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Outer Beltway Dead? Now What?

Jacksonville and Clay County should be thanking their lucky stars that the $1.8 billion Outer Beltway has met its demise. Going forward, here are a few projects worth considering to improve traffic congestion and encourage economic development in Clay County.

Published February 11, 2011 in Transit      44 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article



Considered Outer Beltway route

1. Invest In Commuter Rail


Emeryville, CA is an example of a suburban community taking advantage of mass transit connectivity to stimulate economic development.

Transportation infrastructure spurs economic development, which was the main reason behind the Outer Beltway concept in the first place.  

Quote
Beltway supporters have maintained since 2001 that the proposed project will open new avenues for moving commercial traffic to the Cecil Field area without adding congestion to existing roadways and provide additional capacity across the St. Johns River.
Overall construction will create as many as 35,000 area jobs and stimulate the job markets of Duval and Clay counties, according to information released by the Governor’s Office on Monday.
Clay County Chamber of Commerce’s board chairwoman Theresa Smith was elated at the bill’s signing.

“I’m over the moon,” she said. “We’ve spent years and years trying to get this project up and running.”

Smith said she believes the new beltway will attract new business and industry that would employ county residents, 60 percent of whom now commute to Duval County.

“We have the work base, but we don’t have the businesses,” she said. “We haven’t had the infrastructure” for companies that need convenient interstate access.

 “Now we can ask ourselves [as a county], ‘Who do we want to be?’ rather than ‘Who have we become?Ҕ she said.

Clay County Commissioner Doug Conkey agreed, saying the outer beltway will help bring “high skill, high wage” jobs by enabling the county to compete for companies looking to set up businesses at industrial and medical parks.

“We’ve said along that it’s the engine that will revive economic development,” Conkey said.
http://www.claytodayonline.com/content/1141_1.php

Many make the false assumption that commuter rail would only bring economic benefit to urban Jacksonville.  While highway infrastructure stimulates autocentric growth (sprawl), mass transit infrastructure stimulates pedestrian-oriented development (walkable).

With the progressive movement of Central Florida's Sunrail project, the CSX "A" line becomes a viable potential commuter rail corridor between Clay and Duval Counties.  Allowing for mixed-use development to take place within a 1/2-mile radius of transit stations will allow Clay to become an attractive location for better job opportunities.


2. Develop A Grid Road Network



50% of vehicle trips in American metropolitan areas are less than 3 miles. 28% of vehicle trips are less than 1 mile. 65% of trips under 1 mile are now taken by car. These numbers represent vehicle trips that won't be resolved by constructing more limited access long distance arterials.

However, these short trips can be affordably reduced and dispersed by developing a road network that offers better immediate connectivity between adjacent properties and neighborhoods.


3. Traffic Signal Synchronization Program (TSSP)



The synchronization of traffic signals can be a low-cost operational improvement to help facilitate the movement of vehicles along congested arterials.

The typical TSSP project involves upgrading all the traffic signals along a route to keep the signals synchronized, placing vehicle detectors in the pavement to detect the presence of vehicles, coordinating the timing of the signals between successive intersections, and automatically adjusting the traffic signals to facilitate the movement of vehicles through the intersections.


4. Modify Land Use & Zoning Regulations


This small three story building in Orlando's Thornton Park features residential, retail and dining uses, giving residents the option of walking as opposed to relying on automobile transportation for 100% of short trips.

Current land use and zoning regulations along Clay County's major throughfares promote the proliferation of traffic congestion due to their tendency to separate complementing uses.  Allowing the exact opposite, encouraging higher density mixed-use development, reduces auto dependency, roadway congestion, and air pollution by co-locating multiple destinations.  This co-location of multiple destinations reduces roadway congestion by disincentizing the need to make short automobile trips for everyday needs.


5. Bicycle & Pedestrian Improvements



Not every trip needs to be made by car, and having the roads and parking lots jammed with cars limits choices and drives public expense.

Many residents drive to various destinations, even though they live only a few blocks away.  It's not because they can't walk that far or because they are lazy.  It's because the dominant focus on automobile movement has created an environment that hostile to people.

Strengthening the bicycle and pedestrian network connectivity is another low-cost option worth considering to help alleviate the region's congestion related problems.

Article by Ennis Davis







44 Comments

thelakelander

February 11, 2011, 06:30:27 AM
I noticed the TU has put out their own editorial on the Outer Beltway situation.  It's the complete opposite to this one.  They want this and a northern outer beltway under the view that this is what urban planning is about.

Quote
Outer beltway: Look to the future

The proposed First Coast Outer Beltway is taking a detour because of a sluggish economy.

Building a 46.5-mile toll road to link Interstate 10 in Duval County to Interstate 95 in St. Johns County as initially planned isn't feasible.

So, the Florida Department of Transportation is setting its sights on building the 15-mile segment between I-10 and Blanding Boulevard, and even that isn't certain.

A financial assessment expected to be finished this summer will shed more light on how likely that work could happen.

Important for the future

The beltway would thread together parts of St. Johns, Clay and Duval counties, providing an important avenue to handle growth and hurricane evacuation.

The road would also stimulate new jobs, broaden the local commercial tax base (especially in residential property heavy Clay County) and relieve traffic in parts of Jacksonville and St. Johns County.

But a northern leg of the outer beltway - reaching from I-10 north through Duval and Nassau counties and connecting to Interstate 95 - will be desirable at some point.

And that's where thoughtful urban planning becomes essential.

Officials in Duval and Nassau counties should limit development along a potential beltway corridor.

Such a road could someday relieve traffic pressures, aid orderly growth and be invaluable to Cecil Commerce Center.

If development grows in a future corridor, it will make purchasing right of way difficult. The DOT - as it should be - is focused on what it can do to advance the outer beltway between I-10 and I-95.

It has the right-of-way secured for the stretch between I-10 and Blanding but would still have to acquire land later for the other 30 miles.

An environmental assessment of the corridor is progressing and nearing completion.

Anything beyond that is years off in the distance.

But local officials should be using their binoculars to identify it now and plan accordingly.

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2011-02-11/story/outer-beltway-look-future

thelakelander

February 11, 2011, 06:34:10 AM
Obviously, as a planner, I disagree.  This past decade should have taught us that all growth isn't good growth.  Thoughtful planning should focus on integrating transportation with land use and investing in the development of a multimodal transportation network to support a more sustainable growth pattern.  Sort of like the message behind the 2030 Mobility Plan and Fee that flew over most people's heads.  For the cost and ROI, the Outer Beltway simply does not do that.

Jumpinjack

February 11, 2011, 07:34:31 AM
At yesterday's TPO meeting, FDOT representative Mosley said that beltway is not dead but will be done in segments. Chairman Conkey, Clay Co. commissioner, pointed out that with the help of former FDOT Sec. Kopelousos new Clay Co. mgr, the Clay county portion should be moving forward soon.  Obviously, they don't want to consider any alternatives.

tufsu1

February 11, 2011, 07:55:06 AM
exactly...the beltway is far from dead

simms3

February 11, 2011, 08:18:57 AM
Sometimes you begin to think enough people read this site that some good will come of it, but then you realize that there are a ton of people with power (City Hall) and influence (FTU) that don't bother to read this site or to think.  Yes, toll roads are good and the way of the future of highways, but Jacksonville is not even that large.  With all of the new road facilities/improvements just built or about to be built, we're good for practically a decade in that department!

If I was a potential private partner in this toll road, I would not sign on to even a segment.  One: how many toll facilities are they trying to build?  Two: there's hardly a road in Jacksonville with actual traffic volumes that could make a toll profitable for a private company.  Three: with segments just how many of my competitors are going to be involved/taking a share of the tiny little pie?  Four: Logically, I would only do it if the city guaranteed with bond backing or taxpayer money a certain revenue level (which probably wouldn't be naturally met for a couple decades).

Garden guy

February 11, 2011, 08:41:01 AM
We can all forget about any kind of advanced transportation systems in this city for another 100 years or so...unless there are some major changes in the way this city is ran it will not happen. The conservative base in this area will not have..they don't see the need and anything to do with "public" they don't like..so..get use to a city that's stuck in the early 20th century...too many kiss ass democrates that wont stand up and say no more bull shit right wing conservative ideas for this city..see what it's got us?

ChriswUfGator

February 11, 2011, 08:45:15 AM
Early 21st Century. At least in the early 20th century, we had public transportation. Lol

stephendare

February 11, 2011, 09:01:25 AM
Sometimes you begin to think enough people read this site that some good will come of it, but then you realize that there are a ton of people with power (City Hall) and influence (FTU) that don't bother to read this site or to think.  Yes, toll roads are good and the way of the future of highways, but Jacksonville is not even that large.  With all of the new road facilities/improvements just built or about to be built, we're good for practically a decade in that department!

If I was a potential private partner in this toll road, I would not sign on to even a segment.  One: how many toll facilities are they trying to build?  Two: there's hardly a road in Jacksonville with actual traffic volumes that could make a toll profitable for a private company.  Three: with segments just how many of my competitors are going to be involved/taking a share of the tiny little pie?  Four: Logically, I would only do it if the city guaranteed with bond backing or taxpayer money a certain revenue level (which probably wouldn't be naturally met for a couple decades).

Well, if it makes you feel any better simms, both groups of people that you mentioned do read the site daily.  We have very good relations with the Times Union, and in fact Lake will be leading a small group of the editorial board through the courthouse property in a few days to outline the problem with rebuilding a road on the site.

A number of the council people and their aids read the site daily, because (lets face it), this is the best barometer of public reaction to policy that exists in the city.  On a personal basis, we like and frequently chat with many of the City Council members.  Its really a shame that you arent personally down here in Jacksonville, I think you would enjoy our meetings and interactions.

However, interacting and agreeing on things arent the same thing----as can be seen in many interactions between TUFSU and Chris, or between myself and STJR.  People can be equally matched in experience and intellect and still come to opposite points of view.

stephendare

February 11, 2011, 09:19:13 AM
We can all forget about any kind of advanced transportation systems in this city for another 100 years or so...unless there are some major changes in the way this city is ran it will not happen. The conservative base in this area will not have..they don't see the need and anything to do with "public" they don't like..so..get use to a city that's stuck in the early 20th century...too many kiss ass democrates that wont stand up and say no more bull shit right wing conservative ideas for this city..see what it's got us?

Garden guy.  Coming from someone that is probably more liberal than you are socially, I have to say that this is getting tiresome.  Its almost as though it relieves you of the burden of having to have an actual opinion, if all you ever post is a noun, a verb and the words "Conservative Base destroys".

It should be pointed out that this is one of the reasons that the dems don't do so well here.  People will only join you in despising something for a short time, after which you have to have an actual idea or proposal for them.

No one despises right wing nonsense more than I do. I think the world should be an open, egalitarian meritocracy.  Im not even sure if I believe that the monetization of our civilization has been a particularly useful idea.  I don't really believe in gender mythology, and I think about a future in which animal rights, genetically modified humans, artificial intelligence and human rights are going to have to be discussed and righted. Right wing ideology is pretty much the opposite of everything I personally believe to be true and important.  But if all I ever did all day long is try and prove that people who arent white are actually humans, or that just because a person earned a billion dollars doesnt change the fact that they are still a POS in terms of humanity, or that Global Warming isnt a hoax invented by Al Gore to bilk governments out of carbon credits, then I would be working on the right wing agenda instead of what I actually believe in.  I would assume the role of their opposition, and the opposition can only react to the thing they oppose.  It is a powerless and controlled role, totally defined by the thing that they oppose.

This is what the dems found out under the Bush Years.

Don't you think that working positively and passionately towards your personal goals is more powerful and actualizing than simply being 'against' these cartoonish conservatives you keep talking about?

There will always be misers.  There will always be antisocial people.  There will always be greed, apathy, fear and people who obtain their fulfillment by lording it up over people who have less than they do.

They will always be with us, because they are part of the human condition.  You can't change that.

But you can rise above it and you can promote our better angels.

simms3

February 11, 2011, 09:26:38 AM
^^^Hahaha, I almost said the same thing, but I figured someone with better verbage would step in.  In Jax it's not about which political party, it's just about a slow, outdated way of thinking (on both sides of the aisle).

Doctor_K

February 11, 2011, 09:41:50 AM
^ +1 to each of those responses, Simms and Stephen!  Bravo!

north miami

February 11, 2011, 09:45:12 AM
Regarding Beltway/Brannon-Chaffee matters,at one time Florida Times Union "Reader Advocate" Mike Clark said he agreed with me.Clearly frustrated with his own employers,he wished me "good Luck".

My personal files profile many FTU aspects.
During one pivotal event FTU David Bauerlein twice interviewed me in person and trailed a visit to the Water Management District office.The insights I gave were indeed provocative,I was speaking from a credible position with predictive capability.FTU coverage was disjointed and overtly selective-the FTU would not 'report' in any manner that would have educated the public and therefore possibly affect outcome.

One of my favorite files revolves around the FTU failure to correct former MPO Calvin Burney's erroneous statement and "alleviation" image that 30,000 cars a day would travel Brannon/Chaffee 'as soon as it opens'.
(30,000 ADT actually derived after a period of time-in large part due to development that B/C would spur....)

FTU reporter Binyamin Applebaum was clearly differentiated,he shared submittals the editors "left on the floor".Binyamin's tenure at TU was brief.
Calvin Burney's tenure at MPO ceased shortly after the "As soon as it opens" episode.

Calvin's contribution but one blip in a long history of erroneous "alleviation" image.
Obviously "network alleviation" was a ruse but the ploy worked,and now with some facility segment in place the promotions exit to the "Economic Growth" lane.

Jumpinjack

February 11, 2011, 10:11:20 AM
Sometimes you begin to think enough people read this site that some good will come of it, but then you realize that there are a ton of people with power (City Hall) and influence (FTU) that don't bother to read this site or to think.

Actually MJ was mentioned by Brad Thoburn in his presentation at the TPO yesterday. Someone is reading but, as Stephen says, not all agree.

jcjohnpaint

February 11, 2011, 10:11:29 AM
Really the only way to make a change is to fight every day for what you believe.  Building the outer beltway is a pet project built on nonsense and greed.  Seriously MJ is the only reason I don't go crazy living here.  It is the hope that things can get better.  I have been called an idiot many times preaching the stuff on here.  The only way things could change is the public being informed.  Good media and the vote.  Since I have  been here people have told me go back to NY because this is not NY this is Jacksonville (whatever the hell that means) Like we prefer to be a hole so leave us alone argument.  I have never seen a city with so much possibility.  The fight has only begun and you can feel the change in the air.  This site does a better job of informing the public than any site in this town and the corrupt are afraid....and they should be.  And by the way...sprawl is un American.  My father and grandfather talked about close knit neighborhoods and trains and walking etc.  I bet their fathers would talk about the same thing. 

jandar

February 11, 2011, 11:27:13 AM
The main issue I have had with the outer beltway has been the location of the river crossing. It needs to be further north to actually relieve traffic. There is a 20 mile gap between the Buckman Bridge with its 8 lanes, and the closest southern bridge, the Shands with its 2 lanes. In between those bridges is a pretty heavy bedroom county that has the majority of its workforce commuting outside of the county daily.
The same people that complain that Clay should get more jobs would moan and groan if a company chose clay over downtown.

Commuter rail will help, when you build a route to downtown, and a route across the buckman to the southside. Both of these routes are used by commuters. Going downtown and back to the southside then reversed for going home takes longer than a car, so why would you give up you car?

JeffreyS

February 11, 2011, 11:30:31 AM
We can all forget about any kind of advanced transportation systems in this city for another 100 years or so...unless there are some major changes in the way this city is ran it will not happen. The conservative base in this area will not have..they don't see the need and anything to do with "public" they don't like..so..get use to a city that's stuck in the early 20th century...too many kiss ass democrates that wont stand up and say no more bull shit right wing conservative ideas for this city..see what it's got us?
 
The truth is we do not need an advanced transportation system.  If we could just lag 100 years behind we would have streetcars, intercity trains and urban infill in our city.

Ocklawaha

February 11, 2011, 12:10:02 PM
Exactly Jeffery, if we could just recover some of what we once had, and could get over the Skywayfobia and Freewaymania, this city would rise above the micro-god politicos'.

Jacksonville, Clay and St. Johns politicians would do well to remember that eventually even Sisyphus, Ixion, and Tityus are all going to suffer punishment for their transgressions.


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

February 11, 2011, 12:26:51 PM
The main issue I have had with the outer beltway has been the location of the river crossing. It needs to be further north to actually relieve traffic. There is a 20 mile gap between the Buckman Bridge with its 8 lanes, and the closest southern bridge, the Shands with its 2 lanes. In between those bridges is a pretty heavy bedroom county that has the majority of its workforce commuting outside of the county daily.
The same people that complain that Clay should get more jobs would moan and groan if a company chose clay over downtown.

Commuter rail will help, when you build a route to downtown, and a route across the buckman to the southside. Both of these routes are used by commuters. Going downtown and back to the southside then reversed for going home takes longer than a car, so why would you give up you car?

Commuter rail will help more by changing the development pattern of the region over time.  By facilitating and clustering walkable mixed-use development around rail stations, the overall need for long daily commuting will decrease over time.  By the same token, developing a more connective local streets, bicycle and sidewalk network along with walkable mixed-use development will help alleviate the issue of residents being forced to drive cars for short trips to places like grocery stores, parks, schools and libraries.  Nevertheless, with all of this said, I also agree that there is a need for a river crossing between the Buckman and the Shands.  However, I believe this should be a separate issue than the need for another multi-billion dollar beltway.

urbaknight

February 11, 2011, 01:27:45 PM
I saw a city council meeting the other day, I heard something very disturbing. Someone who loves the status Que. It was a baptist minister. He basically said that Workability, quality of life, vibrancy, bike paths, public transit, things that can make JAX a better place. Well he said cut them out of the budget. We can't afford it, he then went on to equate quality of life to Saddam and Gemora. And have modern amenities would be a sinfull overindulgence. And that sums up the popular belief in this "town" not really city.

JMac

February 11, 2011, 01:37:39 PM
I saw a city council meeting the other day, I heard something very disturbing. Someone who loves the status Que. It was a baptist minister. He basically said that Workability, quality of life, vibrancy, bike paths, public transit, things that can make JAX a better place. Well he said cut them out of the budget. We can't afford it, he then went on to equate quality of life to Saddam and Gemora. And have modern amenities would be a sinfull overindulgence. And that sums up the popular belief in this "town" not really city.

I have a better idea.  Remove property tax exemptions from churches.  I think it's sinful and overly indulgent that they use public resources without contributing their share.

Bativac

February 11, 2011, 01:47:56 PM
I saw a city council meeting the other day, I heard something very disturbing. Someone who loves the status Que. It was a baptist minister. He basically said that Workability, quality of life, vibrancy, bike paths, public transit, things that can make JAX a better place. Well he said cut them out of the budget. We can't afford it, he then went on to equate quality of life to Saddam and Gemora. And have modern amenities would be a sinfull overindulgence. And that sums up the popular belief in this "town" not really city.

I have a better idea.  Remove property tax exemptions from churches.  I think it's sinful and overly indulgent that they use public resources without contributing their share.

I agree with this 100%. And then, allow churches to offset those property taxes by providing public service programs (feeding the homeless, providing for needy families, stuff churches are supposed to do) thus relieving the city of some of that burden.

urbaknight

February 11, 2011, 02:00:01 PM
I think this falls under the separation of church and state. However, I think that FBC should open their parking garages to the public, they can charge a fee and the city could tax their profits from that because it's not directly church related. Besides, those garages aten't even being used six and a half days of the week.

fsujax

February 11, 2011, 02:14:53 PM
Garages 1, 2 and 3 are open to the public all week long. Monthly parking is available. The church also pays the city taxes on the parking garages, where they recieve revenue from parking fees.

ChriswUfGator

February 11, 2011, 02:25:03 PM
Garages 1, 2 and 3 are open to the public all week long. Monthly parking is available. The church also pays the city taxes on the parking garages, where they recieve revenue from parking fees.

That's because Churches aren't exempt from sales tax on for-profit businesses, and are also generally required to pay a prorated share of property taxes on the portion of the property they converted to business use. That's the law, FBC isn't doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. This had to be addressed, in part, because the abuses were getting outrageous, the Catholics in particular would buy huge office buildings and collect commercial rents while declaring them tax-exempt. I suspect this is a large part of why so much of the FBC space is under-used, they are dis-incentivized to lease any of it out, or else they'll have to start paying taxes on the property.

Actionville

February 11, 2011, 02:58:13 PM
Is it incredibly difficult to impose gridded streets onto cul-de-sac suburbia or what. I've noticed a kind of paranoid mentality among people I speak with that as soon as their street or cul-de-sac is connected to surrounding neighborhood it will immediately become flooded with burglars and pedophiles. Same thing with sidewalks of all things. So many people have mentioned the fear that if you install sidewalks on your residential street "bad people" will invariably walk in. Weird outlook

thelakelander

February 11, 2011, 03:25:30 PM
The key in suburbia would be to attempt to develop a better connected network of collectors and arterials.  Developing these in a grid like fashion (think Metro Detroit's mile roads) can also help disperse traffic from congested arterials like Blanding.

ChriswUfGator

February 11, 2011, 03:46:48 PM
Is it incredibly difficult to impose gridded streets onto cul-de-sac suburbia or what. I've noticed a kind of paranoid mentality among people I speak with that as soon as their street or cul-de-sac is connected to surrounding neighborhood it will immediately become flooded with burglars and pedophiles. Same thing with sidewalks of all things. So many people have mentioned the fear that if you install sidewalks on your residential street "bad people" will invariably walk in. Weird outlook

I do think that mindset is partly responsible for why we find it so hard to build connectivity and mass-transit here, a lot of the suburbanites truly believe they're better off being intentionally isolated from anything that could bring minorities poor people "strangers" near their house.

simms3

February 11, 2011, 04:16:51 PM
I also believe that subdivision regulations play a large role.  Streets have to have a certain turning radius and buildings along those street have highly regulated setbacks, bulk zoning requirements, and placement management of utilities.

Also, "streets", "boulevards", and "avenues" were conceptually done away with.  Roads are now categorized as arterials, collector As, collector Bs, and feeders.  Whereas streets used to function as public gathering places and the glue that held communities together, now they function as constitutional boundaries and a means for cars to travel on.

You can thank the late 1920s all the way through the 1970s for massive zoning and subdivision regulations.  The way Savannah is laid out and built would literally be illegal nowadays.

Also, back in the day architects/landscape architects planned cities and communities.  Nowadays, because of all these crazy regulations, architects have almost no say in how a city is built.  There are land planners and transportation planners (and unfortunately those two rarely meet or coordinate).  The job of the planners is consumed with simply making sure all the individual developers and building permits comply with the strict laws.

We have probably around 5 very notable legal cases (i.e. Euclid v. Ambler) that resulted in said regulations.  There is a reason why every city in America sprawls nowadays and why it's so hard to go back to the way it was.

jandar

February 11, 2011, 04:53:24 PM
Its hard to create grid patterns when land developers own a few acres here, a few acres there, and you have golf clubs and school property in the way, as well as farm land still being used as farms.

The area north of Kingsley, south of Wells is the most grid like in Clay. There are some routes blocked by school property, but I can use this route to go from college dr to the OP Mall without once touching blanding or us17.

Most of Orange Park is like that, and is built very similar to how Cedar Hills is laid out.
The newer subdivisons south of that are land limited due to existing farmland still in use, and water management easements.

Oakleaf Plantation has amenities built in, but no jobs, so people commute.
Fleming Island was built so hodgepodge like that it has nothing but pocket neighborhoods. Hell, at one point, Eagle Harbor HOA wanted to close down lakeshore drive to keep non-residents out and away from the boat ramp on Drs Lake. And quite a bit of the land for eagle harbor and pace island is used for retention ponds to keep flooding down. The ground there is muck and sand and almost always saturated.

cline

February 11, 2011, 05:04:34 PM
Quote
The area north of Kingsley, south of Wells is the most grid like in Clay.

Considering this area barely resembles a grid, this example speaks volumes about Clay's transportation issues and why Blanding Boulevard is a nightmare.

thelakelander

February 11, 2011, 05:16:27 PM
Grids don't have to be in straight lines.  Heck, even providing more roadway network connectivity to disperse traffic doesn't have to be in the form of a typical grid, as long as alternative parallel and perpendicular routes are created in the process.  For example, could it be possible to extend Consititution Drive east of Charles Pinckney Street along, what appears to be a utility easement, to Branan Field Road?  Such a route could also tie in with potential extensions of Chestwick Oak Avenue and Oakleaf Village Parkway.

Another example would be Barlett Avenue and Parkwood Drive, just south of Orange Park Mall.  It would appear that with minimal public investment (about 710 feet of asphalt and a culvert over a ditch), multiple neighborhoods could be tied together, creating another option for residents to move around Orange Park without using Blanding and Wells. This short connection piece could also tie into a potential short two lane road paralleling the ditch, providing direct access to Orange Park Mall.

One last example, would be Wells and Collins Road.  A short connection (perhaps adjacent to the CSX track) could connect both of these streets together, providing a third option for getting under I-295.  Such a minimal investment would be another form of making it possible to disperse existing travel patterns by moving some vehicle trips away from the Blanding and Roosevelt interchanges.

I'm pretty sure if we looked hard enough, more connectivity improvment possiblities like this could be found and implemented for a fraction of the cost of building a far out limited access facility.

cline

February 11, 2011, 05:25:32 PM
Grids don't have to be in straight lines.  Heck, even providing more roadway network connectivity to disperse traffic doesn't have to be in the form of a typical grid, as long as alternative parallel and perpendicular routes are created in the process.  For example, could it be possible to extend Consititution Drive east of Charles Pinckney Street along, what appears to be a utility easement, to Branan Field Road?  Such a route could also tie in with potential extensions of Chestwick Oak Avenue and Oakleaf Village Parkway.


I'm aware that it doesn't have to be an actual grid but in between Wells and Kingsley, there aren't a whole lot of north-south connectors which is why traffic just gets pumped out on Blanding.

I do completely agree with your examples though.  Just a few short connections could make a world of difference.  One other that comes to mind for a east-wast connection would be to connect Wells Road to Aquarius Concourse (just east of Blanding).  It can't be more than 500 feet and could help to alleviate some of the pressures of residents entering and exiting that neighborhood at the other egress/ingress points.

thelakelander

February 11, 2011, 05:31:59 PM
^I wasn't responding to you when I posted that reply.  It just took me a little while to hit send (I was multitasking :)).

cline

February 11, 2011, 05:41:49 PM
^I wasn't responding to you when I posted that reply.  It just took me a little while to hit send (I was multitasking :)).

No worries.  I just think this is a classic example of connectivity (or in this case lack thereof).  There's simply no way in hell we are going to be able to fix congestion on Blanding by widening the road.  We could make it 10 lanes double decked and it would still be backed up during the peak hour.  Our best bet is to offer optional routes of travel - many of which you outlined above.  The Blanding corridor suffers from an egregious lack of zoning regulations and what's done can't be undone at this point. 

While I do feel like there should be alternative routes, I do not think the outer beltway should be considered one of them.  Just to be clear :)

tufsu1

February 11, 2011, 07:12:28 PM
I do completely agree with your examples though.  Just a few short connections could make a world of difference.  One other that comes to mind for a east-wast connection would be to connect Wells Road to Aquarius Concourse (just east of Blanding).  It can't be more than 500 feet and could help to alleviate some of the pressures of residents entering and exiting that neighborhood at the other egress/ingress points.

working on some "grid" connection ideas right now...Lake and cline provide some interesting ideas!

jandar

February 11, 2011, 09:15:35 PM
Grids don't have to be in straight lines.  Heck, even providing more roadway network connectivity to disperse traffic doesn't have to be in the form of a typical grid, as long as alternative parallel and perpendicular routes are created in the process.  For example, could it be possible to extend Consititution Drive east of Charles Pinckney Street along, what appears to be a utility easement, to Branan Field Road?  Such a route could also tie in with potential extensions of Chestwick Oak Avenue and Oakleaf Village Parkway.
There is a plan to extend Cleveland Avenue to Branan Field and extend Cheswick Oaks down to it. This also makes a direct route for Oakleaf to Fleming Island for example.
Construction is slated to begin in 2014.
This is a much better choice than widening Constitution Ave.

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Another example would be Barlett Avenue and Parkwood Drive, just south of Orange Park Mall.  It would appear that with minimal public investment (about 710 feet of asphalt and a culvert over a ditch), multiple neighborhoods could be tied together, creating another option for residents to move around Orange Park without using Blanding and Wells. This short connection piece could also tie into a potential short two lane road paralleling the ditch, providing direct access to Orange Park Mall.
I've always thought this too, Parkwood dead ends into a ball field. Im not sure how much land the cemetery owns around there though.

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One last example, would be Wells and Collins Road.  A short connection (perhaps adjacent to the CSX track) could connect both of these streets together, providing a third option for getting under I-295.  Such a minimal investment would be another form of making it possible to disperse existing travel patterns by moving some vehicle trips away from the Blanding and Roosevelt interchanges.
It would be better than trying to fight Argyle Civic Association, they don't want Orange Park traffic in their neighborhoods, and fight tooth and nail to block an Argyle/Wells connector.

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I'm pretty sure if we looked hard enough, more connectivity improvment possiblities like this could be found and implemented for a fraction of the cost of building a far out limited access facility.
Look at the link I placed, its a PDF or current and pending construction in Clay County.


www.dot.state.fl.us/publicinformationoffice/construc/pdf%20files/CLAY.pdf

north miami

February 14, 2011, 11:54:45 AM
The "vision' of a Wells Road extension westward to Brannon/Chaffee officially stems way back to the 70's and early 80's (Board of County Commissioners Resolutions).Exhaustive 'study'.Incredibly expensive-after all,the roadway would traverse OVER-a bridge across extensive wetland belts-a major water recharge area,once deemed too sensitive to screw with by a long parted Clay Planner (R.Post)Even speculative land transactions......the parcels carved out to adjoin the anticipated roadway centerline forever a matter of public record....not that anyone here knows of this which is a hint as to why we are in this current state of affairs.
It was this same myopic outlook-the same cast of charcters, politics,pressures,the very same faces behind the demise of SR 21,that fostered the beltway.
An era passing,by virtue of it's own recklessness.

cline

February 14, 2011, 01:07:13 PM
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Incredibly expensive-after all,the roadway would traverse OVER-a bridge across extensive wetland belts-a major water recharge area,once deemed too sensitive to screw with by a long parted Clay Planner (R.Post)

Unfortunately that didn't stop Orange Park Country Club from filling in said wetlands for homes.  This issue is made clear by looking at the placement of that subdivision on an aerial photo.  Sad.

north miami

February 14, 2011, 01:15:27 PM
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Incredibly expensive-after all,the roadway would traverse OVER-a bridge across extensive wetland belts-a major water recharge area,once deemed too sensitive to screw with by a long parted Clay Planner (R.Post)

Unfortunately that didn't stop Orange Park Country Club from filling in said wetlands for homes.  This issue can be easily seen by looking at the placement of that subdivision on an aerial photo.  Sad.



No question the intrusions have been massive.And all under the roof of environmental agency review,mitigation,management.....
Some aspirations such as Wells Road extension are just too wacko for even the most ardent,'conservative' booster and government.
Some wetland impact proposals have brought existing residents to tears at public meetings.Quality of Life Crock.
Future 'planned' impacts,yet unseen,are equally provocative to the discerning.

north miami

February 14, 2011, 01:28:22 PM
Re: Wells Road westard extension speculation:(Or,if 'spec' is too strong,shall we say "anticipation","planning"...)

See Clay County records   Official Record Book & Page 557-539      574-27
Parcels half way between Blanding and Brannon Field,adjoining at centerline of (proposed) S-228A (Wells Road extension)

Another dandy PR Book-Page is the parcel just southwest of where Brannon Field and Wells would have joined-(North half of Section 18,T4S,R25E) and a key present day Brannon/Chaffee Sector Plan related feature.
Official Record Book 270  Page 214 and subsequent
Possibly not easily accessable via the internet,"270" and subsequent goes back a ways-one may have to make a foray to the Clay County Court House and abstract.And you will typically find blind trusts and other fire walls but with enough microscope a revealing picture of the drivers can possibly be found.The Brannon/Chaffee Sector Plan future roadways certainly depicts where we ended up.It's what our heads look like served on a fancy platter.
North half S18,T4s,R25E

Mattius92

February 17, 2011, 01:29:09 PM
Any plans to extend more roads to Branan-Field needs to be first addressed by improving the Clay segment of Branan-Field. Though personally I believe Clay is screwed, because they have no money (or maybe brains) to improve their infrastructure. With 180,000+ people and two main routes for those people to commute out of Clay into Duval, its just a hellhole. Branan Field is emerging as a third primary route to commute into Duval, but the 2-lane Clay segment is just horrible.

I so say that subdivisions have killed Clay, grid networks are so much better, and personally I don't see why they are so unappealing.

Doctor_K

February 17, 2011, 01:38:23 PM
...With 180,000+ people and two main routes for those people to commute out of Clay into Duval, its just a hellhole... 

I so say that subdivisions have killed Clay, grid networks are so much better, and personally I don't see why they are so unappealing.

I can only imagine what would happen to that traffic hellhole (great description for it, btw) if any kind of commuter rail actually started running up 17 from Kingsley or even Doctor's Inlet.

Perchance to dream...

Mattius92

February 17, 2011, 01:49:48 PM
And I agree with you, Jacksonville might be big, but we aren't exactly skimpy on rail lines either. Almost every major route in Jacksonville has a rail line near it. Only makes sense to go commuter rail, yet will it happen...

north miami

August 18, 2011, 07:13:29 AM
Re: Wells Road westard extension speculation:(Or,if 'spec' is too strong,shall we say "anticipation","planning"...)

See Clay County records   Official Record Book & Page 557-539      574-27
Parcels half way between Blanding and Brannon Field,adjoining at centerline of (proposed) S-228A (Wells Road extension)

Another dandy PR Book-Page is the parcel just southwest of where Brannon Field and Wells would have joined-(North half of Section 18,T4S,R25E) and a key present day Brannon/Chaffee Sector Plan related feature.
Official Record Book 270  Page 214 and subsequent
Possibly not easily accessable via the internet,"270" and subsequent goes back a ways-one may have to make a foray to the Clay County Court House and abstract.And you will typically find blind trusts and other fire walls but with enough microscope a revealing picture of the drivers can possibly be found.The Brannon/Chaffee Sector Plan future roadways certainly depicts where we ended up.It's what our heads look like served on a fancy platter.
North half S18,T4s,R25E

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