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Sidewalks coming along U.S. 1 in St. Augustine

Project designed to improve pedestrian safety; cyclists still concerned

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A new construction project is underway to install sidewalks along U.S. 1 to make the streets safer for pedestrians in St. Augustine.

Right now, cars zoom by along the highway just feet away from walkers and bike riders, like Terrel Myers.

"I've already been hit twice,” Myers said. "Dude just kept on going. Nobody stopped."

Myers said he doesn't have a car, so he either takes the bus or rides his bike, but hitting the pavement on two wheels is risky. 

In the past year, 60 wrecks have been reported on that stretch of road, including 21 involving injuries. One person died after being struck by a car.

With more walkers and bike riders using the highway, The Florida Department of Transportation decided to install sidewalks on a nearly 7-mile stretch of of U.S. 1. 

The first project, which is already under construction, includes a sidewalk from Stokes Landing Road to Big Oak Road, near the airport. 

The sidewalk will continue to Fairbanks Street for the second project.

The projects include lighting, additional pedestrian signals and crosswalks.

Altogether, the projects cost about $4.5 million and will be paid for with federal dollars.

Some people said they are all for the installation of the new sidewalks, pointing out that they are overdue.

"This should have been done a long time ago,” Dale Preston said. “Same time these are built, that ought to be built."

Others said no one should be walking or riding their bikes along the busy highway in the first place.

"Never would I consider walking on it or bike riding, for that matter,” Linda Kaiser said. “It's a very busy road that has lots of accidents."

Myers is happy about the project but still concerned for his safety.

"If it's a sidewalk, can you still ride a bike on it?" he asked.

The answer is no, according to a St. Augustine ordinance. Right now FDOT has no plans to add bicycle lanes to the project.

"They need to pay attention to both bicyclists and walkers and cars,” Myers said. “Everybody's in danger on this road."

The first stretch of sidewalk is expected to be completed by the summer. The second half won't be finished until 2020.