City officials and residents working together

Hypolita Street
Thanks to some quick thinking on the part of Len Weeks, the cooperation of other Hypolita Street property owners and the support of the St. Augustine City Commission, one of the city’s four-block-long streets will be a little safer for pedestrians — tourists and residents alike.

Downtown St. Augustine was never designed to support the confluence of automobiles, motorcycles, motor homes, carriages, sightseeing vehicles and pedestrians that congest the narrow, often blind, streets and alleyways north of Cathedral Place.

It’s a miracle that more people aren’t seriously injured or killed everyday as visitors walk out into traffic on streets like Hypolita, Treasury and Cuna. When accidents do happen, moving emergency medical assistance to their location can be a nightmare.

Len Weeks is a large stakeholder in what happens on Hypolita Street as well as other streets within the historic district of the city. I was glad to see him take the initiative to act on this situation when he discovered that there were plans to add new meters to eight parking spaces that further congest the already congested cross-street between Avenida Menendez and Cordova.

Susan Burk was quoted in the local newspaper as saying that she would “sacrifice for the greater good” in going along with the wishes of all of the property owners on Hypolita who are in favor of removing the parking spaces in the interest of public safety.

I’m not sure her “sacrifice” is even worthy of comment and her comment just goes to show how selfish some elected official’s thinking can be.

Weeks’ mission was accomplished with City Manager Bill Harriss’ support and the support of those who are most affected by the decision; those who reside on Hypolita Street.

I would like to see more teamwork between residents and city officials trying to solve the downtown congestion problems — as well as a new dialog between the participants that might lead to further elimination of vehicular traffic in the most overcrowded historic areas of our city.

Photo credit: Historic City Media news photographer Kerry McGuire