ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – The Florida Department of Transportation is considering making traffic upgrades to an Atlantic Beach intersection that has been a magnet for traffic crashes in recent years, including four crashes into the same storefront.
Among the improvements proposed by FDOT are restriping work, lane widening, median changes, and the resurfacing of about 700 feet of roadway in the hopes of streamlining traffic traveling through the intersection at Atlantic Boulevard and 3rd Street.
The changes would address some of the concerns raised by neighbors who have seen cars go airborne after hitting the uneven pavement. That’s what appears to have happened in one of the crashes involving the AshleGryre Designer Boutique storefront.
Five years and four crashes later, the owners have decided to take their business and relocate it to a new space. “The safety of customers and our staff was just too uncertain to continue taking further risk on the location,” owner Robin Spence said.
Like Spence, other business owners said they would welcome any traffic improvements to the area.
“Peterbrooke Chocolatier has enjoyed its location in Atlantic Beach for the last 31 years and looks forward to a bright future in this beautiful, pedestrian-friendly beachside community,” owner Brooke Joyner said.
Alex Aldrich, a designer at Kitchen Envy a few doors down, was sympathetic to Spence’s situation.
“As a small business owner, you want to open your shop and you want to keep your customers safe,” Aldrich told News4Jax. “But you can’t always do that if there are things preventing that.”
But not everyone is convinced the upgrades are necessary. Wayne Chattaway, who’s lived in the area for 63 years, said he doesn’t believe any additional roadwork is necessary.
“It doesn’t need any improvements if anyone would just obey the laws we have,” Chattaway said. “I don’t think they need to spend millions and millions of dollars to try and improve this intersection.”
The proposed improvements were scheduled to come up for discussion at a public hearing hosted by FDOT at the Beaches Branch Library in Neptune Beach at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Those who showed up had the opportunity to speak with agency staff. Public comment began at 6:30 p.m. Visit nflroads.com for additional project details.