St. Johns County Studies Traffic at Mickler's Landing | Public Spaces
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Lynette Shaw is a brave mom. Not only does she take her kids and their friends to the beach, she braves the parking challenges at Mickler's Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Weekends are especially full.
Logan Small, who was one of the teenagers with her, said said, "There are cars everywhere. They're on the street. You can't really find a parking spot at all [on the weekends]."
Shaw noted that during the week, it's not as crowded but it is important to come early.
It's not just Mickler's Landing that's seeing more people this year compared to other years. St. Johns County Beach Manager Billy Zeits said all of the beaches' parking lots are full every weekend.
However, there is no doubt, Mickler's is busy.
According to Zeits, St. Johns County is currently studying the beach traffic at Mickler's Landing to come up with an action plan.
The county is considering: using other near-by parking lots, adding parking spaces inside the existing lot; adding right-of-way parking on the roadside by Mickler's Landing; and adding sidewalks which lead to the beach parking lots.
Zeits added, "Based on the information we learn from this study, we can transfer it to other sites in St. Johns County were we have off beach parking. "
Zeits also said the county plans to conduct a pilot project which will run a shuttle from the Mickler's Landing parking lot to another parking lot. He said it would most likely be the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall's lot because it is the closest large county parking lot. St. Johns County will see if the shuttle is effective during the test-run.
Why are there so many more people at St. Johns County beaches this year? It's not clear. Some speculate it's because visitors have to pay to park in Jacksonville Beach now.
However, the Jacksonville Beach Chief Quartermaster said the lots in Jacksonville Beach are also full on the weekends. "We don't have any evidence that [paid parking at Jacksonville Beach] is having an effect on St. Johns County," said Zeits.
As for Shaw, she thinks it just has to do with a less-than-sunny economy and that St. Johns County beaches are free and fun... not to mention school is out for summer.