In a victory for the grassroots efforts of Historic City News readers to halt a misguided plan that was advanced in the name of the City of St Augustine, but widely rejected by members of the community, the Florida Department of Transportation announced to William Ferrigno that the state will ditch plans to eliminate on-street parking along the Historic San Marco Shopping District.
When state officials announced the resurfacing of the San Marco Avenue corridor, between West Castillo Drive and SR-16, city commissioner Todd Neville seized the opportunity, along with city manager John Regan, to designate city staffer Rueben Franklin to write an “official” recommendation for the corridor that would eliminate street parking and create bicycle lanes and trolley lanes; part of their personal vision for the city of the future.
“Special thanks to the FDOT for keeping their word,” Ferrigno told local reporters, saying that residents and merchants who worked for this outcome are so grateful. “They invited public involvement and comments, saying that no decisions are final until public comments are received and tabulated.”
On Friday, September 1st, Renee Brinkley, Consultant Project Manager for District 2, revealed the official FDOT decision. “On-street parking will remain on San Marco Avenue from SR-16 to West Castillo Drive, with sight-safety considerations” — proving wrong the adage and indicating that apparently you CAN fight city hall.
Ferrigno told Historic City News, “After months of meetings with the city commissioners and the FDOT; the signing and distribution of our petition; the many emails from St Augustine residents; and the power of social media, we have overturned the city’s plan to replace on-street parking from Hope Street to SR-16 with dedicated bike and shuttle lanes.”
Historic City News has publicly observed that the removal of customer parking would have been devastating to businesses and property values.
“We don’t think St Augustine should be turned into another Beijing; overrun with bicycles, even though that would please Todd and Heather Neville. Nor, do we think a passenger shuttle running between city-metered parking lots is a clever idea, even though that would please John Regan,” editor Michael Gold wrote for the publication.
“Many thanks to the residents, merchants and business owners for all their efforts to make this possible,” Ferrigno said.