By Mike Spino
At the first public series of meetings this week about walking and cycling safety in Fernandina Beach, citizens expressed concern that the city’s quality of life is slipping because our roadways are insufficient for the vehicle size, speed and volume we now have.
Residents said it is unsafe to walk or cycle on the state roads — especially South Fletcher owing to poor street maintenance and deteriorating sidewalks.
Also, they pointed out, there is only one crosswalk on Atlantic Avenue between South 14th and the beach. They said crossing South Eighth Street for much of its length is unsafe. They said the state should do safety studies on these roadways and design infrastructure that slows down traffic. Some other issues from the meeting:
— Lower vehicle speeds across the island.
— Safety concerns on Citrona from vehicle speed, lack of crosswalks and stop signs.
— Concerns about the lack of bike lanes and safe passage westbound to the Shave Bridge.
Also presented were three specific proposals to improve walking and biking safety:
— A paved trail through the Lime Street park to connect Lime Street with South Seventh Street to allow safe passage off of South Eighth Street.
— Development and implementation of the TextMyGov application allowing residents to text safety problems directly to city staff for quicker resolution.
— A design study for Beech Street from South Eighth to South 14th to organize and improve parking, add a trail, slow traffic and provide trees.
Upcoming Citizens’ Task Force for Safe Walking and Biking in Fernandina Beach meetings:
May 23: 5-7 p.m. at the Peck Center.
May 31: 4-6 p.m. at City Hall, with a focus on selecting short-, mid- and long-term solutions.
June 12: 4-6 p.m. at City Hall; a draft task force report.
July 11: 6:00 p.m. at City Hall, presenting the final report to the city commission.
Besides these gatherings, citizens can make recommendations at www.FBFL.us/Citizens4Safety. Also, they can email Mike Spino at [email protected] with questions or comments.
Increased growth is affecting so many of our services. It affects our infrastructure and our quality of life. When new island developments and additional housing is proposed, there should be an environmental study implemented before building. Walking, biking is not safe—it’s not a small town, it’s a city.
Speaking as a long time and avid cyclist – The ultimate solution would be dedicated bike paths but we know that won’t happen. The bike lanes that we do have, need to be maintained and at least have some reflector bumps installed as to alert distracted drivers that they are drifting. The “bike lanes” on SR-200 are a joke. 14th street has ample space and a “bike shoulder” but it’s not maintained. Adding more traffic-light controlled intersections can actually decrease bike safety (look up the studies). As we all know with the recent unfortunate accident on the south part of the island, drivers are more distracted than ever. Seperating the cars from the bikes is the best, but expensive solution.
Also at the meeting was Robert Companion, Nassau County Deputy Manager and Engineer who provided an update on Amelia Island trail development. Mr. Companion reported that the first section of Amelia Island Trail extension on the Amelia Island Parkway will begin in June. Completion all the way to S. 8th St. is projected by 2026. A feasibility study is also underway for the Will Hardee/Sadler/S. 14th St. renovation and trail addition. The Schools to Downtown Waterfront Trail is on the Transportation Planning Organization list for future funding. The county has requested funding for trail study for S. 8th from Sadler to the Shave Bridge.
It doesn’t matter what you do there’s always going to be complainers. Don’t you people realize the money to do all these projects comes out of YOUR POCKETS by way of taxes? The government don’t make money, they take money, and more often than not, they piss it away on needless things.
Getting the state to fix our roads with our state and federal tax dollars only makes sense. You already paid for it.
I would love my tax dollars to go to more dedicated bike lanes on the island.
when driving, one of the biggest fears is the “heavy-duty” fast road bikes, especially in groups of 10 or more, who often drift off outside the painted bike lanes, You are often forced to slow down and drive more to the left (middle) side of the road to be sure to avoid hitting a biker
Given the number of walkers, joggers, bikers and kids going back and forth to school, the situation on Citrona can be quite dangerous. As a daily walker, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve almost been hit by drivers who can’t bother to look both ways before driving across a sidewalk or those who think the far side of the pedestrian crosswalk is the stop sign line.