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  • A Concerned Resident

Right Turns Only

Hi, we are back. I thought after posting last night about the “Quality of Nightlife Strategic Plan” I would have a few days off before the City of St. Augustine decided to do something else moronic. I was wrong. I posted our views, crawled into bed and slept. The next morning, I woke up to a front-page story in the Record about a new traffic pattern for downtown.

My first thought was the Record had developed a sense of humor. I mean c'mon they can't be serious. Sorry, I am getting ahead of myself here. Let me tell you about what the city wants to do.

Here is the proposal. The City wants to make everyone coming over the Bridge of Lions towards downtown, turn right. Yep, there is no more going up Cathedral Place, no more turning left onto the Bay Front. You cross the bridge, you make a right turn.

Yep, you read that correctly, cross the Bridge of Lions and go right. No longer can you turn let and go up the bayfront towards Lincolnville. Want to shop on Cathedral Street or go to church or the bank? Nope, find another way to get there.

Why is the city proposing this idea? To answer this, the City of St. Augustine gives us two reasons:

The first, is because there is traffic downtown. Thank you, City Commissioners, for bring this to our attention, we hadn’t noticed the traffic. Do they really think this is going to fix the problem?

If you start requiring all traffic to turn right, you are not relieving traffic, you are just shifting it. Imagine you are crossing the bridge and want to go to Lincolnville, US1, or onto Cathedral Place how would you get there under this proposal?

Do you cut through some of the smaller side streets like Hypolita or Cuna? Sure, that is just what those small, narrow, side streets, with tons of pedestrians need. More cars.

Better yet go up Orange Street. Go right past an elementary school, because nothing says safety like thousands of cars going past an elementary school. Oh, and for those of you who don’t know, the school is on one side of Orange Street and the gym is on the other. Elementary students have to cross that street every day to go to gym class. Under the proposed change, it would be like “Frogger” but with small children. What could go wrong?

Yes, you could go down to Castillo, then turn on Riberia and again drive past an elementary school. You could also go Castillo to US1, then down King Street. Because we all know that there is not already a bunch of traffic heading east on King street.

Or go Castillio to US1, then cut through a residential side street; I am sure those living on Lemon, Carerra, Saragossa, ect, won't mind even more cars going past their homes. They would love the increase in traffic; any business would love an increase in traffic. Oh wait, these are residences, not businesses. That is right, businesses, want more cars passing by, not residences. But that is what the city is doing. They are moving the cars, the traffic, away from the business district into a residential area and past an elementary school.

This proposal has really simplified things.

The second reason that the City gives us for this proposal is that most people turn right anyway. There are so many things wrong with this logic. Let’s point out just a few…

One problem is that if most cars do turn right, then what is the problem? What I am saying is that if that many cars are already turning right, there should be so few cars going straight or left that there shouldn’t be any traffic going left or straight. Right?

But the City says that too many cars are going straight and left so we need to change the traffic pattern? And they also say that most cars go to the right…. I am getting confused here. Ok City of St. Augustine, are most cars turning right or are there too many cars going left and straight?

The other reason that I have an issue with the “most cars turn right anyway” argument is that I don’t like the government shutting things down because more people, (more people according to them), do something. More people shop at Walmart and Target than at a small shop on St. George Street. Should we shut that store down? Might decrease some of the traffic.

If more people buy beer at Winn Dixie or Publix than a small bar downtown should we shut that down as well? According to the City’s logic the answer would be yes.

The City of St. Augustine’s proposal to force all traffic coming over the Bridge of Lions to turn right is wrong for so many reasons as I have outlined above. But just in case my arguments haven’t persuaded you yet let me give you one final reason:

The City approved the May Street project.

Wake Up St. Augustine!

- A Concerned resident

P.S.: Lets have some fun with this proposal. I don’t know if this proposal has an official name yet, so let’s help the city out. Leave your suggestions for the proposal in the comments below.

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