The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors held a traffic calming workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 9 in response to increased cut-through traffic and anticipated Palm Beach County road improvements in coming years.
“We seem to meet resistance on some of the issues with stop signs and traffic control approvals from the county, so we are looking at other alternatives, because we know in the coming years, there are a number of road construction projects going on,” ITID Executive Director Burgess Hanson said.
On the table for road construction by the county and state are Royal Palm Beach Blvd., Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, Northlake Blvd., Orange Blvd., Coconut Blvd. and Southern Blvd., as well as the State Road 7 extension.
“Our fear, my fear with staff is that our district roadways will become inundated with cut-through traffic,” Hanson said. “Cut-through traffic equals upset drivers who tend to speed and drive radically and not pay attention to stop signs and get lost because they’re not used to the grid system out here. So, this is why we’re bringing this forward tonight, and why we’re putting our priority on traffic calming.”
ITID President Betty Argue said the board has been discussing traffic calming since 2013.
“We’ve adopted a number of different concepts and ideas, and we’ve spent a significant amount of time the past year working on a mobility plan,” Argue said. “Looking at the traffic calming plan, my understanding is that it’s not any different than what we’ve been discussing in the mobility plan. It’s just taking one piece out and looking at what we can do now, rather than waiting.”
Joe Capra with Captec Engineering said the purpose of traffic calming is to increase traffic safety by reducing the speed of vehicular and cut-through traffic.
“Basically, what you did was put in speed humps,” Capra said, explaining that the district began with speed humps placed on 162nd and 120th avenues in 2005, and along Banyan, Grapeview and Avocado boulevards in 2009. Since then, ITID has installed similar speed humps and other calming devices in other areas that were prone to accidents, speeding and cut-through traffic.
In 2017, ITID conducted a traffic calming pilot project on 140th Avenue North between Citrus Grove Blvd. and Orange Blvd. using speed cushions, radar signs, traffic circles and a Seminole-style speed hump that was accepted by Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue.
“In the past, we’ve shown you different traffic calming alternatives,” he said. “Some of these are very expensive, from roundabouts and circles to raised medians and surface treatments. Other alternatives are chicanes and bulb-outs. Many of these have been mentioned in the mobility plan.”
Capra said less expensive alternatives are road markings to give the impression of traffic calming.
“You also use the rumble strips out here, which have been effective,” he said. “What I’m trying to get to is the Seminole-style speed table. It has been pretty much acceptable for the speeds that we are looking for. This is also an adopted traffic calming device that Palm Beach County recommends, so we’re trying to stay consistent with some of the comments we’ve received from them in the past.”
He pointed out that ITID received a $1 million Florida Department of Transportation grant in 2015 for traffic calming projects and may be eligible for a second grant.
Capra proposed to remove 44 original-style speed humps and to install 63 Seminole-style speed tables as shown in the district’s mobility plan over the next two years at an estimated cost of $800,000, which will be determined by the board at a future meeting.