By Attiyya Atkins
Pompano Beach is on the brink of change, and with change comes traffic.
A pilot program that reduced the number of lanes on westbound Atlantic Avenue and Dixie Highway with plastic delineators in now coming to an end.
In October, the City of Pompano Beach embarked on its mission to create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown, specifically at the westbound intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Dixie Highway with a pilot traffic program. This program temporarily eliminated some lanes on Atlantic Avenue with plastic delineators to the dismay of many residents. According to the city’s traffic engineer Joaquin Vargas, wait times jumped from three minutes to nine minutes with this implementation.
Vargas and other city officials said that the increase in wait time was unacceptable, although it was necessary to develop a traffic plan to accommodate the city’s growing downtown.
The intersection has had its issues in the past, mainly traffic, crashes, and problematic conditions for pedestrians and bikers, but change is on the way.
“Through careful study we have created a win-win plan designing a safer roadway for everyone while producing the optimal impact for drivers,” said Mayor Rex Hardin in a YouTube video about the plan.
City officials say the changes are necessary to allow downtown Pompano to flourish.
The city said in a blog post that the delineators that had been on Atlantic and Dixie are in the process of being removed and traffic patterns back to the way they were. The changes were in order to provide data to traffic engineers as they need it to determine how to transform downtown Pompano.
The city says that this change is part of its Creating Accessible Roadways for Everyone (CARE) plan.
“If you want Pompano Beach to have a vibrant downtown, become a safer place, and eliminate blight, then you CARE about the City too! Creating Accessible Roadways for Everyone (CARE) is a community-based approach to improving the blighted area of our City near Atlantic Boulevard and Dixie Highway.”
With the removal of lanes, city officials believe it will help pedestrians be able to cross the street safely to enjoy downtown’s restaurants, public spaces, community centers, and other incoming amenities.
After the changes are completed, “Only two minutes may be added to the travel time for west bound traffic during rush hour only. And virtually no additional time for the other 22–23 hours (of the day),” said city traffic engineer Joaquin Vargas.