PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – It’s an all too familiar sound in Panama City Beach. The sound of honking while backed up on Back Beach Road.
“I guess because all the tourists. That’s why it’s all congested,” Councilman Phil Chester said.
Congestion that tourists and locals alike can agree brings traffic headaches.
“I think it’s terrible,” Local Rita Brookins said.
“It is very, very slow, the red lights take way too long, and there’s way too much traffic,” Tourist Matt Edwards said.
“I think it’s pretty bad. There’s a lot of traffic here,” Tourist Tonay Sanchez said.
According to the Florida Department Of Transportation’s website, almost 43,000 cars pass through the Pier Park area daily. Near the Nautilus Street intersection, it said 40,000 cars pass through daily.
Chester said they have worked towards alleviating some of that congestion.
“The city has done a great job in providing other roads and routes that you can go,” said Chester.
Other roads like the opening of Philip Griffits Senior Parkway, also known as “Back” Back Beach, in May.
“I think it’s given us some relief of traffic. Especially for the locals,” said Chester.
“I think it was a perfect addition to Bay County. Especially for us, the locals,” Local Sandra Fitzgerald said.
But other locals would say otherwise.
“I don’t think it’s had any measurable difference. Not for me it certainly hasn’t,” said Brookins.
According to the FDOT website, there is no traffic data on the new parkway to show if it’s making a difference yet.
When we asked tourists if they knew about “Back” Back Beach Road, they said….
“No,” said Edwards.
“No,” Tourist Jared Hicks said.
While both tourists and locals have different opinions on how effective Philip Griffits senior Parkway has been, there’s one thing they seem to agree on. Fourth Of July traffic.
“We’re expecting record numbers. We’ve had record numbers for the past three months,” said Chester.
“It’s the weekend of Fourth of July and yes, it’s going to be busy,” said Fitzgerald.
And yes, it’s going to bring in more honks with it.
Chester said in the last five years, the city council and city have done more to relieve traffic than the last 15 years. He adds the council will continue to work on ways to relieve these traffic issues.
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