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As downtown Boca Raton grows, residents debate walkability and traffic

Pedestrians cross Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton.
Carline Jean
/
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Pedestrians cross Palmetto Park Road in Boca Raton on Friday, March 25, 2022. The downtown has seen a building boom, and many who live or work downtown want a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere to come with it.

A consensus in Boca Raton seems to exist: The ever-growing downtown needs improvements. But the fierce debate to resolve that has created an impasse.

The downtown has seen a building boom, and many who live or work downtown want a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere to come with it. Meanwhile, those who live east of the Intracoastal Waterway are concerned that narrowing a major road to widen the sidewalks will create a bottleneck of traffic, which could slow emergency-vehicle responses, hurricane evacuations and boost tie-ups to and from the beach.

Now, developers, city officials, city planners and other stakeholders are trying to determine how best to move forward. In recent years, the downtown has seen an influx of newcomers and new high-rises, boosting the city’s housing supply with more than 2,000 apartments and condos, as well as the opening of hundreds of hotel rooms.

On Thursday evening, the public voiced its concerns about downtown Boca’s future.

Read more from our news partners at the South Florida Sun Sentinel.