This Thursday, local architect and Monroe Street property owner, Ted Pappas will give a presentation on why a new one-way street should be built in front of the new courthouse at an additional expense to taxpayers. This may be an meeting downtown advocates may not want to miss.
Ted Pappas' Position: Rebuild A New Monroe Street
Mr. Pappas believes that Monroe Street is the umbilical cord that ties our civic buildings together and that a new street, no matter the configuration, should serve as a one-way westbound vehicular arterial into the core. He has developed a solution that would create a smaller plaza that would be split in half by a new roadway.
Traveling on Monroe Street going east and after crossing Broad Street you would arrive at the front door of the New County Courthouse, the old historic US Post Office building, the Federal Courthouse Plaza, Hemming Civic Plaza with City Hall at the north end of the plaza, and the new library. Closing Monroe Street, this condition would not be possible.
Adams Street (one way west) currently has two traffic lanes and one parking lane. Monroe Street (if opened as I proposed) would have two lanes with an island between it and Adams Street.
If you were traveling from the parking garage to the courthouse you would cross two lanes of traffic on Adams Street arrive at an island and cross two lanes(or one if preferred) traffic lane of Monroe Street. On the north side would be the new courthouse plaza and green.
Monroe Street in the umbilical cord that ties our civic buildings together. Monroe Street gives access to these buildings.
This image highlights a plan led by Councilman Michael Corrigan and Architect Ted Pappas to reconstruct Monroe Street in front of the new Duval County Courthouse. Overlayed by Metro Jacksonville, the Google Earth aerial is intended to visually illustrate how this plan will fit into the surrounding urban landscape. Combined with Adams Street, this option would place six lanes of vehicular traffic between the entrance of the courthouse and the garage/retail structure.
Metro Jacksonville's Position: Save Taxpayers Money And Develop An Interactive Public Square
Like Ted Pappas, Metro Jacksonville does not endorse the elimination or alteration of the historic urban street grid. However, we also understand that this section of Monroe Street is already gone and won't come back unless the front of the courthouse is chopped off. Thus, we have to look at fiscal responsible urban design solutions that best integrate this out-of-scale structure with the urban landscape around it in a manner that promotes vibrant pedestrian oriented streets.
Considering the location of the courthouse's main entrance, courthouse garage, the fact that Forsyth Street is the superior accessible arterial from I-95, security concerns, walkability and budgetary problems, Metro Jacksonville believes that a public plaza is the best use of this space. Quite simply, a well designed park (which is already in the budget) can easily fill up the vacant courthouse garage retail spaces and encourage additional infill development in the immediate area. It also has the ability to become an everyday destination in an area of the Northbank that has struggled for decades to attract pedestrian traffic.
If our city leaders want to spend additional millions to construct a roadway that isn't needed or wanted by most who live, work and play daily in downtown, Metro Jacksonville can help come up with alternative projects that will bring taxpayers a higher return on investment than a two block long budget busting safety hazard. Lets get it right this time Jacksonville!
Want Your Voice To Be Heard?
Nashville's popular Courthouse Square
The Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) Meeting will be held at 2:00pm this Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 1 West Adams Street, Suite 200.
It will be open to the public and those in support of constructing a new public park or spending more money to build a new circuitous street are encouraged to come voice your opinion on the matter. This will be instrumental in swaying our city officials in either direction.
Article by Ennis Davis