Congestion on Back Beach Road to Increase

by December 20, 2011 • 19 comments

The speed limit has been lowered to 45mph, Pier Park is attracting new stores, Wal-Mart will be calling the area home soon, and now Pier Park North is scheduled to be built. Many complain about the congestion and traffic on the stretch of Back Beach Road near Pier Park already, but with these factors those commuting through Back Beach Road should expect the congestion to increase.

While the speed-limit being lowered on Back Beach Road upset many locals at first, the new development across from Pier Park has changed a lot of opinions. Considering the traffic that the increased shopping areas will add 45mph seems necessary to ensure safety.

When the new Wal-Mart was being negotiated those who lived in the neighborhoods around Pier Park were in an uproar.  Is noise and traffic a fair price to pay for a turnaround in the economy? How do you feel now that there are many factors contributing to the increase in traffic and noise?

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1 Craig MO December 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I would be more interested in FDOT’s/PCB/Bay County traffic plans for the area…(Someone mentioned a “back” Back Beach road” in another article to be built sometime in the future) Based on traffic census data Back Beach Road could soon (if all this construction comes to fruition) surpass its capacity. Show us the master plan! I want the economic benefits but am more concerned with the future traffic plans (and other infrastructure improvements) that will enable it to work. I think the time for some kind of planned expansion by PCB/Bay County is overdue, (or are we “under” informed?). Not just reactive growth but an all encompassing plan for the greater PCB area that will be affected by this and future retail expansion.


2 Chan Lipscomb December 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

I have always been a little amused by people who live in a tourist destination but complain about the noise and traffic that are part and parcel of a tourist destination. Panama City Beach should be allowed to grow. No matter how much planning is done and how many roads are built, growth means people, noise, and congestion. Lets embrace the change!


3 jmi December 21, 2011 at 10:45 am



4 Mary December 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

Growth is good! I am so tired of the CAVE people (Collation Against Virtually Everything)


5 Blue Sun Properties December 21, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Love The CAVE people comment 🙂


6 Jeremy December 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Please don’t try to paint residents as xenophobic nimbys who have just moved to the beach and now expect it to remain exclusively ours and stay forever unchanged. That kind of behavior is only for people that live at Bid-A-Wee (just kidding – local inside joke!) and as residents dependent on the success of the local economy we obviously have the most vested interest in the successful growth of our town out of of anyone. I can’t think of a community that is more welcoming to visitors than PCB, and you will find that nearly everyone who lives here is in absolute agreement with you, that the town should continue to grow and prosper. Just because we live in a tourist location though, does not mean we should be expected not to voice concern about a new Wal-Mart being built right on our doorsteps (which by the way was a done deal long before locals were able to have a say), or about anything that might contribute to making an already dangerous stretch of road even more so. The same complaints are no doubt raised by people facing the same growth in other towns and cities across the USA and this has nothing to do with the beach itself.


7 BJ December 21, 2011 at 10:18 am

Maybe it’s time to build a new highway — “Further Back Beach Road”.


8 anonymous December 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

“How do you feel know that there are many factors contributing to the increase in traffic and noise?”

I feel that “know” should be “now”.


9 Kacyn Goranson December 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

Thanks Anonymous- writing a continuous stream of articles makes for the accidental typo! Fixed 🙂


10 Cathy December 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Must have been a teacher, why do people waste time in correcting others? I’ve often wondered this. 🙂


11 George (Laguna Beach) December 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

I’m feel sorry for alot of the old time locals, BUT even Charlie Lahans (Carousel Market) daddy (may they rest in peace) knew this area was going to ”explode some day”.

Its not about ”turning around the economy”, it’s about progress, we can’t live here in this beautiful area and have all the vacant land left untouched! In a perfect world, anyone here with hind site could have bought all this land and left it all vacant, BUT ‘hind site is 20/20’!

There is NO ANSWER that will satisify all of us.

May we all enjoy what we were fortunate enough to purchase and chill alittle.

Merry Christmas to all and may our New Year bring some happiness to each of us.


12 PCB Citizen December 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I would like to see 1) efforts to grow a diversified local economy with good-paying occupations (minimum wage tourist jobs cause our best and brightest to seek employment elsewhere), 2) greater restrictions on noise, litter, and other obnoxious behavior from visitors to raise standards for the area, 3) real investigative reporting from our local “news” outlets to keep citizens informed and hold local officials accountable, 4) public/private ventures to purchase vacant beachfront lots to convert to beach parks/preserves, and 4) drivers on Back Beach Road observe the traffic law, “slower traffic keep right.” I travel the entire length of BB twice daily and see all manner of behavior from a young woman texting at 30mph in the left lane to an older man bouncing a lit cigarette off my hood.


13 jamnolfin December 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Talk about investigative reporting, I want to know whats going on with the 1st Baptist Church building thats left uncompleted. Surely its not going to just sit there and start deteriorating is it?


14 Stan Anderson December 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I say YEAH! We are very Blessed! Many other cities are dying in this economy!


15 doug December 21, 2011 at 8:49 pm

i’m a new front beach rd resident. build! build! and grow! love it!


16 Ricky Jones December 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

One of the things that attracted us to invest in Panama City Beach 6 years ago instead of in Destin was the horrible traffic situation that Destin vacationers have to deal with even during the off-season. Unfortunately for them, they have no logistical answer to address their situation with the single east-west Hwy 98 being their only route from San Destin all the way to Fort Walton.
Panama City Beach, on the other hand, has been blessed with the Front, Middle, and Back Beach road alternatives. We even advertise it on our rental site about how easy it is to get from one end of the beach to the next!
Now, it seems our city planners are willing to throw that advantage away in order to cater to the wishes of large tax base firms like Walmart. Why not push them another mile further west on Back Beach Road past Hwy 79? Does Walmart really believe its parking lots won’t be full 24 hours per day if they are a mile from Pier Park?
I am not against expanding PCB’s business landscape, just do it in a reasonable and planned manner that does not destroy the competitive advantage that it currently has.


17 Dick December 26, 2011 at 8:40 am

I live in an area with a similar situation where the addition of a Wal Mart and spin offs and a school district expansion demanded a lowering of the speed limit to 45 mph for approximately 3 miles of divided highway… It turned into a huge source of revenue for the city (writing tickets). After three years the speed limit was raise back to 55 and all is well.
I also live in PCB and I think slowing down for a while to see how the patterns shake out is probably pretty smart… The traffic studies are a great idea too!

Mary can I use the “CAVE” acronym?


18 Mary December 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Of course you can use CAVE….often thought about squalling it to NH.


19 Brian January 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

Do a story about the smell on back beach rd…. good god, it’s getting bad.