Good Evening. I’m Robert Garvy, a Founder of FixFlagler. I believe you’re all aware of who we are and why we organized. We were, and remain, opposed to the jackhammering of Flagler Drive to remove two lanes and alter the nature and aesthetic of our waterfront. That initiative by the mayor is known as Flagler Shore.
Now, however, the mayor and the consultants she engaged have upped the ante with their Mobility Plan. A battle has erupted over this plan. It puts the mayor at odds with the vast majority of her constituents, officials in surrounding communities, and even Palm Beach County legislators.
And why is that? It’s pretty simple. The people who live, work, and travel through here do not want their roads on a “diet.” They don’t want lanes removed! They do not want to be forced out of their cars! They don’t want Flagler Shore and the jackhammering of two lanes of Flagler Drive! We were told Flagler Shore was not going to be pursued; yet elements still show up in the Mobility Plan on page 121, in spite of denials by the mayor and her staff. What’s going on here? Does the administration think we’re stupid, are they inept, or do they just intend to roll over us as though we don’t matter?
As policy makers, council members need to hear both sides of an issue in order to make informed decisions. The mobility study has been one sided. It has been a love fest between the administration and the consultants. The problems associated with road diets and plans like these have caused howls of protests and problems in Washington, DC, Chicago, Seattle and other cities. In Gainesville, FL and coastal South Carolina road diet projects are being torn up and returned to their original configurations. These have all been documented in our report at FixFlagler.org. This Mobility Report is a $350 million, 22 year, gross overreach by they mayor and her staff with details released less than one month ago while $400 million in deferred maintenance goes unattended.
Your responsibility tonight is to “receive and file” the Mobility Report. You need more time to hear from experts who find these initiatives greatly flawed. You must NOT use wording to accept or adopt this report, which makes it a framework, a policy guide, or a roadmap going forward. We know how this works. Even though each specific project would require future votes on approval and funding, language adopting or accepting this report gives future administrations and staff the go-ahead to wave it in front of council members as a path formerly approved well after all of you are long gone from the dais which you now occupy.
We respectfully request wording in any motion on this mobility plan be to “receive and file” and to explicitly exclude from it any projects associated with or part of the now infamous Flagler Shore.