POMPANO BEACH CONSTRUCTION: 10,000+ New Homes Coming? More Traffic Delays?
By Jeff Levine, Editor-at-Large/Pompano Beach Real Estate and Development Columnist
POMPANO BEACH CONSTRUCTION NEWS: 10,500 Residential Units. 2,000 Hotel Rooms. 6.5 million feet of new commercial space.
If you read December’s cover story in Pompano! Magazine about the “Building Bonanza” the city is about to undertake, you probably read it in awe, as I did (and I even wrote part of it). The numbers above represent the growth expected, based on the upcoming projects we wrote about.
The plans for Pompano Beach development are impressive. If completed, the city will be transformed from a sleepy, some would say declining, community into a major South Florida destination for residents, businesses, entertainment and tourists.
Residents have expressed enthusiasm for the overall concept and some trepidation for specific projects close to their actual homes. By far, their biggest concern is traffic. Where will all the cars associated with 10,500 new residences, 2,000 hotel rooms and 6.5 feet of commercial space go… and how congested will our roads become?
Before we dig into that juicy question, a few notes on our estimates. They are based on totals received from the city and the builders. The majority of growth comes from two long-term, large scale projects: the overhaul of the Isle Casino property and the new “Innovation District” to be built between Dixie Highway and I-95, north of Atlantic Blvd. Both could take ten or more years to complete and may evolve into different forms with different totals by the time they are done.
Most other projects are underway or close to breaking ground. Even if we wind up with half the estimated totals, it will still mark a major change to Pompano Beach. Additionally, there are several substantial projects on the horizon that are either on the back burner or are too new to have formal plans brought before the city (including the Atlantic Square shopping center conversion into a possible hi-rise apartment, hotel, commercial development). We also haven’t included recently completed additions such as Overlook Point and the Avery apartments on Federal Highway or other shopping, hotel or residential construction.
10,500 Residential Units. 2,000 Hotel Rooms. 6.5 million feet of new commercial space.
POMPANO BEACH CONSTRUCTION NEWS: DOES THE CITY HAVE A PLAN TO DEAL WITH INCREASED TRAFFIC?
So, back to our BIG question: How does a city with less than 55,000 residential units in 2017 transform its roadways and transportation system to successfully accommodate what may be over 65,000 residential units by 2030, not to mention the increased traffic from the growth in businesses and tourists the plans are expected to bring?
I have had conversations on this subject with the mayor, our county commissioner and other city leaders and frankly have never received a substantial or satisfactory answer.
I’ve heard how the new urban type planning will decrease our reliance on automobiles. South Floridian leaders have been bringing up big plans for decades involving more trains, improved bus service and new local area shuttles. Virtually all have underperformed or been dropped before even reaching fruition.
I’ve heard about changing the timing of traffic lights. This will certainly help. But traffic is already backed up in high season along our major roads. A few timing changes will not prevent gridlock if traffic grows as much as we are projecting.
I’ve even been told of a possible flyover (when you pass non-stop over an intersection instead of driving through it) in the Powerline Road-Atlantic Blvd. area. That sounds like a good start but we’ll need a lot more flyovers in Pompano Beach for them to have a substantial impact.
For the most part, Pompano Beach’s leaders seem in denial about the traffic problems headed our way. Not only do they not have serious plans to make traffic move faster, they are still proposing to reduce the number of lanes near the Dixie Highway-Atlantic Blvd. intersection in order to make the area more “pedestrian friendly”. Hey let’s cut even more lanes and then when traffic is at a complete standstill pedestrians will no longer have to worry about cars speeding by at all 🙂 .
The City has done a terrific job in creating a new vision for Pompano Beach. The potential is amazing. Still, there are some issues needing resolution. Traffic is probably first on most residents’ lists. The City needs to actively develop a realistic plan or we may not be able to drive from one end of town to the other to see the results of that awesome vision.
This opinion column previously appeared in Pompano! Magazine.
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