I attended the public meeting at City Hall Tuesday night to hear plans for West Palm Beach mobility. Automobiles were described as the cigarettes of the current era.
The consultants made massive assumptions about “what we want” in West Palm Beach from minuscule and undefined sources. Their bias toward walking and bicycles was obvious and disconcerting as tens of thousands will be massively inconvenienced if their plans become reality.
They claim we have roads because developers want to build them. What we actually have are consultants with grandiose plans they want to sell. Included in their ideas is the reduction of Okeechobee Boulevard west of US 1 from four lanes to two.
I’m all for improving the look and safety of the West Palm Beach downtown, but to see the danger and inappropriateness of these plans, one need look no further than their Flagler Shore initiative. This trial has reduced Flagler Drive between Lakeview and Banyan from four lanes to two in order to allocate the two easternmost lanes for skateboarders, rollerbladers, bicyclists, street performers, street artists, and pedestrians.
This is an appalling degrading of that beautiful thoroughfare and meaningfully reduces safety for all who travel through it. There are large areas around the amphitheater where jugglers on 10-foot unicycles can ply their trade if that’s what our citizens really want. It would not require the elimination of that attractive waterfront. Furthermore, the current design allows ample room for bicyclists and pedestrians who use it regularly.
Do these consultants realize we live in a subtropical climate zone? Do they really expect a large percentage of the public to ride bicycles to work? Where do they plan to put the public showers?
ROBERT GARVY, PALM BEACH
Palm Beach Post
October 28, 2017