Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mayor suggests more cooperation on growth between St. Augustine, St. Johns County (SAR)

We need quarterly meetings of City and County Commission on growth, global ocean level rise, accountability issues

Posted May 24, 2017 06:01 am
Mayor suggests more cooperation on growth between St. Augustine, St. Johns County

While their budgets are hundreds of millions of dollars apart, the governments of St. Johns County and St. Augustine are trying to find ways to grapple with population growth.

Mobility, affordable housing and other growth-related issues might be better faced if the boards meet more often, St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver said during a joint meeting between the boards Tuesday.

“(I think) a day doesn’t go by where those issues don’t come to us from the people we serve,” Shaver said.

County Commission Chair Jimmy Johns said he’s open to having more meetings and is also available to city commissioners at any time.

The meeting, which drew a small audience, focused on two topics: the May Street and San Marco intersection improvements, and the development of State Road 313.

St. Augustine Vice Mayor Todd Neville was absent because of an appointment he couldn’t adjust, Shaver said.

The boards talked about May Street when they last met in May 2015.

The redesign of the May Street and San Marco Avenue intersection, a gateway into the city, is expected to help ease traffic congestion and some cut-through traffic. The Florida Department of Transportation project includes drainage improvements on May Street, and should begin this summer and end by September 2019, said Reuben Franklin Jr., the city’s mobility program manager.

Much of Tuesday’s meeting focused on updates about the projects, but the conversation highlighted some ongoing controversy.

To help relieve cut-through traffic around homes near May Street, the city put in temporary barriers to keep traffic from turning from May Street onto Douglas and Magnolia avenues.

“I’ve gotten a lot of inquiries, and frankly frustrated citizens, because of the closure of the Nelmar Terrace neighborhood,” said County Commissioner Henry Dean, whose district includes St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach.

A few members of the public spoke on the barricades, one supporting the decision and another saying the move has added congestion and danger for people who use May Street.

“I would like to have them removed,” Vilano Beach resident Lisa Lloyd said.

S.R. 313

Phong Nguyen, county transportation development division manager, briefed commissioners on State Road 313 at the meeting.

While not funded, the FDOT project is planned for two phases from S.R. 207 to State Road 16, and from S.R. 16 to U.S. 1 north of the airport. The whole road could cost between $250 to $300 million, according to FDOT estimates.

Construction of the first mile of the road to Holmes Boulevard is planned for 2022, Nguyen said.

“It certainly would be a great benefit to the city, as well as to the county (and West Augustine),” said St. Augustine Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline, who asked commissioners to keep advocating for the project with the FDOT.

The road is expected to relieve congestion on U.S. 1, but some have questioned the benefit and raised ecological concerns, and residents near its path have complained about what it would do to their properties.

Resident Ed Slavin said getting better mass transit is the county’s main concern, which could be funded by a 5-cent gas tax hike, he said.

“That’s the real need is mass transit. … That is not on the agenda,” Slavin said.

St. Johns County Administrator Michael Wanchick, citing an outside study about a transit system that should be done this summer, said the issue “is not being ignored.”


Tom Reynolds
What.................... St Johns County Commissioners are willing to meet more ?
Jimmy Johns says he is available ?

For the $75,000.00 YEARLY SALARY, PLUS THE HUGE BENEFIT PACKAGE you Commissioners get, you should be meeting with ALL THE OTHER ELECTED COMMISSIONS and BOARDS Quarterly !

Well Jimmy, you did NOT hold any questions and answers sessions over here in SAB, but did all over the County when you ran for office !

The transportation study ? Another study ?

Come on Mike, you know what is wrong and DO NOT want to deal with it !

Nice article. It speaks to many issues including how county decisions affect St. Augustine city residents. Included in those concerns is San Marco and May Street traffic issues. Drivers on May Street resent the barriers at the Nelmar neighborhood to prevent cutting through, and cite those barriers as a danger. But a higher danger is the angry impatient drivers speeding through Magnolia Ave at double the 20mph speed limit and ignoring the four stop signs. That street is full of tour trains, bike riders, pedestrians and vehicles parked to take photos. Angry drivers endanger them all. We need traffic enforcement on Magnolia Ave. The police department has said it isn't cost effective to enforce traffic on Magnolia Ave. I beg to differ, I think it could be quite lucrative.


1 comment:

Warren Celli said...

The local gangsters are fighting and want consolidation talks as outside gangsters continue to muscle in and take over their turf. The reap what you sow bill is at hand on all levels.

Vaniilla Greed for Profit Evilism has been getting their clocks cleaned by Pernicious Greed for Destruction Xtrevilism. Meanwhile the self anointed elite greater program of 'Full Spectrum Dominance' and 'Perpetual Conflict in the Masses' continues unabated as it takes a back seat to the local bickering.

Meanwhile the intentionally kept ignorant continue to attempt building a future on a corrupt and rapidly crumbling foundation of scam 'rule of law'.