Zarkis named as new city bike/ped coordinator

Stephanie Zarkis
Stephanie Zarkis

Stephanie Zarkis, Jacksonville’s new Bicycle and Pedestrian coordinator, is serious about doing everything she can to make the city safer for those traveling on two wheels or two legs.

“I am excited for this new opportunity,” said Zarkis who worked in the City’s Transportation and Planning Division for the past two and a half years. “I worked closely with[former Bike/Ped Coordinator] Amy [Ingles] on a variety of bicycle and pedestrian projects, and I helped staff the Mobility Plan Working Group and the Context Sensitive Streets Standards Committee.”

Zarkis, a former Riverside resident, also sees a benefit in biking to work daily. “I enjoy biking, running, and walking for both transportation and recreation,” she said. “I often bike on the S-line Rail Trail and the Baldwin Rail Trail. I worked closely with the cycling community alongside Amy Ingles, and I look forward to continuing our good working relationship.”

Zarkis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography from the University of Florida and a master’s degree of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University. Prior to working for the City of Jacksonville she was a transportation planner for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, where she worked on a mix of long-range transit planning as well as bicycle and pedestrian projects. 

“While in graduate school, I had an internship with the New York City Department of Transportation working on pedestrian safety projects,” she said.

Zarkis said her primary goal as she takes over her new position is to make Jacksonville a safer place for bicyclists and pedestrians. “My focus is on implementing the recommendations of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan,” she said. “There are multiple bicycle and pedestrian projects identified by the plan in Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods.”

Currently Zarkis said she is implementing two pedestrian safety programs from the city’s master plan, The Strategic Neighbor-hood Action Program for Pedestrians (SNAPP), a neighborhood-based sidewalk assessment, maintenance and infill program and the Targeted Roadway Improvements Program (TRIPS). 

The Phoenix neighborhood is the first to receive SNAPP attention, with $2.5 million in funding for this year. Although sidewalks in Avondale and Riverside are not on the docket to be fixed through the program, in the near future those neighborhoods will eventually have their turn, Zarkis said. “In the coming years, this program will ultimately be funded and implemented in all needed areas across the City of Jacksonville,” she said.

TRIPS is a corridor-based safety improvement program for crash hot-spot locations. Through the program, high visibility crosswalks, mid-block crossings, traffic calming, lighting and other safety improvement measures are implemented, she said. 

“The City is in the process of installing over 80 Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) in high crash locations throughout Jacksonville,” she said, noting the new pedestrian crosswalk on University Boulevard in Lakewood as well as the dangerous crossing areas near St. Nicholas Center on Beach Boulevard and near Bishop Kenny High School on Atlantic Boulevard are state roads governed by the Florida Department of Transportation and not included in the TRIPS program.

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