Walkable West Palm Beach


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Crossing Okeechobee

There have been numerous studies of the Okeechobee Boulevard intersection at Rosemary Avenue over the past several years (Jeff Speck Walkability Study, Tom Hall study, FDOT road safety study), but I thought the conversation could benefit from a non-expert, citizen’s perspective on the crossing. So this weekend I shot some video in order to provide a first-person perspective of the crossing with voiceover narration to describe the conditions as they exist on the ground. I used an iPhone and very amateur video skills to create this short video – apologies in advance for the shaky video. I timed the total crossing on each crosswalk – the eastern crosswalk and the western crosswalk. The last part of the video describes simple changes that can be made quickly and cheaply to improve the safety and crossing experience – many of which have already been noted in the FDOT road safety study and/or the Jeff Speck Walkability report.

The focus in this video is providing observational data and facts to bolster the conversation ongoing about Okeechobee. I purposefully skipped over costly or longer-term solutions to focus on things that can be done now or in the short term with the current configuration.

One of the big takeaways is how much better the eastern crosswalk crossing experience is compared to the western crosswalk  – if it’s working properly, I was able to get across in less than 60 seconds. When it works right, it’s a great thing – a pedestrian can get across in under 2 minutes and in many cases under 60 seconds. However, frequently the crosswalk signal doesn’t work properly, and pedestrians are stranded in the median or waiting to get the walk signal.

While the crossing at Okeechobee and Rosemary has a long way to go to be up to the safety standard residents, visitors, and conventioneers should expect, it has also come a long way from its condition a few years ago. Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) are a great addition. The reshaping of the nose of the median has improved conditions somewhat (although done much more modestly than the Speck plan) and the walk signal timing is better, but still lacking.

Hope to see many blog readers at the Okeechobee Corridor and Mobility Plan meetings this week at the Convention Center (starts today at 5:30 pm). Your input is critical.

 

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