ST AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The oldest city in America could be getting a massive facelift to its roadways. Consultants are in St Augustine trying to craft a plan to make the city easier to navigate. And they're asking for input from the community.
The nation's oldest city is a hot spot for visitors. But an ancient town comes with its challenges. Many of the roads are extremely narrow -- too small for cars to pass. There are really only three main arteries through downtown and those are always jam-packed.
"We have some basic issues to work with and we are in very, very high demand," said St Augustine Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline. "We have millions and millions of visitors every year so, at the same time, add all that together and people live here. It's a living breathing city."
The St Augustine Mobility Institute study started Monday. Workshops allow folks to come up with suggestions on how to make downtown easier to navigate. One option is having one-way in, and one-way out. Local business owner Sherry Stoppelbein says that may be good for drivers but bad for business.
"I just don't agree with the one way traffic," Stoppelbein said. "I think that's just going to become a nightmare. I can't even imagine that would work correctly and I think that would affect not only the business owners but the people that live here."
Other options include making St Augustine more bike and pedestrian friendly. Even exploring street cars or some type of downtown public transit. Sikes-Kline says while change makes some locals nervous, they hope the end result will make the city even better.
"There's no intention to hurt businesses or residents or anything but it's really about getting people together participating in the process, and getting their opinions out."
Meetings are happening all week to weigh in. Tuesday's starts at 5 p.m. at City Hall. Wednesday's meeting is from 5-6 p.m. at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. There is another meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Alligator Farm. Then a wrap-up meeting is happening Friday from 2-3 p.m. at City Hall.
The consultants will present their findings in late October.