Lee Geanuleas attended the San Marco Avenue parking and re-striping plan meeting Wednesday night and filed this report with Historic City News yesterday.
The city’s Mobility Program Manager, Reuben Franklin, did most of the briefing during the public meeting. This is the “compromise plan” referred to by city officials as “Option Alt B” and it basically involves two components.
A- Reconfiguration by re-striping San Marco Avenue to remove on-street parking between SR-16 (Picolata Road) south to Hope Street to accommodate a dedicated southbound shuttle/trolley/bike lane.
B- The creation of a dedicated bike lane northbound.
The City proposes to offset the lost parking spots with a new public-private timesharing deal at existing private parking lots on Bernard Street behind the Raintree Restaurant, the Limelight Theater, and the Dairy Queen, as well as on Hope Street behind Borrillo’s Pizzeria & Beer Garden.
The City also proposes to add between 15-19 metered parking spaces on the eastern ends of Cincinnati Avenue and Rohde Avenue respectively.
While logical in terms of what it is trying to achieve with the opportunity presented by FDOT’s planned resurfacing of San Marco Avenue, Geanuleas says that he and others in attendance have expressed concerns:
- There is no formal agreement for the public-private parking time-share deal with any of the four businesses. It’s not clear if they will even agree or what it might cost the city in time-share “rent.” Also, if the businesses agree, the city will improve the three non-paved lots and install meters (Dairy Queen is already paved). How much will that cost and is there money in the current budget for this?
- The time-sharing concept requires public parking patrons to be out by 5:00 p.m. That seems workable with the theater and the Raintree since they are evening operations. That’s more problematic with the Dairy Queen and Borrillo’s Pizzeria & Beer Garden. They are open for lunch and stay open until 8:30 p.m. They are required by Code to provide a certain number of parking spaces for patrons (one space per four seats). If these two establishments don’t have excess parking, will the city waive their requirement?
- Pushing metered parking into residential neighborhoods is a BAD idea. The neighborhood that includes Rohde and Cincinnati is already under pressure from the proposed San Marco Hotel on West Castillo Drive, it doesn’t need a “flank attack” in the form of for-pay parking spots on residential streets.
- Included in the northern-most parking lot box on Bernard Street is a private residence (22 Bernard St). Was that just an oversight or does the city propose to buy and demolish this house?
If the City of St Augustine intends to express a preference to the Florida Department of Transportation, which they do, a decision, even though not binding on FDOT, needs to be made quickly. Staff intends to take their preference to the city commission for endorsement on July 10th.