PENMAN ROAD IMPROVEMENTS UPDATE
On August 16, 2023, Representatives with the City of Jacksonville and the consulting firm Peters and Yaffee hosted a Community Meeting to give citizens an opportunity to see the proposed concept for Penman Road safety improvements, ask questions and provide input on the proposed changes. Citizens were able to provide feedback and submit questions and concerns in writing.
Since the meeting, the City of Jacksonville and Peters and Yaffee have compiled responses to all the comments they received and you can see the PENMAN ROAD COMMENTS AND RESPONSES
Penman Road is a City of Jacksonville roadway, so any improvements to the road are the responsibility of the City of Jacksonville. Penman Road is a roadway that accommodates vehicles, but it’s not safe for pedestrians or bicyclists.
In an effort to advocate for safety improvements to Penman Road, Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach all passed resolutions in 2019 asking the City of Jacksonville to make Penman Road a Complete Street. When the City of Jacksonville received the resolutions, they agreed to install lighted pedestrian crosswalks at 4th Ave N and 15th Ave N as an interim safety measure until long-term safety improvements could be installed. The Jacksonville City Council also approved over $20 million for a Penman Road Complete Streets Study, design of safety improvements and construction to improve Penman Road.
It is important to note that 44% of Jacksonville Beach tax payer dollars go to Jacksonville every year (that’s a lot of our tax dollars that go to the City of Jacksonville). The Penman Road project is an opportunity for some of our tax dollars to come back to Jacksonville Beach for safety improvements on a roadway that is important to our residents and businesses.
PENMAN ROAD IMPROVEMENTS TIMELINE
In December 2021, the City of Jacksonville held a Penman Road Community Meeting to launch the Complete Street Study by obtaining input from citizens on concerns with Penman Road.
The overall project schedule is currently anticipated to be as follows:
Study & Concept Plans Start: November 2021
Study & Concept Plans Finish: December 2023
Roadway Design Phase Start: January 2024
Roadway Design Phase Finish: December 2025
Construction Start: January 2027
Construction Finish: December 2028
The tasks to be performed during each of the project phases are as follows:
Complete Streets Design
Penman Road/Florida Blvd Intersection Improvement
It is important to note that DESIGN for Penman Road is expected to start January 2024 and take 2 years to complete. During the design phase, the consultants will spend a lot of time starting the detailed design process and performing constructability reviews to determine the feasibility of the proposed concept elements.
WHAT IS A COMPLETE STREET?
Complete Streets are streets for everyone. The goal of a complete street is to promote safe access for all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.
Elements of a Complete Street include lane reconfigurations, traffic circles, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, multi-use paths, crossing opportunities, medians, streetscape, landscape treatments and lighting.
The consultants have identified two significant ways to improve non-motorized traffic along Penman Road:
1. Enhance facilities for pedestrians and bicycles
2. Slow vehicle traffic
By making Penman Road a Complete Street, the intent is NOT to add more traffic to Penman Road, move cars faster or add more lanes.
PENMAN ROAD COMPLETE STREETS STUDY
The consultants, Peters and Yaffee, have conducted a study of Penman Road which included an extensive traffic and crash analysis. As a result of the PENMAN ROAD COMPLETE STREETS STUDY, the consultants are recommending the following improvements:
- Multi-use path on the west side of Penman Road to allow pedestrians and bicycles to travel safely with separation from Penman Road traffic and contributes to “sense of place” and community feel for the roadway.
- Pedestrian crossings along Penman Road at several strategic locations so residents can safely cross Penman Road.
- Continuous landscaped median to improve safety by eliminating the continuous left turn lane, will provide pedestrian refuge at pedestrian crossings, reduces conflict points, slows traffic and reduces delays on side streets (cars are not stuck waiting for a car that is trying to turn left to get onto Penman)
- Mini-roundabouts will slow down traffic and provide u-turning locations for vehicles that need to turn left.
- Improve commercial business entrances to a designated entryway which will slow down traffic entering the parking lot and will allow for safer pedestrian movements.
IMPORTANT STUDY FINDINGS
The Penman Road Complete Streets Study includes traffic data collected in 2021 and 5 years of traffic crash data (from 2016 to 2021).
Highlights of the Penman Road Study findings:
- In 2021, the average daily trips during the week totaled 19,927 from Beach Blvd to 8th Ave N and 20,583 from 8th Ave N to Seagate. Based on the current capacity of Penman Road, at these trip counts, Penman Road is operating at a Level of Service of F, which the worst operating condition for the road.
- 99.1% of the vehicles on Penman Road are passenger vehicles, 0.8% are Single-Unit trucks, and 0.2% were heavy trucks.
- 41 mph is the speed 85% of the drivers felt comfortable driving on Penman Road. For this reason, traffic calming improvements are necessary to make drivers less comfortable driving 41 mph and more likely to drive a slower speed.
- Crash history was evaluated for 5 years. Crash hot spots in Jax Beach were at the following locations:
2nd Ave N
Between Arden Way and Seagate
- 307 crashes occurred with 155 injuries reported and no fatalities
- 224 crashes (73%) occurred during the day and 82 crashes (27%) occurred at night
- 269 crashes (88%) occurred with dry pavement conditions
- The most common crash types were:
Beach to 2nd Ave N: angle crashes (39% of total crashes)
Arden Way to Seagate: rear end crashes (63% of total crashes)
- Note: angle crashes most often occur at an intersection of two streets when two vehicles are going straight on intersecting roads and neither vehicle is turning.
- There were 24 pedestrian/bicyclist crashes which resulted in 16 injuries.
LEARN ABOUT PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS TO PENMAN ROAD
At the July 10 City Council Briefing, Robin Smith with the City of Jacksonville provided a PENMAN ROAD PRESENTATION about the proposed safety improvements. To hear the City of Jacksonville presentation: LISTEN TO THE JULY 10 CITY COUNCIL BRIEFING AUDIO.
You can see the proposed improvements: PENMAN ROADWAY CONCEPT
Proposed improvements include the following:
- Roundabouts (at 4th Ave N, 8th Ave N, 12th Ave N, 15th Ave N and Arden Way/Seagate Ave)
- Multi-use path on the west side of Penman Road the entire length between Beach Blvd and Seagate Ave
- Sidewalk on the east side of Penman Road the entire length between Beach Blvd and Seagate Ave
- 12 pedestrian crossings (currently, there are only 5 in Jacksonville Beach between Beach Blvd and Seagate Ave)
To learn more about roundabouts, check out the FDOT videos about roundabouts: www.fdot.tips/roundabout
According to the consultants:
- Roundabouts operate 30-50% more efficiently than traffic lights
- Drivers will find it is quicker to go through a roundabout than wait at a traffic light or stop sign
- Roundabouts will slow down traffic which reduces crashes with 90% fewer fatalities and 75% fewer injuries
- Roundabouts provide a safe way for cars to get onto Penman Rd from the side streets
Myth Busters compares 4-way stops to roundabouts (starting at 17:15): MYTH BUSTERS VIDEO
The consultants are proposing to remove the middle turn lane and install a continuous median for the following reasons:
- Improves safety by reducing crash conflict points
- Provides pedestrian refuge at pedestrian crossings
- Slows traffic
- Reduces delays on side streets because cars are not stuck waiting behind a car that is trying to turn left onto Penman
- Provides space for beautification
Concerns have been raised about the medians making it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass cars or for cars to get around garbage trucks or delivery trucks that are stopped on Penman. The consultants have responded to these concerns as follows:
- This project will provide a stabilized 6-foot flush shoulder, which will provide an area for vehicles to pull off the travel lane and allow emergency vehicles to pass.
- The intent of this project is to install drainage pipes at the existing ditches, thus eliminating existing ditches. This will allow additional space for vehicles to pull out of the way for the emergency vehicles to pass.
- Delivery and trash vehicles will be able to use the stabilized shoulders, residential driveways and new space created by eliminating the ditches.
The multi-use path along Penman Road will be part of the Jacksonville Beach Urban Trails network. For more information:
- The path will be 10′ to 12′ wide (where possible) to allow pedestrians and bicycles to safely travel north/south along Penman Road
- The path will most likely be concrete so the path will be ADA accessible and safe for people with wheelchairs, walkers, mobility issues, etc.
- Low Speed Vehicles will NOT be permitted on the multi-use path because, by state law, they are only permitted on roadways.
- E-bikes will be permitted on the multi-use path because state law requires that e-bikes be treated as a bicycle. However, there will be a speed limit on the path to encourage the speed of e-bikes to be safe when sharing the path with pedestrians. Because the multi-use path is wider than a standard sidewalk, there will be more space for pedestrians and bikes to share the path. It is important to note that Jacksonville Beach currently allows bicycles on sidewalks, so e-bikes are also currently permitted on sidewalks.
For more information about the Urban Trails project: JAX BEACH URBAN TRAILS PROJECT
Currently, Penman Road has 3 pedestrian crossings with special emphasis markings for visibility between Beach Blvd and Seagate Ave. Two of these crosswalks also have RRFB’s (rectangular rapid flashing beacons) to stop traffic when pedestrians wish to cross. The proposed improvements will provide 12 special emphasis pedestrian crosswalks with some or all of them having RRFB’s to stop traffic when pedestrians wish to cross. With 12 pedestrian crosswalks along Penman, residents who life west of Penman will have more safe places to cross Penman.
The City of Jacksonville has stated their intention is to cover all the drainage ditches and install drainage pipes underground if possible. In order to cover the drainage ditches, a drainage analysis must be completed during the design process.
PENMAN ROAD RESOLUTION
On November 6, the Jacksonville Beach City Council approved a resolution in support of the City of Jacksonville and Peters and Yaffee starting the detailed design process and constructability reviews to determine the feasibility of the proposed concept elements.
The resolution states that the City Council supports the project as it has been presented to the City Council and public, to include:
- Pedestrian improvements both along the corridor, and crossing perpendicular to the corridor
- Strategic placement of medians to calm traffic, add corridor aesthetics, and in some instances, provide pedestrian refuge
- Replacement of traffic signals with roundabouts
- Replace ditches with underground drainage facilities where feasible
- Require more public meetings for project review at 30%, 60% and 90% design milestone points
You can read the resolution here: PENMAN ROAD RESOLUTION
You can hear public comment, City Council discussion and comments from the City of Jacksonville here: