Hopefully lessons can be learned from catastrophic events and such is the case after Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans. It was realized afterward that most all the street signs were either damaged or lost and emergency vehicles could not identify where they were in the debris filled streets of New Orleans.
With that in mind, the St. Augustine Police Department (SAPD) requested that the Public Works Department (PWD) investigate the installation of permanent street markers to be placed in the roadways in various locations throughout the city.
Also, the SAPD installed a professional weather station at the St. Augustine Police Department located at 151 King St.
The markers were considered Phase 1 and the weather station, Phase 2, to make the City of St. Augustine safer especially during hurricane season.
After researching the available options for permanent street markers, the PWD and the SAPD chose thermoplastic street markers. The thermoplastic signs are visible to vehicles, reflective, will not become a â€˜trip or slipâ€™ hazard to pedestrians and will not damage the city street sweeper. Cost was also a factor and it was determined that the signs fell in the moderate range compared to other options.
A couple of months ago the PWD installed a sample thermoplastic street marker in the roadway at the intersection of Riberia and King streets and placed it purposely in the wheel path of the travel lane. The specific placement was so that it would be run over more than normal and receive intense usage over a short period of time.
Pleased with the results on how well the thermoplastic signs worked, the city ordered 35 signs. Shown here are Chief of Police Loran Lueders and Director of Public Works Martha Campbell, P. E. at intersection of Martin Luther King Ave. and Bridge St.
The signs in the roadway will be placed in specific areas throughout the city limits.
The approximate total cost to the city is less than $5,000 plus staff time to install the signs. After an intense storm of any kind, emergency vehicles and non-local workers will be able to respond faster and more accurately to assist the residents of the city regardless of whether the vertical street signs are visible.
The second phase to make the city safer was the installation of a professional weather station located at the St. Augustine Police Department. Now, city residents and visitors alike can get up to date, real time weather information in order to make decisions about what they need to do during an approaching storm.
Utilizing grant funding, the SAPD installed a Davis Vantage Pro 2 weather station at the beginning of the hurricane season and linked the station to the internet via the website Weather Underground. Their site can be found at www.wunderground.com. Anyone can download the data by clicking on to the site and then the weather station box and scrolling down to KFLSTAUG9. This information is available 365 days of the year. You can also view weekly and monthly data.
For further information on the roadway signage call the Department of Public Works at 825.1040 and for information on the weather station, call Commander Steve Fricke at the St. Augustine Police Department at 825.1074.