Florida’s Turnpike to grow from 6 to 10 lanes, add express lanes in south PBC

Florida’s Turnpike after express lanes and widening. (FDOT)

BOCA RATON — As use of Florida’s Turnpike grows, as will its lanes from six to 10 between Glades Road and Boynton Beach Boulevard with the addition of express lanes, residents of southwestern Palm Beach County learned Monday evening.

The Alliance of Delray Beach, an association of residents west of Delray and Boca Raton, was presented the long-term plans to expand the Turnpike by Florida Department of Transportation officials at a meeting Monday. More than two dozen residents attended the meeting, many of whom shared concerns about added traffic noise as a result of the highway’s expansion.

By 2023, construction will likely begin on expanding the lanes from six to 10 between Glades Road and Atlantic Avenue, said Michael Shannon, the department’s director of transportation development.

» RELATED: What do turnpike express lanes have to do with bicycles and sidewalks?

Construction on Atlantic Avenue to Boynton Beach Boulevard won’t start for at least the next five years.

To avoid a gas line just east of Florida’s Turnpike, the lanes will shift and additional lanes will be added west, Shannon said.

Two center express lanes will be added in both the south and northbound directions between Glades and Atlantic, similar to the express lanes in place on Interstate 95.  With the planned addition of express lanes on Florida’s Turnpike, Florida will be the first state in the U.S. to enact an additional toll on top of an existing one.

While residents were assured the heavy daily traffic flow on the highway meant necessary expansion, many shared worries of added traffic noise.

“It’s loud there now,” said Cherie Gross, a realtor west of Delray Beach.

» READ: 7 things to know about the I-95 express lanes planned for Palm Beach County

A noise analysis will be performed within a year or two to determine the expansion’s effect on neighboring communities, FDOT officials said. The department is exploring the potential for noise walls, concrete barriers between the highway and communities that would absorb and reflect some of the noise.

“If you want to sit outside on your patio, (the noise) becomes a problem,” said Michele Fingerman, a resident of the Addison Reserve community just east of Florida’s Turnpike.

Noise barriers, however, have their limitation, Shannon said. The noise is often decreased in homes immediately adjacent to the highway, but bounces over to homes farther away from the highway.

“Noise walls are more of a perception benefit than an actual benefit,” Shannon said.

 

‘Hop’ aboard the Boynton Beach brewery bus

Photo provided by the Damn Good Beer Bus

A bus company is making it easier for beer-lovers to drink all the beer they want at Boynton Beach’s breweries while getting around safely.

Read: Boynton Beach residents have another brewery to try

Starting in July, Damn Good Beer Bus every Sunday will have a bus shuttle running to Boynton’s breweries: Copperpoint, Due South, NOBO and Devour.

Read: New beer bus offers tours of Palm Beach County’s local breweries

The bus will run from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It’s $5 for the whole day. And, you’ll get $1 off your first beer.

How’s that for Sunday Funday?

For information, and for tickets, visit damngoodbeerbus.com.

Boynton Beach to get second ‘bad to the bone’ barbecue spot

051106 Staff photo by Chris Matula/The Palm Beach Post DELRAY BEACH – Revue photo for Lucille’s Bad To The Bone BBQ in Delray Beach.

Boynton Beach is getting a second Lucille’s Bad to the Bone BBQ location.

The restaurant is expected to have a grand opening in August. It’ll open in Renaissance Commons, at the southeast corner of Gateway Boulevard and Congress Avenue.

The other Boynton location is at 6691 W. Boynton Beach Blvd, at Jog Road.

Read: Family dreams captured in move of Heart of Boynton’s barbecue hot-spot

Lucille’s first location was in Boca Raton. It opened in 1996.

“The successful concept features both signature Baby Back Ribs and St. Louis Ribs, as well as, slow cooked pulled pork, chopped beef brisket, rotisserie chicken, with a variety of sandwiches, salads, burgers and much more,” according to a statement.

The new Boynton location will have a wall mural of an American Flag created by South Florida Artist, Rueben Ubiera. The restaurant will have 50 seats inside with an additional 30 seats on a covered patio.

County group pushing for nude beach organizes coastal cleanup

The north end of Gulfstream Park, a county-owned beach between the coastal towns of Briny Breezes and Gulf Stream. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan/Palm Beach Post)

A group advocating for a nude beach in southern Palm Beach County held a coastal cleanup on Saturday at the park it hopes to free from the constraints of clothing.

About 35 members of nonprofit Palm Beach Naturists collected everything from cigarette butts to beer cans and bottle tops to plastic bags at Gulfstream Park, which sits between the towns of Briny Breezes and Gulf Stream.

The Palm Beach Naturists, led by resident Karl Dickey, is pushing the Palm Beach County commission to designate a portion of the county-owned beach clothing optional.

“We look forward soon to a day where naturists will be able to take care of a clothing-optional beach here in the county,” Dickey said of the coastal cleanup. “It is also important for the public to understand we are strong stewards of the beaches we visit.”

» READ: FBI search condo of Delray woman reported lost at sea

The Palm Beach Naturists, which Dickey says has 500 members, sent a letter to the county commission in May requesting to designate the north end of 6-acre Gulfstream Park clothing-optional. It would be the only nude beach in Palm Beach County.

While the group awaits a response from the county, it plans continue coastal cleanups, Dickey said.

“Naturists want clean and safe beaches and though the county does a fabulous job, it is important that volunteers like Palm Beach Naturists come out to help,” he said. “Our beaches are a precious natural resource for recreation and relaxation as well as a scenic treat for tourists.”

The nude beach proposal sparked mixed reactions from local businesses and beach-goers when it was first brought forward in May.

The closest nude beaches to Palm Beach County are Haulover Beach, at the north end of Miami-Dade County, and Blind Creek Beach in Fort Pierce, both at least an hour’s drive from Gulfstream.

The county’s parks and recreation department would have to evaluate the request and recommend it to the county commission, Commissioner Steven Abrams said in May.

While it would become the only nude beach in the county, it wouldn’t be the first.

Back in the 1970s, what is now MacArthur State Park in North Palm Beach was, though unofficially, a clothing-optional beach.

A 2-mile stretch of coastline belonging to insurance billionaire John D. MacArthur had a reputation as one of the nation’s largest nude beaches.

 

Boynton Beach sees 11 percent increase in crime in 2016 from 2015

Boynton Beach Police Department Sgt. Hap Crowell checks an empty car parked on a roadway on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The driver returned to the vehicle after fishing in a nearby canal. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

Boynton Beach saw a 11.2 percent increase in crime in 2016 over 2015, according to statistics released this past week from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. That comes after a 12.3 percent increase in 2015 from 2014.

The city in 2016 saw 1 murder, 3 rapes, 167 robberies, 324 aggravated assault, 566 burglaries, 2,752 larcenies and 254 motor vehicle thefts.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics for 2016.

In 2015, there were 8 murders, 4 rapes, 153 robberies, 340 aggravated assaults, 512 burglaries, 2,442 larcenies and 198 motor vehicle thefts.

The city saw increases in 2016 of robberies, burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts. Decreases were seen in murders and aggravated assaults.

Palm Beach County saw a slight increase in crime, while the state reported the lowest number of cases in 46 years.

The increase in crime in 2016 was seen in other south-county cities. Delray Beach saw a 12.8 percent increase. Boca Raton saw a 13 percent increase.

You can now pay by mobile app at downtown Delray’s parking garages

(Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post) WEST PALM BEACH – West Palm Beach uses Parkmobile, a smartphone app that allows payment at any city parking meter. Delray Beach will now allow the app to be used for payment at its parking garages.

DELRAY BEACH — No cash? No problem.

At least not if you’re trying to park in downtown Delray Beach garages any more.

The city of Delray Beach now allows mobile payment at its two downtown parking garages — the Old School Square garage on Swinton and Atlantic avenues and the Federspiel garage on Southwest First Avenue just south of Atlantic. You can pay using the Parkmobile smartphone application, the same mobile app used in downtown West Palm Beach.

» RELATED: Delray wants to eliminate free downtown parking, install smart meters

The parking garages charge a flat fee of $5 on Thursday through Saturday after 4 p.m.

Parking is free for cars in the garages before 4 p.m., and they won’t be charged if they stay past that time.

The convenient parking method comes on the heels of a recent city discussion to eliminate free street-side parking along Atlantic Avenue, and possibly the rest of downtown Delray Beach.

The city is considering installing smart meters that would analyze demand for Delray Beach 3,000-plus downtown parking spots, a majority of which are presently free, and increase price at peak hours. City leaders hope the change will force turnover along Atlantic Avenue, driving business, and generate revenue for the city.

Morikami Museum celebrates anniversary with discount tickets, festivities

The James & Hazel Gates Woodruff Memorial Bridge which is the entrance to the Japanese Gardens at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. (Palm Beach Post staff photo by Bob Shanley)

DELRAY BEACH — The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens celebrates its 40th anniversary this month with a celebratory bash that includes a musical performance, time capsule creation and discounted tickets.

The museum and 16-acre garden west of Delray Beach, at 4000 Morikami Park Rd, is offering four tickets for $40 on Sunday, June 25 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Visitors can create their own 40th anniversary button, see a Japanese-themed musical performance and create and share their favorite Morikami moments for a time capsule that will be buried during a private ceremony, among other activities, according to the museum.

» RELATED: In honor of Morikami Museum’s 40th anniversary, its history in photos

The museum shop will offer a 10 percent discount, and the museum restaurant, Cornell Cafe, will offer special 40th anniversary sushi rolls and appetizers.

The museum is using the hashtag #MoriTurnsForty on social media to generate buzz around the anniversary event.

For more information about the 40th anniversary event, visit morikami.org.

Healthy Tampa-based food delivery service to open shop in Boca Raton

Red Quinoa Hash from Tampa-based meal delivery service Fitlife Foods (Courtesy)

BOCA RATON — Want healthy, prepared meals delivered to your doorstep?

Residents of Boca Raton will soon have that option as Fitlife Foods, a Tampa-based food delivery service, will open its first Palm Beach County shop in Boca on June 22.

The new store will be the fifteenth location in Florida.

» READ: Boca Raton sees double-digit percent crime increase in 2016

Fitlife Foods offers healthy, pre-made meals — such as paleo chicken, red quinoa hash, chicken enchiladas and gluten-free chicken pizza supreme — that can be delivered to your home or picked up at the shop, at Glades Plaza on Glades Road just west of Town Center Mall.

They offer dozens of recipes — breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks — that make it easier to meal prep for health-conscious locals.

Fitlife Foods’ menu prices range from $3 to $13 and include gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo and low-carb options, with nutrition information printed on the label.

The meal service also has a recycling program that allows customer to bring back 20 containers for a $10 credit to the store.

The grand opening will take place on June 22 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 10:45 a.m. Guests will receive a complimentary meal, wellness session, store tour and Fitlife prize giveaway.

Head Chef Andrew Ruga will be doing live cooking demonstrations s from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information about FitLife Foods, visit its website.

 

 

Boca Raton sees double-digit percent crime increase in 2016

(Palm Beach Post file photo)

BOCA RATON – There was a 13 percent increase in violent and non-violent crimes in Boca Raton last year, according to data released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Thursday.

Aside from rapes, which decreased between 2015 and 2016, and murder, which remained steady at just one per year, all violent and non-violent crimes in Boca increased slightly.

» READ: Boca bans swimming at all city beaches due to bacteria levels

There were 2,734 reported crimes, largely non-violent, such as motor vehicle theft, larceny and burglary.

Boca Raton Police cleared 29.4 percent of the criminal cases, one of the highest clearance rates among Palm Beach County’s largest cities, according to the data.

That increase in crime was also seen in neighboring cities Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, although Boca’s overall crime rate is the lowest of the three.

Crime also rose slightly in Palm Beach County, while statewide cases are at the lowest level in 46 years.

There were large Palm Beach County municipalities that reported decreases in crime last year, including Lake Worth, Riviera Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Royal Palm Beach and Wellington.

JUST IN: Boca lifts beach swim ban after bacteria levels improve

Surfers and beachgoers at South Beach Park in Boca Raton. (Photo by Lulu Ramadan / Palm Beach Post)

BOCA RATON — City beaches, which were temporarily closed to swimmers, have re-opened after bacteria levels have improved, according to city officials.

The waters were closed to swimmers temporarily after the Florida Department of Health reported elevated bacteria levels Sunday. Samples of the water taken later Wednesday showed improvement in bacteria levels.

» READ: See fresh ice cream frozen before your eyes at shop soon-to-open in Boca

Department of health advisories have since been lifted.