Seeking a more pedestrian-friendly Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach

Seeking a more pedestrian-friendly Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach

13:44 01 August in News Stories

Traffic consultants present proposed changes to West Atlantic Avenue

July 1, 2014 | By Marisa Gottesman, Sun Sentinel

Turning Atlantic Avenue into a place where people can easily and safely walk from Interstate 95 down to the beach has been part of Delray’s plans for years.

With new projects beginning to spring up on West Atlantic Avenue, the vision to connect east and west downtown, an idea that was laid out in the 2002 Downtown Delray Master Plan, has started to take place.

To continue the momentum, Delray’s Community Redevelopment Agency board on June 26 heard ways to create a more pedestrian-friendly, less auto-centric West Atlantic Avenue, which already exists on the eastern stretch near the beach.

Traffic consultant Kelly Blume from Kittleson & Associates Inc. said key changes would start at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Swinton Avenue.

She said that is the point where the flow of cars lessens and the number of walkers increases because five lanes of traffic becomes two lanes as drivers head toward the water.

The daily average number of cars that travel on Atlantic Avenue west of Swinton Avenue is 30,000, according to Kittleson’s traffic study. On Atlantic east of Swinton, that number shrinks to 16,600.

To encourage walkers to keep trekking west, which would help connect the downtown stretch, the traffic experts suggest city officials consider removing a lane, widening sidewalks, adding on-street lighting and planting more greenery. The proposed changes would mirror the layout of the eastern side of Atlantic Avenue.

Whether those changes will happen will ultimately be up to commissioners.

But before they make any decisions, Blume said city officials would have to verify if the Florida Department of Transportation would allow some of the proposed changes.

Atlantic Avenue is considered an evacuation route, so it is unknown whether Delray would be able to make changes, such as reducing the number of traffic lanes, Blume said.

City officials will consider what proposed changes they would like to pursue at an upcoming meeting., 561-243-6544 or Twitter @marisagottesman