County Engineer George Webb took the time to write a detailed note about the traffic on Lake Ida Road in response to our suggestion to study Lake Ida Road.
West Delray Updates thanks Mr. Webb.
Mr. Webb concludes that no improvements are needed on Lake Ida for the next 25 years, yet he acknowledges that that traffic has increased on Lake Ida Road. Reading the County’s data, evening rush hour Lake Ida traffic between Military and El Clair Ranch has increased around 200 cars per hour from around 950 to 1150 in the last five years.
“I have looked at your issue and I enjoyed the reporter’s story. However, the facts don’t bear out what you were suggesting. We just finished our 2016 peak season traffic counts. In looking over two key western segments I found the following daily traffic counts:
|Atlantic||(Hagen Ranch – Jog Rd)||
|Lake Ida||(Hagen Ranch – Jog Rd)||
|Atlantic Ave||(El Clair Ranch – Milt Tr)||
|Lake Ida||(El Clair Ranch – Milt Tr)||
“Lake Ida is currently at the number of lanes we expect for the next 25 years. However, Atlantic is shown to need six lanes to handle the expected development and related traffic. I have been discussing the need with Nick Uhren* and I believe he will be taking the potential widening options for Atlantic up with the FDOT and the MPO*.
“A two lane road can typically handle 15,000 vehicles per day. So Lake Ida is well under capacity, and I can understand why drivers might divert to the less congested road in the area. There have been few new projects directly on Lake Ida, so the traffic count increases we are seeing are drivers making the kinds of choices you are suggesting.
“As to your specific suggestions – there is no need to widen Lake Ida for many years, and if Atlantic is widened to six lanes, there will be much better traffic flow on the segment east of the Turnpike. Traffic signals are installed only when specific national criteria (warrants) are met. Those warrants take into account traffic on the main street, the side street and the accident history at the intersection. We are regularly evaluating intersections in the area to see if intersections meet the warrants for a new signal. The potential to extend Lake Ida over the Turnpike exists, but it would be a very expensive project. The County and the State are committed to maximizing the capacity of Atlantic Avenue in this area before a new overpass is considered for Lake Ida.**
“Finally, Lake Ida is a County maintained road and controlled by the Board of County Commissioners. Atlantic Avenue is a State maintained road and is controlled by the Florida Department of Transportation. The Palm Beach MPO does prioritize studies and designs for state roads, while the Board of County Commissioners handles County roads.
“We regularly evaluate the needs for studies and design on a yearly basis. Based on the above, I will not be pursuing anything more on Lake Ida at this time.”
George T. Webb, P.E.
Palm Beach County
*Note: Nick Uhren is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Palm Beach County. The MPO is a body with representatives from the County and cities. It prioritizes road and other transportation improvements from the State of Florida (FDOT).
** Note: Mr. Webb notes the expense on extending Lake Ida over the turnpike to 441. West Delray Updates did not mention this option. The available choice is the extension of Flavor Pict to 441.
In a follow-up Mr. Webb told West Delray Updates that the road and traffic data is available online at http://www.pbcgov.com/engineering/traffic/ “The County post new counts around May/June of each year. The counts are taken between November/December and March. If you open the 2011 file you can see counts going back to 2006 so you have 11 years of counts to look at (2006-2016).”