St. Augustine Residents Want Safer Roads After Recent Accidents

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A rise in pedestrian, cyclist, and skateboard-related accidents have led concerned citizens to make strides in an effort to improve public safety regulations throughout the city of St. Augustine.

The latest corridor of concern is Anastasia Boulevard, where an SUV struck and killed a 16-year-old skateboarder as he crossed the four lanes that make up this section of A1A Highway — which according to First Coast News the skateboarder’s family has called “a death trap.”

One of the major concerns is the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks, especially within the area of the recent incident. Only one crosswalk exists on the 1.2 mile stretch between Bridge of Lions and a local elementary school along Anastasia Boulevard, according to News4Jax.

A study conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation discovered that more research was needed about pedestrian crosswalks crossing Anastasia Boulevard. A pedestrian road safety audit published in February 2015 said that an intersection near last month’s accident had “no detectable warning signs” and “lines are faded and worn.”

The speed limit in the area is 40 miles per hour but 30 miles per hour crossing Bridge of Lions, a major bridge that connects the intracoastal to the mainland. Residents quoted in News4Jax believe the speed limit should in fact be slower and that caution must be taken at all times.

According to a neighborhood traffic management program, the City Commission “is aware that speeding is the most common residential traffic complaint reported to law enforcement.” In 2012 a 49-year-old bicyclist was killed less than half a mile from the skateboarder incident. A 26-year-old was a victim of a hit-and-run crash on a residential road in 2014, and in February a man suffered from major injuries after being struck by a driver going south on U.S. 1, according to news reports.

But residents are not the only ones whose safety is at stake. America’s first colonized city, St. Augustine, attracts millions of tourists yearly, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “I just hope the city of St. Augustine realizes the impact of all these people…It’s a tourist town and I just hope that they take something out of this,” a resident told News4Jax.

While FDOT continues to look into further improvements, some strides have been made. A rural road near the Flagler Estates saw crews adding new road signs in an intersection where two women were killed this past February. These signs include a fresh lettered “Stop Ahead” and a warning sign 400 ft. prior to the stop sign.

More visible lines have been drawn and pedestrian walk buttons replaced since the FDOT’s 2015 study—but this is only the beginning of the agency’s efforts. A resident told News4Jax that he will continue to ride his bike, but he suggests drivers to slow down.

“You are going to ruin someone else’s world if you don’t slow down,” the resident said.

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