Bicycle Month A Great Time To Check Out The Bike Paths In RPB

Residents take part in the Bicycle Rodeo last weekend at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park.

At the Thursday, March 7 meeting of the Royal Palm Beach Village Council, Mayor Fred Pinto read a proclamation officially recognizing March as Florida Bicycle Month in the village.

With temperatures still in the 70s, most residents don’t need a proclamation to know that it’s a nice time of year to enjoy bicycling. The Village of Royal Palm Beach alone boasts 55 miles of paved shared use pathways and 38 miles of designated bicycle lanes.

Royal Palm Beach joins scores of other municipalities in promoting March as Florida Bicycle Month. As roads become more congested, transportation planners at the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency (TPA) are promoting bicycling as a way commuters and drivers can fight traffic congestion while enjoying the many benefits of exercise.

Pinto also invited everyone to come out to last weekend’s Bicycle Rodeo at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park, which featured three village bicycle path courses ranging from 3 to 7 miles.

Village employee Brandon Pendergrass, who coordinated the rodeo, reported a good turnout.

“My favorite part of the rodeo was watching all of the smiling participants cross through the finish line,” he said. “Also, seeing the PBSO Volunteer Bike Unit teach the young kids about bike safety and guide them through their safety course. It looked like a good time was had by all.”

Pinto represents Royal Palm Beach on the TPA board, which helps allocate and coordinate federal and state funding for local transportation projects. The TPA is tasked with using population and vehicle trip projections to plan the county’s transportation needs out for a 25-year horizon. As populations increase on already crowded roadways, alternatives to driving alone are becoming more important as planners look for the most cost-effective future infrastructure.

“We are really happy to invite anyone interested in bicycling in Royal Palm Beach, the western communities or anywhere in the county to visit www.bikepalm, where they can access our calendar, which shows all of what’s going on in Palm Beach County for Florida Bike Month, in addition to bike suitability maps, bicycle etiquette resources and much more,” TPA Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator Nicholas Hernandez said. “We like to think of — soon to be, since we will also be including pedestrian resources — as a one-stop shop where anyone can get anything related to pedestrian and bicycle safety.”

Longtime Royal Palm Beach resident Douglas Hess is a retired professional engineer who is no stranger to transportation planning. He recently retired from three decades as Boca Raton’s transportation engineer. “My favorite bike trail in the village runs under the power lines from Southern Blvd. near Costco all the way to the north end of La Mancha,” he said. “There are lakes, canals, wildlife and beautiful scenery, plus it connects so well to Commons Park.”

Improvements are planned to make biking there easier.

“That FPL trail will soon be even safer at night,” Hernandez said. “The TPA has funded a project to install LED lighting alongside that part of the trail from Lamstein Lane to Las Palmas Street.”

That is just one of the planned upgrades.

“Bicyclists can look forward to a 12-foot-wide multi-use path now being built along 6.5 miles of Southern Blvd. from west of Lion Country Safari Road all way to Forest Hill/Crestwood Blvd. as part of the big roadway widening project there,” Hernandez said. “The additional 6.5 miles of shared-use path will greatly enhance non-motorized movement between businesses and neighborhoods in southern portions of Royal Palm Beach, which is great news for residents who are eager to walk or ride their bicycles in this area.”