Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 25, 2019 – 10:20 a.m.
Fernandina Beach City Manager Dale Martin reports that talks between the city and First Coast Railroad on a proposed sidewalk to link Centre and Ash Streets on the east side of the railroad tracks are progressing well. Both pedestrians and the railroad have expressed safety concerns over the current situation. In order to reach the waterfront, many pedestrians violate safety rules and walk across rail tracks; others risk competing with traffic to walk along Front Street.
City Preservation Planner Sal Cumella has prepared a recommendation for the fence necessary to separate pedestrian and train traffic. In keeping with Historic District Design Guidelines, the proposed fence is designed to compliment both areas and provide a functional barrier for pedestrian safety.
The proposed design, constructed of durable modern materials, is inspired by the rusticated block walls and wrought iron fences commonly seen throughout the Downtown Fernandina Beach Historic District. Materials were chosen that will need minimum maintenance and be easy to replace if a section becomes damaged.
Funding for this new sidewalk would be drawn from Administration impact fees ($100,000 proposed in current budget).
There is no current timeline for constructing the sidewalk and the fence. Once engineering and construction plans for the project have been completed, railroad officials will review and comment on the final plans.
There are no plans to extend the sidewalk and fence to the north at this time.