As a resident of Boynton Beach, and working in Delray Beach, my daily commute takes me either, under (via I-95) or over the I-95 overpass by Bethesda Hospital East, on SW 23rd Ave / Golf Road.
With growing frequency, there are crowds gathering on top of the overpass, waving flags and banners in support, I presume, of former President Trump. Until recently, these activists have been parking on the bridge, and impeding traffic in both directions. Last week in fact, the overpass was reduced to one lane due to the number vehicles parked directly on the overpass, and large number of people waving their flags and holding up large banners. Not only is this a safety issue, and a frustrating inconvenience for those of us just trying to get to and from work without hitting one of these people, but what a significant waste of Boynton Beach taxpayer dollars, and available police resources to have to pay law enforcement to also park on the overpass to monitor this crowd. On at least two occasions in the past few weeks, ambulances were also on the overpass for some reason, I suppose the safety issue was indeed playing itself out.
I was pleased, this week, to see a temporary sign posted at the east end of the overpass stating that parking on the overpass was a violation of state law. Today however, on my way home, I witnessed the largest crowd I've yet seen at the top of the overpass - no cars - just a crowd that has now created an impromptu parking lot at the bottom of the west end of the overpass. At least we've got the cars out of the road. This large crowd has now stepped up their flag inventory to include larger flags and banners, some on very long PVC flag poles, held and being waved by hand over the traffic on 95 going under the overpass. There were also at least four Boynton Beach PD vehicles parked directly on the bridge, presumably to monitor the crowd, certainly not to facilitate traffic.
So my question is this: When one of these giant flags or banners is dropped into the oncoming traffic on 95 below and causes a serious accident, or kills someone, who is responsible? Will the BBPD be held accountable for standing by, allowing these 20' poles to be waved over I-95? There is no fencing here, just a waist high concrete railing. It's just a matter of time, a gust of wind, a slip of the hand - then what? Will the same police department have to respond to the same accident they stood by and allowed to happen? Will the City of Boynton Beach be liable for facilitating and allowing police to accompany this crowd? How and why is waving anything over an overpass ok?
I respect everyone's right to protest or support whomever they wish, but not at the cost of the safety of the rest of us. Protest all you want, but stay off the road, stop waving things over oncoming traffic, stop wasting the time and resources of our EMS and police department and citizens that have to snake their way through this mess on their daily commute. Please BBPD, get these people and their flags off of the overpass that thousands of cars are racing under everyday, it's just a matter of time before someone on 95 gets impaled by a giant PVC Trump flag - how will you explain that, and to which law firm of the victim(s) will you be explaining it to?
Michael Merkt, Boynton Beach