Guest Commentary: Who Should Stop?

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By Jim Smith, SAFE Chairman Special to The Pineapple

Undoubtedly, the most confusing, frustrating, and potentially fatal intersection in Downtown Delray Beach is at Pineapple Grove and N. E. 1 Street.  That’s what thirty-two respondents emailed in response to SAFE’s request to “share any personal experiences or observations at that intersection.” Here are a few of their comments:

I was an outside leasing manager at Meisner Electric campus, by Bru’s Room and Solita for 12 years. I saw so many near misses…I’d support a light there.” Cecelia Boone, Southdale Properties

I agree something needs to be done there, but a 4 way stop would be sufficient in my opinion. The confusion is happening because it looks like a four way stop but it is not. Thank you. Connor Lynch, Plastridge Insurance and Chair of the Planning & Zoning Board I believe a traffic signal IS needed at 1st and Pineapple Way (2nd avenue). I have seen many close calls with pedestrians, cars and bikers. It should be a major priority. Regards, Bill Morris, Chief Executive, Southcoast Partners, LLC Jim, please keep up the good work…. My only memorable observation is that cars traveling west on 1st Street more often than not STOP at the intersection even though there is no stop sign. Consequently, traffic there can become confusing, especially when several cars on Pineapple Grove take advantage of the stopped car and begin running THEIR stop sign. One day, I tooted my horn at a lady who abruptly stopped at the intersection in front of me. She actually got out of her car and approached me, yelling WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?? I responded that there is no stop sign and that she was holding up traffic. She appeared confused. So, I think a traffic signal might assist in preventing accidents since many folks believe they should stop regardless! D. Boone

When driving west on 1st, I ALWAYS slow down as drivers do not look when crossing. I would recommend a four way stop, for all to stop. Drivers are racing through to beat the traffic and the Swinton Ave. light. Nancy Schneider Yes! We need a light there or a four way stop. No one drives it comfortably. Biking is hard all over town. No bike lanes and busy sidewalks! Annette Annechild I agree that there should be a stop sign at the intersection of Pineapple Grove and NE1st St. One thing that has been brought up many times, but I don’t see much change, is the sidewalk seating at the restaurants on Atlantic. There is very little space to walk by these tables and one is forced to walk between the trees and the curb to pass by. Thank you for all you do for our safety.” Lynn M. Korp, Renaissance Restoration Studio A traffic light is now necessary with the increased volume. S. Chloe Bedenbaugh 

I believe a traffic light in Pineapple Grove/1st would be good… At the very least, a 4 way stop sign. Suzanne Donohue

I cross the intersection in question very often and I strongly believe that a four-way stop would be a perfect solution. Traffic signals are not always the best solution for local streets such as Pineapple Grove and SE 1 Street. Thank you for your hard work as SAFE Chairman. Ana DeMelo YES. Something needs to be done at that intersection. Even before Hyatt Place, for years I have been petrified of that intersection every time I drive east or west on 1st. The people coming north / south on pineapple don’t realize that it isn’t a 4 way-stop and routinely just pull out. Or people driving on E-W on 1st assume it is a 4-way stop and stop anyway, which confuses drivers behind them who know the intersection doesn’t have a stop and aren’t slowing down. Given the level of traffic in both directions there, plus pedestrian traffic, all of which is increasing, I continue to wonder why there isn’t a 4-way stop (or something else) there. Thanks for all the work you do. Joe Snider Something should be done – maybe a 4-way STOP sign will be faster than a traffic light. Sam Spear Jr. People going east and west many times come to a stop, when they are not supposed to, and clog traffic. Make it a 4 way stop or a traffic light. Robert Hickok I am a disabled veteran and a resident of Pineapple Grove. I truly love the area, but yes, there are difficulties. I am paralyzed and operate an electric wheelchair with my chin. The difficulties I experience when traveling downtown are numerous. The restaurants and bars have taken over much of the sidewalk. Add to that the streetlights and plantings and there is very little room for pedestrian traffic.

In most places you are lucky to find three feet of access, and in some places, two feet. Add to that the complication of bicycles on the sidewalk instead of their legal position on the road and it becomes nearly impassable at times. As far as the traffic light, I also say yes. Crossing the intersection is an enormous challenge, and frankly very dangerous. Those stop signs do nothing to make drivers pay attention and I cannot count the number of close calls I have had there. I have no doubt that if I was to bring this up in a legal proceeding I could easily win my case. It is time for someone to step up and fix the downtown area so it is accessible to everyone. Trey In response to these emails, SAFE met with Delray Beach Chief Engineer Randal Krejcarek to discuss improving safety at this intersection. Next month, SAFE will let you know what the City will, or will not do. Also, SAFE will publish its analysis of the problem.

If you have any suggestions on how to make Delray Beach safer for motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists, please let me know jamesejimchar@aol.com.