Village residents will be driving on two less lanes on U.S. 1 in about three years.
Construction to reduce the village’s main drag to four lanes from six lanes, widen sidewalks and build bicycle lanes is scheduled to start in November 2017. The U.S. 1 project from County Line Road south about 2 miles to Beach Road is expected to take about a year.
“This marks a paradigm shift from using transportation space for bicycles and pedestrians rather than vehicles,” said Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization Director Nick Uhren.
Plans for the 2-mile roadway call for:
- Reducing the vehicle lanes from six to four.
- Widening the sidewalks to 10 feet from six on both sides.
- Installing decorative streetlights on both sides.
- Building bicycle lanes on both sides.
Once the project is complete, the state will consider lowering the speed limit from 45 mph, Uhren said.
Tequesta is becoming a younger community and more residents are walking, bicycling and pushing baby strollers, said Mayor Abby Brennan, who supports the plan.
“This project will allow all modes of transportation to coexist,” she said.
The state has approved $1.7 million for the plan. The MPO is chipping in $590,000. Tequesta spent $80,000 from the capital improvement fund for workshops and public meetings. The village plans to contribute $175,000 more. That $175,000 is expected to be reimbursed to the village from the state, Brennan said.
Reducing the width of U.S. 1 in Tequesta is part of the state’s “Complete Streets Program” to encourage walking, bicycling and other driving alternatives. Trolleys, roundabouts and curb extensions are also promoted.
Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach and Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach are examples of roads that were narrowed. Sidewalks, medians and bicycle paths were added to get people out of their vehicles. Jupiter is spending about $8 million to build sidewalks, on-street parking, bicycle lanes and other improvements to State Road A1A from Beach Road north to U.S. 1 for the same purpose.
About 24,000 vehicles daily travel on U.S. 1 in Tequesta, which has about 5,800 residents. That’s much lower than the maximum of 32,000 for a four-lane roadway. The maximum for a six-lane roadway is about 48,000, according to state transportation figures.
“Driving will be safer. Less lanes will make people slow down,” Tequesta Police Cpl. Emir Yildiz said.
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