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New River Greenway Limps Toward Completion After a Decade of Inaction

It was a fine vision, and a simple one.

Someday, you'd be able to walk or bike from the Pond Apple Slough in Fort Lauderdale all the way west, along the New River Canal, out to Weston and the Glades. 

Should have been easy: The county is flat as a pancake, moldable to the whims of planners. The "New River Greenway," as it was called, would just be a six-foot-wide strip of concrete and a few bridges. In 1999, county commissioners decided to fill in the "missing links" that interrupted the existing path. FDOT would kick in the $5 million to pay for it. The design was completed a decade ago, ready to build. 

We're still waiting. 

There used to be a paved path on the south side of the canal, but it was ripped up to make room for 595 and State Road 84 (though a section still exists west of 136th Street). In 1999, county commissioners decided to pursue a handful of "greenways" projects that would include reconstruction of the New River path.

Then very little happened for quite a few years. A paved section west of University Drive was completed in 2010, though as we showed, when you try to bike it, the experience kind of sucks

East of University, our ambitious millennial county planners (here's the Greenways website, touched little in the past decade) envisioned a "missing link" section that would skirt Nova Southeastern University to the south, then come back up Davie Boulevard and rejoin the canal path. 

Update: Project manager John Crouse says construction is not proceeding on the "missing link" identified in 2001 and that he's "not aware of a date" when it might be completed. "The whole planning team and the county planning agencies involved would have to go back and look at that element," he says. Crouse notes, however, that the county is getting ready to install trees, benches, and other "amenities" on the section west of University.

(original post) Another section, which will provide a path under the sprawling spaghetti of onramps to State Road 7, is being built in bits and pieces in tandem with road construction. That's what happens when you rely on FDOT to build your project -- foot and bicycle don't seem to be a big part of the "Transportation" they envision.

Even the portion that's been open since 2010 is sealed off for construction where it meets University Drive and punctuated by dangerous four-lane road crossings. It's a far cry from the trail of "11 miles through central Broward County from the Everglades to Port Everglades" that planners touted in 2001. When it exists, without proper signage and publicity, nobody will notice it. 

It is so much to ask for a single footpath?

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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph

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