In 2019, the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL metropolitan area was listed as the third most dangerous metro area for walking in the United States. To address the urgency of this issue, the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization (SCTPO) created and adopted complete streets guiding principles, and allocated funds for feasibility studies, design and construction of complete streets projects. Kittelson assisted the SCTPO in developing a countywide prioritization system by which to select complete street projects for construction based on safety, socioeconomic data, a multimodal network assessment, and project viability. Six projects were selected for construction.
Hickory Street was a strong candidate for the complete streets program. The roadway connects a historic, low-income neighborhood to the historic downtown. It bisects two local parks and a hospital campus and is the front door to a school. This project would improve access to significant community resources and support active transportation.
In partnership with the City of Melbourne and the Florida Department of Transportation, we worked as part of a design team to take the preliminary concepts we developed through to final design for the Hickory Street streetscape. The streetscape was conceptualized as a two-part complete street.
The first part of the street travels through the Downtown Historic District and in-town neighborhoods. Bike lanes and raised intersections were added. A curb-less street or “shared space” was designed between Well Park, Military Memorial Park, and Liberty Bell Park.
The second part of the street travels through the Holmes Regional Hospital campus and was envisioned as an extension of the campus. The bike lanes shift from within the roadway to a multi-use/bikeway trail that circumvents the two new roundabouts at Sheridan Street and Oak Street. The street design finishes with the bike lanes shifting back on street with a series of rain gardens as an aesthetically pleasing method of collecting stormwater runoff. In another area that floods regularly, we designed and constructed the street using porous paving materials. The additional 8-10 inches of porous pavers help to serve as a pseudo-retention area to hold flood water until it can seep back into the ground.
A Street Design That Supports Multimodal Safety, Rain or Shine
Construction was completed in early 2020. This solution mitigates a variety of drainage issues by not only replacing the existing impervious surface, but also lifting up the driving, bicycling, and walking surface without creating additional impervious surface or compacted soil – and it keeps people moving by preventing flooded pathways and streets. We look forward to the ways that this public engagement process, intricate bike facility planning, landscape architecture and design, and innovative roadway solutions will help to make this street safer for all users.