Thursday, July 07, 2016

Mobility Study Task Force Back On Track?

Thanks to Mayor Nancy Shaver, concerned residents and City Manager John Regan for working to put the mobility task force back on track.

The first meeting, June 8 had no public comment --- patently illegal and deeply offensive.

The second meeting agenda reflected no public comment, either. However, it was revised on the afternoon of July 6th, the day of the meeting, to include public comment, shorty after I texted City Manager John Regan, asking if public comment would be included.

Thanks to Mayor Shaver, Mr. Regan and concerned residents for speaking out.

"You can do anything with these phones." -- 
JFK aide Harris Wofford, January 20, 1961, after calling the Coast Guard, desegregating it with one telephone call, after JFK noticed there were no African-Americans in the Coast Guard contingent at his Inaugural Parade and complained to Mr. Wofford, later a United States Senator from Pennsylvania (who recently married a younger man whom he met on the beach in Florida after his wife died).

Here's the report from Capt. Lee Geanuleas, U.S.N. (Ret.):

Lee Geanuleas‎ to St Augustine Residents Count
Saint Augustine, FL ·
Mobility Task Force Meeting #2 - Some quick impressions:
It appeared the Mayor's comments a few weeks ago about the consultant not performing landed squarely on target. The consultant seemed much better prepared and much more interested this time. Thanks Mayor!
I was impressed that a few of the task force members had made a good effort to engage residents prior to this meeting so they could better represent them.
The first part of the brief was pretty good with a useful discussion of some of our most troubling roads and intersections. But, it was almost all focused south of May ST. If I lived in the city's northern neighborhoods I'd feel very left out. No talk at all of US 1 and SR 16 intersection. That's two meetings in a row.
The consultant kept referring to the Abbott Tract, North City/Uptown, Nelmar and Magnolia neighborhoods collectively as "San Marco." For some reason the consultant has already concluded that "San Marco" lacks an identity and this "problem" needs a solution. For a guy who doesn't really know the city all that well, it seems odd that he's convinced about that. And it's not clear what "San Marco's" identity has to do with mobility, but he mentioned it multiple times. Strange.
About a third of the presentation was about "streetscapes" and being a "world class city." Not sure why this is such a major part of the mobility master plan. This discussion was linked to repaving of Hypolita and making north St George ST a pedestrian mall. This was also featured in the first briefing by the consultant last month. It appears already determined that some sort of streetscape/beautification and pedestrian mall project will come out of this study.
Hope you're sitting down; because the biggest stunner was that after a few residents commented that neighborhood representation on the task force was inadequate, City Manager John Regan got up to say that perhaps he had made an error in the composition of the task force and that he thought expanding it to improve neighborhood representation was a good idea.
OMG!!! Got to celebrate the small victories when they come along. Vive la Residents!
A few weeks ago I was honestly afraid the study might be going off the tracks. After tonight, there is reason to believe it may not.

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