Q&A with St. Johns County Commissioner Jeremiah Blocker (District 4)

Q: Can you give us an update on attempts to alleviate the traffic situation on State Road A1A, particularly as it pertains to Dolphin Cove?
A: This situation has been brought to our attention by residents and our staff was able to quickly jump on finding a solution by working with our state legislators. The issue was that traffic on A1A travelling north and south was blocking ingress and egress to the Dolphin Cove neighborhood. A1A is a state road and the county is limited as to what it can do, but we were able to secure some state appropriations for signs and pavement markers that state “Do Not Block.” Based on Florida Department of Transportation studies, these types of signs tend to improve the situation, but if we find that they do not, we will continue to address the problem.

Q: What can be done about the sound issues along A1A?
A: This is a tougher nut to crack. Certainly the sound volume has increased as the traffic has increased. Again, the county is limited as to what it can do with a state road like A1A. There probably won’t be sound barriers erected at this point, but we can put them on our wish list with the state.

Q: What is the latest (as of interview date, March 12) with beach renourishment?
A: We are presently working on a beach renourishment plan and it is not just to satisfy the small segment of St. Johns County that lives along the beach, but the entire county. The beach is of benefit to our entire community, based on quality of life, tourism and economics. If these homes lose property value, we also lose tax revenue to the county that could be used for things like roads. Every other county in Florida has a beach erosion plan.

Currently, there are two erosion projects under consideration, one in Ponte Vedra Beach and one in Vilano Beach. We need to get funding from the state and federal governments, but first we need an ongoing local/county source of revenue in order to qualify for matching funds. Some options are tourism funds and the MSTU and the public needs to weigh in on this decision. We do need to get our act together quickly and will vote in late March on whether to allocate tourism dollars as our local funding source. St. Johns County is competing against other parts of the state for these dollars, particularly the Panhandle, which was hit with a major storm most recently.

Q: Do you have any announcement as to your proposed office hours in Ponte Vedra Beach?
A: Office hours will be starting in April on Fridays at the Ponte Vedra Beach Branch Library. More days may be added in the future if necessary. I think it is important to be available to meet citizens closer to their home. These office hours are by appointment only and citizens should call my office at (904) 209-0304 and staff will schedule an appointment.

Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?

A: Readers can email me at bcc4jblocker@sjcfl.us or call me at (904) 679-2620.