The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals were able to talk their way out of adding safety improvements for pedestrians at the entrance of their new spring training complex on Haverhill Road.
The teams argued Tuesday night to the City Commission that there’s minimal pedestrian activity along the complex’s border on Haverhill. Industrial and commerce parks take up most of the road’s west side, across the street from the ballpark’s main entrance.
But more than 12 hours earlier, an 11-year-old girl on her way to a school bus stop was struck by a car as she tried to cross Haverhill Road about a half mile south of the ballpark. Parents said the accident underscores the dangers facing pedestrians along the busy road.
The accident never came up during the City Commission meeting Tuesday night, but city commissioners approved the ballpark’s site plan without the traffic light, crosswalk or pedestrian lighting at the Haverhill Road entrance. The teams had said they could not afford the improvements.
City staff had recommended the safety features on Haverhill to help protect residents who might try to cross five lanes of traffic to enter the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
“We are just being overly cautious. We want to make sure the traffic works and there’s sufficient lighting and we have safety for pedestrians who are using the facility,’’ Rick Greene, the city’s development services director, told the city commission Aug. 31 during the initial presentation of the site plan.
The teams are trying to open the facility by January 2107 without going over the project’s $135 million budget.