The Civic Association has been reporting on the City of West Palm Beach’s plan for their Okeechobee Business District and Mobility Study Plan.

Now the Florida Department of Transportation has officially weighed in. FDOT sent a letter to West Palm stating there needs to be more time to complete traffic studies, mitigation plans, and prove that West Palm’s plan to build around the Okeechobee Corridor, and eliminate lanes for car traffic, won’t overload the main thoroughfare on and off the island of Palm Beach.

Town of Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio has made it clear that the Okeechobee Corridor should be a four member partnership between FDOT-which owns the road, Palm Beach County, the City West Palm Beach, and the Town of Palm Beach. She said she looks forward to working together with all the partners to protect access for the island and resolve the gridlock on Okeechobee Corridor.

In her reaction to the FDOT letter, City of West Palm Jeri Mayor Muoio pledges that West Palm will plow forward on Okeechobee Business District despite traffic concerns.

The city commission will move ahead with its final vote Monday to create an Okeechobee Business District, despite strong criticism from the state transportation agency, Palm Beach County and the Town of Palm Beach.

Despite Traffic Concerns, West Palm Set to OK Okeechobee District
The proposed zoning change would alter the land use rules for Okeechobee Boulevard, from CityPlace to the waterfront, to encourage construction of the top flight office buildings the city wants to attract high-end employers.
Read More (Palm Beach Post) $

FDOT Letter

August 7, 2018

Mr. Richard Greene, AICP
Development Services Director
City of West Palm Beach
401 Clematis Street
P.O. Box 3147
West Palm Beach, FL 33402

Dear Mr. Greene:

SUBJECT: DEO #18-1ESR — Okeechobee Business District FDOT Agency Review

The Florida Department of Transportation ("Department") has reviewed the proposed
Okeechobee Business District Comprehensive Plan amendment for the City of West Palm Beach
with a Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) reference number "18-1ESR." This letter,
identifying deficiencies and concerns, serves as the Department's agency response.

In accordance with ss. 163.3161(3) and 163.3184(3)(b), Florida Statutes, the Department's
review focused on major transportation issues, including adverse impacts to transportation
facilities of state importance. These facilities include the Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) and
significant regional resources and facilities, such as Okeechobee Boulevard, that are identified
in the Strategic Regional Policy Plan by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. These
facilities are vital to the economic vitality, growth and quality of life of the county, region and
state.

Comments

1. The City has not demonstrated through data and analysis, the long term adequacy of
transportation facilities to meet established acceptable levels of service, as required by
ss. 163.3177(1)(f), 163.3177(3)(a)3, 163.3177(5)(a), and 163.3177(6)(a)8.a, Florida
Statutes. The City's analysis of the amendment more specifically fails to address existing
and projected levels of service and facility needs on Okeechobee Boulevard. No trip
generation and assignment of project traffic on the network was provided. This information
is vital to plan for needed facilities and services and to formulate policy recommendations
regarding effective mitigation strategies to avoid adverse impacts.

2. Per s. 163.3177(2), Florida Statutes, there is an appearance of an internal inconsistency
in the comprehensive plan between the future land use amendment and City
Transportation Element Policy 2.3.5-h. According to this policy, the Downtown Master
Plan (DMP) and the Transportation Concurrency Exception Area (TCEA) are predicated
on a set of assumptions needed to provide and implement the transportation goals of
the comprehensive plan. This Okeechobee Business District (OBD) amendment, being
contained within the DMP boundaries, alters the land use assumptions and potentially
the function of the DMP districts and the intended mitigation strategies in a way that
may not have been conceived by the TCEA as originally adopted and could result in
adverse impacts to the State Highway System.

Recommendations to eliminate, reduce or mitigate adverse impacts

Recommendation for comment #1
:
The City should provide sufficient time prior to the adoption of this amendment to
engage agency stakeholders and the public regarding the impacts of the OBD to the
transportation network. The impacts should be determined by conducting a
transportation analysis based on professionally accepted methodology as agreed to by
agency stakeholders, including the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, Palm
Beach County, the Town of Palm Beach, and the Department.

The City is a participant on a multi-stakeholder committee and a technical
subcommittee that were recently formed in response to the City's proposed West Palm
Beach Mobility Plan. The Department is providing technical assistance to the
stakeholders to analyze the vision and strategies of the Mobility Plan to determine long
term impacts to Okeechobee Boulevard. This effort will work towards achieving
consensus regarding the traffic engineering methodology to use for analyses that will
identify projected impacts and will provide beneficial information for the prioritization
of improvements to maintain mobility. The Department recommends that the adoption
of this amendment be delayed so that pertinent information can be considered by the
City and adjustments made to the OBD amendment as warranted. Results of this effort
are scheduled to be presented to the multi-stakeholder committee in December of this
year.

Recommendation for comment #2:

Prior to adopting the OBD amendment, the City should update its TCEA objectives and
policies to ensure that identified TCEA mitigation and transportation improvements correspond
to the impacts resulting from changes to the DMP that have occurred since the original TCEA
adoption in the 1990's.

The Department commits to working with all agency stakeholders to develop traffic solutions
that will maintain the flow of trips on the Okeechobee Boulevard corridor; and we thank you
for being part of this effort. If you have any comments or questions about this letter, please
contact Mr. Larry Hymowitz at (954) 777-4663.

Sincerely,

Stacy L Miller, P.E.
Director of Transportation Development
District Four

cc: Lorenzo Aghemo, Director— Palm Beach County Planning Division
Verdenia C. Baker, County Administrator — Palm Beach County
Kirk Blouin, Town Manager —Town of Palm Beach
Michael Busha, Executive Director — TCRPC
Jennifer Carver, Statewide Community Planning Coordinator — FDOT Central Office
D. Ray Eubanks, Plan Review and Processing Administrator - FDEO
Jeri Muoio, Mayor - City of West Palm Beach
David L. Ricks, County Engineer— Palm Beach County
Richard Shine, Attorney — FDOT Central Office
Nick Uhren, Executive Director — Palm Beach TPA