Residents and City Officials Come Together To Solve Palmetto and 5th Ave Issue
As the City of Boca Raton is growing and developing, a major controversy among residents is the effect that this growth will have on their daily lives.
On Wednesday night, at The Downtown Library, over 50 residents came to a meeting with traffic engineers to discuss possible solutions to the worsening issue on Palmetto Park Road and 5th Avenue.
This intersection has always been busy, yet a few years ago the City removed the left turn lanes along Palmetto Park Road, in an attempt to make it feel more like a downtown area, like Las Olas Boulevard in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. The new changes seemed great at first but as the City grew, so did the traffic.
Recently, this intersection between Downtown and the Barricade Islands has become a huge concern, especially to the people that live within the Barricade Islands. On the corner of that intersection also lies the very popular Trattoria Romana, which is always busy and lacks sufficient parking. When visiting the location at around 5pm on a weekday, the traffic seems fine for rush hour. Yet the issue is usually weekends when the restaurant is packed, and people are trying to get to the beach. Congestion gets especially worse when the bridge opens at the half hours. Without having a left turn lane, things become more complicated as each side has to go at separate times. These issues will only get worse once the constructions in Downtown ends and the buildings open to add more traffic onto Palmetto.
These concerns have not gone unnoticed by neither the City nor the residents. However, the issue arises as they try to figure out the best and most cost effective way to handle this. At the meeting on Wednesday a representative from Calvin, Giordano & Associates presented about five different way to handle the situation. Yet with a room filled with upset residents, an hour into his presentation he was still trying to finish his first option since he was constantly being interrupted with questions and complaints, along with a few helpful suggestions.
The Mayor, Susan Haynie, was among the crowd, along with Deputy Mayor Robert Weinroth and Councilmember Scott Singer. The presence of City Officials was important because this meeting was not hosted by the City, but their support and attention to the matter is to be noted.
The Traffic Engineers have done intense study on this issue and are working hard to find a solution that pleases everybody. Although it is taking some time and much controversy, the firm must have a complete plan to present to the City Council by the end of April so that appropriate changes can be made.
The City ought to be applauded for their attention to the issues of resident and to the issues of traffic caused by development. Problems will always arise in growing cities, but what is important is how these problems are handled.
Seeing workshops being held and inviting residents for their feedback is something that most cities do not have. So we residents can rest assured that no matter what is to come for this new Downtown Boca, our City is making sure it is taken care of effectively.