PBC tourism leaders renew push for pedestrian overpass on Okeechobee Blvd

Palm Beach County tourism leaders on Thursday renewed their push for a pedestrian overpass above Okeechobee Boulevard in order to link the convention center to CityPlace.

Although West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio has nixed the walkway, members of the county’s Tourist Development Council have said the link is critical to keep out-of-town visitors safe.

It is not uncommon for guests visiting the convention center or the adjacent Hilton West Palm Beach, both located on the south side of Okeechobee Boulevard, to walk across the busy road to shop or eat at CityPlace.

Construction continues on the Hilton West Palm Beach next to the Palm Beach County Convention Center on September 14, 2015.  (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Construction continues on the Hilton West Palm Beach next to the Palm Beach County Convention Center on September 14, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

The tourism board on Thursday called on Executive Director Glenn Jergensen to draft a letter to the city, urging officials to re-consider the plan. The letter is expected to be discussed at the tourist council’s meeting next month.

“The day that someone gets hurt we are done,” David Semadeni of the Palm Beach County Hotel and Lodging Association told members of the board Thursday.

Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches, the organization charged with marketing the county as a tourist destination, said the convention center has already lost business because meeting planners were worried about guests crossing the busy road.

“We have letters from important meeting planners who have said we will not book in Palm Beach County because it is too dangers to cross those lanes of traffic,” Pesquera said.

Tourism board member Don Dufrense urged on industry leaders to consider holding a “summit” with city officials to discuss the issue.

“The traffic is horrendous,” Dufrense said.