COMMENTARY: Why I loathe these 3 Wellington / Royal Palm intersections

Updated Jan 09, 2018
041210 (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post) Drivers on Southern Boulevard coped with rain and wet roads early Monday morning. SCR 2690

Season is in full swing in Palm Beach County and in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach we can mark its presence with our white-knuckle grips on our steering wheels.

Yes, for many of us, season equals traffic and there are a few spots that induce stomach-churning emotions.

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Here are three intersections I try to avoid:

1. Southern Boulevard and State Road 7

It was like Facebook read my mind: As I prepared this column, someone on Sunday posted in the Wellington Speaks and Royal Palm Beach Speaks Facebook groups with a video showing a car trying to cut into the left-turn lane on northbound State Road 7 at Southern Boulevard.

“Why do people have to do this on 441 turning left onto Southern Boulevard?!” vented Geno Castellano, who said he took the video while at a near-stop at the intersection. “It’s ridiculous how often I see that scenario in that location and for that reason I was compelled to record the video,” he told me Tuesday morning.

This intersection is a huge headache, especially during rush hour or holidays. In the past, I have crafted circuitous routes to avoid that intersection, even though it meant driving 10 minutes out of my way.

Inevitably, there are people who aren’t familiar with the somewhat unique, highway-style treatment of the access to and from Southern Boulevard. Or perhaps these drivers have turned from one of the three busy shopping centers onto State Road 7 and now need to make another turn onto Southern. I get it. We all do. Wellington and Royal Palm Beach drivers feel your pain, and we sympathize.

READ: What are Palm Beach County’s most dangerous intersections?

Solutions could be found in future road work along Southern Boulevard. The state has been studying the corridor for two years to determine the best ways to handle the massive traffic the road is expected to see the next decade. The Florida Department of Transportation and its consultants received feedback at a pair of recent public workshops. Three alternatives are proposed for State Road 80 from the Glades to I-95 — it’s possible one of them could bring much-needed relief to this intersection.

2. Stribling Way and Pierson Road roundabout

There are few people who are genuinely enthused about traffic circles, also called roundabouts or rotaries. As a transportation reporter, I came to appreciate the care and planning that goes into these features. They often are chosen to deal with lower-traffic intersections that may not merit a traffic signal but still need some sort of control put in place.

While the roundabout at Stribling and Pierson has brought some organization to what had been a tricky intersection, it seems with each new trip I am confronted with someone who doesn’t know its rules.

Instead of slowing down, drivers on the straight-through along Stribling often try to blaze through. And people seem confused on when to enter the roundabout — the answer is, whenever there is an opportunity. But always yield to the left. If there is a driver in the circle, that driver has the right of way.

Though I appreciate roundabouts, I can see how they are pesky things.

3. Southern Boulevard and Sansbury’s Way/Lyons Road

Those who commute home from coastal Palm Beach County to Wellington and Royal Palm — or anyone else to tries to navigate this intersection in the afternoons — will sympathize.

What a busy intersection: The morning eastbound traffic backs up to the traffic signal at Fairgrounds Road, and in the evening, traffic turning from westbound Southern onto southbound Lyons stacks up in the single left-turn lane, spilling over into the left travel lane.

The good news: This is a hazard the county and state are working to fix. FDOT will soon begin work to add an eastbound right turn lane and a second westbound left turn lane. The Lyons Road bridge over the C-51 canal will be widened as part of the work.

What is your traffic pet peeve? What problem intersection do you avoid? Send me your stories via email to kwebb@pbpost.com or Twitter, @kristinawebb.