Sunday, June 12, 2016


St. Augustine's mobility task force aims to think big
Posted: June 8, 2016 - 11:54pm | Updated: June 9, 2016 - 12:27pm

Correction: A previous version of this story misquoted a slide from the consultant. The slide defines mobility as “movement provided by an efficient and coordinated system of transportation options.” Updated on June 9, 2016.

Two men stand with fishing poles on a dirt road in an image displayed Wednesday at City Hall as part of a meeting on mobility.

The photo shows an 1800s view of what is now King Street.

“It’s a far cry from what it looks like today,” said George Kramer, director of planning for Littlejohn Engineering Associates, the consultant chosen to create a mobility plan for the city.

The photo was part of a presentation during the first meeting of the city’s Mobility Advisory Task Force, a group of residents and officials assembled to help shape the mobility plan.

The presentation outlined through historic photos how St. Augustine has changed and how traffic pressures have affected land use. King Street is now one of the busiest roads influencing St. Augustine’s traffic issues.

How locals interact with their city has also changed, something Vilano Beach resident and task force member Lisa Lloyd reflected on at the meeting.

“Having grown up here, I miss downtown. When I was a kid, I rode my bike there, I shopped there, I hung out there. I feel like I circumnavigate it these days,” Lloyd said. “I would love to have locals feel like we own our downtown and it’s a part of us the way it used to be, instead of a place to be avoided. So, part of this process is making sure that locals have access to their own city center.”

Work on the mobility plan began in full Wednesday as the city’s consultant toured the city and the task force had its first meeting.

The tour began Wednesday morning, with a group of people clad in neon safety vests walking down King Street. They were led by officials from Littlejohn, who stopped periodically to discuss the roads and sidewalk features.

The walk was intended to give the officials — representing St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Flagler College, the Florida Department of Transportation and other entities — a firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a pedestrian in St. Augustine.

It was also a chance to bring together some of the stakeholders in St. Augustine who will be involved in the mobility plan. Consultant officials also used a bicycle and a wheelchair on the tour to get different perspectives.

Today, the work on mobility continues with an open house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at City Hall, where people can talk with consultant officials and get their questions about the mobility plan answered.

The first Mobility Advisory Task Force meeting Wednesday evening laid out the basic agenda for the task force, set the ground rules and discussed the definition of mobility and what guidelines task force members want for the process.

A slide from the consultant defined mobility as “movement provided by an efficient and coordinated system of transportation options.”

What this won’t be is just a document, Kramer indicated.

Kramer said he’s heard questions about why other studies related to traffic issues in the city have not been implemented.

“And that’s a good question, and I don’t know that there’s one answer,” he said.

But, he added, “Our task is to provide a holistic plan that’s focused on implementation.”

Getting to an implementable plan will probably take a year or more. The first and second phases are expected to take several months.

A mobility plan — which has also been referred to as a transportation and parking master plan — will have six parts focused on the street network, land use and urban design, streetscapes, parking, transportation demand management and a capital improvements plan, the piece that will describe how the city puts the ideas into action.

The consultants will have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to transportation options.

“You have more modes in this city than any other city I’ve worked in,” Kramer said. “From the Segways to the golf carts, you name it it’s here, it’s a challenge and you have the narrowest roads of anywhere.”

Through September, the consultants plan to work on understanding the problems and discussing the issues with the public, officials said. That will lead to a framework for putting the plan together.

Designing and creating the plan will be the final phase.

The city plans to pay more than $108,000 to Littlejohn for the first phase, as work is completed. A second contract will cover the final phase.

The task force is one tool for involving the community to get the plan done, Kramer said. But the plan will be a community plan, and the process invites public participation at any time.

People have apparently been eager to participate.

Consultant officials cited about 800 or 900 responses that have come in from a mobility survey posted on the city’s website.

When it came to ground rules for the task force, committee members indicated they want a free flow of ideas at meetings and long-term, creative solutions — and some could be very creative.

North Davis Shores resident Wolfgang Schau suggested the group needs to look ahead 10 or 15 years and may need to get “radical.”

Schau referred to an idea he heard about creating a tunnel for vehicles from the Vilano Beach area to Anastasia Island.

The committee also talked about coming up with ideas that are implementable and realistic.

The city faces realities such as limited funding and the fact that the Florida Department of Transportation controls several state roads that carve through or around the city. Those are King Street, State Road A1A and U.S. 1.

Task force member Mark Edwards also suggested the plan find a way to measure with empirical evidence, whether ideas are successful or not.

Kramer stressed the importance of looking at possible solutions in context of the bigger picture of the city and the effects of those solutions.

Officials at the table included people from Vilano Beach, some neighborhoods in the city, the West Augustine CRA Steering Committee, the St. Johns County Council on Aging and the tourism industry. Staff advisers representing St. Augustine Beach, St. Johns County and city officials were on hand.

There was not a public comment period at the meeting, though one audience member spoke near the end of the meeting and said it would be appropriate to include everyone all the time.

Kramer said officials intended to keep the task force meeting short and invite public comment at today’s open house. He also invited people to make comments via a form that was handed out.

Mobility work continues

Today a mobility open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Augustine City Hall, 75 King St. At the open house, the public can meet with members of the project team and ask questions and make comments. People can also contact St. Augustine Mobility Coordinator Xavier Pellicer III at A survey is at under “Mobility Update.”

sponger2 06/09/16 - 09:14 am 54Mobility plan simplified.
Remove superfluous tours (Ancient city Latrine tours), remove "events" to remote locations, and limit the amount and duration that the Bring of Lions opens. That will be $189,000.00 please.

PS: How official and important they look in their DOC issued yellow vests.

martystaug 06/09/16 - 11:04 am 55Mid-week morning walking tour?
Can't wait for the Saturday afternoon driving tour. Here's another piece of advice, Don't invite an extra 30,000 vehicles to downtown St. Augustine all at the same time. (as detailed in Sponger's 10lbs in a 5lb bag rule). Will they spend some of that money on a ride in the bi-plane or yellow helicopter to actually see all of the long lines of traffic coming into the choke points of this city? The locals live with the rush hour and weekend traffic backups, but inviting the world to all show up at once for an event, should happen somewhere away from our narrow downtown streets. Adding all that traffic to downtown is proof that the TDC has zero concern for quality of life here.

sponger2 06/09/16 - 11:42 am 55I have to steal this.
On another thread mach referred to

the TDC as the "Trouble, Disturbance, and Chaos" organisation. I just have to add that to my lexicon. Too good to pass up and so true. Send them out to pasture. They've "helped us" enough already.

Firstcoaster 06/09/16 - 12:10 pm 35Quality of Life
The TDC is concerned about quality of life - their$.

Rich The Lube Guy 06/09/16 - 06:16 pm 32A Great Laugh
I typically don't respond to many news articles but had to write this after seeing today's front page.

We just happened be in town yesterday and stopped by the gas station at Malaga and King St.

Across King Street we saw the same group of people on the front page standing on the corner and we were wondering what was going on, FDOT, Utilities, or something else.

All of a sudden three men began to walk few steps east on King when one of them stepped onto the grass and began striding across the sidewalk as to measure it.

He then must have said something to the other two gentlemen and then one of them began to measure the width of the sidewalk by placing one foot in from of the other. Just like the drunk drivers test.

Needless to say, we couldn't stop laughing thinking that these obvious professionals engineers were measuring with their feet! And measured twice!

Their feet must be approved by the Department of Weights and Measures or to quote an old movie was this the same group that sold Jack those Magic Beans for the Beanstalk!!!

With all due respect I'm sure the Company will do a great job but I've always learned that the appearance of an impropriety is usually far worse than what really happened.

Next time bring a measuring tape or wheel.

Thanks for the Great Laugh!
Rich Marinucci

Firstcoaster 06/09/16 - 07:24 pm 21Rich
The $108,000 doesn't include a tape measure. That would be covered under the $150,000 plan.

sponger2 06/09/16 - 08:14 pm 32Same four down votes.
You can probably pick them out of the "Time Bandits" photo from the article curtailing "The Ancient City Latrine Tours". By the way, it wasn't so hard to retreat to the Flea Market. And let's not forget our underutilized county fairgrounds on SR-207. Ship the rest of that crap out there and give us our town back.

mach12.1e 06/09/16 - 08:18 pm 32I'm sure it's the "Resort Managers" that are upset.
Any dog and pony show will do. As long as we can "pack em in" and keep the B&B's filled to capacity.

People pitch ideas for St. Augustine traffic to mobility consultant
Posted: June 9, 2016 - 11:46pm | Updated: June 10, 2016 - 9:29am

Locals came armed with ideas for the city’s mobility plan at Thursday’s open house at St. Augustine City Hall.

Roy Jaeger and Maury Keiser, leaders of the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation and St. Johns County residents, brought forward an idea they’ve been talking about for some time: using St. Augustine’s waterways to get people around town.

“The waterways parallel every major artery,” Keiser reasoned. “Why not use it?”

A focus of the foundation is waterway connectivity, said Jaeger, who was an executive with the port authority in New York and New Jersey.

He discussed using water transport to connect people to the Northeast Florida Regional Airport, the Vilano Beach area and the St. Augustine Shipyard development via water taxi, with connectors along the way.

The mobility open house was scheduled to last until 5 p.m. By about 4 p.m., organizers estimated more than 120 people had come to the meeting.

The point of the open house was to give the public a chance to interact with the city’s mobility consultant, Littlejohn Engineering Associates. The feedback will be used by the consultant as officials move forward with the first phase of creating the mobility plan, a phase that is expected to last until September and produce a framework for actually creating the plan.

Several stations were set up to represent different sections of the city or the city overall. Staffed by consultant staffers who wrote down ideas, the setup allowed attendees to walk around the room, ask questions and be heard.

Ideas and points to consider were scribbled on Post-it notes and paper — among them, the words and phrases “cut-thrus,” “enforce speed limits,” “roundabouts” and “crosswalks.”

Those words were listed in the station designated “Anastasia.”

On Anastasia Island, Peggy Bliss has seen some traffic issues near her home that is close to the Bridge of Lions in Davis Shores.

When the bridge is drawn for boat traffic, traffic tends to take an alternative route down her road. She said she’s in favor of looking at one-way streets in Davis Shores, as an idea to be explored.

“We’ll see as many as 10 cars in a row,” Bliss said.

Aside from Thursday’s event, there is still opportunity for input. People can provide comments related to the mobility plan — such as traffic concerns and ideas for improvements — at any time via email to

The ideas presented Thursday won’t necessarily be part of the plan, but some could be, said George Kramer, director of planning for Littlejohn Engineering Associates.

Another public presentation is scheduled at 1 p.m. today at City Hall where “the team from Littlejohn will offer a presentation on some of the initial findings from the community’s input, including ideas, suggestions and special challenges,” according to the city.

sponger2 06/10/16 - 08:04 am 44Mobility plan simplified, take 2.
Show the T.D.C. ( Trouble, Disturbance, and Chaos) the exit corridors to the city and bid them a fond farewell. Parasitic organisms need to find a new host from time to time, and now is the time. Remove the Ancient City Time Bandit/ Latrine/ Ghost and assorted "tours". Limit "special" events (done, good move city) and move existing ones to our underutilized fairgrounds out on SR-207. Limit number of times and duration that the Bridge of Lions opens. That will be another $105,000.00 please.

mach12.1e 06/10/16 - 08:41 am 43Use the pirate ship...
To ferry tourists from the island to the mainland at the fort. They'll be poised to be parted from their loot on St. George Street that much quicker. When they're out of money, ferry them back and pick up the next load.

wnsvtumbleweed 06/10/16 - 11:41 am 21You are forgeting the Developers.
The congestion is also made up of the urban sprawl promoted by developers. Take a look at the McMansions going up on small plots of land all over the county. No down payment and away you go move in the family. Where do these folks work?
Some may cut through downtown to get to JAX from the island.
Take 312 and bypass the bridge, "no" they say we'd rather sit in traffic as the bridge goes up. We love to hear ourselves cry "boohoo I'm stuck" good for a Facebook or twitter quote. The ICW is a highway too. The bridge schedule is the following no opening 8am,12pm, 5pm. The openings are based on a request by a captain of a vessel to the bridge operator on the hour & 1/2 hour. If it is a tug under tow the Coast Guard mandated navigation rule is on demand. You see they can't stop no brakes on a tug. There are plenty of times the bridge does not go up. I've had to wait with my boat with the tides pulling it. Considering how swift the tide is it is amazing how few times the bridge has not been hit by a vessel under power. (FYI Water taxis do not need the bridge to go up.) This town was always a port the year 1565 comes to my mind, let's use what we have and create more public transportation for everyone not just the touristas. When I used public transportation to go to work I was always on time, when I was stuck driving I was late more times then not. If we had good public transport service I would love to not drive downtown!

sponger2 06/10/16 - 01:17 pm 53I never forget developers...
Just ask anyone on this site. They are the rapists of this county, and have the bought and paid for county commission as their tool to rubber stamp almost every development and zoning change that has crossed their desks in the last twenty years. Without them, this problem would not exist. It is greed and exploitation that drives them, and most of them don't live here. Just look on the supervisor of elections website to find out where the money comes from.

I love boating and I am aware of bridge operations. Some of my comments are tongue-n-cheek. However, I have been stuck at rush hour either side of the bridge numerous times since I have lived here forever. That is probably because of the Coast Guard requirement.

We need about 100,000 people to disappear to get this county back to where it needs to be. That is uncrowded, unhurried, and no longer overpriced, with plenty of room and what made this a nice place to live (nature and old time Florida) before the circus arrived and took over. I guess I would call that the
"De-Disneyfication" of St. Augustine, if I had to coin a term.

mach12.1e 06/10/16 - 01:38 pm 32Better yet...
Take the pirate ship out to sea with all the "contributors" to the development machine, and fire the fort's cannon at it. Make a special spot on the bow for the T.D.C. (Trouble, Disturbance, and Chaos organization).

Disclaimer: We know the cannon fires blanks, but there's an event I would pay money to see. Let's call it "a re-enactment".

attinson63 06/10/16 - 01:08 pm 45Open house
So did y'all go to the open house yesterday and submit all your brilliant ideas, as set forth in these comments?

The Muse -- actually louche lame duck pro-developer COUNTY COMMISIONER PRISCILLA "RACHAEL" BENNETT (R-HUTSON COMPANIES) 06/10/16 - 04:12 pm 33Attinson
Of course they did not attend! They do not seek positive solutions- they just hide in the dark and spit at everyone else. They want the world to go back in time- AFTER they got here, but before anyone else did.

Bob Fliegel 06/10/16 - 06:48 pm 42Sponger2 wants to go back to...
"...[a place] That is uncrowded, unhurried, and no longer overpriced, with plenty of room and what made this a nice place to live (nature and old time Florida) before the circus arrived and took over."

You and columnist Kathleen Parker think alike. I strongly recommend you read her piece, "Mourning a Florida we lost long ago" in the June 7th edition of the Washington Post. Perhaps it will soon appear on the Record's op-ed page.

sponger2 06/10/16 - 09:51 pm 43No one over here hides.
This forum reaches far more voters than the paper tiger meeting which was designed to find a way to pack even more people in then they are now because they will feel they have "solved the congestion problem" while making "the people" feel like they have real input. What a sham.

These folks are PAID consultants attempting to find a way to increase flow so as to squeeze every dollar they can out of the teeming hordes, and to keep them coming. Take note of the article "Event organizers cry foul over new rules". All 16 opinions at the time of my last reading overwhelmingly approved putting on the brakes and giving the locals a breather. You think "LittleJohn" gives a crap what we think? Then I got a bridge to sell you. Wake up, this is all about more dollars. If that weren't the case, I wouldn't now be seeing TV ads bringing more attention to the Ancient Gold Mine, and you wouldn't see hundreds of thousands of dollars going into the coffers of the "presumptive commissioners". That is, those that were hand picked by Jacksonville developers, bankers, and attorneys.

PS: Bob, I will look for the article. Remember: "You just can't put 10 pounds of poop in a five pound bag."

mach12.1e 06/10/16 - 09:00 pm 43If I had showed up at the meeting...
Would I had gotten one of those yellow important looking D.O.C. issued yellow vests? Oh goody. I'll need a hard hat too, so it can look like I work for a living.

attinson63 06/10/16 - 09:45 pm 24Debbie Downer
You go on with your Debbie Downer attitudes. They're doing something about the problem and that's not good enough for you? What the hell do you want? Move to Hendry County. Nothing grows there except the unemployment rate.

mach12.1e 06/10/16 - 10:05 pm 33Come on Add.
You know it's the truth. You're a smart lady. I'm sure you can't be fooled that easily. Go to the election site and see for yourself, if you don't already know. Member of the chamber of commerce? If so, you already know the score. Those are the meetings worth going to, if you know what I mean.

sponger2 06/11/16 - 11:41 am 22I call it eyes wide open.
With the BS detector set on maximum. One must be blind not to see the manipulation. Like Lemmings jumping off a cliff.

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