Martino: Shady Lakes Dr Extension Short-Sighted and Punitive

Shady Lakes Drive, to extend or not to extend, that is the question. It was respectfully addressed by the residents of the Shady Lakes development at the December Palm Beach Gardens City Council meeting. The residents came with a reasonable portfolio of suggestions which were presented under the gun of the 3-minute public comment rule imposed by the City Council. Upon conclusion of the Shady Lakes residents’ comments, the Mayor proceeded to chastise the concerned residents. After the Shady Lakes residents had gone home, the City Manager presented a report which reasoned in favor of the Shady Lakes Drive extension.

Hopefully, I am wrong, but as of now it is my opinion, the Mayor and City Council, hiding behind the facade of,” it’s a safety issue”, have concluded that the extension of Shady Lakes Drive from PGA Boulevard to 117th Street North is a done deal. The City Council has allocated the money in the City’s budget and, apparently has instructed the administration to make it happen. But why?

The proposed Shady Lakes Drive extension does not comport with the history of the Shady Lakes Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance. Shady Lakes is a secluded neighborhood development of single family homes. The development is north of PGA Boulevard, neatly tucked behind the Gardens of Woodberry development, quietly and purposefully “hiding” the homes from the noise and clamor of PGA Boulevard. To gain access to Shady Lakes a short entranceway drive, now called Shady Lakes Drive, was established by the PUD ordinance. This entranceway extends from PGA Boulevard, just to the west of the FPL substation, north to the Shady Lakes development entrance. Due to insufficient right-of-way, particularly at the substation, and for safety and a variety of other substantive reasons the entranceway drive was never contemplated to extend further then to the entrance of Shady Lakes.

It is difficult to ponder that “safety” will be enhanced by changing an entrance driveway into a cut-through collector road with insufficient right-a-way. Forcing an entranceway into a cut-through collector road does not solve the “safety” issues of failed planning promulgated by the City and School Board concerning the vehicular traffic, school buses, and child pick-up concerns of Timber Trace Elementary and Duncan Middle Schools. Remaking an entrance driveway into a road will not provide significant benefit to the Tennis Center or the City Park multi-use fields. Providing for an evacuation alternative in the rare instance of when one is needed can be accomplished without turning an entrance driveway into a cut-through collector road creating safety issues in other areas of the City where none now exist.

The proposed Shady Lakes Drive extension will cause significant problems for other established neighborhoods. As an example, PGA Plat #2, or Garden Isles as it is known as today, is south of the Shady Lakes development. Its collector roads are Larch Avenue and Hickory Drive. Hickory Drive, on the south side of PGA Boulevard, lines up with Shady Lakes Drive on the north side. By extending Shady Lakes Drive the City may be enticing traffic to leave Military Trail, turn west onto Larch Avenue, turn north onto Hickory Drive, cross PGA Boulevard at the traffic light, and head north to 117th Street North. With the extension of Shady lakes Drive this route is further encouraged because of traffic difficulties at the PGA Boulevard intersections of Military Trail and Central Boulevard.

From my prospective, the extension of Shady Lakes Drive is short-sighted and particularly punitive to the Shady Lakes neighborhood. It is not the solution to the set of “safety” problems that the City is attempting to fix. The proposed extension compounds the problems and exports them to other areas of the City.

The answer to the “safety issue” problems of 117th Street North, the Tennis courts, the City Park, the schools, and the County owned property recently considered for the “baseball fiasco”, is a comprehensive plan for this entire section of the City. It should and must encompass interlocal cooperation and planning between the City, the County, and the School Board covering all issues of concern.

The City Council should be a consensus-builder, a facilitator, but not an antagonist.


2 Responses to “Martino: Shady Lakes Dr Extension Short-Sighted and Punitive”
  1. Bruce Honig says:

    Your article is the best summary of the extension issue that I have read in the thirteen year that I have lived in Shady Lakes. We elected the City Council to represent us. If they choose to not want to represent their constituents, then we need to elect City Council members that do.

  2. Alan Hiscott says:

    Great article. “Punitive” is the key word. I think they blame Shady Lakes for the stadium fiasco and the term limits. I can’t believe the mayor would take the time to dig up dirt on a resident regarding signing a petition for the road several years ago (before he lived there). It just shows that the parents who signed it didn’t have all the facts. The mayor’s attack was something usually reserved for political opponents. It tells me that it’s not Shady Lakes vs. the schools or the Tennis Center, as they want you to believe. It’s Shady lakes vs. the Council.

    In the attack he said “I guess it only matters if it’s in your backyard”. As I recall, he was in a similar situation himself a couple of years ago and used his influence to deter FDOT and PBC from building an overpass at Northlake and Beeline – which would have been visible from his backyard. This is his right, as it’s the right of every homeowner to protect their backyards. As an elected official, it’s his job to protect ALL of the City residents’ backyards.

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