One Wellington intersection is more dangerous than most


Only one intersection in Wellington cracks the list of the county’s 80 most dangerous.

But it’s a bad one.

The intersection at Forest Hill Boulevard and State Road 7 — which saw the seventh most crashes in Palm Beach County — saw almost two times more accidents than any other intersection in the village this past year with a total of 90 crashes, according to Palm Beach County Engineering and Public Works records.

When it comes to Wellington’s most dangerous intersection, which also is one of the busiest in the county, it’s congestion — not the accidents — that frustrates longtime resident Christine Balicki.

“We moved here (16 years ago) because it wasn’t congested,” Balicki said. “Now it’s so congested we can’t wait to move.”

Balicki works at Tipsy Salon Spa and Lounge, which sits in a shopping complex by the intersection. She said pedestrians, bikers and the nearby bus stop all make driving in the area even more nerve-wracking.

Shopping complexes and the Wellington Regional Medical Center bring many cars into the area.

“It’s a hard one to know what to do with,” said Village Manager Paul Schofield.

Seventeen intersections in the village were the sites of ten or more crashes this past year. The first six months of fiscal year 2015 saw 3 crashes per 100 Wellington residents, a slight increase from this past year’s overall rate.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies have become stricter when handing out traffic tickets in the village to try to lower that number to its goal of 2.2 per 100 residents.

It doesn’t see as many crashes, but the intersection at Wellington Trace and Big Blue Trace has struck fear into a number of residents, Schofield included.

A couple of miles away is an intersection Schofield said officials have been monitoring.

Wellington Trace and Big Blue Trace ranks only 12th in the village for the number of accidents, but it has a reputation of being dangerous.

“We know that there are some issues there,” Schofield said, adding that some, such as speed and driving while under the influence, are human error.

Local business owner Gabriel Finocchietti, who operates Gabriel’s Cafe and Grill at Wellington Plaza, was in an accident at the intersection about 15 years ago.

The front and side of his truck were smashed when a car tried to turn left in front of him, but didn’t have enough time to do so successfully.

“There’s nothing (village officials) can do. It’s negligence of people,” Finocchietti said.


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