New Light Rail Project Proposed in Palm Beach County
Residents know how much traffic has grown in Palm Beach County in recent years as the county experiences robust growth. As growth and development continue, traffic will only worsen. A proposal from the Palm Beach County Transportation Agency (PBCTA) may alleviate some of that traffic pressure with the addition of a light rail projection on the busy 13-mile stretch of Okeechobee Boulevard and State Road 7 from the Mall at Wellington Green to downtown West Palm Beach.
This is a dangerous corridor. In just the past two years, 4,700 crashes have occurred, with 16 of these collisions proving fatal.
Multimodal Corridor Study
Currently, the Okeechobee Blvd & SR 7 Multimodal Corridor Study includes a transit and roadway analysis with seven potential alternatives:
- Existing conditions – Local bus service now operates with traffic, making frequent stops that impact travel times for buses and cars. Existing bike lanes have no physical buffer or painted lines separating them from traffic lanes. The goal is to allocate roadway space appropriately for non-motorized users, transit, and single-occupancy vehicles.
- Mixed traffic bus with limited stops – This option improves transit time minimally and does not improve corridor congestion to any significant degree.
- Business Access and Transit lanes – BAT lanes provide a partially dedicated bus service lane that accommodates right-turning vehicles. While BAT lanes will reduce congestion, lane sharing with right-turning vehicles will make transit times slower.
- Curbside Dedicated-Lane Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – A premium form of bus service with fewer stops and a dedicated transit lane. Most conflicts between cars and busses affecting traffic are removed.
- Center Platform Dedicated-Lane BRT – More efficient than curbside BRT, as it operates in the center of the roadway. While similar to light rail, it costs less to build and implementation is faster. While travel times and delays are improved, the improvement is not dramatic.
- Center Platform Dedicated-Lane Light Rail – An efficient transit service, this light rail improves travel time and boosts capacity. However, it is costly to build and maintain.
- Elevated Grade Separated Light Rail – This alternative operates exclusively on an above-grade railway. Of all seven alternatives, it provides the fastest service and eliminates conflicts with all other traffic. It is also the most expensive alternative to build and maintain and takes the longest to implement.
A Ten-to-Fifteen Year Timeline
If the project is approved, light rail won’t become a reality in Palm Beach County for at least a decade, and possibly as long as 15 years. If it does comes to fruition, the need for people to own a car in the area diminishes considerably.
If you or someone you know suffered a serious injury due to another party’s negligence or recklessness, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your claim. We will guide you step-by-step through the recovery process. Hablamos Espanol.