Building a Quality Mixed-Use District: SR7/U.S. 441 Redevelopment

By Sarah Sinatra Gould….
From February 5, 2005 through February 11, 2005, residents and business owners of West Park participated in a community visioning process known as the Miramar/West Park Strategic Master Plan Charrette series. The visioning process was conducted to work with the community on plans to improve the economic and aesthetic conditions along the SR 7/US 441 corridor. One goal was to increase mobility along the corridor through enhanced transportation and land use coordination.

As a major north-south transit route, the SR 7/US 441 corridor has the county’s highest transit ridership levels and is currently designated by Broward County for Rapid Bus or Bus Rapid Transit service in the near future. Longer term projections indicate that light-rail service may be provided along this designated premium transit corridor. The existing land use designations along the corridor provide limited opportunity for transit-supportive development. Therefore, a new land use category was proposed and was adopted by the City in 2007. The Transit Oriented Corridor land use category provides the City with the necessary mix of land uses, density and design that will encourage the creation of an environment that will promote transit usage and a sense of place currently lacking along the corridor. The uses are consistent with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) regional Market Study conducted for the corridor and the Charrette master plan.

•    Beautify SR 7 adding landscaping, decorative street lights, bus stops, benches, trash cans, signage, etc.
•    Create a town center along SR7/US-441 with retail, restaurants, offices, and residences
•    Build mixed-use buildings with parking in the rear along main roadways
•    Build 3- to 6-story buildings wherever possible with entrance features
•    Blocks of buildings with the mass located towards the street with side and rear spaces for courtyards and public spaces
•    Setbacks are landscape buffers with shade trees for transit amenities

The Transit Oriented Corridor land use category encourages redevelopment along SR7/US-441, in the form of 575,000 square feet of commercial, 500,000 square feet of office, 200 hotel rooms and 1,500 residential units.

Along with this future development, the plan includes amenities to serve residents, visitors and employees within the development and encourage a pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented environment including benches, street furniture, shade structures, landscaping, light fixtures, trash receptacles and bicycle parking.  This may also include other amenities within public places such as plazas that include fountains, sculptures and green space. Streets will include pedestrian and transit amenities such as street trees, bus shelters and information kiosks to serve the residents and employees within.

The scale, organization and style of architectural components will contribute to a sense of place for this urban village. At the street, buildings will be proportioned for pedestrian orientation. Buildings will front the street with minimal setbacks, creating continuity of streetscape interest through continuous storefronts and direct visual connections to building entries. Architecture will also be used to create attractive landmarks and gateways to the development.  Bus shelters and limited surface parking will encourage the transit environment and support transit usage. Furthermore, the buildings, rather than the parking, will front the street. This will also encourage residents, employees and visitors to utilize transit.

Current Development Plan

The Transit Oriented Corridor land use and zoning designations were employed to prepare the State Road 7 corridor for redevelopment. The area included in this plan is 88 acres made up of 64 auto oriented businesses, 10 pawn shops, 9 restaurants, 3 office buildings and a post office. Since the development program was initiated, the City has approved approximately 130,000 square feet of commercial at the corner of State Road 7 and Pembroke Road, which recently became the home of the new City Hall.

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