BOCA RATON, Fla. - The City of Boca Raton has launched a $50,000 traffic study to look at ways to fix a busy downtown intersection.
Palmetto Park Road and 5th Avenue cross in a bustling area, with restaurants, condominiums and new development all around. The intersection also sits next to Silver Palm Park, a popular spot with boat ramps and Palmetto Park Road's drawbridge.
Locals who use the intersection on a regular basis says it's not built to handle all of the traffic coming through.
"You always have to be on the look out for what's going on," says Steve Alley, who lives downtown. "People are coming in and out of this intersection from all different ways."
He says driving through is hard enough, with a lot of back-up. But he describes bicycling or walking through the intersection as "downright scary."
Bike lanes on NE 5th Avenue abruptly stop going into the intersection. Alley says that leads to a lot of close calls.
He's complained to the city, and so have a lot of other people, according to Assistant City Manager Mike Woika. Those complaints led to the traffic study. It is set to take roughly 90 days. Woika says when it's done, the hope is that city planners will have a plan for re-working the intersection
Alley says he's watched the city try to band-aid the issues in the past, and he hopes the study will lead to more effective changes.
"They've tried slowing down the traffic," he says, "They've tried speeding up the traffic. They've tried putting in nice crosswalks and tried to increase the walkability. It's not an easy answer. I don't have the answers. We've got to come up with them."
A few years back the city spent several million dollars taking out a left turn lane to put palm trees in as a part of a downtown beautification project. There is a chance the study could show that the turn lane should be put back in.
Woika says drivers will begin seeing changes that result from the study at some point in 2016.
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