Those residents who have questioned the efficacy of a $120,000+ mobility study whose purpose was merely to provide the framework for a comprehensive transportation and parking plan will probably be disappointed, but not surprised, Monday night when Littlejohn Engineering delivers their results — and likely asks for another $120,000 or more for the second half of the study that would offer a coordinated system of transportation options.
Littlejohn concludes that in order to improve mobility and livability in St. Augustine and the surrounding region, the transportation options must facilitate the efficient movement of more people in fewer cars, include an effective parking strategy and system, as well as functional, attractive streetscapes.
Some of the other pearls of wisdom gleaned from the framework include the following observations made by Littlejohn:
- The City of St. Augustine is suffering from diminished mobility as it lacks a coordinated system of transportation options.
- The existing transportation system is comprised of automobile-focused roads and access to a personal automobile is most desirable as the region lacks adequate bicycle facilities and efficient transit.
- Regional population growth, combined with the City’s popularity as a tourist destination, has overloaded the regional transportation network as demonstrated by frequent congestion and the failing Level of Service designations for many of the regional road segments.
- Status Quo auto-dependency has undermined the character and livability of our nation’s oldest City, particularly within the historic downtown.
- Heavy traffic volumes within the downtown core are promoted by the design and downtown alignment of Business US-1 which includes King Street and Cathedral Place.
- Personal automobile use by residents, visitors, students and workers strains the narrow local street network.
- This dynamic is further complicated by disparate parking infrastructure offered by the City and private entities, which generates added congestion as drivers often bypass the public garage in pursuit of the more than 1,200 surface parking spaces in downtown and free on-street parking in adjacent neighborhoods.
- Heavy automobile traffic, particularly during peak periods, in the downtown causes “character conflicts” whereby pedestrian, wheelchair and bicycle modes are undermined by the existing transportation and parking system.
If you plan to attend or address the commission, the regular meeting will be held Monday, November 14, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. in the Alcazar Room.