The City of Fort Lauderdale is working to transform the City into a fully connected, pedestrian-friendly, multimodal City that improves pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist safety through a Complete Streets approach, which is one of the top priorities outlined in the citywide Vision Plan and Strategic Plan.
Complete Streets offer safe access for all users, including pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. As part of its Complete Streets initiatives, the City of Fort Lauderdale introduced the Connecting the Blocks Painted Intersection Program, which is the first of its kind in the City and Broward County, to help create a safer balance between cars and people.
This Connecting the Blocks Painted Intersection Program presents an opportunity to reimagine and recreate the environment and work together on unique projects that benefit the City and the surrounding community. By joining together, neighbors, City staff, local organizations, students, etc. can turn public spaces into community places, as well as enhance Fort Lauderdale’s identity as a fun, dynamic, pedestrian-friendly destination.
Connecting the Blocks with Color on Breakers Avenue
On May 15, 2016, the City of Fort Lauderdale hosted the Breakers Avenue Painted Crosswalks event where volunteers transformed the crosswalks at Riomar and Terramar Streets on Fort Lauderdale Beach into colorful crossings with life-sized circles and squares. Local artist Robin Haines Merrill’s designs reflect the vintage architecture of the area and turn these public spaces into livable places that connect people through art within the streetscape. The event was made possible through an Art of Community grant from the Community Foundation of Broward and a partnership with the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.
The City’s Transportation and Mobility Department secured a $42,000 Art of Community grant from the Community Foundation of Broward to install three painted intersections on Breakers Avenue at Riomar, Terramar, and Vistamar Streets. This project aims to create a sense of place that reflects the character of the area, highlight its identity, promote civic engagement and add to the City’s ever-growing public art on the streetscape. Improvements will be made to pedestrian safety and accessibility to the sidewalk in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This project presents an opportunity to engage our neighbors in a fun, artistic experience that will have a lasting footprint.
As part of the City’s commitment to incorporate sustainability, the intersection art will be installed with a more durable, ‘cool pavement’ asphalt treatment. Cool pavements are reflective and help lower the surface air temperature and reduce the amount of heat absorbed into the asphalt.
Meet the Artist
Robin Haines Merrill is a South Florida-based artist and designer whose work focuses on environmental, spiritual and social justice issues. A graduate of California College of Arts & Crafts, Robin has been awarded with many accolades over her 30-year career, the most recent one is from the Knight Foundation for her Tribal Arts Project.
Robin is also known for her work with the Las Olas Post Office Rally, Love the Everglades Movement, pedestrian safety issues and bringing unique cultural events to downtown Fort Lauderdale, including carving a dugout canoe with Seminole tribal artisans. Robin's latest Painted Intersection Project for the City of Fort Lauderdale will build upon her creative solutions-driven civic engagement work.
Robin's designs were selected by the City and the community from a prior ‘call to artists' painted intersection solicitation.
From the Everglades to the ocean, water connects us all. Underneath our feet, in the fragile aquifer of South Florida, water runs through limestone and supplies our daily needs. In Fort Lauderdale, we are surrounded by canals, rivers, swamps, Intercoastal waterways and the ocean. These painted intersection designs are an imaginary glimpse of what it might look like if we cut out the asphalt of the intersection. It’s a traffic calming measure, but also a request to respect the water that surrounds us, seen and unseen.
The crosswalks reflect the vintage architecture of the local area, a retro review of styles and colors from the past that make us truly unique.
The first intersection was painted on May 31, 2014. Watch the following videos to see how artist Cecilia Lueza and her dedicated volunteers transformed it into a vibrant, community-people place!
Other Cities That Have Turned Public Spaces into Exciting Community Places!
- A Whale Surfaces on Graham Street – Seattle, WA
- Coloring Inside the Lanes – Portland, OR
- Intersection Painting - North End, Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Los Angeles Eco-Village – Los Angeles, CA
- Ocean City NJ Paints a Street – Ocean City, NJ
- Paint the Pavement – St. Paul, MN
- Paint the Pavement – Boulder, CO
- Paint the Street Fantastic – Portland, OR
- The 8th and Holman Intersection Repair – Portland, OR