Phase 1 Bayfront Improvements
for the 450th Commemoration
A Phased Master Plan
During the planning study, several schemes were created envisioning bicycle lanes, dedicated transit (i.e. carriage) lanes, lane reductions (north-bound), traffic-calming improvements, and enhanced pedestrian connections with new crosswalks and wider sidewalks. A three-phased implementation approach was selected by the City Commission:
- Phase 1 - 2012: Expanding on pedestrian improvements recently completed,
- Phase 2 - 2015: A reduced NPS parking lot, improved transit drop-off, and new crosswalk for connections to NPS visitor center, and
- Phase 3 - 2016: SRA1A modifications that may include lane diets, a designated transit lane, etc.
Phase 1 - Pedestrian Improvements
Phase 1 provides needed pedestrian improvements before the 450th Commemoration and continues ongoing federally-funded work. These improvements include a narrow sidewalk along Orange Street, a wider sidewalk along the east side of SRA1A, and improved crosswalks at Fort Alley and Cuna Street. Phase 1 will convert Orange Street to a transit-only brick street for east-bound traffic, create wider sidewalks along the west side of SRA1A (heavily used by school groups), and create new lighted crosswalks at Orange Street and Hypolita Street. Pedestrian connections to the Bridge of Lions and bayfront are improved south of the Castillo, including a new event space for the 450th Commemoration, wider walks along the seawall, and bayfront overlooks. Pedestrian bulb-outs are also recommended on the west side of Avenida Menendez.
Phase 1: Orange Street Improvements
The Orange Street connection is designed to create a clear, pedestrian-focused route between the VIC (where most visitors arrive and park) and the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, which is the top destination in downtown.
East-bound traffic from Cordova Street (intersection at the VIC) and South Castillo Drive will be restricted to sightseeing trams, public transit, and horse carriages. While the community needed the west bound traffic to remain open to all traffic, the community has continually supported closing the east-bound traffic allowing a safer connection for visitors to St. Augustine.
- Red Brick = Visitor Connection:
The wide asphalt roadway will be narrowed and bricked, continuing the brick used in the VIC and creating a visual connector to St. George Street and the Castillo.
- Expanding Sidewalks:
Sidewalks on either side of Orange Street are further widened, expanding on the pedestrian improvements that were recently completed in May 2011.
- Reestablishing the Cubo Line: The northern wall of the historic city, the ‘Cubo line,’ will be finished between the Santo Domingo redoubt (at the intersection of Orange and Cordova) and the City Gates. The resulting line will stretch from the Castillo to the redoubt, recreating this link and directing visitors to downtown and the fort.
- Additional Safe Crossing Opportunities: The existing crosswalks on SRA1A are located at Fort Alley and Cuna Street. While the ongoing pedestrian improvements are installing wider, brick crosswalks at these locations, these improvements do not address the 650+ people each day who cross between the VIC and Fort Alley. To provide additional safe opportunities for pedestrians to connect between the east and west sides of SRA1A, additional lighted pedestrian crossings are proposed at Orange and Hypolita Streets. Interconnection of these lights is a critical component to aid traffic flow along SRA1A.
Phase 1: South Castillo Drive Improvements
Throughout the planning process, the need to expand sidewalks along the west side of South Castillo Drive (SRA1A) was continually noted. This 5’ sidewalk is highly utilized by school groups, which park buses at the VIC and walk along the narrow sidewalk to the first lighted crosswalk at Fort Alley (300’ south of Orange Street).
Since the community did not want to adjust the roadway prior to the 450th Commemoration to accomplish the objective, the City is planning to work with private business owners to create wider sidewalks. This should address the unique ‘pedestrian-to-pedestrian’ conflicts identified by the transportation planner in the 2010 planning study. Field observations showed that pedestrians were actually walking in the roadway to bypass other pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Phase 1: Avenida Menendez
West Side: Pedestrian Bulb-Outs
South Castillo Drive turns into Avenida Menendez near the southern edge of the fort parking lot. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the original 1833 seawall was demolished and a new seawall was constructed 80’ east to allow the two-lane Bay Street to be expanded to four 12’ lanes. The resulting corridor is vehicular-focused, with undersized pedestrian facilities for the 2.5 million visitors who visit St. Augustine each year.
- Pedestrian Bulb-Outs: Sidewalk widening on the west side of South Castillo Drive continues along Avenida Menendez (A1A) through a series of pedestrian bulb outs (see below). Current asphalt width includes two 12’ lanes and an 8’ parking lane for a total crossing distance of 32’ to the central median. Pedestrian bulb-outs will help to define on-street parking and will reduce crossing distance by 8’.
- Additional Street Trees: Additional street trees are proposed in the west sidewalk to improve the microclimate of this space.
East Side: Bayfront Park
On the east side, the proposed Bayfront Park will help to reconnect the waterfront to the city and the Castillo de San Marcos.
- Expanded Seawall Walk & ADA Access: Along the seawall, existing chain railing is replaced with a secure metal railing placed on a granite cap. The seawall walk is widened from 8’ to 13’, allowing people to gather along the walk without blocking other pedestrians. ADA ramps are also incorporated adjacent to the two crosswalks, providing direct access to the seawall walk. The resulting walks create another north-south connection to complement St. George Street.
- Maintaining Parking, Moving Carriages: While on-street parking is maintained, horse queuing shifts to the VIC and the Plaza. Today, carriages traveling through the Bridge of Lions intersection impact traffic coming off of the bridge as they queue along the bayfront. Now, carriages remain in the left lane, resulting in fewer conflicts.
Upcoming Items to be Addressed with Construction
With the planning process complete, there are a number of items and issues that will need to be addressed in the coming months if the City is successful in obtaining the grant funding for construction. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Signal Warrants and FDOT Approval
- Waterfront Improvement Additional Engineering Coordination
- Coordination with the NPS Visitor Center
- Coordination with 450th Plans
Additional in-depth information provided in the Final Master Plan Executive Summary.
Previous Project Documents & Planning / Design Work
Below are a number of links to previous project documents and phases of the planning project:
Previous Project Updates and Documents
Design Issues (individual items affecting the corridor explored in detail)
Alternates 1-6 (using the design issues, these 6 preliminary concepts provide example configurations for the corridor)
Alternate Designs & Survey Responses