Tuesday, August 09, 2016


St. Augustine commissioners give nod to Nelmar Terrace changes
Posted: August 8, 2016 - 11:06pm | Updated: August 9, 2016 - 10:36am

St. Augustine residents seek help with cut-through traffic
FDOT explains newest plan to improve May Street-San Marco Avenue intersection

Nelmar Terrace residents will get some help with cut-through traffic, but it’s not clear how soon that will happen.

City of St. Augustine commissioners supported on Monday a plan to limit access from May Street to two roads and make a number of other changes.

The focus of the plan is helping residents who are concerned about what they described as worsening, and dangerous, cut-through traffic as drivers avoid the May Street and San Marco Avenue intersection.

“The people that live on those streets … they’re fed up,” said Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline. “And the residents, they’ve had enough.”

The city’s plan is to close vehicle access from May Street to Douglas Avenue and the north side of Magnolia Avenue. Also, East San Carlos Avenue at San Marco Avenue would be closed and signal timing would be adjusted — there’s a signalized intersection there.

The city would also ask the state to add signs at State Road A1A and County Road 210 so drivers can avoid congestion by using County Road 210 instead of southbound A1A.

Changes aren’t coming immediately. City Manager John Regan plans to work with St. Johns County officials on their concerns and still has to go through state permitting.

Once the project is underway, the project would take about 90 days to go through permitting and other parts of the work, Regan said.

Also officials supported using fixes that aren't permanent, so changes can be made later if necessary.

The May Street and San Marco Avenue intersection will be reconstructed by the Florida Department of Transportation and is expected to help with traffic flow.

People packed City Hall’s commission meeting room on Monday.

Some shared stories of traffic woes — and dangers — in the community. Part of the Nelmar Terrace neighborhood is on May Street and a section north.

Nelmar Terrace resident Melinda Rakoncay showed pictures of a plant in her lawn, both before and after a vehicle mowed it down.

“You can see the double skid marks across the corner,” Rakoncay said.

She and others said traffic calming measures — like speed humps — have failed to make the neighborhood safe. People still speed and cut through.

Some voiced concern about the proposal, including Vilano Beach resident Lisa Lloyd.

She indicated that other stakeholders in the area have not had a chance to be involved, and people on the Vilano Beach side of the Vilano bridge — which leads drivers to the May Street and San Marco Avenue intersection — only recently learned of the proposal and didn’t have time to prepare for the meeting.

“You’ve heard me talk about this. You know that Vilano bridge traffic is heinous,” Lloyd said. “You know it’s a safety issue. Somebody could die on the top of the bridge, sitting and waiting for 45 minutes. ... I think it would be really nice if we could slow this down a little bit.”

Regan used data collected in Nelmar Terrace to back up the recommendation, which showed speeding and high volumes going through the area. Some information had to be re-evaluated because of an issue with an instrument.

Based on a count done by the city on May 28, the city believes that about 790 vehicles an hour go westbound on the Vilano Causeway on busy days.

About 80 to 85 vehicles turn right on Magnolia Avenue, according to a city document. About 90 vehicles per hour cut through westbound on Nelmar Avenue, and about 60 cut through eastbound.


■ St. Augustine Commissioners discussed the latest revision of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, which covers fiscal years 2017-21. Some commissioners suggested putting more of priority on upgrading streets.

The plan has more than $15.6 million projects slated for the next fiscal year, including $525,000 for road rehabilitation or about four miles of paving.

Also, the entire five-year plan includes $20 million in 2021 for a parking facility as a potential expense.

But a decision has not been made regarding building another parking facility — the money is in the plan in case it is recommended as part of a city mobility plan but could also be removed, said Tim Burchfield, assistant city manager.

■ Commissioners asked for more information before making a decision about the future of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District’s former headquarters at 500 Old Beach Road.

The district has moved to EOC Drive, which is near State Road 16, and district officials want to make a decision about what to do with the property.

But the city has a reverter clause on the property from St. Augustine’s sale to the mosquito district. The clause says that the property has to be used for a public purpose or the city gets it back.

Commissioners asked staff to do a title search so they have more information before making a decision.

Commissioner Leanna Freeman voiced support for the land staying in public use, and she said she wouldn’t want to simply relinquish all of the city’s interest in the property.

Thomas Francis Reynolds 08/09/16 - 06:23 am 20Did the Old City Commissioners agree ?
WOW............ the City of St Augustine Commissioners agreed on something ! Now don't go getting to excited because Regan said " Changes aren’t coming immediately. City Manager John Regan plans to work with St. Johns County officials on their concerns and still has to go through state permitting". Now Regan and St Johns County Administrator Wanchick working together is like Slow and Slower(the brother version of Dumb and Dumber). Well as far as the Vilanos or at least one Vilano, LL, LADY PLEASE ? Please don't think the word Stakeholders means STOP, it doesn't. I will repeat, the GOOD folks from Vilano knew there is only one way in and out when they moved there. You Vilanos would be better off trying to get another bridge built.

The Mosquito property is not in City of St Augustine city limits. So , it is going to the City of St Augustine Beach and will be annexed in to their City Limits. Of course as everybody knows that already. It is going to be a Park for all Residents everywhere to use. Maybe it will be a County Park, part of Ron Parker Park. Says WHO ? Says you all know WHO ! But we the people will let the Elected Officials have a big PHOTO OP on ribbon cutting day. The big Scissors are at RB s house, bring them back RB, NOW ! Of course will let you Elected Folk do a lot of slapping each other on the back aka PBS (Politician Back Slapping). So lets get moving Elected Officials or no Photo Op or PBS.....................

martystaug 08/09/16 - 07:17 am 11Squeaky wheel
So the plan is to restrict all those Vilano drivers from cutting through the Nelmar neighborhood. What about the impact to those on the other side of May Street? I have no sympathy for Vilano drivers who chose to live on the island with a single bridge within 20 miles. Especially when I see them speeding and blowing through stop signs as they cut down Magnolia Ave multiple times a day. But by restricting traffic via Douglas and Magnolia Ave (north) you only exacerbate the traffic issues on Magnolia Ave and all of the side streets south of May St. The city needs to enforce the traffic laws in these neighborhoods. Period. The police department has said that it isn't "cost efficient" to do that. Perhaps some nice fat traffic fines and tickets will remind those Vilano drivers to respect their neighbors. And the city needs to protect and serve all of us, not just Nelmar residents.

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