Faster than a speeding dump truck our history, nature and quality of life in St. Augustine and St. Johns County are being destroyed by developers, aided and abetted by corporations like AirBnb.
Good story by our friend and neighbor, Jessica Clark, from First Coast News.
Residents watch as short term rentals and speeding cars fill St. Augustine road
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla — It seems a small road in St. Augustine is the spot people want to be, and the effects aren't sitting well with the people who live there.
Short term rentals are giving homes -- where people actually live -- a run for their money on Riberia Street.
And speeding is something that can’t be ignored by the folks live or visit the road.
"There's all kinds of traffic," Helen Coney, 91, said as she stood on her front porch on Riberia Street in St. Augustine.
She has lived on or near Riberia Street in St. Augustine since 1972.
In the last five years of those 50 years, Coney said more people are building along her street
"They're building more houses along here," she nodded.
She has also watched people speed more along the two-lane road in this neighborhood near downtown St. Augustine.
"Especially around 5 o’clock," she said as a car sped by, "in the afternoon, when people are getting off work."
Coney even has a sign in the yard of her yard that reads 'SLOW DOWN. PEOPLE LIVE HERE'.
It’s possibly speaking to the visitors who come to this street and stay in short term rentals. There are plenty to choose from. According to city records, there are 19 short term rentals in a one mile stretch of Riberia Street.
"That is insane," Emme Castellow said. The Flagler College student lives about a half mile down the road near the intersection where Riberia runs by the Ice Plant and Distillery. It's an increasingly popular part of town with new restaurants and art galleries opening up.
"People speed down this road all the time," Castellow looked at Riberia.
“What’s really difficult is there’s no crosswalk for us to get across the street safely, but the sidewalk is on the on other side of the street," Castellow noted.
"So we have scurry across as fast as possible."
St. Augustine city commissioners discussed short term rentals and speeding along Riberia at a meeting this week.
Some people say the speeding and short term rentals are not connected.
Others say they are.
According to the St. Augustine Police Department, the city had installed devices along the road to monitor speed. They are no longer there.
However, the speeding is still there.
And so are the short term rentals.
And Coney sees it all from her front porch.
"Everything is building up here with so many houses and it’s getting to be busy," she said.