and bicycling and more separation between pedestrians, bicycles, and car traffic. Shade and buffer the spaces with street trees.

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    Providing space for cars (above) vs Providing space for walking and cycling (below). Image Source: http://buildabetterburb.org/sprawl-repair-is-essential-unavoidable/, photos by Steve Price, Urban Advantage

  2. Locate buildings closer to the street. Require small front setbacks. This arrangement is more attractive than the status quo, provides safe and easy access to buildings from the sidewalk, makes businesses more visible from the street. It also slows car traffic by providing drivers with visual cues.

    amenity-rich-street-example-wide-sidewalks-etc.

    Buildings close to the street with parking behind creates a pedestrian-friendly realm in front of buildings.

  3. Build up, not out. Allow taller buildings and higher intensities, and require smaller lot widths. Walkable places are compact. Building front doors closer together makes it easier to walk around to get things done rather than having to get in your car for every task.
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    A little intensity is a good thing. Building up and not out produces much higher property values per acre.

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    The status quo pushes buildings back from the street with parking in front. Sprawl makes it almost impossible to safely navigate places by walking and certainly makes walking an unpleasant task.

  4. Rearrange and reduce car parking. Add parallel parking at the street. Locate remaining parking behind buildings in common surface lots or parking structures. Reduce parking required by: a) Sharing parking spaces, and b) Converting some trips to walking, cycling, and transit. Shared parking is more efficient, especially with different uses on the same block.

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    Create inviting outdoor rooms in front of buildings instead of hot, ugly parking lots.

  5. Combine parking accesses. Reduce the number of driveways crossing the sidewalk. This reduces the number of conflict points between people walking, cycling, and driving, and will reduce the number of collisions, injuries, and fatalities.

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    Keep the number of driveways crossing the sidewalk to a minimum. Image source: https://www.nats.org/2017_Summer_Workshop_-_Transportation.html

These few changes to our codes among others are very easy to implement, can be done at very low or no cost to the city, and will bring dramatic improvements over time.

Walkable Brevard, Rockledge, Florida, email:walkablebrevard@gmail.com, 321-355-2747, http://facebook.com/groups/walkablebrevard, http://twitter.com/walkablebrevard

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