The last Thursday of May only means one thing. Time to grab tickets to Pairings and wander through Downtown West Palm Beach enjoying delicious tastes of food and drink from all the participating restaurants.
This year the participating venues include some brand new restaurants (in bold): 123 Datura, Anzo (the new Chickpea), Banko Cantina, Bistro Ten Zero One, Broadstone City Center. Duffy’s Bar & Grill, ER Bradley’s, Field of Greens, Fitness Hub, Hookah Inn, Leila Restaurant, MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Pipeline Poke Co., Pizza Girls, Residence Inn West Palm Beach, Run and Roll, West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault
Tickets are $25 but you’ve got to get them quick as the event sells out every year. Get your tickets here
You may have read my previous article on the Mobility Plan which outlines some of the highlights of the plan. This is a pretty technical issue, and I’ll admit that it took a while for me to wrap my head around the project. There is a lot of information going around about what the mobility plan is and what it isn’t. Some of it, according to the City, is simply wrong.
The West Palm Beach Downtown Mobility Plan is “framework of best practices that will guide the city’s decision making” a vision to “enhance how people and goods move through downtown”. Possibly more importantly, this is the first step in a process the City of West Palm Beach is initiating that is focused on changing to whom impact and mobility fees are paid.
The Butcher Shop Beer Garden and Grill at 209 6th St.
The first time I heard about mobility and impact fees was when Jonathan Gladstone was building what is now the very cool Butcher Shop on 6th Street. Mr. Gladstone bought the former sea-plane hanger for $200,000 and worked for 2 years to find a tenant (Meat Market) and complete the build out. Before the County would grant a building permit they required the developer to pay an impact fee… of $164,000. This was a show-stopper.
The impact fee is a fee that the County charges new developments to pay for: Parks, Libraries, Public Buildings, Schools, Fire Rescue, Law Enforcement Patrol, and the big one Roads. The logic behind the impact fee is that it pays for the additional traffic that the new establishment will bring.
The county has a very specific fee schedule that covers every different building use and their estimation of how big an impact that use will have on traffic.
Schedule of what WPB businesses need to pay to the County for Roads as part of the Impact Fee.
It is clear that each of these uses will cause some additional traffic, but the argument the city made is that if the development is within the City of West Palm Beach, and specifically our high density downtown area they shouldn’t have to pay for County roads.
Jonathan Gladstone did his own traffic impact study and came to an agreement after negotiations with the County to open the Butcher Shop for a fee of $33,000. Another developer, Nader Salour who built the apartment complex Loftin Place which is directly adjacent to the Butcher Shop didn’t have the same luck and ended up paying $1.6 million to the County.
In a recent email from West Palm Beach City Commissioner, Paula Ryan explains the faults of the County’s Impact Fee system further.
“The County currently has $23 million dollars in the bank from our developments, and they anticipate collecting another 18 million by 2020. Currently, $19 million is going to be used for an expansion of Haverhill Road, and Florida Mango. Neither of these are in the City. We have lots of things that we need to fix. Crosswalks, sidewalks, walkways, and we have things we want, expansion of the trolley system, better road way turn outs for trolleys, bus stops etc. We cannot use any of the large fees developers pay to fix our own infrastructure. The Florida Legislature, in 2011, gave local governments the option to charge what is called a Mobility Fee that would allow us to use funds to make the above upgrades and improvements.”
The City of West Palm Beach set out to create a way that developers in West Palm Beach can, instead of paying the County for roads out West, can put their dollars to work to enhance mobility in West Palm Beach through a Mobility Fee.
Mobility Fees: How the plan can be funded
Nue Urban Concepts a explains the value of a mobility plan & mobility fees to a community.
“The enactment of Mobility Fees, based on an adopted Mobility Plan, provides a funding source that repurposes revenues away from funding road capacity to one that funds multi-modal improvements that encourages walking, jogging, bicycling, golf carts, car and bicycle sharing and new and emerging technology that provide personal mobility. Mobility Fees are intended to replace road impact fees that fund automobile capacity. A Mobility Fee allows a community to fund mobility and accessibility improvements and services that can reduced dependence on personal motor vehicles, enhance livability, increase tax revenues and attract economic development.”
Commissioner Ryan continues her email: “This is what the Mobility Plan does, it works to address all the States requirements for implementation of a fee. The real work now begins and continues into the future. We have identified just about every stretch of road in the Downtowns for areas of concern. We have estimated the amount of asphalt, trees, design, planning etc and estimated costs. The details of any plan will still need to come back before the City Commissioner, the stakeholders will be engaged, and a solution will be identified and a schedule will be established with a financial budget.”
To facilitate this, the City of West Palm Beach contracted Alta Planning + Design consultants to develop a Mobility Plan. The project was kicked off with a charrette to get local’s opinions on what the City can do to help solve the traffic issues on Okeechobee BLVD.
Locals working on ideas for fixing the Okeechobee corridor.
After months of work, the Mobility Plan was just released. The City Commission is voting to adopt the plan on Monday City Commission meeting.
Understandably, Palm Beach County is not a big fan of losing all that Impact Fee income that they are getting from their capital city. Various other groups have targeted this proposal. The Palm Beach Civic Association has targeted the Mobility Plan in this video which claims this proposal will “cause gridlock in West Palm Beach”. The folks at FixFlagler, concerned that this is a resurgence of “Flagler Shore” have also rallied their supporters to fight this proposal.
The concern is not completely unreasonable, as changes to Flagler which “Close one side of the median for walking and biking only. Convert the other side to two-way traffic with on-street parking” is identified as a “quick-build” project. Although the
Commissioner Ryan addresses the concerns that residents have over some of the projects that are being proposed: “We are not asking anyone to change their mode of travel. If you only drive, you will have better roads to drive on, if you walk, you will have safer sidewalks to walk on, it you ride the train, you will have access to the trolley to take you to your final destination. If you take the bus, you will have a bus shelter that is both clean, attractive and wifi connected. We want to make upgrade a strategy for each condition and the community will be engaged in the implementation of any strategy. Please support our efforts to establish a better community, safer streets and less congestion.”
The Mayor has also re-iterated that approving the mobility plan is not approving any specific projects. This is not about Flagler Shore and Flagler Shore is not on the agenda. To answer additional questions the City tweeted out the answers to any questions that you might have.
On Monday, the City Commission will consider the City's Mobility Plan, a framework of best practices that will guide the City's decision making re: its future mobility network. What is the plan? What are its goals? We answer the most frequently asked questions, here: -> pic.twitter.com/CAbTysXtg3
One of the key questions the city answers: Is the Mobility Plan a commitment to fund and build projects?
Answer: No. It is not an approval of projects, funding or fees. If the City were to move forward with individual projects or initiatives that are recommended in the study, the projects and initiatives would go individually before the City Commission for a vote at a later date with opportunities for public comment and input. The mobility plan outlines specific actions organized into short-, medium-, and long-term stepping stones that will guide the community toward achieving the type of city West Palm Beach wants to be.
So this is what I understand the choice the commissioners have on Monday. Do they choose to do nothing and continue to have investors in our city send their dollars to pay for larger roads and the sprawl that the County is creating out West. Or do we pass a Mobility Plan which will enable the city can use some of this money to solve problems that we have in our city, which will directly impact the investors, and most importantly the residents of the City of West Palm Beach?
Read Suzanne’s story as told by her friend Jill and donate through their GoFundMe.
Sunday, April 8th, was a beautiful morning and Suzanne did what she loves to do best on her day off; she walked her old dog and then rode her bicycle downtown to the waterfront, while her son went to Church.
Everything changed at 11.00 am when she was accosted under the Royal Park Bridge, pushed off her bike and attacked. A West Palm resident for 14 years, Suzanne was raised a tough, proud and independent New Yorker, daughter of a cop, and of Sicilian and German descent. She fought him off as best she could, screaming for help until she saw the look in his eyes as he stabbed her in the chest. As a single Mum thinking only what would become of her son if she died, she stopped screaming and said “Please don’t kill me.” At that moment he paused and then walked away. But she was critically wounded and bleeding profusely. She managed to call 911 and in twenty minutes was in the hospital having open heart surgery as the knife had entered her right atrium.
When I got the call from St. Mary’s, she was already in surgery but had asked that I tell her son what had happened. This was tough as he is her only child and disabled. She was kept in the trauma unit, unable to speak with a tube down her throat to help her breathe until the fluid in her lungs cleared up. Family members from out of town rushed to her bedside to comfort her and her son. She was discharged after a week in intensive care.
Now Suzanne is home, but still on unpaid leave from her demanding shift job, facing huge medical bills for the incredible life-saving treatment she received at St. Mary’s, only partly covered by insurance. Her progress is painful and steady but will be lengthy until the eight-inch scar down her sternum heals. Friends, co-workers and neighbors rallied round, offering support, bringing meals for them and doing errands. To add insult to injury, after Suzanne got home, and filed her tax return she discovered that her identity had been stolen and now has to deal with the ensuing paperwork and further financial loss. But her attitude remains strong and defiant. She says she will continue to cycle when she is well enough and gets her bike back. The Police received hundreds of tips when this attack made the headlines and are still working diligently to identify, find and arrest the assailant who is still at large. Suzanne needs the kindness of strangers as well as her friends to survive this. Her message to all is: Do not be afraid but be more alert and take self-defense classes. So, all you joggers, cyclists and West Palm residents, friends and co-workers, please contribute whatever you can to help. You could be next.
Police have still not identified the suspect and are asking anyone with information to call West Palm Beach police at 561-822-1823 or 561-822-1782, or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 800-458-TIPS (8477).
Caribbean Wind is one of those annual must-do soirees. Taking place at the very picturesque Rybovich Marina you will enjoy an evening under the stars with live music, cocktails, island cuisine and hand rolled cigars.
This year’s event will be held on May 12, 2018 from 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm and will support the many programs that help young people succeed in a global economy through programs that center on work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.
At the Mayor / Commission Work Session on April 30th a presentation made by cities expert Gabe Klein outlined why Downtown West Palm Beach needs a Mobility Plan and detailed the work that the Alta Planning team had done over the last year. Mr. Klein’s presentation is the first hour and is a very interesting watch.
Last night the team at Alta Planning team uploaded the epic 123-page Downtown West Palm Beach Mobility Plan to their website. Click here to view it.
This plan is accompanied by a West Palm Beach Parking Study & Bicycle Master Plan. There is a LOT of reading to do.
“The Downtown West Palm Beach Mobility Plan provides the lens through which future transportation projects should be prioritized and implemented. Going forward, does the transportation network—including physical infrastructure and transportation services— meet the needs of those that live, work, and visit here? Additionally, do they support the anticipated growth, both regionally and locally, while also preserving the quality of life and human dimension of Downtown that makes it unique, accessible, and diverse?
“The Mobility Plan establishes a shared community vision for how people travel that is built on shared, desired outcomes. To realize the vision, the plan outlines specific actions organized into short-, medium-, and long-term stepping stones that will guide the community towards achieving the type of city West Palm Beach wants to be.”
Key recommended projects, programs and policies include:
Okeechobee corridor projects such as intersection improvements, improved lighting, mobility/transit hub, improved signal timing, dedicated rapid bus transit lanes, expansion of trolley routes.
Added multimodal access including vehicular capacity by providing a Fern Street connection across the SFRTA tracks from Australian Avenue to Flagler Drive.
Expansion of bicycle network to safely connect neighborhoods and people to jobs, schools, parks, businesses and the downtown.
Incorporation of transportation demand management strategies as a part of future land use planning in order to mitigate future congestion and encourage alternative modes of transportation such as walking, biking, and trolley riding.
Restructuring parking strategies to reduce congestion, increase availability and improve overall user experience.
Incorporation of new technologies (i.e. autonomous rideshare).
Optimization and expansion of trolley and bus services and routes.
Adoption and implementation of Vision Zero, a strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities and sever injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.
Why Walking Matters
Walkability is the foundation of a thriving, competitive Downtown. Commerce and public life take shape and flourish in response to a walkable urban fabric. Walkable streets are inviting places, safe places, accessible places, and comfortable places. Residents and visitors can linger, stroll, and they have direct connections that move them to where they want to go. For Downtown West Palm Beach, this means people can easily and safely cross at intersections and mid-block locations, walk on a shaded, well-connected sidewalk, and enjoy the sidewalk as an extension of public space
Why Bicycling Matters
Bicycling can be a safe, comfortable, and convenient mode of travel, especially in a Downtown setting. A well-connected bikeway network can encourage a mode shift from car to bike, reducing vehicles miles traveled while also providing tangible environment, safety, and health and wellness benefits. Creating a bicyclefriendly environment is also an important part of regional mobility. Establishing first- and last-mile connections to transit via bikeways, especially in areas where access to a personal vehicle is limited, will create mobility options and expand access.
Why Transit Matters
Investing in transit services and amenities allows a downtown, city, and region to grow without compounding vehicular traffic congestion by serving more people in less space. It also provides an affordable transportation option that is accessible to a wide range of ages and abilities.
Why Street Changes Matter
The roadway network is the fundamental framework for moving people through the City. It is the conduit and connector to destinations including jobs, services, shopping, and other cultural activities. Changes to the street network can improve safety for everyone, and improve the predictability and reliability of traveling in Downtown
And much, more
In it’s pages the DWPBMP specifically targets 46 different projects which will move Downtown West Palm Beach towards the above stated goals.
The plans go from creating a new platform at the Brightline Station for the Tri-Rail Coastal Link ($2.5 million) to a new street connecting Fern and Australian ($10 million) to lane reconfiguration of Okeechobee Blvd and one-way to two-way street conversion for Olive and Dixie ($24 milllion). And rejoice, reconfiguration & lane removals of S. Flagler Drive is also in there ($4.6 million).
Budget details over the next 20 years.
“The Downtown West Palm Beach Mobility Plan provides the lens through which future transportation projects—including physical infrastructure and transportation services– should be prioritized and implemented,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. “We must always prioritize a transportation network that meets and exceeds the needs of those who live, work and visit here. We must continue to evaluate whether projects support anticipated regional and local growth while also promoting business and preserving the quality of life and human dimension of downtown that make it unique, accessible and diverse.”
The Mobility Plan recommendations will be brought to the City Commission at the May 21st commission meeting for formal adoption.
Reminder: Great Give Palm Beach & Martin Counties is a 24-hour online giving event designed to raise as much money as possible for hundreds of local nonprofits in a single day. This exciting community-wide event celebrates the spirit of giving and the collective effort it takes to strengthen our local nonprofits and better serve those in need – from children and seniors to the environment and animals!
Every online gift made during the 24-hour period will be amplified by additional dollars from a bonus pool raised by United Way of Palm Beach County. Your gift to the Bonus Pool will help every participating nonprofit- Visit the Bonus Pool page to GIVE NOW!
As of 12pm, 2,688 Great Give donors have given $705,893.21 to 360 Charities!!!
Here are 5 more local charities to give to (and a few bonuses).
1. Jack The Bike Man, Inc.
Putting a smile on a child’s face one bike at a time
$20 Helmet for child
$50 Bicycle for a youth
$100 Would help an adult to earn a bicycle
Jack the Bike Man is a not for profit organization founded by Samuel H. “Jack” Hairston III in 2007, however Jack has been called Jack the Bike Man, since 1999. Throughout the year, Jack the Bike Man gives away thousands of bikes to underprivileged kids, the homeless, women reentering society from prison, recovering addicts in halfway houses and people living below the poverty line. For more than 20 years, Jack the Bike Man has fixed bikes and handed them out to needy children and adults in the area, especially around the holidays. All of this is made possible with the help of volunteers and contributions.
We benefit the community by providing free bicycles and helmets to children and adults in need of transportation through various programs, including an after-school program that teaches bike safety, bike repair and bike maintenance. We repair bicycles at our warehouse, which contains more than a dozen repair stations and thousands of bicycle parts, and provide community service hours to students and adults who learn basic bicycle mechanics. We also promote environmental sustainability by keeping used bikes out of the landfill, repairing them, using parts for other bikes and recycling those bikes that are unusable.
The community’s need for bicycles is never-ending, as is the organization’s need for funding, volunteers and used bikes that technicians can overhaul. The popularity of the organization has grown, and with it, the costs. Jack the Bike Man drives all over the county collecting bikes or donations of parts. We could use your help: Contributions of money, time, and bikes are needed to keep Jack the Bike Man rolling.
As appeared on The Palm Beach Post – Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017
CROS Ministries has provided food and essential services to the most vulnerable in South Florida for 40 years. Its mission is to serve the hungry in Palm Beach and Martin Counties through community collaborations. Whether distributing food at our food pantries, serving a hot meal through the Caring Kitchen, offering a safe summer camp experience with lunch, a snack, and breakfast as needed, or just lending a listening ear, the organization is serving the hungry. Programs include seven community food pantries, a hot meal program; summer camp for children from families with low incomes, a weekend food program for children attending select Title I Schools, and gleaning, a food recovery program. All services are provided without regard to race, religion, national origin, marital status, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant international organization that has grown from one original chapter at Georgetown University to more than 2,300 chapters worldwide, positively impacting the lives of over 1.1 million people with and without IDD. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States, and in over 50 countries around the world.
We are the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
As Palm Beach County’s only top-rated Zoological experience, we are home to over 550 animals, many of them endangered. Our mission is to inspire people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world.
Our unique tropical zoo showcases an animal collection (Malayan tigers, jaguars, Mexican spider monkeys, panther) from around the world, living in natural habitats. Enjoy shady paths, a colorful carousel, an interactive water play fountain, a full-service restaurant, and 11 daily shows and keeper talks where you can watch animal trainings, feedings and meet zookeepers. Book a behind-the-scenes animal experience and get up close and personal with a sloth, koalas, capybaras, anteaters, Aldabra tortoises or mingle with flamingos.
$25 Host a Veteran at the Zoo.
$50 Feed two of our critically endangered Malayan Tigers.
$75 For our Florida Panther, Sassy, whose mother was killed by a car.
$100 Support Lewis & Clark, black bears who were orphaned as cubs.
$250 Aupport an animal physical for one of our animals.
There’s always something new at Palm Beach Zoo! Enjoy over 60 WILD events annually such as Safari Nights, Food Truck Safari, Boo at the Zoo, Breakfast with Santa, and Noon Year’s Eve.
Annual Zoo memberships are a great value and provide free admission year-round. We are open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, and parking is always FREE!
In May 2013, Diane Buhler, an avid scuba diver and environmentalist, started a Solid Waste Authority Adopt-a-Spot program of year-round, monthly beach clean ups to collect incoming trash off Palm Beach’s coastline. Local schools, universities and residents attend these continuing events.
Friends of Palm Beach’s crew consists of clients of The Lord’s Place, a homeless advocacy group, and Vita Nova, which assists young adults coming out of the foster care system transition to independence. These individuals work hard to gain their independence. To date, 21 individuals have gone through FPB’s transitional work program.
Friends of Palm Beach is working from a shoe string budget, providing their services all along the Palm Beach coastline from the Palm Beach Inlet to Sloan’s Curve on a regular basis with limited donors.
To date, Friends of Palm Beach has removed just over 80,1000 pounds of trash and unnatural debris from the beaches, this includes monthly and weekday cleans. In 2017 alone, Friends of Palm Beach removed over 30,000 pounds of trash and unnatural debris from our coastline. The majority is innocuous plastics that fit in trash bags, at times there are large items that wash ashore and present a safety hazard if left there. More and more medical waste is washing ashore and our method removes it and disposes of it properly to the Fire Department.
Bonus: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast, Inc.
Header picture is Junior Achievement gathering donations at Subculture Coffee at Great Give 2016
The mission of Junior Achievement is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Junior Achievement is dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement’s programs focus on financial literacy, work readiness, entrepreneurship and seeks to ignite the spark in young people to recognize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.
Since 1981, Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast has inspired the next generation to be financially capable and tenacious, equipped with the tools to solve problems creatively, manage risk effectively, and welcome opportunity. Through our innovative and experiential financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurial K-12 programming- taught by volunteer role models from the community; we inspire the next generation to navigate their path towards their dreams.
We empower youth with authentic, relevant real-world experiences, challenging them to envision what’s possible if they work hard and dream big. We do it through our proven, experiential financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship programs taught by JA Hero role models, and with the help of an unparalleled network of educators, volunteers, and partners. Junior Achievement has been promoting business education since 1919, first through an after-school secondary program: the JA Company Program®, and later through in-school partnerships with educators. Our programs now reach far beyond traditional business lessons and focus on inspiring students to be financially capable and tenacious, equipped with the tools to solve problems creatively, manage risk effectively, and welcome opportunity. Without our region’s educators, our work to take learning beyond the classroom and show students its relevance would be impossible.
$56 – JA Programming provided to one student
$250 – JA programming provided to an entire classroom
$1,000 – JA BizTown provided to 50 students
$2,000 – JA programming provided to an entire grade level.
Path to College has taken on the mission of securing the acceptance of as many bright and motivated, low-income students as possible into the college’s of their dreams.
We will uplift the academic aspirations of these students by:
Surrounding them in a fellowship of academically motivated peers
Connecting them with community members who will support their dreams. Each student is matched with a one-on-one mentor who is committed to supporting their academic success.
Providing targeted SAT tutoring.
Offering Career exploration, exposure, and job preparation through professional speakers, field trips and hands-on work shops.
Molding our students into leaders by a commitment to education and service. Our students serve as tutors to struggling elementary students, as well as design and implement their own community service project as a send off from our program.
Our model is a targeted and comprehensive way to develop our students into the types of applicants colleges are eager to accept.
Please help us provide a high-quality, long-term academic experience for these students so that their most audacious dreams do not go unrealized. We ask you to help us UNLEASH the GENIUS in our neighborhoods because a mind uncultivated is like silver in the mine. We need to come together to cultivate this much-need resource- the higher learning success of our children- for the long-term benefit and advancement of our communities.
$50 – Your donation provides enrichment materials
$100 – Your donation provides 4 hours of expert SAT tutoring.
$500 – Your donation supports one year of mentoring services.
$1,500 – Your donation provides a year of our comprehensive program
Destiny for Dogs is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Florida Dog Rescue Organization dedicated to assisting senior citizens in keeping their beloved dogs in their homes. Destiny assists “qualified” seniors with dog food, monthly heartworm/flea preventative, annual wellness visit to our veterinarian, plus the rehoming of their beloved dogs if necessary. Destiny for Dogs is a non-breed specific, small, foster-based, no-kill rescue and is active in rescuing dogs from shelters, owners, or families who can no longer care for their deceased family members’ dog. Our goal is to find loving forever homes for rescue dogs regardless of age, health, or corrective behavioral issues. All Destiny’s dogs are fully vetted, sterilized, up to date on shots, microchipped, receive a wellness check by our personal vet prior to being placed in a foster home. Once in foster, he or she will be evaluated, loved and nutured to prepare them for a second chance to live the “Happily Ever After” life that they so deserve. Plus, provide love and joy to their new family.