Note: This is an editorial from City of Sunrise Deputy Mayor and Broward MPO Board Member Larry Sofield

Last Saturday, community leaders, elected officials, advocates, and residents gathered at Nob Hill Soccer Club Park in Sunrise to celebrate the opening of the Sunset Strip Complete Streets project. The project is approximately 4.4 miles long, running on Sunset Strip from Nob Hill Road to Sunrise Boulevard, and features buffered bike lanes and wider sidewalks that give residents enhanced mobility and safety benefits no matter how they travel on Sunset Strip.

The Sunset Strip Complete Streets project is part of the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) $300 million-dollar commitment to plan, fund, and implement Complete Streets projects across the Broward region. The Sunset Strip project is unique, in that it serves as one of two Complete Streets demonstration projects, intended to showcase the benefits of Complete Streets and how they fit into their respective neighborhoods. The Sunset Strip project is the MPO’s suburban Complete Streets demonstration project and offers a glimpse into the future of what Complete Streets can bring to suburban communities.

Sunset Strip is a great demonstration project for Complete Streets because of the variety of uses on the street. Residential areas on the western and eastern areas of the street are mixed with shops, restaurants, parks, and schools towards the central portion of Sunset Strip, and the Complete Streets project allows for residents to walk or bike safely to school or to go shopping; all without having to get into a car. Of course, cars can still use Sunset Strip, and traffic calming techniques such as roundabouts and narrower lanes will encourage drivers to obey the posted speed limit and will help bring a neighborhood street feel back to Sunset Strip.

The Sunset Strip Complete Streets project is important not just for the City of Sunrise, but for all of Broward. The Broward MPO’s Complete Streets Initiative aims to connect streets across Broward with Complete Streets concepts, making it safe and efficient for Broward’s residents to move across the region, regardless of their method of transportation. In the coming years, additional Broward MPO Complete Streets projects in Plantation, Tamarac, and other cities will connect with projects in Sunrise, creating a network of Complete Streets across the region. With this network in place, residents will have greater access to job opportunities as well as recreational and shopping options. It will take time, but demonstrating the benefits of Complete Streets in Broward is coming.

For more information about the Broward MPO's Complete Streets Initiative, visit: http://browardmpo.org/index.php/major-functions/complete-streets-initiative