Pensacola

Open house on the future of Bayfront Pkwy, Oct 13

October 12, 2015

334_roundabout1Is a roundabout at the end of Ninth Avenue in the future for Bayfront Parkway? How will truck traffic be routed to the Port of Pensacola?

Residents could find out tomorrow.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) hosts its final public information meeting concerning a feasibility study of State Road (S.R.) 196 (Bayfront Parkway) from Tarragona Street to S.R. 30 (U.S. 98/East Chase Street) in Escambia County. The meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 5:30-6:30 p.m., at the Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand, 200 East Gregory Street.

FDOT will present the final study recommendations to enhance safety and traffic flow on Bayfront Parkway. The study looked at how to improve safety along Bayfront Parkway while maintaining access to the Port of Pensacola and providing movement for the traveling public.

At the July 28 public meeting, several corridor improvements under evaluation were presented, including reassignment of the Strategic Intermodal System route, an alternate east/west route through one-way pairs, enhancement of Bayfront Parkway with a complete street concept, and/or the addition of a roundabout.

What is a Strategic Intermodal System route?

“It’s a designation for a roadway that basically connects two major transportation facilities, whether that’s an interstate, a train hub, an airport or a port,” said Ian Satter, FDOT spokesman at the July meeting.

Another concept presented was a roundabout at the 9th Avenue intersection. Satter said studies show that roundabouts are actually safer than the standard intersection. Up to a 90 percent reduction in fatalities and a 76 percent reduction in injury crashes are a couple of the benefits of a roundabout, according to the FDOT.

“As you approach, the traffic moves much more efficiently. There are less impact points versus a four- way stop intersection,” he said. “The issue is going to be educating people on their benefits and how to use them.”

The complete street concept is to maintain the four lanes but add bike lanes and more sidewalks.

Satter pointed out that there could end up being no changes made, but with the downtown Pensacola growth the roadway has changed.

“Any improvements we can make safety-wise, that’s what we’re looking at first and foremost,” he said. “When you see things are changing you have to look at the roadway to see if there’s any changes we can make to help make it better.”

Besides safety, other things being considered in the study are how to best facilitate the amount of traffic, getting to the port quickly and efficiently and making the roadway accessible and easy to use for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists, Satter said.

“This particular roadway is just a very keen interest because you have the port, you have I-110, you have U.S. 98 all right there, but you’re also finding that Bayfront Parkway is becoming more active when it comes to pedestrians and bicyclists,” he said.

The new Pensacola Bay Bridge wasn’t part of the study.

“That project is a completely separate project,” Satter said. “It has no bearing on what happens here.”

Setter said the FDOT looks at roads on a continual basis every year, with Strategic Intermodal Systems at the top of the list. He said there wasn’t an immediate need to make improvements to Bayfront Parkway, but that these measures are proactive. Nothing is set in stone, and no funding has been allocated, he said.

“We still need to study their effectiveness,” he said. “Right now we’re kind of just presenting these ideas.”

The improvements discussed in July have been narrowed down and final recommendations will be on display at the Oct. 13  meeting.

The meeting will be held in an open house format. There will not be a formal presentation, however, representatives from FDOT will be available to discuss the project, answer questions, and receive comments.

For more information, follow the Florida Department of Transportation District Three on Twitter @myfdot_nwfl or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MyFDOTNWFL.

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