City Manager needs backup for Nelmar vs North Beach decision

550-275-MAY-MAGNOLIA-DOUGLAHistoric City News was informed that during Monday night’s meeting of the St Augustine City Commission, City Manager John Regan will take on the looming battle between the powerful Nelmar Terrace Neighborhood and residents of North Beach over the impact of “cut-through” driving.

Regan is siding with Nelmar Terrace after completing a recent holiday weekend survey that included the collection of vehicle speeds, direction of travel, and other factors that contribute to traffic congestion.  The study concluded that the level of cut-through traffic has degraded public safety in Nelmar Terrace because the volume of traffic far exceeds the average daily trips normally associated with urban residential streets.

“It is within the authority of the City Manager to enact changes to City roadway design, ingress and egress,” Regan told reporters. “The traffic analysis, and the level of public acceptance by the Nelmar Neighborhood residents, led me to enact changes to the May Street – Douglas Avenue intersection, the May Street – Magnolia Avenue intersection, and the San Marco Avenue – East San Carlos Avenue intersection.”

It may be “within the authority of the City Manager”, but on this decision, while he is still being questioned over his choice of a mobility consultant and resident task force, Regan is foregoing his “authority” for a certain degree of “protection” from heat that will no doubt be generated by those who feel it is a mistake to close public roads.

“Due to the sensitivity of my recommendations, I think it is best to seek the consensus of the City Commission and provide an opportunity for public input,” Regan explained.

Recent comments by Historic City News readers have expressed concern that this decision is too close to reconstruction planned by the Florida Department of Transportation just a few blocks away at May Street and San Marco Avenue.  Others have complained that they pay the same taxes to maintain public roads as Nelmar Terrace, so they want equal access.  One was concerned that a precedent would be established that could haunt city management in the future if other neighborhoods wanted to close entrances, exits, or through traffic on their streets.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Convert the May St/Douglas Ave. intersection (northside) to a “right turn exit only”. This eliminates the ability to use the intersection for west and east bound cut-through traffic.
  1. Convert the May St/Magnolia Ave. intersection (northside) to a “right turn exit only”. This eliminates the ability to use the intersection for west and east bound cut through traffic.
  1. Close East San Carlos Ave. at the East San Carlos Ave./San Marco Ave. intersection.
  1. Review and optimize signal timing after the change to E. East San Carlos Ave.
  1. Recommend to FDOT the implementation of signage at A1A and CR-210 to encourage southbound A1A traffic to use CR-210 and US-1 to avoid “congestion ahead”.
  1. Implement the changes as soon as practically possible.

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