Everything today seems to be based on speed. How fast is your data plan? How fast can my food delivery be at the front door? How soon will my Uber be pulling up? How quickly can Starbucks get a triple venti half soy no-foam latte placed in front of an impatient, multi-tasking customer.
Speed has become our latest addiction.
This driving need for instant gratification, for quick results, to have things done at a faster and faster pace does not mix well with long-term planning, state and local government agencies, and the reality of municipal budget restraints from year to year.
The road resurfacing and striping phase of the Wilton Drive project has not even had a chance to dry, and people are already expecting trees, landscaping, and a finished product. Unfortunately, some things take time, more time than we would like perhaps, but still worth waiting for.
In a perfect world one might expect trees, landscaping, art installations, signage, new lighting and other amenities to have been installed over the past year while road construction was taking place. Unfortunately, Wilton Drive is a far more complex reality.
Wilton Drive is known by another name, SR 811. This designation means that the roadway is owned and controlled by the State of Florida and falls under the guidelines of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
This reality has made it far more challenging to bring about long-awaited changes along this stretch of roadway. The good news is that the state is nearing the completion of Phase One of this project. At that point, our local government can begin the eagerly awaited Phase Two of the project, the landscaping/streetscaping phase for the new and improved Wilton Drive corridor.
Residents and businesses will just have to wait a bit longer as the improvements come at different stages. This prolonged time frame does not sit well with those craving the quick gratification that many have become accustomed to. However, major projects such as Wilton Drive take time to reach completion, but once that goal is achieved, the long wait will reward our city with much to be proud of along this vital main corridor of our Island City.
One benefit of this whole process is that the cost of all the roadway improvements such as drainage, curbing, wider sidewalks, medians, bike lanes, and road resurfacing have been funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization. The huge cost burden of these road improvements on our municipal budget would have made this project prohibitive in the time frame we are currently witnessing, too slow for some, but actually very quick in the budgetary and real-time world.
Until the state FDOT finalizes this initial phase in the next few weeks, some items that seem odd and a waste of money will have to be endured. The dying sod tossed into place to cover gaping holes along the street is not the final landscaping that is fueling much of the complaining and snickering. It is simply a means to complete Phase One so that our city can begin Phase Two, which will go a long way toward transforming the Drive into the state of grandeur many in our community have planned and worked for over many years.
The City of Wilton Manors has set funds aside in previous budgets and has proposed future funding for the landscaping and tree installation planned in the next phase of improvements. Over time, we will begin the much anticipated streetscaping, art installations, and so much more. The Drive will be a continuing work in progress for some time, but soon much will be happening to move beyond the sod that some are complaining about.
Along with the planned landscaping, the city is also ready to move ahead with a very detailed wayfinding sign project that will introduce new signage along our entranceways and throughout the Wilton Drive Improvement District, bringing a fresh look to our Island City.
Funds are also being budgeted to bring a new look to Jaycee Park. This small public park located across from City Hall on Wilton Drive will get a complete make-over to transform the space into a spectacular gathering place along the new and improved Wilton Drive. Our elected officials and city management team are fully committed to bringing about the wondrous transformation of Wilton Drive from a four-lane state roadway into the vital, beautifully landscaped, main city corridor serving as the centerpiece of our great Island City.
Patience, proper planning, overcoming hurdles, responsibly budgeting and the transformation of a dream into the new and improved Wilton Drive is what makes life just better here.