The city should stop narrowing Dixie Highway (U.S. 1). That is exactly what was done to North Olive Avenue, from Quadrille Boulevard to Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, when homeowners associations in the area with rather exclusive historic homes insisted on slowing traffic on North Olive. And they won, even though their homes were located behind the commercial buildings on the west side of North Olive
I believe all the properties facing Olive Avenue were already zoned commercial. It was disastrous for the business owners and disastrous for me as the owner of a five-bedroom home renovated to accommodate a court reporting business. We needed on-street parking for staff and clients. Our small parking lot in the rear of our offices was not sufficient, but there was no more room.
The city of West Palm Beach must take into account the needs of the homeowners and the needs of the potential business owners. The city must consider what is best for the neighborhoods, and what the buyers will require to be successful. If you are going to narrow a road, put in decorative plantings and take away on-street parking. Do not rezone those residential areas to commercial. Once you rezone to commercial, you need to cater to the business owners already there or potential business owners. When the Antique Row townhouses were built on the corner of my home street, Monroe Drive, there were big concerns about traffic impacting the area. I have seen absolutely no increase in traffic on our street.
I was thrilled, by the way, when I heard that theaters might come to our neighborhood. It would be wonderful not to have to go down to CityPlace and pay to park — if you can find a parking space, that is. We need businesses such as these in our neighborhood. We need neighborhood stores. We need these businesses to clean up our area. If the city restricts everything to potential buyers of commercial property, existing dilapidated buildings will remain.
Olive Avenue, just as with Dixie Highway, is zoned commercial on both sides south to Lake Worth and north to Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. The city shouldn’t be allowed to do the same thing in our neighborhood.
If it’s zoned commercial, then give the businesses parking. Leave the street alone. If it’s zoned residential, give the homeowners narrowed streets to slow traffic. There are pretty much no homes facing Dixie. Businesses want traffic to come to them; do not discourage it.
JUDY EVERMAN, WEST PALM BEACH
Editor’s note: Judy Everman is closing the offices of her court reporting business, which is located at 1101 N. Olive Avenue; at the corner of North Olive and 10th Street.