Walkable West Palm Beach

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See you outside City Hall tomorrow morning for Bike to Work Day!

Tomorrow is Bike to Work day. I’ll be there and hope to see plenty of friends and blog followers there too. Should be a great day for a bike ride into work!  Win prizes and get cool gear tomorrow. Last year it was a ‘who’s who’ of West Palm Beach city planners and transportation officials. Should be a fun time!



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Flamingo Park and Old Northwood home tours highlight two great neighborhoods

I highly encourage readers to check out the Flamingo Park and Old Northwood home tours. In this post I’ll briefly explain some of the features that make these neighborhoods special.

Snout house in Orlando

Snout house in Orlando

Flamingo Park and Old Northwood are the type of pre-WWII suburban neighborhoods we love here at Walkable West PalmBeach. The street grid, mix of uses, shade tree canopy, traffic calming measures (beautifully landscaped traffic circles), walkable parks and restaurants nearby make these neighborhoods real gems. Architecture is varied and significant. Garages are typically hidden at the side of the houses or accessed from the alley, instead of the typical ‘snout houses’ of today’s suburbia.  Sidewalks are present and more importantly, narrow streets and traffic calming measures create the kind of street where kids can actually play without fear. On many streets, there is on-street parallel parking that narrows the travel lanes, effectively creating a ‘yield street’ in which two cars cannot pass each other at the same time. This forces drivers to slow down and pay attention. Many houses have front porches that engage the street and adds watchful eyes to the neighborhood.

Not a snout house.

This is how it should be done

Added together, these features produce a public realm not found in most of today’s suburban ‘neighborhoods’. I put ‘neighborhood’ in quotes because a neighborhood in which one cannot walk 5-10 minutes in order to satisfy some daily needs is no neighborhood at all. Sprawl is characterized by its complete dependence on the car for every daily need. Contrast that with the neighborhoods of Old Northwood and Flamingo Park, which offer many amenities within a reasonable walk.

Make sure to check out these wonderful West Palm Beach neighborhoods!


Details on home tours, from  aGuyonClematis:

Flamingo Park

Flamingo Park’s 23rd Holiday Historic Home Tour will take place Sunday, December 7, 2014. This year, eight festively decorated homes will be open, including five homes that have never been on the tour! Homes open at 5 p.m. and the tour runs until 8 p.m.

Each home offers visitors delicious refreshments (light food and drink options), included in the ticket price. In addition, the hospitality tent will host an after-tour reception with music, coffee and homemade holiday sweets!

Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 on the day of the tour. Tickets purchased online will be held at will-call at the hospitality tent, located on the 700 block of Claremore Drive. Tickets are also available to purchase at a number of retail locations. (see list below)


Old Northwood

The 27th Annual Candlelight Holiday Home Tour will be on Only One Magical night Saturday December 27th 2014 from 5 PM to 9 PM. Come and enjoy Old Northwood’s hospitality this holiday season, as we celebrate the 27th Annual Candlelight Holiday Home Tour this year (Palm Beach County’s longest and oldest running home tour).

You will be amazed at the historic architecture that is Florida, here in Old Northwood. Many of these homes and the neighborhood are decorated in all of the glory for the holiday season. A selection of the historic homes have graciously opened their doors for this one Magical Night. Along the tour you will have the distinct privilege to sample some of the local restaurants delicious food and enjoy the wine, champagne and beer at the homes along the tour route.

Get your tickets here

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Sunfest transportation options


Bike Valet

Ride your bike to SunFest and park it for free in a secure area near the festival gates. Patrons are issued claim checks and staff members guard them in a secure corral. Thebike valet service is located on North Clematis Street at Centennial Square and the fountain, near SunFest‘s Clematis Street gate. Courtesy of the Downtown Development Authority.
Get the details.

Water Taxi
SunFest is not just for land-bound travelers. Boaters are always welcome to anchor in the Intracoastal Waterway in front of the SunFest site and take the water taxi to the festival’s waterfront gate. Anchor on the east side of the buoy line and hail the taxi on VHF channel 10. 
This service is run by Tow Boat U.S. and there is a $5 round-trip fee associated with the taxi ride.  
Get all the details including fees and how-tos!


Other Ways to get to SunFest
Downtown WPB Trolley 
Bus stops and schedules.


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Parking policy guru Donald Shoup lectures this Thursday in Delray

Delray Beach Town Hall Lecture Series next guest speaker is Donald Shoup, UCLA Urban Planning professor and author of “The High Cost of Free Parking”. Known as the ‘guru’ of parking policy, Shoup’s ideas have inspired cutting-edge thinking about pricing parking correctly in San Francisco with the SF Park program, and downtown revitalizations in Old Pasadena, California (see video here and article on its retail success). Interesting to read about the many streetscape and alleyway improvements funded by pricing parking correctly.


Hear ideas that could transform our cities and neighborhoods into more livable places, while also putting our parking enterprise fund in a stronger position. This is a must-hear lecture not to be missed.


“Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism” book talk Thursday, April 17th

Months ago, I received a phonecall from Ben Ross to learn about his forthcoming book, “Dead End”, and to help schedule a book talk in West Palm Beach. Anyone interested in the issues we raise on the blog will find this talk fascinating I’m sure. Most interesting is the focus on the sociological aspects of sprawl and the way in which  ‘keeping up with the Joneses” has perpetuated sprawl. From the Better Cities and Towns review:

Consider this: Nearly every detail of sprawl is a status marker — from the finegrained separation of price points, to the segregation of rental apartments in remote pods, to the “lawyer foyers,” to the wide and mostly useless front lawns. These markers are important to the self-worth of tens of millions of affluent Americans…The old American Dream of keeping up with the Joneses built the suburbs. The new one could rebuild our cities, towns, and neighborhoods and revitalize the suburbs for our children.

Please repost this and get the word out to all who may be interested in this topic. Reminder: All such events are posted on the Walkable West Palm Beach Google calendar feed.

From the publisher:

Dead End traces how the ideal of a safe, green, orderly retreat where hardworking members of the middle class could raise their children away from the city mutated into the McMansion- and strip mall-ridden suburbs of today. Benjamin Ross finds that sprawl is much more than bad architecture and sloppy planning. Its roots are historical, sociological and economic.
“Ben Ross’ Dead End is a highly personal account of a larger journey that we are embarked on as a nation — from sprawl to walkable communities, from anoxic, sterile neighborhoods to vibrant, transit-served urban areas that are the wellspring of innovation, economic development and cultural richness.”
     –John Porcari, Former Deputy Secretary, United States Department of Transportation

“Ben Ross paints the big picture of the battle between sprawl and community from the historic perspective, to the current conflicts to a vision of better land use process. Always focused on the human perspective with subjects as diverse as Jane Jacobs and Pete Seeger to Snob Zoning and Agenda 21, Dead End is an exciting, easy read.”
     –Parris Glendening, President, Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, and former Governor of Maryland (1995-2003)

Thursday, April 17, 5:30 pm


330 Clematis Street, Suite 117, West Palm Beach

Ross Event Invite West Palm Beach

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March 24 – 28th is WPB Bike to Work Week

March is Bike Month in Florida, and next week is Bike to Work week. Click the image for full details of all the happenings for Bike to Work week in West Palm Beach.

bike to work week image

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Don’t miss these events next week!

February 16th – 23rd will be an action-packed week.  First, Jeff Speck arrives in town to start a full-blown walkability study of the downtown. Next up, on Monday, Leigh Gallagher, author of “The End of the Suburbs”, will speak at the next Delray lecture series in Delray Beach. Wednesday night WPB will host Peter Kageyama, author of “For the Love of Cities”, at Bar Louie for a cocktail hour and reception.

We’ll be on hand for all of these events, and hope you will too! Subscribe to the blog calendar to keep tabs on urbanist-related events.