By Mary Hladky
To the relief of many beachside residents, enhanced crosswalks to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety are being installed along State Road A1A.
Those living along the beach have long pushed for the upgrades. “It is really not safe to cross A1A,” said Emily Gentile, president of the Beach Condo Association of Boca Raton and Highland Beach. “People do not stop.”
The project was stalled, however, by government bureaucracy. A1A is a state road, so the Florida Department of Transportation normally would be responsible for improvements.
The FDOT said it would study the idea “in a couple of years,” City Manager Leif Ahnell told City Council members recently. If the agency agreed the work should be done, it would start in 2025.
“I said that is unacceptable,” Gentile said.
City officials felt the same way and negotiated with the state to take over the project. The work, costing about $260,000, is now expected to be completed this fall.
“Everyone is very excited about it,” Gentile said. “We have been taking safety very seriously.”
She credited Mayor Scott Singer and state Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach, with working to eliminate project roadblocks.
Work will be done at 11 locations between Highland Beach and Deerfield Beach.
The city will install flashing lights that warn motorists a pedestrian is crossing the roadway. Pedestrians can activate them by pressing a button.
In government parlance, the lights are called rectangular rapid-flashing beacons.
Some of them already exist on Palmetto Park Road and Mizner Boulevard.
Work will be done at 2531 S. Ocean Blvd.; the intersection of De Soto Road and A1A; the intersection of Ponce De Leon Road and A1A; 550 S. Ocean Blvd.; 400 S. Ocean Blvd.; the intersection of Northeast Fourth Street and A1A; the intersection of Northeast Sixth Street and A1A; 2150 N. Ocean Boulevard; 2667 N. Ocean Blvd. at the Yacht & Racquet Club of Boca Raton; 2871 N. Ocean Blvd. at the San Remo condominium, and 4201 N. Ocean Blvd. at the Sea Ranch Club condominium.
Gentile said buckets will be placed at the crosswalks on both sides of A1A holding orange flags that pedestrians can wave when walking across the roadway.