Human-Powered Delray to Host Public Meeting

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By David DiPino The Pineapple Contributing Writer Safer human powered travel throughout the city in the form of more bicycle and pedestrian friendly thoroughfares is the main goal of civic group Human-Powered Delray. The initiative has grown as a result of a comment Dr. Craig Spodak made suggesting the city create a Bike-Ped Task Force. Dr. Spodak, a current member of the City of Delray Beach Planning & Zoning Board, made the suggestion at a city commission meeting and Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein said “don’t let government get in the way.” Since that exchange, Human-Powered Delray has been busy planning ways to make Delray Beach, a safer, easier, and more fun place to walk and bicycle. The mayor recommended that residents create a group themselves, solicit input from the public, and present the results to the city commission. The end result is Human-Powered Delray. At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 7, Human Powered- Delray will host their first annual citizen’s forum at the Delray Beach Public Library, 100 W. Atlantic Ave. Bruce Bastian, chairman of Human Powered Delray recently met with Mayor Glickstein to tell him of the plans for the first forum. “For the first 15-20 minutes we will be setting the stage of Human Powered Delray. Then, we will have an open moderated forum with microphones around the room. The Human Powered Delray forum will start with a discussion surrounding the infrastructure around the city and how we can to make it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians,” Bastian said. The Human Powered Delray forum will start out simply with a look at bike lanes in the city and more markings, and the future painting of designated bike lanes. The idea bank will grow from there. Human Powered Delray is an advocacy group for non-motorized transportation that Bastian said intends to produce recommendations that reflect community input and expert advice. “Over time I would like to see Human Powered Delray flip the script in this city from automobile to pedestrian based. A Human Powered Delray Beach creates healthier living, and a better quality of life. This idea is skyrocketing around the globe and we are taking those cities best practices and combining those with what the public wants and feed it back to the city, at a city commission workshop down the road.” One of the many local people behind the early grass-roots efforts of Human- Powered Delray is Jim Smith, chairman of S.A.F.E. (Safety As Floridians Expect) a group advocating for pedestrians and bicyclists. Smith was passing out flyers in October at the Delray GreenMarket for the upcoming Human- Powered Delray event at the library. “Two of Human Powered-Delray’s objectives are to prepare a Delray Beach Pedestrian Bicycle Master Plan and to convince the Delray Beach City Commission to adopt, fund, and implement short-term, intermediate, and long-term recommendations based on input from public meetings like the one planned. We’re driven by citizen’s comments,” Smith said. “Mayor Glickstein kindly said that he would give us as much time as we need to present at a future city workshop. We want to build on this December 7, meeting and plan to build our presentation over the next nine months or so culminating in a presentation to the city commission workshop.” Mayor Glickstein has said that he will attend the meeting, adding that focused task-oriented people that coalesce, organically, without government or political meddling always produce better results. “I suspect this will be the case here – where passionate, solution- oriented people will get us further, quicker than any politically- appointed board. I will be attending the meeting, as I think the subject matter is more relevant than ever,” Mayor Glickstein said. “As we embark on new development regulations, the quality of our vertical development must integrate with forward- thinking horizontal needs- non-auto and pedestrian-friendly modes of transportation, gathering places beyond coffee shops in the form of wider sidewalks, pocket and linear parks, and infrastructure improvements beyond basic requirements like charging stations, bike lanes, and lighting that extend pedestrian experiences well beyond Atlantic Avenue.” Mayor Glickstein added, “all of which should be part of a concerted effort to re-brand our city as environmentally and pedestrian friendly, which dove-tails with the smaller scale entrepreneurial, creative class employers and residents who want to live and work in Delray.” According to Human Powered Delray, the purpose of the meeting on December 7 is to allow residents to share their ideas for making Delray Beach more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Human Powered Delray promotes safe and viable human powered transportation in Delray Beach. The group’s vision is a community with abundant opportunities for safe, human powered mobility as part of everyday life.The idea couldn’t have been timelier. On September 28, around 8:30p.m. that night, a driver was traveling eastbound on Atlantic Avenue and as he crossed the Atlantic Avenue Bridge, he lost control of his car. The car spun out and jumped a curb, striking a pedestrian. The pedestrian was transported to Delray Medical Center as a trauma alert. On Monday, November 11, at about 6:10 p.m., a male driver was traveling South on State Road A1A as a family was leaving the Atlantic Dunes Park. A four-year-old male ran away from family members and into the roadway. The vehicle traveling south struck the child, causing injuries. The child was transported as a trauma to Delray Medical Center and after the accident was in the Intensive Care Unit in critical condition. According to Human Powered Delray, rates of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities in Florida are among the highest in the country. In the last five years, Palm Beach County has ranked in the top five worst areas in the state. In October, a woman ran a red light at the intersection of East Atlantic Avenue and Gleason Street and plowed into a couple who were crossing the street while pushing their two young children in a stroller. “We have a lot of problems for pedestrians all over Delray Beach. There are a lot of people walking around at night under overhangs and in areas without lights. I’m not talking about Downtown Delray Beach in every instance, I’m talking about groups of people walking to Downtown from other areas of the city,” Smith said. “I hope Human Powered Delray can develop future sidewalk and bicycle routes throughout Delray Beach. I’d like us to build one East to West, a bicycle route from Military Trail all the way to A1A. We have no bike routes East to West, all of our bicycle routes in Delray Beach are North to South.”