Urban Connectivity: State & Union

December 19, 2006 14 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

In the past, they’ve been viewed as the great synchronized dividers that, due to freeway-style automobile traffic patterns and volume, severs the connection between Springfield and downtown. Going along with national redevelopment trends, both Downtown and Springfield neighborhoods are now enjoying a period of residential resurgence and revitalization within their boundaries. At the same time, both still struggle to find solutions that will jump-start their retail sectors. Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed how the simple idea of connectivity can stimulate the revitalization process. Today, Metro Jacksonville gives a few reasons why we believe both of these communities should work together to take advantage of State Union’s most damaging obstacle to developing a pedestrian friendly core… the traffic count.


Highlighted in "Yellow", State & Union Streets serve as the un-official border between Springfield and Downtown.  In the process, the pair funnel major vehicular traffic from Interstate 95/10, to the Arlington Expressway, connecting the core to the Atlantic Blvd corridor and beaches communities.


1. 70,000 daily vehicles

Demographics are very important to the attraction of big box retailers, like the Target, Office Depot’s and Walgreen’s of the world. With a total of eight lanes, the one-way pair of State & Union combined have a daily traffic count of nearly 70,000 vehicles, making it the busiest commercial thoroughfare on the Northside.


2. Central Northside location

Much has been said about the population counts of Downtown and Springfield. Specifically, the neighborhoods on their own being to small to attract a critical mass of retail. Well, think again. United we stand, divided we fall. State & Union are not only conveniently located between those two communities, they are also centrally located to serve as the premier commercial corridor for Durkeeville, LaVilla and the Eastside. With skyway access and proximity to Brooklyn and the Southbank.

The physical layout of State & Union and the inner city grid system is set up perfectly for retail that can draw both pedestrian and automobile oriented shoppers, turning what has been historically known as a divider into a uniter; bringing Downtown, Springfield, and a host of inner core neighborhoods together. 


3. United We Stand, Divided We Fall

While it may be difficult to draw a major retailer using a single neighborhood’s population, that outlook may change by bringing other neighborhoods into the mix. According to the 2000 Census, the zip codes of 32206 (Springfield/Eastside), 32204 (Riverside/Brooklyn), 32209 (Durkeeville) and 32202 (Downtown/Tallyrand) combined to have a population of 72,848 residents and a density of 3,571 people per square mile. That’s a far cry from the 2,000 living in Downtown alone.


4. The Northbank’s premier East-West connector

With a traffic count of nearly 70,000 and serving as the primary conduit between I-95 and the Arlington Expressway, it doesn’t take long to realize that a large number of the drivers traveling State & Union reside outside of the inner core. With major destination uses such as FCCJ’s Downtown Campus, First Baptist Church, and Alltel Stadium, the artificial population of people in the area jumps significantly; bolstering the corridor’s potential marketability.


5. Parcel size

We must not forget that the Northbank has always been the urban, more pedestrian oriented area of sprawling Jacksonville due to its age and significant amount of development that occurred before the automobile age. With this in mind, parcel sizes on major commercial corridors, like Main Street or Kings Road, tend to be small in size, with shallow depths fronting heavy residential uses. On the other hand, urban renewal and the expressway-ization have created mega blocks between State & Union, making it easier to put together larger land deals accommodating large-scale commercial uses.