This afternoon I spent an hour talking to the team from the Palm Beach MPO about the development of the 41-mile Palm Beach County stretch of the US1 Corridor (AKA S. Dixie HWY).

The purpose of this study is to develop a comprehensive plan to implement continuous multimodal facilities that connect the communities along the corridor, including upgrading the existing limited stop service to Corridor-Based Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and expanding this service north of West Palm Beach to Indiantown Road in Jupiter.

Since May the team has studied Boca, Delray, Boynton, Lantana, & Lake Worth. Over the next few days they will be talking with residents of West Palm Beach.

Learn more and give your input at the project website. Or visit the team on Tuesday & Wednesday between 9am and 7pm at the 2nd floor of City Hall.

When attending the charrette, each of the attendees are taken through a series of projects which helps the team understand more about what the neighbors want in this very important street.

Here’s what I learned & what you can expect:

1. Understand the corridor.

Even with the 42 miles of corridor broken up into 6 specific study areas, the West Palm Beach section is a complex process.

The Right-of-Way that Dixie has to work with varied from 75 ft between 25th St. and 59th st, 60ft between Poinsettia Ave and Broadway, 8ft between Clematis and 34th St. and then between 80 and 74 ft in the South End.

To help understand what we had to work with the team had a “build your own road” kit. You had many different components of a “complete street”. In the South End I have 80ft. to work with, so I put together what would be a nice road based on that information.

2. What is important to you?

The second exercise was determining what was important to individuals. Each participant was given a list of 11 items and 6 spaces to fill in order of importance.

Here’s my list and an explanation on why these items matter to me:

  • Propensity for use: Any project would be pointless if nobody uses it. We need to make sure that the US-1 Corridor is used to it’s fullest.
  • Social Equity: The project should benefit all of the residents regardless of their social standing.
  • Fill a Gap in the Network: Having a useful network of public transport is very important. This project should prioritize items which give us a complete and usable network.
  • Safety: The US-1 corridor is VERY unsafe, there are very few safety and traffic calming features. Even though the speed limit is 35, the traffic often moves 40-50 mph. We need better crosswalks, protected bike trails and sidewalks.
  • Economic Development “Placemaking”: Many people look at streets as just a way to get from Point A to Point B. But projects which add more to the streets and give them the ability to become places to themselves, and benefit the stores and neighborhoods around them is a valuable resource.
  • Additional Mobility Options: Streets should be multi-modal. Any projects that make our streets a great experience for Cars, Public Transport, as well as Bikers and Pedestrians is important.

3. Public Transport Options

This part is what blew my mind. Did you know about the “Bolt Bus”? It’s an “express” bus that skips most of the stops on the Dixie Corridor. Better yet there’s a stop at Forest Hill and Dixie, which goes directly to Clematis Street.

Limited-stop service will be offered on a select number of weekday trips, in addition to regular service between Boca Raton and Palm Tran’s Intermodal Transit Center in downtown West Palm Beach.

Limited-stop buses will pick up and drop off customers only at predetermined stops along Route 1. There are 12 set stops northbound and 12 stops southbound compared with regular Route1 buses which may stop every 3 to 4 blocks. Buses will display “Limited-Stop Route 1” on the exterior destination signs, dashboard sign in the front window and a bright yellow BOLT ad on the outside of the bus.

Learn more here.

4. Development Opportunities

The last part of the study involved identifying areas along the corridor that were potential candidates for Economic and other development.

This is an example where the team identified areas around the Lake Worth City Hall that could accomplish their stated goals.

This was probably the most interesting part, seeing the neighborhoods and how they are growing around the various transit methods and the opportunities that are available to us.

The important part is that you come down and give your input. This type of project only comes around every couple of decades, so don’t miss this opportunity!

The team is waiting to hear from you.