Monday, July 13, 2015

From Walkable West Palm Beach—A Reminder: Auto-oriented development is a huge experiment

"I’m a member, enthusiast, and content contributor for Strong Towns, and Strong Towns has been producing a series of videos to distill the essentials of the organization’s message. In one of the recent videos, titled “Auto-Oriented Development”, Walkable West Palm Beach contributed B-roll footage of the lovable Okeechobee Boulevard, showcasing an example of a productive, safe transportation investment. If you didn’t catch the sarcasm there, you need to subscribe to the blog. Skip ahead to 2:00 to see the Okeechobee Stroad footage."

Luckily, the City of Lake Worth has escaped the more egregious forms of auto-oriented development. This is due in large measure to the fact that the city was laid out in its grid pattern before the predominance of the automobile as the main mode of transportation. Residential developments that were planned during the middle and later parts of the 20th century, like Lake Osborne Heights and Vernon Heights, show the difference in dimensions and street layout that the automobile prefers: not the pedestrian.

However, it is important to point out that Dixie Hwy. is designed for the motor vehicle, not for the pedestrian or the bicyclist. And to many it is a dividing line in our community. Plans are working through the 'idea stage' to slow down traffic on Dixie Hwy., reduce the widths (and possibly number) of lanes and maybe add a bike lane. When we see that in real life, along with eliminating as many one-way streets as possible, is when Lake Worth will be a truly city-wide pedestrian-friendly, walkable and bikeable city.