By Steve Plunkett

A new task force aims to smooth relations between pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists along coastal A1A.

Highland Beach police Lt. Eric Lundberg got the idea after realizing that communities as far south as Pompano Beach and north to Ocean Ridge face similar problems keeping the peace along their main highway.

Besides crosswalks and bicycles, “Every community has their different variation of motorists as well,” Lundberg said. “You can have some elderly motorists; you have people from out of state, out of country.”

He has met with colleagues from neighboring Boca Raton and Delray Beach, and Gulf Stream and Ocean Ridge as well as Deerfield Beach, Hillsboro Beach and Pompano Beach from Broward County’s coast.

The group’s first goal is to plant flashing message boards on A1A in each municipality, so drivers, cyclists and walkers will see them “no matter where you transit,” Lundberg said. Delray Beach already has one, just north of Linton Boulevard, and lent another to Highland Beach in February.

“It’s going to be a repetitive thing,” Lundberg said.

“It’s basically so everybody’s on the same sheet of music,” Lt. Hal Hutchins of the Ocean Ridge Police Department said.

Highland Beach returned its loaner message board and on March 27 set up a smaller, company-demo version on A1A. “Share the road! Vehicles must give 3 feet distance to bikers. Bicycles may not ride more than two abreast,” it flashes.

Lundberg said education is the task force’s main purpose. “There will be elements of enforcement, of course, but what we’re targeting is to educate all the different variations of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians in what the laws are and what each has as far as their responsibilities,” he said.

“We’re very lucky we don’t have collisions between the different groups,” Hutchins said.

The group hasn’t picked a formal name, but is leaning toward Broward-Palm Beach Coastal Community Traffic Coalition. They hope to meet at least quarterly and have invited the Florida Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over A1A, and the west Boca Raton-based Dori Slosberg Foundation, which promotes traffic safety, to their April meeting.                        Ú

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