Friday, January 27, 2023

Time to slow down and count the cars

This week Delray’s city commission decided to postpone the vote on Atlantic Crossing for a couple of weeks so they could review the traffic study submitted by a group of concerned citizens worried about limited access to the site (only on Atlantic at 7th Street) as well as a backed up valet parking line, among other issues.

Although the study, performed by Susan E. O’Rourke, could be viewed as self-serving for local neighborhood residents concerned about the magnitude of the project, it’s good that some kind of traffic data specific to the project was collected—and even better that city staff will take the time to study it.

Assisted by the Florida Coalition for Preservation, chaired by Bob Ganger, the group of citizens who commissioned the study is concerned that at peak traffic times, the lone entry point at 7th and Atlantic could become a bottleneck, that valet parking at the project could be backed up and spill out onto Atlantic Avenue, and that people frequenting the plaza may opt to park on quiet residential streets in adjacent neighborhoods rather than at the project. Ganger said the “public has a right to be concerned’ and calls the traffic study “nothing more than common sense.”

It’s hard not to agree with that, given the developers were not required to and never presented a real traffic study; they simply assured the commission and the community that the infrastructure was sufficient. And Ganger, like the rest of us, actually likes the project.

“No one wants to stop or slow down the project—we are delighted with it,” he says.

But he also says “a simple thing could be done” to mitigate the traffic issues—which would be to essentially bisect the project on Federal with a road that connects Federal with 7th Street, allowing another entry point to the development.

“To us the solution is not just symbolic,” he says, “It’s practical.”

Ganger says the data is pretty clear. The commission can reject the study or accept it, but he really hopes it inspires the city to perform a traffic study of its own once and for all to make sure future traffic problems are identified now, before anything is green-lighted.

We couldn’t agree more, and we look forward to the next steps. Atlantic Crossing is a great concept and Delray needs it; let’s do it right from the start.


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