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A new West Palm Beach mural urges people to hop on public transit

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The Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency
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A transportation agency’s mural in West Palm beach urges people to hop on public transit 

Transit leaders are encouraging mobility across Palm Beach County, urging people to consider public transportation as a fun, viable option over driving.

The Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency in West Palm Beach recently unveiled a transit-inspired mural on its downtown building.

Large-scale mural artist Eduardo Mendieta, known affectionately as EMO, used his signature spray paint technique to illustrate a montage of people using different modes of transportation.

This boldly-colored mural shows off what Mendieta calls his combination of raw urban art and graphic design.

Melissa Murray managed the project. She is a spokesperson for the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency. Murray said the downtown mural is part of a long-term vision for a "safe, efficient and connected multimodal transportation system."

The 52 feet wide by 16 feet high mural is located on top of the TPA building on Datura Street in downtown West Palm Beach. The mural is painted on both sides, each showing a different transit-inspired montage.

"We wanted to be able to show multiple different modes of transportation," Murray said. "People from all walks of life, different ages and abilities, and have that be something that people see as they're walking by, driving by, biking, to kind of showcase all of the different ways you can get around in Palm Beach County."

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The Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency
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Large-scale mural artist Eduardo Mendieta is well-known for his signature spray paint technique. His latest mural in West Palm Beach is a montage of people using different modes of transportation. The 52 feet wide by 16 feet high mural is located on top of the TPA building on Datura Street in downtown West Palm Beach. September 2022

According to the TPA’s transit development plan, driving remains the most popular commute choice for nearly 80 percent of people in Palm Beach County. The lack of population density in many areas of the county pose the greatest challenge for public transportation.

Earlier this year the rail option, Brightline, broke ground in Boca Raton and is set to open the new station in late 2022. Residents can connect to the Boca station to West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. A new Orlando station is delayed until 2023.

As gas prices fluctuate and more people move into West Palm Beach, Murray said there has been a slight uptick in public transportation.

"We have seen a lot of people choosing public transportation, whether that’s Palm Tran, Tri-rail, Brightline, to get around because you’re saving money on gas," Murray said.

"You are able to kinda choose a little bit more of an eco-friendly option," she continued. "And a lot of people just really enjoy having that option, not having to use their car."

Wilkine Brutus is a reporter and producer for WLRN and a guest faculty member at the Poynter Institute. The South Florida native produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs.