By Margie Plunkett
    
Like a dutiful Boy Scout, Ocean Ridge plans to help residents cross the street — at A1A and Town Hall.
    The town is spending $13,500 on design and construction of a crosswalk on A1A between Town Hall and the beach, after receiving the go-ahead from the Florida Department of Transportation.
    “After much consternation with FDOT, they’re letting us install a pedestrian crossing,” Town Manager Ken Schenck told commissioners at their March 4 meeting.
    The project has been in discussion since about November, after a resident raised the issue of the dangers of crossing the state-operated A1A, Schenck said.
    The design of the crosswalk, which will include a handicapped sidewalk, is under way and Schenk will get three bids on construction of the project, likely in time for the commission’s May meeting. The town is paying Engenuity Group $6,500 for engineering services and estimates about $7,000 for construction.
    The FDOT must approve the design plans, but once it has, construction will take about two weeks, Schenck said, and could be done by the end of May, depending on when approvals are granted.
    Lt. Hal Hutchins of the Ocean Ridge Police Department conducted a survey of people crossing A1A at Town Hall during Martin Luther King weekend, determining that the number of people crossing met the 20-per-hour minimum required by FDOT for a crosswalk.
    The funds for the crosswalk will come out of the contingency budget. The majority of the construction costs are in building the 150-foot sidewalk area to accommodate the disabled, Schenk said.
 “I think it’s an awful lot of money,” said Commissioner Gail Aaskov, suggesting the town of Boynton Beach should contribute since the crosswalk will serve that city’s beach.
    But Schenk, who had already spoken with the city, said that wasn’t an option. “They don’t care if there’s a sidewalk or not.”
    While the city is bearing the expense and work of that walkway, the FDOT is marking a second crosswalk near A1A and Woolbright after Ocean Ridge complained about safety risks for pedestrians there. FDOT will paint and install signs at that crosswalk, Schenck said.                                          

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