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Frustration mounts as traffic delays grow on Northlake Boulevard

'We need to make a choice about what our priorities are,' Florida Atlantic University professor says
Posted at 6:39 PM, Jan 26, 2023

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Traffic backs up every day along Northlake Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens.

"It is really bad especially in the morning before the kids go to school, and after 4 p.m., it's insane," Val, a driver who stopped Thursday in a shopping area at Northlake Boulevard and Military Trail, said.

Palm Beach County commissioners recently decided to hold off on approving a feasibility study to widen Northlake Boulevard to eight lanes west of Military Trail.

Val, a driver on Northlake Boulevard, shares her frustration regarding the traffic on the Palm Beach Gardens road.
Val, a driver on Northlake Boulevard, shares her frustration regarding the traffic on the Palm Beach Gardens road.

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Property owners who live along the road, along with Palm Beach Gardens officials, pushed back against the plan.

Making roads wider has long been regarded as a necessary solution to expanding development and an influx of population.

"We need to make a choice about what our priorities are," Eric Dumbaugh, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University's School of Urban and Regional Planning, said. "We don't invest much in public transportation."

Eric Dumbaugh explains why he believes widening Northlake Boulevard is not a good solution to the traffic problems.
Eric Dumbaugh explains why he believes widening Northlake Boulevard is not a good solution to the traffic problems.

Making roads wider, Dumbaugh said, doesn't always provide the solution local leaders are looking to solve.

"Typically, when you add capacity to a highway, you eat up all of that in five to seven years, and you're right back to the same congestive state you had at the very beginning," Dumbaugh said.

At this point, the Northlake widening appears to be sidelined, but those in county government say ongoing development and an increasing population will continue to put pressure on finding ways to keep traffic moving.