Historic City News was notified that Vilano Beach residents and their supporters will participate in a “Walk the Bridge” march on Saturday, March 3, to protest the increased congestion and danger caused by the City’s decision to erect barricades, on North Magnolia and Douglas Avenue, and East San Carlos, causing significant problems on an already dysfunctional May Street.
The Seafood Festival is this weekend, and traffic will be significant. All marchers are encouraged to wear RED, signifying long lines of tail lights sitting in traffic.
There will be two options for the marchers:
Meet at 11:30 a.m. at the parking lot located on the north side of the east end of the Vilano Beach Bridge. At noon, marchers will walk west, over the bridge; meet marchers from Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor, continuing to the May Street barricades. They will march to the North Magnolia Avenue barricade, and engage with motorists sitting in traffic. Then they will return to the initial meeting place about 3:00 p.m.
Participants unable to walk the bridge, will meet on May Street at the North Magnolia Avenue barricades at noon.
Bob Slawson is coordinating the March with Lisa Lloyd. For more information, contact Lisa Lloyd at 904-377-4840 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They are seeking to make a strong visual statement in walking along what is expected to be a long line of traffic, extended east, past the Vilano Beach Bridge.
Organizers are encouraging signs, expressing the following focus points:
- Remove the barricades.
- The illegal, unexpected turns out of the two streets are extremely dangerous.
- The safety of Vilano Beach residents matters.
- Traffic during Nights of Lights was extensive. Congestion during City events,
for the Spring season, has already created serious delays on the May Street corridor, which has been dramatically increased by the closure of the three streets. Vilano residents are increasing unable to get to and from homes, businesses, schools…
- The Mayor is not taking seriously the hardship the increased congestion due to the barricades have caused. She continues to mention 3 minute delays which do not reflect the actual extent of the delays which are significantly longer (often 45 minutes.) During a Vilano Main Street event on February 15th, the Mayor continued to maintain that significant congestion delays were just a “perception” on the part of residents, and that the decision to barricade the streets was supported by data.
- Residents point to flawed data, manipulated to provide the unsubstantiated desire of a small, vocal group in Nelmar Terrace to close off the public streets in their neighborhood, without any input from or consideration for the impact on those who must travel the May Street corridor.
- The barricades went up promptly before Election Day, despite Hurricane Matthew. (Vilano residents are County residents, and can’t vote in City elections.)
The march is intended to gain attention from the City, which has refused to acknowledge that removing access to the three streets has created significant hardship to those who must travel on May Street to get to and from their homes and families. The City insists the closures relate to safety and livability for Nelmar neighborhood – marchers will be advocating that those issues should apply to those who live on the east end of May Street as well.