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Twenty Affordable Fixes For Downtown

As Jacksonville awaits the final election results, here are 20 cost-effective concepts that either mayor could get behind that save the city money while spurring economic revitalization.

Published May 18, 2011 in Urban Issues      35 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article



Free time limited on-street parking in downtown Cleveland.  If it can work in a city with a downtown twice the size of ours, it's certainly worth considering in Jacksonville.

1. Remove all parking meters immediately and replace with an enforced but free two-hour limit on parking from 9am to 5pm weekdays only.  

2. Make all streets two-way where feasible.

3. Re-time traffic lights.

4. Plan multiple festivals, events, parades and street parties. Close down certain streets for this. COJ pays for and executes these events. But they cannot spend more than $10,000 per event. There should be 10-20 events at minimum per year, spread throughout the Landing, Adams, and the Forsyth & Bay Street entertainment district. Oh, but first of all, COJ must acknowledge that we actually have an entertainment district. Budget for this will come from scaling back the $750,000 spent each year on the Jazz Fest (my estimate).

5. JSO must go back to having visible officers patrolling nightlife areas on foot. That's right: no cars, bikes or horses - Just like their grandfathers did. This will help Downtown in numerous ways.


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35 Comments

Noone

May 18, 2011, 06:59:04 AM
Good points. Lets Make it Happen.

JeffreyS

May 18, 2011, 07:08:52 AM
Love it for the second time.

duvaldude08

May 18, 2011, 11:58:43 AM
Are you writing this down Alvin? :)

L.P. Hovercraft

May 18, 2011, 12:18:11 PM
Are you writing this down Alvin? :)

+1000

I think I speak for many here today when I say:

Huzzah!!!

JeffreyS

May 18, 2011, 12:22:55 PM
Ok Alvin I can not wait to here how the meetings with your Fed contacts went to fast track our port.  Savanna and Charleston have been delayed and Jax can jump into the lead.

urbaknight

May 18, 2011, 02:58:06 PM
I just hope that whoever becomes the next mayor, will go down as the best mayor in JAX history. 

tufsu1

May 18, 2011, 03:59:02 PM
Are you writing this down Alvin? :)

don't worry...he and his staff will get the message

marksjax

May 18, 2011, 04:49:08 PM
Ennis, well done. Thank you!

jaybyrd

May 18, 2011, 11:46:45 PM
Wow, splendid.  Thanks again for thinking for the feeble minds that run this city.

tom-joseph

May 19, 2011, 07:13:15 AM
These are very good suggestions and require very little taxpayer money, well done collection of real ideas!

The problem is I have a retarded friend (not kidding) who knew this sort of stuff (parking, transportation, etc) as downtown deteriorated in the first place. It used to be really thriving and dynamic. City leaders have been essentially worse than brain damaged to not do many of these things for decades.

Anything that Alvin Brown can do with a stroke of a pen I hope he will do. But the new Mayor should not expect any cooperation from the Republican City Council, as they are the problem in the first place. Jax has had decades of Republican control and all these simple fixes for downtown seem to have been too much for them to understand. They prefer paying big money to consultants and then ignoring them. Or they love some big deal, big cash contract and plans for grandiose nonsense that never happens.

These 20 simple affordable ideas are better than all the tax breaks and schemes of the past 20 years.

I do not see downtown as all important but easy fixes for downtown will benefit the entire city. It is looking real bad right now there and that is a shame, as it as the potential to be a world class city center.

L.P. Hovercraft

May 19, 2011, 11:24:57 AM
Just emailed Mr. Mayor-Elect Alvin Brown (I sure do like the sound of that!) this article along with a note of congratulations on his victory. 

This list is so damn simple and obvious I would even have sent it to Mr. Hogan if he had won the election, but I definitely think Mayor Brown and his administration will be much more receptive to the ideas presented here.

Nick Stone

May 19, 2011, 01:37:21 PM
The more I ponder these ideas the more plausible, appealing even brilliant and exciting they appear. These ideas are genus yet they make so much since you’d think it was common since. All the ideas are good. For instance: notice how many beach residents ride bikes? My family has bikes. What fun to have bike lanes i.e. not get hit in the head by a truck mirror. I’d drive my car there for a lush lunch, etc if I didn’t have to fret about not having any quarters for a meter. I took my grandson on the skyway and it was awesome and cheap but we had to walk to a motel to use an ATM then work at getting a dollar out of a twenty then panic at the skyway entry because the machine kept rejecting my dollars. My grandson reminded me it’s not nice to cuss. Yes make it free. I’ll spend $ downtown and I and the businesses will pay tax and I’ll have a blast. And the other ideas, etc.

urbaknight

May 19, 2011, 01:48:49 PM
Just emailed Mr. Mayor-Elect Alvin Brown (I sure do like the sound of that!) this article along with a note of congratulations on his victory. 

This list is so damn simple and obvious I would even have sent it to Mr. Hogan if he had won the election, but I definitely think Mayor Brown and his administration will be much more receptive to the ideas presented here.




Hey L.P. Do you know Alvin Brown personally? Because I have a few ideas for Down Town regarding amenities for the disabled. Is there any way that I can get an audience with Alvin Brown to discuss my ideas? I'm sure he'd listen and consider them. I mentioned one of them on another post in a different thread. I believe it was the thread about the southbank riverwalk. If you can help me or point me in the right direction That would be super great, Thank you, 

Urbaknight.

L.P. Hovercraft

May 19, 2011, 03:07:13 PM
Just emailed Mr. Mayor-Elect Alvin Brown (I sure do like the sound of that!) this article along with a note of congratulations on his victory. 

This list is so damn simple and obvious I would even have sent it to Mr. Hogan if he had won the election, but I definitely think Mayor Brown and his administration will be much more receptive to the ideas presented here.




Hey L.P. Do you know Alvin Brown personally? Because I have a few ideas for Down Town regarding amenities for the disabled. Is there any way that I can get an audience with Alvin Brown to discuss my ideas? I'm sure he'd listen and consider them. I mentioned one of them on another post in a different thread. I believe it was the thread about the southbank riverwalk. If you can help me or point me in the right direction That would be super great, Thank you, 

Urbaknight.

Hey Urbaknight, no I don't know Alvin personally, I just sent him an email from his website: alvinformayor.com
There are some snail mail addresses there too if you'd rather go that route.
I received a letter from him after donating to his campaign and in it he stated he was interested in hearing from his supporters so I say, go for it--send him your ideas!

duvaldude08

May 19, 2011, 04:33:52 PM
Hey guys, lets not forgot our most valued resource. Stephendare. Im sure he can arrange something will Alvin and share our ideas. 

tufsu1

May 19, 2011, 08:26:50 PM
several of us have had and will likely continue to have access to Mayor-elect Brown....I'm sure the ideas discussed here will be viewed regularly by those in the new administration.

duvaldude08

May 19, 2011, 09:07:08 PM
^^Kool! Thanks

lewyn

May 20, 2011, 09:05:26 AM
12 isn't really the mayor's job- its JTA's.
1 I'm not so sure about, unless there's also a strategy for removing parking lots.

stephendare

May 20, 2011, 09:12:00 AM
True, Lewyn, but the mayor appoints half of the Board.  He has real input into the process if he wants it.

romegirl

May 20, 2011, 10:59:39 AM
How about issuing a document similar to the passports for World of Nations but with historical points of Downtown Jacksonville instead.  Students in Duval County could work on filling them out over the summer by getting their parents to take them downtown.  Similar to the Mayor's Bookclub but with history as the focus instead.  This could tie into some of the festivals perhaps.

Bridges

May 20, 2011, 11:33:47 AM
What is the very top picture from?  The one with the pirate boat.

danem

May 20, 2011, 11:36:54 AM
What is the very top picture from?  The one with the pirate boat.

Isn't that Jacksonville, just west of the landing? I can see the Hyatt and the Landing in the background.

I notice sometimes on Saturday afternoons a ship like that will stop by.

urbaknight

May 20, 2011, 12:13:20 PM
Just emailed Mr. Mayor-Elect Alvin Brown (I sure do like the sound of that!) this article along with a note of congratulations on his victory. 

This list is so damn simple and obvious I would even have sent it to Mr. Hogan if he had won the election, but I definitely think Mayor Brown and his administration will be much more receptive to the ideas presented here.




Hey L.P. Do you know Alvin Brown personally? Because I have a few ideas for Down Town regarding amenities for the disabled. Is there any way that I can get an audience with Alvin Brown to discuss my ideas? I'm sure he'd listen and consider them. I mentioned one of them on another post in a different thread. I believe it was the thread about the southbank riverwalk. If you can help me or point me in the right direction That would be super great, Thank you, 

Urbaknight.

Hey Urbaknight, no I don't know Alvin personally, I just sent him an email from his website: alvinformayor.com
There are some snail mail addresses there too if you'd rather go that route.
I received a letter from him after donating to his campaign and in it he stated he was interested in hearing from his supporters so I say, go for it--send him your ideas!


Thank you L.P. for the email address. I didn't donate to his campaign but, I did vote for him; and I advised everyone on the bus and in the streets to do the same.

urbaknight

May 20, 2011, 12:18:45 PM
What is the very top picture from?  The one with the pirate boat.

Isn't that Jacksonville, just west of the landing? I can see the Hyatt and the Landing in the background.

I notice sometimes on Saturday afternoons a ship like that will stop by.

Every other year it seems, there is a pirate festival. And we're due for another if the pattern holds true. I recamend that all of you go and check it out. I could be wrong, but it's been 2 years since the last one, lots of fun! They should've advertised it better, but with what's been going on these past few weeks, something like is easy to overlook.

duvaldude08

May 20, 2011, 12:24:12 PM
Off topic but guess what????? The modis building will now be Wells Fargo Center per the business Journal today!! I think its time for me to say..... TOLD YOU SOO!!!!!! :P

http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2011/05/20/modis-building-to-wells-fargo-center.html

L.P. Hovercraft

May 20, 2011, 12:28:25 PM
Thank you L.P. for the email address. I didn't donate to his campaign but, I did vote for him; and I advised everyone on the bus and in the streets to do the same.

Hey, you do what you can do right?  Every little bit helps.
I really thought Hogan had this one in the bag--you bet I was pleasantly surprised!

urbaknight

May 20, 2011, 12:36:22 PM
I'm just honored to be a positive part of history, a small part though it was. I still feel great!

duvaldude08

May 20, 2011, 12:40:11 PM
I read that Brown is meeting with Downtown Business owners on today. He is not wasting any time. I love it!

mueller921

May 20, 2011, 12:57:32 PM
Very nice.

BridgeTroll

May 20, 2011, 01:34:16 PM
How about issuing a document similar to the passports for World of Nations but with historical points of Downtown Jacksonville instead.  Students in Duval County could work on filling them out over the summer by getting their parents to take them downtown.  Similar to the Mayor's Bookclub but with history as the focus instead.  This could tie into some of the festivals perhaps.

Welcome romegirl!  Interesting idea...

darctones

May 20, 2011, 01:55:08 PM
These are all good ideas to help Jacksonville realize it's potential.  But, given our budget shortfalls a rational person cannot expect the city to take a pro-active stance on development (even if I will bring in more money in the long term).

Those of us who care about the urban core should empower community organizations such as the JEDC, DVI, and RAP to develop obtainable models and consumer-supported incentives to bring growth to these areas.  The city is more likely to spend money to aid growth, than to spend money to create growth.

These organizations need more than strong community leaders and financial supporters, they also need engineers, planners, contractors, developers, and architects to sit on their boards to implement these ideas.  But, most of all we need time and hard-work.

These twenty fixes are all possible and all common sense, but without results they're just ideas.

Bativac

May 20, 2011, 02:30:23 PM
I read that Brown is meeting with Downtown Business owners on today. He is not wasting any time. I love it!

I just read the article on the TU website. Then I did something stupid and read the comments. The same predictable "quit spending money on downtown" stuff. One guy even mentioned how downtown Atlanta and DC shut down at 5!!

The new mayor is great but he has got a tough row to hoe if he is going to change the minds of the 70% of people who didn't vote but don't want their tax dollars going downtown, and the 50% of the people who did vote who also don't want their tax dollars going downtown. Even if none of their tax dollars are, in fact, going downtown.

fsujax

May 20, 2011, 02:41:17 PM
Just to have a mayor that will champion Downtown is a step in the right direction. I think it has been made quite clear it doesn't take an increase in tax dollars to turn Downtown around.

Picked up this quote from Alvin Brown on Channe's 4's website.

"Brown said he would look into reworking any regulations that may be an obstacle to businesses locating and thriving downtown and consider further incentives to attract companies into the urban core."

I think he really gets it.

urbaknight

May 20, 2011, 03:22:40 PM
That's great, but we also need more apartment buildings there. And by that I mean, apartments for rent, not just for sale. That's what will creat the vibrant atmusphere for nights and weekends.

duvaldude08

May 20, 2011, 03:25:37 PM
Just to have a mayor that will champion Downtown is a step in the right direction. I think it has been made quite clear it doesn't take an increase in tax dollars to turn Downtown around.

Picked up this quote from Alvin Brown on Channe's 4's website.

"Brown said he would look into reworking any regulations that may be an obstacle to businesses locating and thriving downtown and consider further incentives to attract companies into the urban core."

I think he really gets it.

I agree. I have not been this excited about Jacksonville.....EVER and Im 29 years old. To see my hometown finally growing up is a true feeling of pride. And you are correct, Alvin Brown definately gets it. Attracting new business and retaining the current ones is the key for growth. He has already met with the current downtown business owners on today.

I have a side thought also. I wonder if he can persuade Florida Coastal School of Law to relocate DT by the new courthouse. DT is orginally where they wanted to be located and the city (aka johnny boy) turned them away. This is the time to get things right.
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