Delray Opts Out Of Narrowing Congress Avenue

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Staff report

A plan to narrow Congress Avenue in Delray Beach from six lanes to four has been nixed by city commissioners.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of narrowing the busy road in order to add bicycle lanes and decided against moving ahead with the project.

The city applied for a Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency grant in March 2016 to help with efforts to make Congress Avenue the “Next Great Street.”

The narrowing of Congress Avenue would go from Atlantic Avenue to the CR-15 Canal.

“I am not in support,” Mayor Shelly Petrolia said of the narrowing. “There may be a time that this makes sense, all the sense in the world, it’s just not making sense today.”

Commissioner Adam Frankel agreed, “I think we should leave it how it is.”

Congress Avenue is under the purview of the county commission. Before the city moved ahead with narrowing it would have to spend $600,000 to conduct a pilot program testing the narrowing.

Because it opted out of the grant the city will have to sit out for one funding cycle of TPA grants, city staff said.

It is unclear how the commission’s decision will impact future grant applications.

The decision to pursue the grant in the first place was done in 2016 on a consent agenda, according to Mayor Petrolia. She said the commission at the time was not fully aware of the consequences.