The Downtown West Palm Beach Mobility Plan is a bold initiative to enhance the way people and goods move throughout our downtown. It is the framework of best practices that will guide the City’s decision making for the next 20-years.
WHAT IS THE MOBILITY PLAN, AND WHAT ARE ITS GOALS?
The Downtown West Palm Beach Mobility Plan is a bold initiative to enhance the way people and goods move throughout our downtown. It is the framework of best practices that will guide the City’s decision making for the next 20-years. The mobility plan provides the lens through which future transportation projects should be prioritized and implemented. The plan serves as a road map to create a modern, well-balanced transportation system that provides real mobility choices and creates great places where people want to invest their time and money. It establishes a shared community vision for how people travel that is built on shared, desired outcomes. City Commissioners will vote on whether to adopt the plan at a public meeting on May 20, 2018.
WHEN CITY STAFF TALK ABOUT MOBILITY CHOICES, WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
Real mobility choices mean that people have the option to walk, bike, ride, or drive in a safe and comfortable environment. It’s about giving you even more options—not taking them away!
DOES WEST PALM BEACH REALLY HAVE A TRAFFIC PROBLEM?
On Okeechobee Boulevard, traffic has increased less than 1% per year over the course of the last 20 years. This amounts to an additional 1.5 cars per day along the Okeechobee corridor. The mobility plan prepares for future increases in visits and jobs in our community.
IS THE MOBILITY PLAN A COMMITMENT TO FUND AND BUILD PROJECTS?
No. It is not an approval of projects, funding or fees. If the City were to move forward with individual projects or initiatives that are recommended in the study, the projects and initiatives would go individually before the City Commission for a vote at a later date with opportunities for public comment and input. The mobility plan outlines specific actions organized into short-, medium-, and long-term stepping stones that will guide the community toward achieving the type of city West Palm Beach wants to be.
IS THIS PLAN TO FORCE PEOPLE TO GIVE UP THEIR CARS AND INSTEAD RIDE A BIKE, WALK OR TAKE A BUS?
Absolutely not! We are offering convenient options for people who chose to use these alternative forms, particularly in the downtown area. We are not forcing anyone out of their cars.
HOW WAS THE MOBILITY PLAN DEVELOPED, AND DID THE CITY GET FEEDBACK FROM RESIDENTS?
For more than a year, the City contracted with Alta + Planning and Design to develop the mobility study, which was spearheaded by noted mobility and transit experts. Engagement and communication with the community were top priorities critical to the success of the mobility plan. Over the course of a year, City employees delivered more than 50-presentations including a 4-day charrette to meet with community members and develop feedback.
WHAT ARE THE PLAN’S KEY RECOMMENDATIONS?
THE RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDE A “MODE SHIFT” GOAL. WHAT IS THAT?
- Projects such as intersection improvements, improved lighting, mobility/transit hub, improved signal timing, dedicated rapid bus transit lanes, expansion of trolley routes to make Okeechobee Boulevard a safe and efficient corridor.
- Added multimodal access including vehicular capacity by providing a Fern Street connection across the SFRTA tracks from Australian Avenue to Flagler Drive.
- Expansion of bicycle network to safely connect neighborhoods and people to jobs, schools, parks, businesses and the downtown.
- Incorporation of transportation demand management strategies as a part of future land use planning in order to mitigate future congestion and encourage alternative modes of transportation such as walking, biking, and trolley riding.
- Restructuring parking strategies to reduce congestion, increase availability and improve overall user experience.
- Incorporation of new technologies (ie. autonomous rideshare).
- Optimization and expansion of trolley and bus services and routes.
- Adoption and implementation of Vision Zero, a strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all.
- Mode shift goal of 14% over the next 20 years to offset growth.
Today, the driving capacity of the street network is approximately 77% full during peak periods. By 2040, the driving capacity is projected to be 91% based on current developments plans and transportation choices. The goal is to capture this 14% increase in new trips by converting them (mode shift) from a driving trip to a walking, biking or transit trip. By providing these opportunities, we’ll be able to achieve a 3% mode shift every five years.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MODE SHIFT?
The benefits of this mode shift are many. They will allow the downtown to grow while also accruing the positive outcomes and quality of life desired today and tomorrow. The main benefits include reduction in crashes and safer streets for everyone; more predictable and reliable travel times; more travel choices, particularly for shorter trips; positive health benefits from increases in physical activity; and increases in economic development opportunities.
WHAT ARE THE ACTIONS NEEDED TO ACHIEVE THE MODE SHIFT?
Land use and parking policies changes that reduce demand and subsidies for driving; Increased transit funding and convenience of services; Increased funding and change design standards for street construction that support walking, biking and transit; Increased incentives for walking, biking and transit through robust transportation demand management program
WHAT HAPPENS IF MODE SHIFT IS NOT IMPLEMENTED?
It’s projected there will be a 14% increase in driving and associated increase in congestion and travel delay, and there will be no reduction in number of crashes on our roads. Based on data used from the FDOT 2010/2040 SERPM, it’s estimated there will be a 56% increase in jobs in the downtown and 35% in residents by 2040, so the City must plan today for tomorrow.
DOES THE MOBILITY STUDY BRING BACK THE FLAGLER SHORE PROJECT?
No. We are not talking about Flagler Shore, which was a temporary pilot project. The Flagler Shore project has ended and is not even being contemplated at this time.
SOME INDIVIDUALS HAVE RAISED THE IDEA OF AN OKEECHOBEE BOULEVARD CROSSOVER. WHY ISN’T THAT A PART OF THE MOBILITY PLAN?
As crossovers are not considered best practices, consultants have not recommended this for our city.
IF IMPLEMENTED, THE MOBILITY PLAN WILL CREATE THESE KEY OUTCOMES:
Support growth in residents, employees and visitors; Provide predictable and reliable travel for all modes; Create safe streets for all ages, abilities, and modes of travel; Expand travel options for people traveling to, through, and around downtown.
HOW CAN I VIEW THE STUDY?
The study is available at http://www.wpbmobility.com/