Can Palm Beach County Have Growth Without Gridlock?

palm beach county road extensionsMost people, once they’ve moved to this sunny, pleasant place, hope it will stay the same forever.

It can’t, and it won’t. It comes down to math: P3 = G. (Property rights plus popularity plus politics equals growth.)

But what about the other important equation here: G squared = 🙁  (Growth multiplied by gridlock equals crappy quality of life.)

Clearly, if the region’s transportation network doesn’t keep pace, everyone suffers.

Consider these real numbers:

Palm Beach County’s 2010 population was 1.32 million, according to the U.S. Census.

By 2040, it’s projected to grow by 27 percent, hitting 1.68 million people, according to the new Palm Beach County Metropolitan Planning Organization 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan, which maps out likely regional changes over the next three decades.

The most intense growth is anticipated to be scattered in several key areas: along the urban U.S. 1 corridor in south Palm Beach County, along Military Trail in central Palm Beach County, near the waterfront in West Palm Beach, along I-95 in north county, and on rural farmland in central-west Palm Beach County, where Minto West and other projects are planned.

So how would the transportation network need to change? Under a section named, “Desires,” the plan calls for a mix of new roads, road widening and new public transportation services to handle more people.

A local commuter rail option, Tri-Rail Coast Link, would run along the eastern urban corridor where All Aboard Florida trains are due to run, with 14 stops from Jupiter to Boca Raton. A grid of express buses spanning the length and breadth of the entire county would link to several of those train stations.

Bound to be controversial: Many existing roads would be extended and connected to more roads.

From the MPO's long-range 2040 transportation plan. New roads are dotted lines. In Loxahatchee and the Acreage, Seminole Pratt-Whitney Road would be paved to the Beeline Highway and connected to Persimmon Boulevard and 60th Street. Part of that effort would be privatley funded.

In Jupiter, Island Way would link Indiantown Road with Central Boulevard.

West of Lake Park, State Road 7 would run past Ibis and connect to Northlake Boulevard.

A new road along the southern boundary of West Palm Beach’s Grassy Waters water catchment area would connect State Road 7 to Roebuck Road, ultimately reaching 45th Street.

West of the Boynton Beach/Delray Beach line, sleepy Flavor Pict Road could be extended past Hagen Ranch Road, over the Turnpike, to connect with State Road 7.

Lyons Road would gain a long-sought link around Lake Worth Road to Stribling Way.

And at a projected taxpayer cost of $34 million, Okeechobee Road would be extended southward, through the farmlands west of Lion Country Safari, to connect with Southern Boulevard, to give an alternative means of emergency evaucation for the Southern Boulevard corridor.

All in all, it’s supposed to add up to a vision for absorbing growth while maintaining quality of life. Does the math work for you?


Source:  Palm Beach Post