Monday, August 10, 2015

How could the City of Lake Worth have 9 Zip Codes? And City's only 6 square miles!

The answer: because the City of Lake Worth doesn't have 9 zip codes, it only has two, 33460 and a part of 33461. However, for those too lazy in the news media (primarily TV news) you would think 'Lake Worth' extends all the way to the edge of the Everglades.

Frequent readers of this blog will know that this issue is a real bug-a-boo of mine. But it is more important than you may realize at first since this affects the City of Lake Worth's image. That City of Lake Worth covers an area just over 6 square miles along the extreme eastern portion of Palm Beach County. It does not cover the vast areas west of Congress and south towards Lantana, as you will hopefully learn here.

As the City goes about re-branding itself, it doesn't help matters when the news media reports on crime, accidents, and other mayhem occurring in other parts of Palm Beach County as having occurred in "Lake Worth". Incidents outside the City should correctly be labelled as "suburban Lake Worth", or "unincorporated Lake Worth", or "unincorporated Palm Beach County ", or as some have recently stated, "near Lake Worth".

When I googled Lake Worth zip codes, came up with a list and they are below with a google map showing the area covered. Interestingly, I always believed there were three Lake Worth Zip Codes: 33460, 33461, and 33462. I was wrong as you'll see below.

33460: This zip code covers the vast majority of the City from the C-51 Canal south to Lantana and west to I-95. Also in this area is a small pocket of the City west of I-95 and east of Lake Clarke Shores:
33461: Most of this zip code is Palm Springs and the unofficially named the "Lake Worth Corridor" (suburban Lake Worth). A small part of the City of Lake Worth west of I-95 is in this zip code; for instance some mobile home communities and the condos along Lake Osborne Drive are located in the City along with some single family residential neighborhoods. The Lake Worth Park of Commerce is also located in this area:
33462: This "Lake Worth" zip code includes no part of the City of Lake Worth. Atlantis, Lantana, and Hypoluxo are some of the municipalities in this area, and some are unincorporated Palm Beach County. For a long time believed a small part of the City was in this zip code but I was wrong:
33463: Another "Lake Worth" zip code area exists well outside the City limits, west of Military Trail and the Great Walled City of Atlantis. Notice where Greenacres is to the north on this map:
33465: This is the southern part of the town of Lantana, but it has a "Lake Worth" mailing address. It is not in the City of Lake Worth (Notice the location of the landmark "Friendly Greek" restaurant along U.S. 1 [Dixie Hwy.]):
33466: Another area that is not in the City. This is along a stretch of Lake Worth Road. There is some village of Palm Springs in this area as well as unincorporated Palm Beach County. It also is known as the "Lake Worth Corridor":
33467: This is one of the more problematic areas as far as the media is concerned. Many incidents is this area are labelled as "Lake Worth" in news reports; notice the Florida Turnpike. Again, well outside the municipal borders of the City by many miles:
33449: This zip code is on the edge of the Everglades and south of Wellington. Most definitely not "Lake Worth":
33454: Another zip code outside the City. Notice "Planet Fitness Lake Worth". Yes, it can be confusing:
The location of the dot on the above map is one of the county's main north/south streets, Jog Road. 

I hope this information was helpful. When you boil it down, this over-use of the "Lake Worth" name has its roots in the sprawl development pattern that began in the 1960's and continues today. Below is a USGS Map of the same areas indicated above from 1956. The orange on the map is considered "developed" or "urban" area; the green area indicates where the type of vegetation has been identified. The rest, ladies and gentleman, is essentially swamp land. Also note that this is prior to I-95 coming through. The Florida Turnpike is here by this time but no development leading up to it on the major east/west roads.
As areas developed over time and pushed west there was obviously a need to deliver mail to those areas. No one thought to call it anything else but "Lake Worth." The unintended consequence of that is many things that happen at "Lake Worth" mailing addresses is attributed to the City, in the minds of many people. The news media is doing a better job of late, with assistance from time to time, to make the distinction between what is in the City of Lake Worth and what is not.

Can we come up with a name for the vast area that is "Unincorporated Palm Beach County" that does not rely on whether it is west of Lake Worth or West Palm Beach? Or does this fuel the argument by some to change the name of the City to something such as "Lake Worth Beach?" Before such a solution, now that the city has its Twitter account up and running, maybe it can help teach local media outlets to know the difference.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I say change the name to Lake Worth Beach, as it advertises that we have a beach and differentiates us from the western communities.