Saturday, April 13

Palm Beach County planners work to improve bike lanes amid snarling traffic

Palm Beach County is working to pave the way for a better future, but it is not so easy anymore.

“We’re practically built out on this roadway,” Brian Ruscher, who performs multimodal planning for the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, said.

He said it’s the right thing to do amid the snarling traffic.

“If we’re not offering options to people to consider walking, consider biking, we’re all going to continue to be stuck in the same traffic every day,” Ruscher said.

Options are the name of the game on a two-mile stretch of state-owned Lake Worth Road near Palm Beach State College.

Ruscher pointed out ongoing resurfacing and improvement work.

“This will be the first state-owned protected bicycle lane in Palm Beach County,” Ruscher said.

A curb about 6 inches high will be built along the outer edge of newly designated bike lanes. The work is badly needed.

“Palm Beach County is one of the most dangerous places in the top 20 for walking and bicycling in the country,” Ruscher said. “The Federal Highway Administration estimates when you do (the) bike lane treatment we have come up with on Lake Worth Road, it can reduce crashes (by) up to 50%.”

One project in a county that is coming to terms with the fact that space is running out. From light rail running east and west, to pedal power, planners say everything must be on the table to keep the community moving.

“We have to start thinking if we have room for moving people differently, like by the bus or by bike or walking, that we provide those options to people in a safe, connected way,” Ruscher said.

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