Traffic and Safety the Overwhelming Issues with PGA Waterfront Project Proposal

The City Council chambers were almost full with residents of Palm Beach Gardens and other affected communities eager to hear the developer’s proposal for the PGA Waterfront Project on the SW corner of PGA Blvd and Ellison-Wilson Road.

Dodi Glas, project agent, handled most of the slick presentation, along with the architect, Bernard Zyscovich. The architect described how the primary and unique inspiration for the design was the 30′ elevation change from Ellison Wilson down to the waterfront – and it was the hill that enabled both the underground parking and a 75′ staircase leading down to the Promenade area and Beach (sic). Much of the discussion focused on various views provided by a preliminary 3D simulation. The Hotel and Condominium buildings were intentionally placed in an east/west orientation so as to not block views or create a ‘hulk’ (my words, not the presenters’ ;-). To their credit – the parking garage view at Ellison Wilson was only 2 1/2 stories high – but the garage was still the first thing one would see when driving east on PGA Blvd from US 1, much like Harbourside in Jupiter.

Promenade View including the ‘beach’

Challenged by the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board – some of whom did like aspects of the project, were the traffic assumptions, number of trips, handling of traffic turning onto Ellison Wilson from those westbound on PGA, disguising the parking garage, having a hotel so close to a bridge with associated noise. There was also discussion on the Promenade – which is not part of a Riverwalk type of plan but essentially a promenade to nowhere. It was clear that the project as presented was not going to get their support.

Public comment was vociferously against the project. Petitions were submitted by 3 of the speakers – Ms. Karch from NPB with 100, Ms. Navratick, of PBG (of FB Page Save the Rum Bar) with 800 and Ms Harvey of NPBconnect with 1500 petitions all objecting to the project. Former County Commissioner, Karen Marcus, represented Lost Tree Village and voiced the subdivision’s opposition. She also brought historic perspective to the County’s plans for the site – saying that there were already approved plans for the site that more resembled the casual mix found at Sailfish Marina. Many disagreed with the accuracy of the traffic studies – performed out of season and only during selected periods. Others pointed out that in order to avoid the intersection, drivers would find other routes causing traffic impacts elsewhere. The hotel and residence buildings were 10 stories high – so if one found the 5-story Harbourside project objectionable, these would be twice as high! There is so much retail space empty in North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens so others questioned the need for yet more office and retail buildings.

I counted 18 speakers – all given 2 minutes to speak. They came from North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Juno Beach, PB Shores and Singer Island, and Old Port Cove.

It is clear that more traffic studies will be required and there will be more opportunities for the public to voice their opinions, even before it comes to the City Council.


2 Responses to “Traffic and Safety the Overwhelming Issues with PGA Waterfront Project Proposal”
  1. Zoning Board Members:

    Have you EVER been on Ellson Wilson, either direction, north or south, waiting for the PGA bridge to go up? It doesn’t move for at least 10 minutes or more. Trafficeon PGA is backed up past Prosperity Farms Road going east when that happens. And going west, traffic backs up on to U.S. 1, going BOTH north and south.

    Where are the guardians on councils who should be in the midst of bridge closing traffic as often as those of us who live in that area? What can you be thinking putting anything of these proportions at that corner?

    And, have you looked at the MONSTROSITY on Indiantown Rd.., and U.S. 1? It’s an absolute eyesore…belongs in NYC where monstrosities blend into the background.

    Shame on you for entertaining such a development.

  2. I’ve submitted the same comment three times so far. Evidently, this website doesn’t really want the comments to go through.

    The monstrosity proposed for Ellison Wilson and PGA is egregious in terms of traffic and image in terms of the immediate community and horrific in terms of people having to be subjected such a ridiculous development in that already congested area.

    The bridge closings tie up traffic for as much as 15 minutes or more on all the roadways. PGA traffic extends past Prosperity Farms Road and in the other direction on to U.S.1.

    Can anyone imagine what putting such a density of buildings on that same corner would cause in terms of traffic? And if you want to look at what it COULD look like, go to Indiantown Road and U.S.1 where such a monstrosity is already there. If it were in NYC, it would blend into all the other skyline structures. Right now, it is an absolute eysore.

    And THAT is what is being entertained for Ellison Wilson and PGA?

    Shame on any zoning board that would approve such a horrific plan!!!

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