When President Donald Trump visits his Winter White House at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach starting Tuesday for the Thanksgiving holiday, forget about the trains running on time. Or the buses. They can’t run on time if they don’t know when they’re going to run.
This is Palm Beach County life when Trump comes to town. The security involved in a presidential presence makes getting to and from by land, sea or air unpredictable:
▪ Those driving in Palm Beach County the next few days might find roads suddenly closed. Which roads? For how long? Nobody knows (or, if they know, they shouldn’t be telling you).
▪ As it will be for cars, so it will be for buses. Starting last week, bus services Palm Tran and Palm Tran Connection warned that previous presidential visits “have resulted in lengthy road closures. There may be little notice of these closures.” To keep up, they asked potential riders to download the myStop Mobile app to keep up with real-time bus arrival information. Also, riders can text 321123 with “iGo” and the bus stop number to check bus arrival information.
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▪ As of Tuesday morning, for security reasons, Tri-Rail couldn’t tell callers to its customer service line its Wednesday schedule. The Thanksgiving Day schedule will be a normal weekend day schedule.
▪ You can’t fly in or out of Palm Beach County Park Airport in Lantana. Because it’s within 10 nautical miles of Mar-A-Lago, as the Palm Beach Post reports, the Secret Service bars flights at the airport while Trump is in town. This isn’t a big deal for commercial passengers, but several businesses operate out of the airport. According to The Post report, the airport’s operator says it has lost $500,000 in business and tenants since last year and expects more this year. Skywords Advertising, a banner flying business, told The Post that Trump’s Mar-A-Lago visits have put it out of business.
▪ The water travel security zones established by the U.S. Coast Guard start Tuesday afternoon and run until late Sunday. The East Zone is the biggest one, going from Banyan Road on the north end to Ocean View Road on the south end and running 1,000 yards into the Atlantic Ocean. The West Zone’s borders are the waters of Lake Worth Lagoon, 700 yards north of the Southern Boulevard Bridge ending at daybeacon "20," and 200 yards to the south of the Southern Boulevard Bridge, ending at Flagler Promenade S Road. Boats have to maintain a steady speed when going through these zones. Between those two is the Center Zone. It has the same north-south borders as the West Zone, but is bordered on the west by Bingham Island and Palmsicle Island and on the east by Palm Beach. Let’s just say, don’t even go there. You need Coast Guard permission to be in this zone. Zone violations can incur a $10,000 fine and 12 years in prison.