Redesigning the Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway - Improving Environmental and Cultural Sustainability by Creating Identity (2012)
Pensacola's Scenic Highway skirts bay bluffs overlooking Escambia Bay. The highway traverses an 11-mile corridor running along U.S. 90 in Escambia County and the city of Pensacola, ending its northern terminus where U.S. 90 bridges the Escambia River. An environmental treasure, the nearest Gulf bluffs are in Veracruz, Mexico. Estuarine and freshwater wetlands, majestic live oaks, longleaf and shortleaf pine remnants, and sand beaches are all found along the Scenic Highway Corridor.
Anticipated project boundaries are Highway 90 to the north and Bayou Texar to the south, with Downtown Pensacola as a secondary southern boundary. The City of Pensacola is looking for a master plan to leverage this corridor into an environmental showpiece - both a source of local pride and a tourist destination.
Specifically, a baseline assessment and cataloguing of environmental resources along the corridor is needed. Out of this assessment, a conservation plan will be created that shows how to preserve and protect resources, remediate an invasive species problem, and spell out conservation priorities.
Additionally, the city wants the plan to look at the identification and enhancement of viewshed opportunities from the highway to Escambia Bay; designing native landscaping in select locations along the highway right-of-way and adjacent parks; and providing a greenway linkage to downtown Pensacola.
It is felt an environmental education component to the plan, targeting both the client and the public, will help facilitate plan implemention. This component should describe the ecosystems present and give native landscaping and invasive species removal guidance. Scenic Highway photos are available on Google Earth Streetview.
Olivia Garnett, MLA
Helen Graham, MLA
Mary Hejna, MLA