Okeechobee Corridor Public Meeting and Charrette Update
It was standing room only at last night's charrette!!
Thank you to those of you who turned out at last night’s official Okeechobee Corridor Charrette and Public Meeting at the Palm Beach County Convention Center! We thank you for your ideas, your input, and your insights!
A lot of great suggestions came from the public last night, as Mayor Jeri Muoio and CityFi founder Gabe Klein kicked off the meeting and Alta Planning + Design presented initial findings from the Okeechobee Corridor Study! These findings included data on traffic patterns and people who live, work and play in West Palm Beach.
Alta planners highlighted the following:
- A key goal for the Okeechobee study is developing regional solutions for a regional corridor. Currently 59% of residents who live downtown commute to work by driving while 79% of people that live in Palm Beach County commute by driving. Alta planners stated that many of the people who drive to or through downtown don't have convenient options beyond driving.
- Improving the safety of the corridor will not only improve quality of life in the community but also create a more predictable and reliable corridor to travel. Over the past three years and on any particular weekday, motorists have a 50% chance of their commute along Okeechobee being impacted by a crash. Improving safety will improve travel times during peak travel periods.
- Managing seasonal increases in traffic must be a focus. 51% of visitors to Palm Beach County visit West Palm Beach during their visit, and 50% of visitors fly - arriving without a car. The seasonal traffic increases can be managed by expanding travel options for visitors too.
- For Okeechobee Boulevard between I-95 and Tamarind, vehicle volumes have increased by only 6% over the past ten years (2006-2016), or at an annual rate of less than 1% per year. Over the same period, the City's population increased by 14%. (Vehicle count data is from Palm Beach County. Population data is from the U.S Census.)
"We have to make things safe and we have to take a look at expanding travel choices, because it's good for business and quality of life," said Mayor Muoio.
The Mayor noted that the City had been studying the issue since March and collaborating with Palm Beach County, Town of Palm Beach, Florida Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organization, Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, U.S. Coast Guard, Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches and many, many more neighborhood and community groups.
"Putting people first should always be the focus when it comes to developing solutions for the Okeechobee Corridor," said Gabe Klein, a consultant working on the study, TEDx speaker, and nationally known cities expert. Klein is the former Commissioner of the Chicago and Washington, D.C. Departments of Transportation and a former ZipCar executive.
During the charrette portion of the evening, attendees broke into small groups and were challenged to come up with solution-oriented suggestions for the City’s infrastructure. They shared their ideas with the engineers and city planners to consider, and viable options will be incorporated into the final report, to be presented to the public on Thursday.
Citizens were deputized as planners
The Okeechobee Corridor Charrette and Public Meeting will run for a total of four days, so if you couldn’t join us for this kickoff, there’s still time! The Charrette will continue at the Palm Beach County Convention Center through Thursday.
We are hosting this event for four days and after work, so that everyone has an opportunity to have their voices heard! Alternately, you can contact the Mobility Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.