Saturday, February 6, 2016

Will Lake Worth's unique 'two main streets' make it to the print edition soon? Or did Lake and Lucerne avenues get forgotten?

An article about a child painted on a mural made the print edition and so did many stories about curtailing hours in City parks to keep the public spaces safer. But the Post's beat reporter for Lake Worth has had an article ready for the print edition that made the online edition on January 24th. This would really be "news" for a lot of people and is what can be called a 'teachable moment'.

The news by Thompson for those who have been paying close attention over the years isn't really new. The issue of Lake Worth's "two Main Streets" has been talked about for at least ten years, maybe longer. If you didn't know roads such as Dixie Hwy., Federal Hwy., Lake Ave., and Lucerne Ave. are not owned by the City of Lake Worth. This will be big news for a lot of people. What makes Lake Worth special is that unlike most cities that have "a main street" this City has two: Lake and Lucerne avenues. However, the City has little say about what happens on these avenues except to make suggestions and hope the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) will listen.

Ultimately, FDOT doesn't have to answer to Lake Worth or even Palm Beach County. They have to protect the interests of all the citizens and taxpayers of Florida who have paid taxes to maintain these roads for many decades. And the other thing to remember is nothing happens very fast at FDOT. When it comes to bureaucracies and going through channels and doing things exactly by the book FDOT sets a very high standard.

Many believe, including myself and a lot of other people, it would be a real good idea for the City of Lake Worth to take over control of Lake and Lucerne avenues. If it did happen it wouldn't happen any time soon. The process would be very complicated and will take a very long time. This will become a public topic of discussion especially since the City's Street Painting Festival is coming up shortly and Lake/Lucerne avenues will be closed to traffic for a weekend.

Here are two excerpts from the article by Thompson that might make it to the print edition tomorrow:
     The city, however, wants the department [FDOT] to upgrade and repair them [Lake and Lucerne avenues] first, a project that could cost more than $3 million, according to City Manager Michael Bornstein.
     “We want those two roads to be almost like new,” Bornstein said. “We don’t have the money to completely rebuild them. We can’t even fix our own streets.”
     Jamie Brown, the city’s public services director, said portions of the road are cracking and need to be resurfaced.
     “From A Street to A1A, we want to see the entire Lake and Lucerne avenues resurfaced, with fresh striping and fresh asphalt,” Brown said. “There’s a disconnect on what they’re willing to provide and what we’re willing to accept.” [emphasis added]
[and. . .]
     “For us, it’s just as important for us to have people come downtown, get out of their cars and have pedestrian and bicycle access,” he [City Manager Bornstein] said. “It’s not about rushing people from point A to point B in cars. How you manage that right of way is important to us.”
     But not a top priority, considering the city has so many other issues to address, Bornstein pointed out.“I’ll wait them out,” he said, referring to FDOT.
It will be refreshing to see this article about Lake Worth in print.