Wednesday, March 01, 2017

City (finally) requires festivals start paying for parking shuttles -- internalizing external costs of their parking problems

Good action. We're making the festivals pay for parking shuttles -- finally internalize their external costs of parking problems. Thanks to our beloved reform Mayor Nancy Shaver for her leadership and making data-based decisions, and to City Manager John Regan and staff for working out the details We're finally making festivals pay for parking shuttles, internalizing external costs of their popular weekend festivals. It's time and it's right. Next stop: a working public transportation system.

St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver with the King of Spain, September 2015

Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince swears in Mayor Nancy Shaver on December 1, 2014

Nancy Shaver's inaugural crowd, December 1, 2014 (Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, via Facebook)


Nancy Shaver defeated entrenched four-term Mayor JOSEPH LESTER BOLES, JR., who saw City Hall as a way to benefit himself and his cronies

Posted March 1, 2017 12:02 am - Updated March 1, 2017 09:48 am
City plans to have events use their shuttle service, pay thousands for it

The city of St. Augustine will charge organizers of events being staged downtown thousands of dollars to provide shuttle and parking service — and it’s not optional.

The city plans to charge $5,000 to $6,000 per event for shuttle and parking service that the city will arrange, and the service will be free and open to anyone — not just patrons of the events.

Event organizers learned in January of the upcoming charge, and voiced concerns on Tuesday about the plan.

“They don’t like it,” said Xavier Pellicer III, the city’s mobility coordinator. “But I do believe that they’re going to grow to like it because I truly believe it’s going to work well.”

Three events will be charged for the shuttles and parking in the coming weeks: St. Augustine Lions Club Seafood Festival (March 3-5), St. Augustine Celtic Music and Heritage Festival (March 10-12), and Rhythm & Ribs (March 31 to April 2).

Parking will run just one day — Saturday — for each event. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., except during the Celtic Festival when the shuttle service will begin at 9 a.m.

People can park and ride the shuttles for free regardless of whether they plan to go to an event.

What allows the city to charge events for the shuttle service is a 2016 City Commission resolution. The resolution requires major events on Francis Field to fund all traffic management costs and provide and fund a “city approved parking and transit plan that contributes significantly to reducing traffic at the festival site.”

After discussions between the city and event organizers, it was decided that it would be better for consistency and to make things easier for event organizers for the city to handle traffic management, Pellicer said. He said the city has been working with event organizers on the plan.

Dominic Mercurio III, seafood festival chairman, isn’t opposed to paying the city for managing traffic and agrees with having a consistent traffic plan, but festival officials wanted to charge $5 for parking and have some influence over things such as hours.

“I don’t understand why we were able to have no input, and why we are not able to monetize it,” Mercurio said, adding that the city’s parking garage — a presumed alternative to the park and ride lots — is not free.

Pellicer said keeping the system free helps build up ridership. The city ran a free shuttle during Nights of Lights in 2016.

The cost will take a chunk out of revenue for the Celtic festival, according to its organizers. The festival made around $35,000 in 2016 after expenses, said Albert Syeles, president of the nonprofit Romanza St. Augustine, which coordinates the festival. The Celtic festival funds other events by the nonprofit.

The seafood festival in 2016 made about $226,000 after expenses, Mercurio said. A typical year would bring in about $125,000, Mercurio said, adding that it is a charity event.

While Mercurio said he’d like to charge for the shuttle, Syeles said he’s already tried that. The Celtic Festival arranged a shuttle system last year and charged $8.

“And nobody came,” Syeles said. “They’re not interested if you have to pay for it.”

Syeles said he agrees with paying for police to deal with traffic, but the city’s plan to use four buses is a “little ambitious,” he said. He also indicated the issue is about traffic, which is influenced by the frequency of Bridge of Lions closures, and isn’t so much about a lack of parking spaces.

“The city is trying to do something good. I understand that,” he said. “I just think they’re solving the wrong problem. And they’re leaping too far forward too quickly, and that’s why we’re having sticker shock.”
Shuttle availability

A free park-and-ride shuttle system will run from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday, one of the days of the St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival; from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. on March 11, one day of the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival; and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on April 1, 8 and 15, days that include Rhythm & Ribs and other events.

Parking for the shuttle will be at 200 San Sebastian Way off U.S. 1 North at the St. Johns County Health and Human Services building, and at 301 San Marco Ave., according to the city. Shuttles will leave from the lots about every 20 minutes to the city's Visitor Information Center at 10 S. Castillo Drive, which is next to the parking garage and Francis Field.

As long as the shuttle lots are outside of the "cluster zone", maybe it will help. The police dept needs to monitor the parking garage and San Marco and direct traffic away from the gridlock.

Frequency of Bridge of Lions closures is the Biggest Problem.

First Coaster
Wow, what a concept. Make someone besides us pays for these services? How did this logical concept slip by the bureaucrats?


Warren Celli said...

Thanks to our beloved BEAN COUNTING REFORM Mayor Nancy Slaver three state alcohol and tobacco drug cartel promoting drunk fests that destroy the quality of life for downtown residents get legitimized and validated rather than eliminated.

Our beloved BEAN COUNTING REFORM Mayor Nancy Slaver, focused on making the gangsters trains run efficiently and on time while also filling pot holes, needs to expand the data pool of her "data-based decisions" to include the exclusionary opportunity denying Jim Crow Law that has debased and destroyed our now two tier scam rule of law.

This is the same dullard, look the other way, self serving approach of creeping rot that killed the traditional village atmosphere of Wellesley Square in Massachusetts.

Widen the data base please...

Anonymous said...

Yahoo...finally getting some great ideas and plans enacted. Many thanks to all those who attended meetings and who push for better government...your in that group Ed...take a bow!

Anonymous said...


For god's sake ...Shaver has not legitimized any of the events ( or drunk fests as you call them). These particular events have been around long before Shaver even moved to St Augustine and they are all widely 'accepted" ergo legitimite whether you like it or not.

What Shaver did was help enact a solution to a problem that is created by these accepted events. Its a great idea to use free shuttles and make event organizers flick the bill...of course in contrast we could all sit back on our butts and make witty and "deep" observations such as you do. Observations which really don't solve anything.

Tell you what Warren...absolutely feel free to actually do something...go out and gather support for ending events such as the widely popular Lion's Seafood Fest. Good luck friend and oh...please keep a sharp lookout for Big Foot while you are wandering around in those tall weeds!

Anonymous said...

Second that take a bow Ed!

Warren Celli said...


Yes indeed, you are absolutely correct, these noisy boisterous down town choking state alcohol and tobacco drug cartel promoting drunk fests that destroy the quality of life for downtown residents have been around for a long time, long before Nancy Slaver even moved to St Augustine — and so has the hijacked gangster government that produces the exclusionary opportunity denying Jim Crow Law that has debased and destroyed our now two tier scam 'rule of law'.

But you are dead wrong in believing that wide acceptance bestows legitimacy.

It does not!

At one time slavery was widely accepted in this country, as was the idea that women should not vote and that citizens of different sexual persuasions should be castigated and repressed.

What Nancy Slaver has done is validate, legitimize, and facilitate with her attention these gangster encouraged events at the expense of facing, and dealing with head on, far greater problems — a neglect that only serves to increase those corruption problems and make them more difficult to mitigate in the future.

Sinking to your snark now; Tell you what anonymous... absolutely feel free to actually think... go out and gather support for the homeless that have been created by this gangster government. Good luck friend and oh... please keep a sharp lookout for some original thoughts while you are wandering around in those menticide induced trite and hackneyed thoughts and labels that have caused you to equate acceptance with morality!

Keep up the great work Ed!