Trump's presence brings traffic, curious visitors to Palm Beach

Is Trump's presence changing island life?
Posted at 8:33 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-24 17:23:36-05

This is the first full day of president elect Donald Trump’s visit to Mar-a-Lago. He plans to spend the entire Thanksgiving holiday at his Palm Beach estate.
Is Trump’s mere presence changing island life?

Just as people here expected, there are police everywhere keeping watch on every corner in his neighborhood. Several law enforcement officers from Palm Beach Police and Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office are directing traffic in hot spots, especially where vehicles come off the Southern Boulevard bridge.

Trump's visit is also attracting droves of curious people like Mark Nobel, who came all the way from Fort Lauderdale.

"I came up here to see Donald Trump and tell him that I want to sing God Bless America at the inauguration," he said.

Nobel sang for other onlookers standing on the shores Bingham Island, which overlooks Trump's estate. He's one of many interested people who came to Palm Beach because President-elect Donald Trump came home for the holidays.

Since the election, many islanders worried about how Trump's presence might impact their way of life, starting with traffic.

We asked Hank Minter, who is visiting from Philadelphia, if he had any issues getting around the island.

"No not at all. We drove around and they happened to have the compound pretty secure. We drove around and it was no problem," he said.

Palm Beach Police and PBSO have been working hand-in-hand with the Secret Service to make sure the impact on traffic is minimal. You do need to plan ahead if traveling on Southern bridge. Police are directing vehicles through the curve onto Ocean Boulevard and onlookers are causing traffic back ups.

"I mean it's great that we're able to get this close you know? It's freedom at its best," said Minter.

Jose Carrero likes to come to the shores of Bingham Island near Mar-a-Lago for prayer and meditation. Now he's joined by more cars and the media frenzy of tents

"Coast guard is now closing off certain sections in the water but in all reality it's a wonderful thing and I'm glad we get to get some of the highlights now here in sunny South Florida," he said.

Coast Guard boats are zooming up to any boat that comes through the Intracoastal area near the estate.

"Little boats can't go in towards his residence they have it cordoned off with Coast Guard," said  Richard Easton, who works on boat at the city docks on Australian Avenue.

Boats can sail up and down the Intracoastal's restricted zones, but you cannot stop or linger. You also will be tailed by authorities.

Those who need a boat to pay the bills are most affected.

"Out on the ocean, I know they have the oceanside cordoned off and restricted areas so that's affecting some of the fisherman," said Easton.

As for the roads, Laurel baker with the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce says if it weren't for the police directing vehicles there would be a traffic nightmare.

"Kudos to them for having it in place because we are only three blocks wide, so traffic is a major issue here," she said.

And even though Trump is attracting droves of curious visitors, she said it could be a good thing.

"We're hoping from the commerce side that business will improve, the people will realize what a great place it is to visit," Baker said.

Baker added that 25 charity events are scheduled to happen at Mar-a-Lago between January and March. She believes Trump may not come back to his Palm Beach estate as much during that time, so as not to disrupt the charity events.