Roundabouts, safety spur talk of Square redesign

Roundabouts, safety spur talk of Square redesign

By Susanna P. Barton

 

As the last phases of the San Marco Boulevard road project take shape, District 5 City Councilwoman Lori Boyer, San Marco Preservation Society and the San Marco Merchants Association representatives have been investigating how long term improvements to square traffic can be implemented while streetscape construction is still underway.

Doug Skiles, an engineer with Envision Design & Engineering and immediate past-president of SMPS, and Boyer met with city Public Works Director Jim Robinson last month to discuss several ideas relating to traffic problems in the square — and how they could be curtailed.

The first issue was how to prevent traffic backing up in the southbound lanes of San Marco Boulevard from the traffic signal in the square to beyond the new Naldo roundabout — slated to be installed in late 2012 or early 2013 at the northernmost edge of the square. The second issue concerned pedestrian safety and the number of lanes going through the square (two lanes in all directions) compared to the number of lanes entering and exiting the square (one lane in all directions), according to Skiles.

“Even though the second lane is supposed to be fore cars backing out of angled spaces, we have noticed that many drivers use this lane for passing,” Skiles explained. “These same individuals also do not seem to be aware of the state law that mandates stopping for pedestrians in marked crosswalks.”

The groups presented several solutions to these issues during the meeting with Robinson last month. Skiles explained how several proposed plans could potentially bring an exciting new look and function to San Marco Square.

“A conceptual solution has been proposed that would remove the traffic signal at the San Marco Boulevard and Atlantic Boulevard intersection (between the Lions and Balis Park).  The pavement currently within the intersection would be removed and turned into green space.  Balis Place would be turned into a one-way street northbound and used by traffic going north through the Square (from Hendricks Avenue to San Marco Boulevard) and east through the Square (from San Marco Boulevard to Atlantic Boulevard).  Southbound traffic from San Marco Boulevard to Hendricks Avenue and westbound traffic from Atlantic Boulevard to San Marco Boulevard would remain as it is currently.”

He said a nice byproduct of this solution would be a central green space that would “significantly improve the pedestrian experience in the Square.”

” No longer would patrons crossing from one side to the next have to worry about three separate road crossings and figure out whether the light is red or not.  Larger community activities would be possible that wouldn’t require shutting down traffic,” he indicated. “Additional public parking would be created.”

Boyer’s office staff confirmed Boyer met with Robinson last month and made a presentation regarding Skiles’ suggested improvements. The councilwoman believed the ideas were well received, but he would be reviewing it with his staff.

Both San Marco Preservation Society and San Marco Merchants Association support the solution.

The goal is to see the work completed within the time frame planned for the remainder of the San Marco Boulevard construction project, Skiles added.

Any residents interested in finding out more about the project and to help in its development can contact the SMPS office at (904)396-0081 or [email protected].

 

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By Susanna P. Barton

 

                As the last phases of the San Marco Boulevard road project take shape, District 5 City Councilwoman Lori Boyer, San Marco Preservation Society and the San Marco Merchants Association representatives have been investigating how long term improvements to square traffic can be implemented while streetscape construction is still underway.

                Doug Skiles, an engineer with Envision Design & Engineering and immediate past-president of SMPS, and Boyer met with city Public Works Director Jim Robinson last month to discuss several ideas relating to traffic problems in the square — and how they could be curtailed.

                The first issue was how to prevent traffic backing up in the southbound lanes of San Marco Boulevard from the traffic signal in the square to beyond the new Naldo roundabout — slated to be installed in late 2012 or early 2013 at the northernmost edge of the square. The second issue concerned pedestrian safety and the number of lanes going through the square (two lanes in all directions) compared to the number of lanes entering and exiting the square (one lane in all directions), according to Skiles.

                “Even though the second lane is supposed to be fore cars backing out of angled spaces, we have noticed that many drivers use this lane for passing,” Skiles explained. “These same individuals also do not seem to be aware of the state law that mandates stopping for pedestrians in marked crosswalks.”

                The groups presented several solutions to these issues during the meeting with Robinson last month. Skiles explained how several proposed plans could potentially bring an exciting new look and function to San Marco Square.

                “A conceptual solution has been proposed that would remove the traffic signal at the San Marco Boulevard and Atlantic Boulevard intersection (between the Lions and Balis Park).  The pavement currently within the intersection would be removed and turned into green space.  Balis Place would be turned into a one-way street northbound and used by traffic going north through the Square (from Hendricks Avenue to San Marco Boulevard) and east through the Square (from San Marco Boulevard to Atlantic Boulevard).  Southbound traffic from San Marco Boulevard to Hendricks Avenue and westbound traffic from Atlantic Boulevard to San Marco Boulevard would remain as it is currently.”

                He said a nice byproduct of this solution would be a central green space that would “significantly improve the pedestrian experience in the Square.”

                ” No longer would patrons crossing from one side to the next have to worry about three separate road crossings and figure out whether the light is red or not.  Larger community activities would be possible that wouldn’t require shutting down traffic,” he indicated. “Additional public parking would be created.”

                Boyer’s office staff confirmed Boyer met with Robinson last month and made a presentation regarding Skiles’ suggested improvements. The councilwoman believed the ideas were well received, but he would be reviewing it with his staff.

                Both San Marco Preservation Society and San Marco Merchants Association support the solution.

                The goal is to see the work completed within the time frame planned for the remainder of the San Marco Boulevard construction project, Skiles added.

                Any residents interested in finding out more about the project and to help in its development can contact the SMPS office at (904)396-0081 or [email protected].

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