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Florida's new approach to zoning and urban streeets

Pedestrians and bicyclists are often left in the dust when it comes to zoning rules and regulations. According to certain urban planning experts, the state of Florida is -- in some ways -- worse than other states in this regard.

However, this could change as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) seeks to make changes to urban planning so that the state's roads and streets will be safer for people who aren't in vehicles.

Florida wants to make changes to urban zones and road planning

FDOT has begun its Complete Streets Implementation program, which identifies eight context classifications that will affect road design decisions throughout the state. Through the Complete Streets Implementation program, city planners will look at the current and future characteristics of urban areas by looking at land use, types of building and the connectivity of streets to make sure that streets are designed in a way that considers who uses them, for what purposes and how fast traffic should flow.

Florida's new way of looking at urban road planning will affect whether city planners will add accommodations for bicycles, public transportation users, pedestrians and so forth. They'll also dictate whether to include more parking in certain areas and how to organize that parking.

According to the manager of the program, Florida needs to have "the right street in the right place," but in order to achieve that, city planners need to have more specific descriptions of how business owners are using land in different contexts throughout urban areas.

Could the new way of looking at city zoning affect my business?

Some of the new classifications included in the Complete Streets Implementation are "suburban commercial," "urban core" and "rural town" -- among others. These classifications will be used to determine road modifications, the addition of new roads, the widths of lanes, new speeds and other controls applied to city streets.

It's too early to know how this new way of looking at urban street planning could affect urban land zoning laws, but -- if the way employees, customers and other individuals get from A to B is changing in Florida -- these new rules could potentially affect one's business. Business owners and landowners may therefore want to stay abreast of these developments to determine what potential effects they may have later on down the road.

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