Lessons from Hurricane Irma: 1. Roundabouts

West Boca News has often advocated for roundabouts. Hurricane Irma showed us another advantage. When the power went out so did traffic lights, and our intersections became chaotic nightmares. Roundabouts are unaffected by power outages.
In general they’re safer and more efficient than regular intersections. Carmel Indiana converted over 100 intersections to roundabouts and saw “a 40% decrease in accidents, with an 80% decrease in injury-causing crashes and90% reduction in fatalities.” By comparison its non-roundabout neighbor Indianapolis saw: “a 30 percent increase in accidents with injury and a 16 percent increase in accidents resulting in a fatality ….”
I was discussing this with a friend who lives south of Glades off Lyons. FDOT is in the middle of a $1.8 million dollar project on Lyons. The main problem was the high volume of serious accidents at or near the intersection on Lyons with Escondido Way, the entrances to Escondido and Timbers of Boca. The so-called solution: straighten the curves and bank the roadway. Not only does this fail to address the intersection itself, but it will allow traffic on Lyons to go faster, making the intersection even more dangerous.
FDOT was more concerned with cars going off the road due to excessive speed on the curves, but their crash analysis did not break down severity by type of accident. Anyone who drives there knows that making a left turn onto Lyons there from either side is uncomfortable at best.
It is well known that roundabouts make intersections safer, but FDOT and our local politicians ignore that. Instead FDOT is increasing the speed of traffic entering an intersection known to be dangerous.
Below are a series of images showing what the intersection of Lyons and Escondido would look like with a Carmel roundabout superimposed on it. The images and map data are from Google Maps.




Many of our readers dismiss roundabouts with quick responses. Let’s be clear – Carmel Indiana saw a 90% reduction in traffic fatalities by converting many intersections to roundabouts. You can only oppose roundabouts if you want more people to die. Roundabouts save lives.

Dead Body Identified in Coral Springs – Weston Faulkner

Coral Springs Police have identified the dead body found yesterday near US-441 and Wiles Road. Weston Faulkner, a 20-year-old male from North Carolina, died of an apparent overdose. The cause of death is not expected to be verified for at least a few months.
Our research indicates that Mr. Faulkner is a graduate of South Rowan High School in China Grove, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. He was a lineman on the football team weighing up to or over 300 pounds.

The young man was troubled by drug abuse and depression, and well aware that he was at risk.

It appears he was living in South Florida at least off and on for the past year or two, with at least some minimal connection to Boca Raton. We have not been able to determine more than that.

Motorcycle Victim ID'd: Jeffrey Valarezo of Delray

WARNING: This article contains photos that may upset some readers. If you don’t want to see them, don’t scroll down.

A fatal motorcycle accident backed up traffic on Palmetto Park Road and horrified drivers passing by on Monday evening.

Reader photo looking westbound on Palmetto Park Road.

Sources led us to think we knew who the victim was and the Sheriff’s office just confirmed it was Jeffrey Valarezo (20) of Bolero Circle in Delray Beach.
We think Mr. Valarezo may have been a student at Spanish River High in the past, but we’re not sure. We also think his family may be from the country Ecuador. He was registered to vote here in Florida.
One reader told us she saw it happen:

There was no driver at fault: I saw what happened. He was on the lane next to me going the opposite direction. He just tried to switch from the middle lane to the right hand lane right at that curve right before the bridge and he lost control. I saw it all and I haven’t stopped crying because I’m still in shock that I just witnessed this.

From this reader it appears Mr. Valarezo was traveling eastbound on Palmetto Park Road coming up to the bridge over Boca Rio and the Turnpike. The police report does not provide much detail as to how the accident happened or if anyone was at fault.

V-1 was traveling eastbound on W. Palmetto Park Road approaching Boca Rio Road. V-1 struck the center median. D-1 lost control of the vehicle and came to final rest on the median. D-1 was ejected off V-1 and struck a tree. D-1 died on the scene from injuries sustained in the crash.

Valarezo’s motorcycle ended up in the median of the roadway.

WARNING: This is where the photos get more troubling for some readers. Stop now if this bothers you.
SERIOUSLY — IF THIS BOTHERS YOU, DO NOT SCROLL DOWN



Further west his body lay on the ground near a tree. Not long after it happened several passers by attended to his body in the hope they might be able to help.

Later the body was obscured by a yellow covering:

Friends of Mr. Valarezo expressed their sadness:

He was a beautiful soul with a smile always on his face. He was loved by all his friends and he will be missed.

He was an amazing person and didn’t deserve what happened to him, even if it were his fault or another. Today heaven gained an angel and he will be riding in the skies smiling down at us. You will be greatly missed Jeff

We noticed expressions of concern from a wide variety of places including Ecuador, Cuba, South Africa and more.
This location on Palmetto Park Road has seen many serious accidents. Readers complained that something should be done to make it safer, though it’s not clear what caused this accident or that any change to the roadway would have prevented it.
It should be also noted that Mr. Valarezo was wearing a helmet.

Huge Project Proposed for Glades Road

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Residents of Palma Vista are concerned about a project proposed for the south side of Glades Road between Home Depot and 95th Avenue. This would be across from the Glades Road library.

Johns Glades West parcel in red near Home Depot and Library. Satellite image and data by Google.
Johns Glades West parcel in red near Home Depot and Library. Satellite image and data by Google.

The proposal, called Johns Glades West (or Johns Glade West) calls for:

  • 169,000 square feet of commercial space with restaurants, a theater, retail and a grocery store
  • A 133,000 square foot parking garage for the stores
  • 7 residential buildings, 5 stories each, with a total of 456 units and a clubhouse all totaling 650,000 square feet of residential space
  • A 112,000 square foot parking garage for the residences
  • A total of approximately 2000 parking spaces

It is our understanding that the developers will make a presentation to the Palma Vista Homeowners Association on November 21st at 7 pm. Some homeowners have expressed concern insufficient notice and about having “5 story buildings looking down on our single family homes.”
This would seem to be a very intensive use of the property with major traffic impacts on Glades Road. Our best guess is that the developer is floating a plan it knows will never get approved and they’ll come in later with a real plan for something much less.
Below is a close-up of the stores section of the plan.
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And next the homes section:
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PDF of the project plan is below:
[gview file=”https://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Johns-Glades-West_PSP.1.pdf”]

Repeat Offender Recklessly Injures Deputy on 441

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Traffic on US-441 was blocked from Glades to Yamato this morning after a serious accident near Kimberly Road. Hector Mauricio Mazariegos (age 31, Coral Springs) was arrested and charged with several offenses.
According to the Sheriff’s report:

P-1 (the deputy) was working a traffic enforcement operation on State Road 7 just south of Kimberly Blvd with several other deputies. P-1 obtained a speed reading of 97 mph on V-1 (Mazariegos on the motorcycle) in a 45 mph zone.
P-1 stepped into the center lane, faced southbound and was waving V-1 over. According to witnesses the deputy had been out in the roadway for more than enough time for the rider to see him and stop. The deputy was wearing a neon green reflective vest at the time. V-1 slowed and tried to drive around P-1, but at the same time P-1 feared V-1 was going to run him over and moved slightly to his right.
V-1 impacted with the deputy, then made a heavy brake applicated (leaving a lengthy skid mark) and overturned. V-1 slid to final rest at Kimberly Blvd.

Mr. Mazariegos has quite a history in the courts, as explained below the scene photos.

Reader photo of accident scene
Reader photo of accident scene

Reader photo showing what we believe to be the deputy on the ground at the scene.
Reader photo showing what we believe to be the deputy on the ground at the scene.

By our count, Mazariegos has had 9 traffic cases (7 of them criminal) in Broward County dating back to 2007:
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He also was arrested in 2015 in Palm Beach County for driving without a valid license. Despite his lengthy history, that charge was resolved with a fine and “adjudication withheld.”
Similar to a case we reported last year, the prosecutors and courts in Palm Beach and Broward County seem to have a policy of going easy on serious repeat traffic offenders. In the previous incident three young males were badly injured. Now it’s a deputy taking the hit.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg is running unopposed in this year’s election so we can expect another four years of lax enforcement. Mr. Mazariegos has probably run out of luck.
PBSO reports the charges against Mazariegos as:

  • Reckless Driving resulting in serious bodily injury
  • No Driver’s License causing serious bodily injury
  • Driving without a motorcycle endorsement
  • Driving an unregistered vehicle
  • Attaching an unassigned tag to a vehicle

Mazariegos’ Facebook page indicates he works (or worked) for Fit Foodz Cafe, which is on Clint Moore near 441.