West Palm’s perfect traffic storm — Trump, boat show, bridge construction

PBPO News:

There is no word yet as to whether President Trump will visit town next weekend. Traffic around South Ocean Boulevard would be reduced, as well as traffic to the south via A1A, unless locals have proper windshield placards.

According to Kirk Blouin, Palm Beach Public Safety Director, “It would have been a complete catastrophe,” he told the Palm Beach Daily News. “We thought that we had the perfect storm.”

As preparations for the boat show begin, West Palm Beach has already begun to restrict traffic. This is because yachts are beginning their annual migration along South Flagler Drive.

For the weekend’s boat fair weekend, the popular waterfront GreenMarket in the city has been closed. The weekly Clematis By Night celebrations that were scheduled to be held on Thursday, March 23, have also been cancelled.

Raphael Clemente is the executive director of Downtown Development Authority. He said that there have been many conversations about how to alleviate the pain, but no clear answers. Clemente stated that he has been in contact with West Palm and Blouin police.

Closures of key importance:

The northbound Flagler Drive, between Lakeview Avenue & Banyan Boulevard, will remain closed until Friday, March 31, at 5 p.m. Two lanes heading south will remain open for now.
Narcissus Avenue, between Evernia Street & Datura Street is closed until Wednesday, March 29, at 5 p.m.
Southbound Flagler between Lakeview & Banyan will close at 5:15 p.m. Sunday. This means that northbound Flagler and southbound Flagler will both be closed at that time.
Southbound Flagler will reopen Tuesday at 5:15 p.m.
Flagler’s lanes will reopen Friday, March 31 at 5 p.m.
Downtown has been busy in years past but was navigable during boat shows. It is unknown how much traffic will be funnelled through the middle bridge by presidential detours and bridge work this year.

Blouin stated that “We’ll need to do our best to mitigate it.”

The Florida Department of Transportation announced this week that the Flagler Memorial Bridge (or north bridge) will not be opened in the late April or early May timeframe as originally planned. Barbara Kelleher, FDOT spokesperson, said that construction complications will prevent it from being completed by June.

Kelleher stated Wednesday that delays to the North bridge won’t affect the Southern project. The first weeks of work will involve temporary bridges being built and won’t cause traffic disruptions.