Down to the bell for Greene School opening

 

Billionaire Jeff Greene’s new elementary school on South Dixie Highway, scheduled to open Wednesday, doesn’t have its certificate of occupancy but school spokesman Elliot Cohen said it received its temporary C-O from the city late Tuesday afternoon, in time for an evening open house meeting with parents.

The Pre-K-to 4th-grade school, which has about 50 students enrolled, was expected to open on time, Cohen said.

Contractors have been working down to the wire to get the former car dealership transformed in time for opening day. But according to the city’s Development Services Department, by mid-afternoon Greene’s people hadn’t yet requested the city inspections required for a C-O. No C-O, no classes.

Development Services Director Rick Greene, no relation to Jeff, said his department was ready to jump when the developer said the building is ready, but inspections of the various building systems take time and the clock was ticking down toward the scheduled opening.

At 5:10 p.m.,Cohen called to say the school had received its temporary C-O.

 

Believed gunfire leads to Labor Day Weekend curfew downtown

CityPlace_1

West Palm Beach is imposing a 10 p.m. curfew for CityPlace and the rest of downtown for Labor Day Weekend, starting Friday night.

The curfew applies to anyone under 18 years old.

City Administrator Jeff Green said Monday that officials decided on the curfew to ensure public safety, after an incident Saturday night that scattered CityPlace visitors after they thought they heard gunshots. No one was shot, but one person was hit and injured by a car when leaving the shopping area.

New challenge to drivers hoping to run over pedestrians downtown

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This note, from county traffic engineer George Webb:

 

In response to numerous complaints, last week County Traffic staff changed the traffic signal operation of two downtown intersections – Quadrille(US 1)/Clematis and Quadrille/Hibiscus. These intersections will now have the pedestrian “WALK” indication coming up every 1-2 minutes to allow pedestrians to cross Quadrille.  Previously both intersections required pedestrians to push a button to call up the “WALK” signal and receive time to cross Quadrille.

We had many complaints from people trying to cross Quadrille at Clematis that the “WALK” signal never came up.  They didn’t realize that they had to push a button to get the “WALK” signal.  Under the new operation that situation will disappear.

All the other traffic signals in the downtown along Dixie and Olive do not require action by pedestrians to get a “WALK” indication – in fact there are no push buttons.  At these locations, every time a green signal comes up the corresponding “WALK” signal also appears.

The positive aspect to this change is that these two signals will now operate similar to others in the downtown. The negative aspect is that many vehicles using Quadrille will now have to stop and wait where they did not previously.  Previously, the signal would have stayed green for Quadrille until either a vehicle arrived on the side street or a pedestrian pushed the button.  In more technical terms we have changed from an “actuated” signal operation to a “fixed time” operation.

 

500 free bike helmets at Palm Beach Outlets

helmet
No, not that one, Mom
girl helmet
Yes, that one.

As part of Safe Kids Day, 500 free bicycle helmets will be distributed at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, at Palm Beach Outlets, 1751 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. The helmets will be given out on a first-come basis.

Safe Kids Day is an event organized by Safe Kids Palm Beach County that highlights what parents can do to protect their children. Safe Kids Palm Beach County is funded by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

Helping distribute the helmets will be Tiffany Rivera and her 11-year-old son, Jaden. Jaden fractured his skull in March when he wasn’t wearing a helmet and fell off his bicycle. Tiffany wrote a Facebook post about what her son went through, emphasizing the importance of wearing a helmet. Her post went viral, shared more than 32,000 times and appearing in publications around the world. Jaden is now back in school.

 

In addition to the helmet giveaway, there will be:

  • A bicycle rodeo put on by the YMCA of South Palm Beach County.
  • A giant thermometer that shows how hot a locked car can get.
  • More than a dozen games and demonstrations related to child safety.

WHEN AND WHERE: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in front of Palm Beach Outlets, near the water fountain.

West Palm girl among top finishers in essay contest on violence, bullying

 

DTWT 16 Emily Briceno
Emily Briceno

A West Palm Beach resident and 7th grader at Conniston Community Middle School is among the top 10 students to be honored May 10 at the Do The Write Thing Challenge Awards Luncheon at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

Emily Briceno, who was 3rd runner-up for girls, wrote about how an armed robbery at her home affected her and how it helped her decide she wants to help others.

From the thousands of participating students, Kirsten Brown, a seventh grader at Don Estridge Middle School in Boca Raton and Quinton Williams, a sixth grader at Howell L. Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens, were selected as Ambassadors from Palm Beach County.  Brown and Williams will travel to Washington. D.C. this summer to represent Palm Beach County during National DTWT Recognition Week.

The 2016 Do The Write Thing Challenge is part of the National Campaign to Stop Violence.

West Palm supports US1 redesign with $2.5m grant filing

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Plans call for slimming South Dixie Highway to one lane in each direction, with a turn lane in the middle, and a plaza-like look at Flamingo.

A grassroots effort to remake a 1.5-mile section of South Dixie Highway has gained the city’s participation, with a West Palm Beach commission vote Monday to apply for a state grant of up to $2.5 million.

The plan, drafted by Dana Little of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, would rework South Dixie from Okeechobee Boulevard to Albemarle Road, thinning it to one travel lane in each direction and adding a turn lane in the center for safety. The plan calls for lining the road and medians with trees, adding parking spaces and making much of the stretch more bicycle-friendly.

Commissioner Shanon Materio advocated for continuing the redesign toward her south end district. Little and Commissioner Paula Ryan said the Okeechobee-t0-Albemarle stretch was chosen for the initial work because neighborhood associations and businesses there provided the impetus and donations for the project.

Mayor Jeri Muoio said the city should get the first phase started and then extend work to the south end in the future.

The decision to apply for the Florida Department of Transportation “lane elimination” grant was unanimous.

“You take all the work Dana and Treasure Coast has done and put it in an application with pictures, drawings, dimensions, traffic study and data and that gets transmitted to FDOT, and FDOT determines if the changes we would like to see done meet their requirements for a road,” Ryan said. “It’s a big deal.”

P.S.: Commissioner Ryan had additional thoughts on the topic Wednesday morning:

“The City Commission voted on the submission of a Lane Elimination Application to FDOT and a subsequent application to the MPO for funding of the work that FDOT will approve.  FDOT has the final say on what goes on the corridor.  On the surface it looked like we are well on our way to getting changes to the corridor.  I want to emphasize that although the commission approved the applications, it does not mean that the changes will occur.

“The real story is– how 4 historic neighborhoods, 2 anchoring institutions and a group of merchants came together to fund and sponsor the redesign of Dixie Hwy.  To make changes along our City corridors, Broadway and Dixie, we need this kind of participation.  We achieved this cooperation by having individual meetings, one on one and small groups.  We came to see this as our project and chose not to wait for the City to find the money.  Without a comprehensive plan to address the corridors as a Citywide Vision, it looks like special interest, special consideration and all around self-serving.  I think this is why Commissioner Materio took the position she did.  She wants the City to put the kind of attention needed to make changes to the rest of Dixie Highway  and Broadway, my words not hers.  The City needs a  Holistic Comprehensive View on our infrastructure problems – City wide –and create a plan, and a vision on how to make meaningful changes.  If people understand how this truly came together, more people may begin to engage in productive activism versus criticism of what the City is not doing.  This is not an excuse for Government or an apology, it’s just recognizing the way the world is and finding ways to achieve success, regardless of  the appearance of inactivity by government.

“Changes to Route 1 within the City of West Palm Beach, will require all those that live  and or work along the corridor to come together and be the catalyst for the changes they want to see.  FDOT will review for technical compliance with their over objective of keeping traffic moving.  We have to look at factors related to safety of our pedestrians, bicyclists and alternative transportation users.  The world has changed from the days in which Rt.1 was the only access road.  We now have many more options, and it’s time we recognize that that Rt. 1 is a neighborhood street, within our City.   We need to have experts in this area to help guide us to the right decisions.  I hope we can use this as an example to move forward and bring in all effected parties.  My first priority is to the residents and merchants.  They, after all provide our tax base.”