Monday, February 12, 2018

Sidewalks! What a novel idea for U.S. 1 in corrupt St. Johns County! (SAR)

Why this matters: Pedestrian and bicyclist lives matter.  As elsewhere, FDOT and St. Johns County burghers long ignored the need for sidewalks.   Environmental racism? Deep insensitivity to human rights?  When you're planning decisions are made by developers and the likes of ROGERS TOWERS and GEORGE MORRIS McCLURE's greedy clients, who cares about pedestrians and bicyclists.

Meanwhile, several prisoners released in the middle of the night from St. Johns County Jail died, run over by cars, because they lacked transportation options.  Their blood is on Sheriff DAVID SHOAR's hands, just like the blood of Michelle O'Connell.

Lack of sidewalks is a national problem, wherever corporations have their way, distorting and distending development problems, electing hick hack politicians whose priorities don't include walking or bicycling. What do you reckon?


FDOT: Sidewalk planned to make stretch of U.S. 1 safer. (St. Augustine Record)

Bretrice Colyer walks along the west side of U.S. 1 between the St. Johns County Courthouse and the city gates on Friday. The Florida Department of Transportation has announced plans to add a sidewalk on the west side of the stretch of road, which sees regular foot traffic and has a history of wrecks involving vehicles and pedestrians. [CHRISTINA KELSO/THE RECORD]

By Sheldon Gardner
St. Augustine Record

Posted Feb 11, 2018 at 2:01 AM
From 2008 to 2012, a part of U.S. 1 from St. Augustine to beyond St. Johns County offices and the Sheriff’s Office had at least eight wrecks involving vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.

Many of the eight wrecks happened at night — people frequently walk in the grassy shoulder of the road close to high-speed traffic on U.S. 1 because there is little sidewalk along the highway on the west side of the road in the north part of the city and beyond.

Now, the Florida Department of Transportation is planning on adding a sidewalk on the west side of the road to do make a safer route, according to Bianca Speights, FDOT spokeswoman.

The sidewalk will be built on the west side of U.S. 1 North from Fairbanks Street to Big Oak Road, according to Speights. Big Oak Road is across from the area of the Northeast Florida Regional Airport.

But it will take a little while.

The project will be advertised for a contractor in late August 2019. It takes about 30 to 60 days after the end of the bidding process to get started, and will take about a year if weather and schedule permit after that for the project to be finished, according to Speights. It’s expected to cost $3.4 million, to be paid for with federal dollars.

Officials say it will not only make the road safer, it will also provide better connection to county offices for city residents.

″[A] study showed adding sidewalk would provide a safer more user-friendly route for pedestrians and bicyclists using U.S. 1,” according to Speights.

Part of the project involves the FDOT buying property from the city of St. Augustine, which the City Commission is expected to discuss on Monday. Assistant City Manager Tim Burchfield said North City residents who want to bike up to county offices would be able to with the addition.

“It will serve a good purpose,” he said.

The project comes alongside another sidewalk installation the FDOT is working on the east side of U.S. 1 from Northrop Grumman to Stokes Landing Road, according to Speights. That project, which is expected to cost $928,000, began in January and is expected to end this summer.

Edward Adelbert Slavin
  • Edward Adelbert Slavin
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Check out the AARP and Smart Growth America websites re: "Dangerous by Design 2016" report -- the Jacksonville Metro area has the fourth largest number of pedestrians killed by cars. 379 people killed from 2005-2014. Seven of the top ten metro areas were in Florida. Excerpt from summary:  
"Between 2005 and 2014, a total of 46,149 people were struck and killed by cars while walking. In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, 4,884 people were killed by a car while walking—105 people more than in 2013. On average, 13 people were struck and killed by a car while walking every day in 2014. And between 2005 and 2014, Americans were 7.2 times more likely to die as a pedestrian than from a natural disaster. Each one of those people was a child, parent, friend, classmate, or neighbor. And these tragedies are occurring across the country—in small towns and big cities, in communities on the coast and in the heartland." 
"Dangerous by Design 2016 takes a closer look at this alarming epidemic, and once again ranks the 104 largest metro areas in the country, as well as every state, by the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) — a calculation of the share of local commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths." 
"The fourth edition of this report also includes a significant racial and income-based examination of the people who are most at risk, showing that people of color and older adults are overrepresented among pedestrian deaths, and that PDI is correlated with median household income and rates of uninsured individuals. Download the report to read the full findings." 
"This report is accompanied by two interactive maps of pedestrian fatalities as well as sortable tables of all state- and metro-level data." 
Look it up. Demand sidewalks. Now!

Edward Adelbert Slavin
  • Edward Adelbert Slavin
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1. Thanks to FDOT and the City for finally working toward building sidewalks on U.S. 1.
2. This basic amenity should have been done decades ago, especially in light of the custom, usage, practice and procedure of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Department of releasing jail prisoners at night, forcing those low-income released prisoners without transportation options to walk south on U.S. 1, resulting in several horrible deaths when pedestrian former prisoners walking alongside US 1 were run over by automobile and truck drivers.
3. Lack of sidewalks is a clear and present danger to pedestrian and bicyclist safety in St. Johns County, ignored by St. Johns County Administrator Michael David Wanchick and his minions, who pout about "nonessential" services, while allowing St. Johns County to be converted and perverted into an unreasonable facsimile of Broward County or Richardson, Texas, where Wanchick once worked, doing the bidding of developers, before he arrived here in 2007.
4. How about a story on the total numbers of persons hurt or killed along our highways and streets since 2000 due to lack of sidewalks?
5. Are these preventable injuries and deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists the foreseeable, direct and proximate result of bad planning and one-party Republican misrule -- allowing developers to build projects without sidewalks, and possible environmental racism on the part of government and corporate transportation plans?
6. Sidewalks are a basic public amenity and should be deemed a basic human right: they promote healthier living and save lives. Thank you!

Marty Miller
  • Marty Miller
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Now this sounds like a good use of bed tax funds that would actually benefit locals. Too bad it wouldn’t benefit beachfront residents.

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