84ºF

Proposal could bring big changes to solve St. Augustine traffic troubles

Street parking replaced by shuttle lanes? Cathedral Place pedestrian only?

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Big changes could be on the horizon for St. Augustine, which has been plagued with traffic troubles.

Horse-drawn carriages, trolleys, and even go-karts mix daily with cars and trucks on St. Augustine's streets, increasing the road congestion and forcing the city to take some big steps to solve the problem.

Visitors from around the country -- and the world -- can be found any day of the year in St. Augustine, which thrives on tourism.

But the Ancient City's reputation as a tourist destination leaves its narrow roadways packed.

“It's just horrendous, and I would assume on a very busy summer day, it would be almost impossible to get in and out of the city,” Michigan visitor Paul Lafia said.

With extensive research underway, St. Augustine is hoping to improve mobility.

That will start with the resurfacing of San Marco Avenue, from the Bridge of Lions to State Road 16, and concrete rehabilitation of U.S. 1, from State Road 207 to State Road 16.

Those projects will give the city a chance to rethink how it uses the roads and where cars can park.

Some of the ideas for changes include removing street-side parking to create dedicated lanes for shuttles and a complete transformation of one of downtown’s most heavily traveled streets: Cathedral Place, which would become a pedestrian-only road.

The city said if the parking spaces were to be removed, it's possible an off-site parking lot could be created to supplement parking.

Those are just two of several possibilities on the table right now as the city works to find the best ways to move people more efficiently through America’s oldest city.