The Wellington Equestrian Preserve Committee talked about improving traffic flow but controlling speed in a workshop session Wednesday.
Committee members also discussed improvements that would encourage equestrian event spectators to use Lake Worth Road, rather than go through Wellington and other parts of the equestrian area.
The first topic was a proposal to change the adopted level of service for roads in order to induce developers to contribute to road improvements.
Village traffic consultant Andrea Troutman said an acceptable level of service on roads for most jurisdictions is D when traffic speeds start to decrease, and the adopted level of service for the equestrian overlay is E. Troutman said that all the roads except Pierson Road and South Shore Blvd., and a portion of Greenbriar Blvd., operate at a level of service C currently.
“Once you adopt a level of service C, the volume of traffic on the road is reduced, so some of the counts are over that volume,” she said. “Today we are meeting the adopted levels of service E on all of the roads, with only one roadway at level of service E, which is South Shore from Lake Worth to Pierson.”
Troutman said that adopting a lower level of service means potential developers might be required to pay proportionate share to widen a roadway or improve intersections, where under the current adopted level of service they would not.
“That may be something that you want,” she said.
Committee Chair Jane Cleveland asked why the village would want to change the level of service, and Wellington Projects Manager Mike O’Dell said the intent would be to improve traffic flow in the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD).
“We would be impacting development, burdening development with additional roadway improvements,” O’Dell said.
Troutman explained that under the adopted level of service E, no improvements are currently indicated, but adopting a level of service C might require developers to participate in improvements, rather than put the burden on the village and its residents.
O’Dell pointed out that the village charter requires development to pay for itself.
“We’re meeting the levels of service, but the community has talked about [improving] traffic flow,” he said. “That was one of the discussions that came out of meetings we’ve had with the community.”
O’Dell said that there has also been discussion of improving Lake Worth Road and South Shore Blvd. to aid in moving traffic in and out of the equestrian area, as well as improving certain intersections.
Committee Member Dr. Sergio Guerreiro said that he was more interested in slowing down traffic in the EOZD than moving it better.
“I want to see a flashing light during equestrian events, 15 miles an hour,” Guerreiro said.
O’Dell said that the village put a traffic counter and radar on 50th Street South and that more than 80 percent of the drivers exceeded the speed limit by 10 mph or more.
“There are areas in the equestrian preserve that speeds are being exceeded,” he said.
Committee Member Carol Cohen agreed that traffic needs to be slowed down.
Cohen added that she likes the new roundabout at Pierson Road and Stribling Way, and O’Dell said roundabouts are one of several methods that could be employed, including at the intersection of South Shore Blvd. and 50th Street.
“A four-way stop works, but if we’re talking about moving traffic but also doing some traffic calming, that’s another option,” he said, explaining that Wellington’s Equestrian Plan of Action calls for striking a balance between controlling speed and enabling movement.
“We were looking at trying to create some form of balance between the movement of traffic to get out and expand and help the venues continue to try to grow and prosper and do the things that they’re going to do by moving traffic,” O’Dell said. “The second part is, who pays for it? Lastly, we do need to create that balance between movement of traffic and speed. We heard clearly that most of our traffic in the south end was moving too fast.”
He said the action plan called for widening Lake Worth Road between 120th Avenue South and South Shore Blvd. for it to be a thoroughfare in and out of the equestrian area.
“The idea was to look at the additional ingress and egress points that were coming out of the showgrounds,” he said. “There are additional access points that will be built.”
O’Dell said that village staff will watch the impact of improvements underway at 40th Street South to see if it helps traffic on Pierson Road.
“As time goes on, we’ll see how these improvements have aided in moving that traffic around,” he said.