Palm Beach Gardens’ dangerous intersections to be fixed by FDOT, county

Take a look at the list of most dangerous intersections in Palm Beach Gardens, and there’s a common theme.

PGA Boulevard, Military Trail, Northlake Boulevard — the city’s major thoroughfares. And PGA Boulevard is one of the roads at six of the top 10 most dangerous intersections.

The city doesn’t control any of those roads, but its staff regularly communicates with the Florida Department of Transportation and Palm Beach County, Engineer Todd Engle said.

“We’ve all got to work together and try to figure out all this stuff,” Engle said. “Most of those intersections are scheduled to have improvements within the next two or three years.”

Most of the accidents at the dangerous intersections were rear-end collisions during peak commuting times.

Lake Victoria Gardens Avenue and PGA Boulevard — leading into the Downtown at the Gardens entertainment area and The Gardens Mall — is the most dangerous intersection, followed by PGA Boulevard and North Military Trail just to its west. The intersection of North Military Trail and Northlake Boulevard took third place.

Engle said the state is planning to redo the asphalt at the eastbound section of PGA Boulevard at the approach to Lake Victoria Gardens Avenue because it’s not stopping cars as well as it should, especially when the road is slick from weather.

At North Military Trail and Northlake Boulevard, Palm Beach County is redesigning the signal system and adding a right-turn lane from westbound Northlake Boulevard onto northbound Military Trail.

The county is also designing a right-turn lane at Military Trail and PGA Boulevard.

The dangerous intersections held few surprises for Engle, who also said he notices “it’s a mess” at PGA Boulevard and Prosperity Farms Road when the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway is raised.

“People try to jockey for positions,” he said.

The bridge also affects traffic at PGA Boulevard and Ellison Wilson Road, near where condos are planned at the former Panama Hattie’s restaurant. The city is encouraging the county to build a right-turn lane from eastbound PGA Boulevard onto southbound Ellison Wilson Road.

Mo Al-Turk, Palm Beach County traffic operations manager, said because the county builds roads based on safety standards, it’s most likely a higher number of crashes is attributable to drivers’ behavior or weather conditions.

Sometimes, the county does come across safety concerns that could be alleviated, usually by adjusting traffic control devices, he said.

FDOT spokeswoman Barbara Kelleher said the department considers the speed limit, volume of traffic, number of lanes and signal timing when considering if it needs to make changes.

There are some factors, though, that the state can’t fix.

“We can’t control the driver behavior,” Kelleher said. “All we can do is look at the engineering of the intersection and see if there’s something that can be addressed in that area.”

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