Hendricks crosswalk to increase safety and walkability near Bold Bean

Hendricks crosswalk to increase safety and walkability near Bold Bean
Area on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco where a mid-block crosswalk is scheduled to be installed by FDOT in August.

There is happy news for patrons of Bold Bean Coffee Roasters and other neighboring businesses on Hendricks Avenue north of Atlantic Boulevard. The Florida Department of Transportation is planning to install a mid-block crosswalk near the entrance of the popular coffeehouse in mid-August.

The project will include a striped crosswalk and push-button walk signal with rectangular rapid flashing beacons, said Sara Pleasants, community outreach specialist for FDOT. The installation is expected to be completed by mid-October, weather and schedule permitting, she said, noting the estimated cost of the crosswalk it $53,160.

When Bold Bean first opened in October 2016, its owners had an arrangement with Southside Baptist Church so that its customers could use the church’s Hendricks Avenue parking lot across the street from the coffeehouse. However, under the advice of attorney Robert Harris of Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A., next door to the coffee café, the church decided it was too much of a liability to allow Bold Bean customers to continue to park in its lot without the safety of a crosswalk nearby. “It was just too great a risk for the church to take,” said Dr. Gary Webber, senior pastor of Southside Baptist Church. 

The crosswalk did not come about due to a request for a survey by the owners of Bold Bean, said Pleasants. “The Florida Department of Transportation routinely reviews areas for potential safety improvements,” Pleasants said. “In this case, the department determined that a crosswalk at the location would improve safety.”

Without the parking lot, many Bold Bean customers have been forced to park on neighboring residential streets. Once the crosswalk is installed, parking pressure in front of homes in adjacent neighborhoods may be relieved as the church is willing to revisit its parking arrangement with the coffee establishment, said Webber. “As far as we are concerned, our issue was always an issue of pedestrian safety. That was always our concern,” he said. “If that issue is addressed, we would certainly be happy to talk to the folks at Bold Bean.”

Zack Burnett, managing partner at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters, said news of the crosswalk was exciting. “We believe it will increase the walkability, safety and success of San Marco as a whole,” he said. “The crosswalk will improve the connectivity between all of the business in our mid-block area to all of the other businesses and residential areas in the Hendricks/Landon/San Marco triangle.

“I believe creating more walkable and well-connected neighborhoods not only alleviates stress of parking, but it also leads to safer, healthier neighborhoods and an overall higher quality of life. Recently I have been very happy to see some solutions put into place such as Beach Buggies, which intend to reduce the stress of parking while increasing connectivity within the neighborhood. We look forward to seeing more creative solutions as the neighborhood continues to grow,” he continued.

Burnett said it was his hope when opening the coffee shop in San Marco that his location would “bridge the gap between the business district of the Square with the district further down” north along Hendricks Avenue. “We envisioned the infill encouraging people to park in one place in the neighborhood or walk out their front door and walk between numerous well-connected businesses. I believe that this crosswalk will bring us closer to that reality. Greater walkability in the neighborhood will be a benefit to the city and our residents as a whole,” he said.

“Once the safety and liability issues are eliminated, I really do hope that Dr. Webber and the church will consider discussing the possibility of opening their parking lot again to the public during non-church hours. We have been and remain open to doing whatever we can to work with Dr. Webber and the church in addressing any issues on this, but ultimately, as it is their property any decision to open the lot will be in their hands.”

Jay Burnett, Zack’s father and founder of Bold Bean, also expressed his joy in hearing the crosswalk would soon be a reality. “The parking and pedestrian situation in San Marco has indeed been a challenge, not only for us, but for other businesses and their patrons in San Marco,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the addition of the new crosswalk will help what is and has been an issue in the neighborhood for some time.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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