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Port St. Lucie leaders prepare for more traffic amid population explosion

City council expected to formalize mobility plan this spring
Posted at 4:22 PM, Oct 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-17 18:13:57-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — From trains to automobiles, Port St. Lucie leaders are looking toward the future to figure out how they'll keep their ever-growing city from descending into gridlock.

As its population surges past 200,000, one question facing the city of Port Lucie is not just where will everyone live, but how will the roads handle all of the traffic.

City council members received an update Monday on its "mobility plan," which is an effort to see what roads will be built, which roads will be widened and which will accommodate other forms of transportation like bikes or autonomous vehicles.

Resident Diane Goldberg has been waiting for the city to tackle traffic troubles on St. Lucie West Boulevard.

"That road must be widened," Goldberg said. "It must be six lanes."

Port St. Lucie resident Diane Goldberg lays out some of the traffic improvements she would like the city to conduct.
Port St. Lucie resident Diane Goldberg lays out some of the traffic improvements she would like the city to conduct.

While that was one of the main roads targeted for widening, some on the council wonder if that would be enough.

"I'm concerned that even when we build the six lanes we're still not going to be addressing the need and still have issues with traffic in that area," Port St. Lucie Vice Mayor Jolien Caraballo said.

RELATED: Port St. Lucie population surge brings influx of traffic

Port St. Lucie Mayor Shannon Martin said it's important to remember the mobility plan is a 20-year plan.

 Port St. Lucie Mayor Shannon Martin, Oct. 17, 2022
Port St. Lucie Mayor Shannon Martin speaks at a council meeting held on Oct. 17, 2022.

"We're planning for it, but St. Lucie West Boulevard, nor any other project, is going to happen in the very near future," Martin said.

While many of the proposals were concrete plans — like adding actual concrete, more lanes to existing roads — there were some other ideas like adding a boardwalk or greenway to the Canal Pointe neighborhood near the Florida Turnpike.

For now, residents are just looking for the best ways to handle the existing traffic.

St. Lucie West Boulevard improvements, Oct. 17, 2022
The plan under consideration would widen St. Lucie West Boulevard from Interstate 95 to Cashmere Boulevard to six lanes.

Resident Edmond Lefort changed his routines.

"I don't do anything before 12 in the afternoon," Lefort said. "If I have to, I'll do it after 7 p.m."

The city council is expected to formalize the mobility plan in the spring.