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Downtown's Latest Park an Afterthought?

Now that the Duval County Courthouse is finally open for business, Metro Jacksonville visits downtown's latest green space and discovers its presence appears to be an afterthought to city leaders promoting downtown revitalization.

Published June 23, 2012 in Neighborhoods      58 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature



Adams Street has quickly become a place that generates heavy pedestrian use, as courthouse visitors and employees access garages and downtown businesses. Unfortunately, we forgot to follow our own streetscape standards when it comes to providing street trees. What will it say for downtown's pedestrian scale experience and the promotion of walkability when pedestrians are forced to be fully exposed to the extreme natural elements?







This image illustrates a huge problem in Jacksonville.  Earlier this week, a wheelchair bound resident was observed having to ride in the street with cars because no sidewalk was available.  Jacksonville, did we really sacrifice a sidewalk for an extra vehicular lane on Pearl Street?





With the courthouse serving as a major destination in an area where the majority of the building stock has been demolished, a market for street vendors has been created.  Could this be an ideal setting for a designated location for daily food trucks in a city struggling to embrace daily food trucks in downtown?



Food trucks as an affordable demonstration effort help activate and serve this desolate area of downtown?  Why not?  What do we have to lose?





Now that this public square is in use, it is hard to imagine some in the community promoted squeezing a new roadway between the courthouse and Adams Street.  Instead of a $1 million road, how about providing about a fountain, benches and a few shade trees for a fraction of the cost?





It may not be on the river but this space offers an impressive view of the Northbank skyline.  With a little creativity, is it possible for this space host special events, such as outdoor movies utilizing the Ed Ball Building's blank wall as a huge screen?





Despite the courthouse being open for business, Monroe Street remains the sleepy thoroughfare it has been for the past few years.  Visually, it appears this area will be just fine without taxpayers being asked to spend millions to force a new street into a space where it doesn't fit.





Broad Street has had sidewalks on both sides for over a century until now.







With an abundance of space and visitors ranging in age, would a small tot lot (playground) make sense being installed somewhere within this two block green space?



Now that the courthouse is generating foot traffic and Everbank is on the way, retail space is being leased in the courthouse garage.  One of the first businesses to open will be the Court Yard Cafe.



Despite a segment of the community demanding it be paved over with a new road endangering its pedestrians, urban streets without sidewalks, and sidewalks with a complete lack of shade trees, this unnamed public square has become a place of pedestrian scale activity. In spite of ourselves, we've stumbled into what could easily become a grand public space if we paid it one ounce of real attention.


Spaces like this in peer cities, such as Nashville (above), feature amenities such as fountains, shade trees and benches.  After $350 million and a fight by downtown advocates to keep the city from spending an addition $1 million on a new street, downtown's newest public square doesn't even have sidewalks on all of the streets surrounding it.

For all the talk of promoting downtown revitalization, if we can't get the basic pedestrian scale amenities in this space right, what does that say for downtown's future?

Images by Ennis Davis







58 Comments

Noone

June 21, 2012, 04:07:04 AM
No sidewalks. How was that allowed to happen?

peestandingup

June 21, 2012, 05:01:49 AM
Seriously, did we all REALLY expect it not to be?

A better question would be, what hasn't been an afterthought when it comes to downtown development??

Keith-N-Jax

June 21, 2012, 06:29:55 AM
Jacksonville,  no one should be surprised.

simms3

June 21, 2012, 07:06:33 AM
So with people on the sidewalks the courthouse with the green space actually looks even sillier.  If they weren't planning on doing anything with the front yard, they shouldn't have built a huge front yard and we'd have a building built to the streets.  Ironically considering the size of the building and the lawn compared to the people on the sidewalks, the pictures look absolutely ridiculous.

simms3

June 21, 2012, 07:11:52 AM
Frankly, its weird to have massive public space in front of a courthouse because in most cities often the jail and bail bonds are nearby.  In Nashville's case that is a combined city hall and courthouse and that lawn is configured more to be the end of a street running down to the river rather than the lawn of a courthouse, which happens to be adjacent.  It's also adjacent to other government buildings to its west as opposed to our massive courthouse which sits alone on several blocks and faces a garage (their courthouse faces historic buildings, including an Indigo Hotel in a building similar to our old Barnett Bank building).  Also their lawn is on the river with a viewpoint tower, so like I said, it's more a culmination/riverwalk feature than a courthouse lawn.

thelakelander

June 21, 2012, 07:33:07 AM
Public spaces in front of courthouses are actually quite common.  I have some more pics from courthouses around the country that I'll post later.  In our particular case, the weird thing is the courthouse itself and its impact on the surrounding area.

simms3

June 21, 2012, 07:37:09 AM
Monroe St looks sleepy, yes, so does Pearl.  That picture showing a teeny tiny narrow sidewalk by the side of the new courthouse in the distance just ending abruptly so a new [turn lane?] could be added on Pearl is just ridiculous.  In fact, with the lack of traffic on so many downtown streets, does the city even need those streets to be for cars?  How about looking at focusing downtown traffic, which is light, on a few streets as it is already, and converting other streets to real complete streets with wide sidewalks, shade streets, benches, trash cans, kiosks, bike lanes, etc?

JFman00

June 21, 2012, 08:03:33 AM
My bet is that they're going to push ahead with reconstructing Monroe. Let's make Jacksonville #1... in pedestrian deaths!

thelakelander

June 21, 2012, 08:04:58 AM
Great point, Simms. Btw, as a part of their BRT project, JTA will be reconstructing Broad and Jefferson between Water and State Streets in 2013. Unfortunately, neither will include bike lanes.

tufsu1

June 21, 2012, 08:08:56 AM
keep in mind that in order to get City Council to reverse its decision on extending Monroe Street, the proposal was basically to 'only lay down some sod' and see what happens.

Now that the courthouse is open, I don't think it will be long for people to realize how bad of an idea the road extension would be....and then we can get some real park enhancements.

Tacachale

June 21, 2012, 08:33:19 AM
The article misses the important part of the backstory tfsu1 mentions. This was a compromise to keep the Monroe Street rebuilding fiasco from happening. The plan was just to throw some grass down; this is no one's idea of a final product.

You only just touch on the truly frustrating thing about the plaza - that we actually had people pushing for the Monroe Street connector.

fsujax

June 21, 2012, 08:37:33 AM
^^yeah like the new CC Preisdent. Good luck getting him to be in favor of creating park space there.

Dapperdan

June 21, 2012, 08:39:42 AM
At least we have more useful palm trees to look at to remind us we are in Florida.

fsujax

June 21, 2012, 08:47:22 AM
now, looking at the picture. that space is large enough to support the planting of live oaks! Plenty of room for them to grow and mature majestically.

mtraininjax

June 21, 2012, 08:55:52 AM
Quote
and then we can get some real park enhancements.

Don't bet on it. I smell the work of Paul Crawford here, since he was in charge of Parks and Rec for a while, and he seems to have his fingerprints on everything that is a lightening rod on MJ.

What a waste! Pocket parks use a fraction of the space and have more trees than this barren area. Were Palm trees the only idea when constructed?

thelakelander

June 21, 2012, 09:06:47 AM
The article misses the important part of the backstory tfsu1 mentions. This was a compromise to keep the Monroe Street rebuilding fiasco from happening. The plan was just to throw some grass down; this is no one's idea of a final product.

You only just touch on the truly frustrating thing about the plaza - that we actually had people pushing for the Monroe Street connector.
Street trees and sidewalks should be a part of street design, regardless of if Monroe Street is built or not. That's why the article spends minimal time attempting to unjustly tie the two together.

Tacachale

June 21, 2012, 10:05:00 AM
The article misses the important part of the backstory tfsu1 mentions. This was a compromise to keep the Monroe Street rebuilding fiasco from happening. The plan was just to throw some grass down; this is no one's idea of a final product.

You only just touch on the truly frustrating thing about the plaza - that we actually had people pushing for the Monroe Street connector.
Street trees and sidewalks should be a part of street design, regardless of if Monroe Street is built or not. That's why the article spends minimal time attempting to unjustly tie the two together.
Quite so, but we have a worse problem in trying to keep a street off of that space. We haven't heard the last of that, though hopefully we're beyond the point that it would actually happen.

ben says

June 21, 2012, 10:23:15 AM
8th picture from the bottom, 318 N. Broad St. It's for sale. $895k. Does anybody know anything about this building?

If_I_Loved_you

June 21, 2012, 10:26:54 AM
Why have we left are guard down since 9/11? The new courthouse has no real protection anyone could take a truck or car down N Clay St from W. Forsyth St. or W. Bay St. and run it right into the New courthouse?

Tacachale

June 21, 2012, 10:32:16 AM
^They spent millions of additional dollars to upgrade the security to post-9/11 standards. Whether or not it was worth it is closely related to what you think about the total cost of the courthouse.

finehoe

June 21, 2012, 10:33:44 AM
This is the prototype for the redevelopment of Hemming Plaza.  No sidewalks, no benches = no place for "undesirables".

JFman00

June 21, 2012, 10:35:25 AM
8th picture from the bottom, 318 N. Broad St. It's for sale. $895k. Does anybody know anything about this building?

Here's the listing for it:

Quote
Two-story, free-standing building with 6,242 square feet on .08 acres. Many parking garages and surface lots nearby. The building is located directly across from the new Duval County Unified Courthouse Facility. Excellent location for professional offices including attorneys, bail bondsman, etc.

Located within the designated state Enterprise Zone and the federal Empowerment Zone providing the potential for various tax credits and other economic incentives.

Possible owner financing. Building is also available for lease as-is or build-to-suit.

Keith-N-Jax

June 21, 2012, 10:35:40 AM
Including the citizens who paid for it!!

If_I_Loved_you

June 21, 2012, 10:45:30 AM
^They spent millions of additional dollars to upgrade the security to post-9/11 standards. Whether or not it was worth it is closely related to what you think about the total cost of the courthouse.
That's fine but my question is why isn't there any concrete barriers at the end of N. Clay St in front of the courthouse to stop a car or truck from running right up to the building. Look on google maps of the new courthouse and one can see all the dangers of this poor design in stopping a vehicle from driving right into the front of the New and Improved Courthouse?

thelakelander

June 21, 2012, 11:01:31 AM
The article misses the important part of the backstory tfsu1 mentions. This was a compromise to keep the Monroe Street rebuilding fiasco from happening. The plan was just to throw some grass down; this is no one's idea of a final product.

You only just touch on the truly frustrating thing about the plaza - that we actually had people pushing for the Monroe Street connector.
Street trees and sidewalks should be a part of street design, regardless of if Monroe Street is built or not. That's why the article spends minimal time attempting to unjustly tie the two together.
Quite so, but we have a worse problem in trying to keep a street off of that space. We haven't heard the last of that, though hopefully we're beyond the point that it would actually happen.

Yes, but they are two different issues despite dealing with the same site.  Sidewalks should have went in right along with the rebuilding of street curbs, traffic signals, and roadway repaving.  As soon as someone gets ran over on Broad or Pearl, what seems like a small problem is going to become a very large one.

If_I_Loved_you

June 21, 2012, 11:15:01 AM
Jacksonville,  no one should be surprised.
True and Sad. :(

simms3

June 21, 2012, 11:17:08 AM
Downtown does not have an access problem, nor does it have a traffic problem.  Even if every building were 100% occupied in the most efficient way possible, you're talking 60,000 commuters to a 2 square mile area with numerous numerous freeway exits coming from 4 different directions.

How to make more streets and make them more efficient for cars should be at the bottom of the list of priorities for this city.  How to make downtown more visually attractive to visitors, employees, residents and suburbanites and how to make anyone's visit to downtown, including multi-block walks easier and more pleasant should be the top priority.

Has the city looked at its own traffic numbers?  I-95 sees 120,000 vehicles a day somewhere between the Fuller Warren and Butler.  Maybe it could use another lane, but I-40 in Knoxville, TN sees 20% more traffic than I-95 in Jacksonville, just as a point of reference.  Downtown also has some of the widest one-way streets I have seen outside of NYC.  Most cities' downtowns have very cramped streets, much more traffic, tons of pedestrians to deal with and it becomes a much more hectic issue.  I don't hear car horns blasting every 2 seconds in DT Jacksonville - ever.  In fact, when I am in town I might be the only one tapping my horns...and it is to get the daydreamer in front of me to move.

simms3

June 21, 2012, 11:18:23 AM
So given that the city currently has quiet streets, I would imagine it would be easier to re-engineer them to be more pedestrian and bike friendly in the future as opposed to re-engineering main downtown thoroughfares in cities like Boston and Atlanta.

thelakelander

June 21, 2012, 11:33:19 AM
Yes, it would actually be quite easy.  Our streets are more than wide enough to accommodate multiple modes of mobility.  Unfortunately, for some strange reason, we continue to treat the car better than we do ourselves.

vicupstate

June 21, 2012, 12:42:18 PM

How to make more streets and make them more efficient for cars should be at the bottom of the list of priorities for this city.  How to make downtown more visually attractive to visitors, employees, residents and suburbanites and how to make anyone's visit to downtown, including multi-block walks easier and more pleasant should be the top priority.

+1,000

Quote
Downtown also has some of the widest one-way streets I have seen outside of NYC.  Most cities' downtowns have very cramped streets, much more traffic, tons of pedestrians to deal with and it becomes a much more hectic issue. 

It is very obvious that everything about DT is geared toward enabling all auto traffic to exit/drive-thru as quickly as possible.  Wide one-way streets, lights synchronized to move traffic at top speed through DT, no pedestrian accomodations to speak of, all combine to provide visual clues that there is no particular reason to do anything other than pass thru via auto as quickly as possible. 

simms3

June 21, 2012, 01:01:05 PM
^^^Feel blessed to have synchronized lights that move traffic at a light 35 mph.  I think Jacksonville has engineered its lights so well, and that should actually make pedestrian crossings easier with such an organized automobile system.  It should be easy to now tie ped crossings into the system and add bike lanes.  I live in a city with no grid, no timed lights, no synchronized lights, no organization for anybody, including the hundreds of thousands of cars that pack into a few square miles each day and a growing pedestrian environment, and it's pretty much a mess.  It's so bad that ped crossing signals don't even say walk or countdown on one-way streets that are stopped.  You, as a ped, have to press the button to get that signal.  And amazingly one of the world's top civil engineering programs is in the backyard (I don't think any grads are employed by the city).

Jacksonville has such an easy setup, it's one of the best I have ever seen.  Beyond the streets, the built environment or lack thereof depending is where the challenge is.

avonjax

June 21, 2012, 02:42:05 PM
If the past is true, you are looking at the final product. Another wasted opportunity. "The Jacksonville Way." Sad!

sandyshoes

June 21, 2012, 02:43:29 PM
(Side note:  Worman's Deli, come back!!!  Look at all the potential customers and foot traffic!!) 

copperfiend

June 21, 2012, 02:47:02 PM
If the past is true, you are looking at the final product. Another wasted opportunity. "The Jacksonville Way." Sad!

It gets old, doesn't it?

avonjax

June 21, 2012, 03:28:13 PM
I've had to witness this for over 30 years. Instead of doing something special with this opportunity, attention will now be turned to destroying Hemming Plaza. There is one simple problem to fixing downtown. GET PEOPLE, IN NUMBERS, TO GO THERE. EAT THERE. HANG OUT THERE. AND HOPEFULLY IN TIME SHOP THERE OR GO TO A MOVIE THERE. When that happens more people will want to live there. If the PTB would take their heads out of the sand, they just might see that. They do nothing, in my cynical opinion, to make things better. Bring on the Food Trucks and as many events as possible to bring people downtown. And stop tearing down what's left of the building fabric. I'm not one of those who cries about our "tax dollars," crap. The city will find a way to waste money, but razing the old Southern Bell building is another example of the idiotic thinking that has permeated Jacksonville for most of my lifetime. Why would you destroy a building in great shape? How long does it take to tear a building down? Our city is filled with TERRIBLE ideas. And a terrible habit of creating empty lots for possibilities that never materialize. The older I get the more I realize that Jacksonville will never catch up to the rest of Florida. There will always be a recession, a natural disaster, a big idea from a hotshot that will never invest in DT just throw around fancy ideas. As long as Jacksonville is a socially and politically conservative city this is the best we can expect.

vicupstate

June 21, 2012, 04:13:56 PM
^^^Feel blessed to have synchronized lights that move traffic at a light 35 mph.  I think Jacksonville has engineered its lights so well, and that should actually make pedestrian crossings easier with such an organized automobile system.  It should be easy to now tie ped crossings into the system and add bike lanes.  I live in a city with no grid, no timed lights, no synchronized lights, no organization for anybody, including the hundreds of thousands of cars that pack into a few square miles each day and a growing pedestrian environment, and it's pretty much a mess.  It's so bad that ped crossing signals don't even say walk or countdown on one-way streets that are stopped.  You, as a ped, have to press the button to get that signal.  And amazingly one of the world's top civil engineering programs is in the backyard (I don't think any grads are employed by the city).

Jacksonville has such an easy setup, it's one of the best I have ever seen.  Beyond the streets, the built environment or lack thereof depending is where the challenge is.

Not following the logic of how designing a system to serve autos to the detriment of pedestrians, is helpful .

The traffic goes faster than 35 in several areas many periods of the day.   The ability to speed thru Main and other streets because the lights are long and you hit every light green, is very condusive to speeding. This is very intimidating to pedestrians.

No pedestrian trying to cross Main St. is going to be too comfortable doing so, which effectively puts something of a wall up between the east and west sides of that street. 

That is multiplied 10 times over  when you consider the State-Union highway (and that is essentially what it is).  There is a huge disconnect between DT and Springfield because of that.   

DT Jax needs more streets like Laura, and fewer like Main, State/Union and Broad.  Just about every street needs to be 2 way as well. 

If_I_Loved_you

June 21, 2012, 04:26:59 PM
^^^Feel blessed to have synchronized lights that move traffic at a light 35 mph.  I think Jacksonville has engineered its lights so well, and that should actually make pedestrian crossings easier with such an organized automobile system.  It should be easy to now tie ped crossings into the system and add bike lanes.  I live in a city with no grid, no timed lights, no synchronized lights, no organization for anybody, including the hundreds of thousands of cars that pack into a few square miles each day and a growing pedestrian environment, and it's pretty much a mess.  It's so bad that ped crossing signals don't even say walk or countdown on one-way streets that are stopped.  You, as a ped, have to press the button to get that signal.  And amazingly one of the world's top civil engineering programs is in the backyard (I don't think any grads are employed by the city).

Jacksonville has such an easy setup, it's one of the best I have ever seen.  Beyond the streets, the built environment or lack thereof depending is where the challenge is.
Atlanta metropolitan area has 5,376,130 inhabitants. Jacksonville Florida has 1,328,144
Metro Area a cake walk when it comes to driving don't you think?

simms3

June 21, 2012, 11:09:01 PM
^^^Feel blessed to have synchronized lights that move traffic at a light 35 mph.  I think Jacksonville has engineered its lights so well, and that should actually make pedestrian crossings easier with such an organized automobile system.  It should be easy to now tie ped crossings into the system and add bike lanes.  I live in a city with no grid, no timed lights, no synchronized lights, no organization for anybody, including the hundreds of thousands of cars that pack into a few square miles each day and a growing pedestrian environment, and it's pretty much a mess.  It's so bad that ped crossing signals don't even say walk or countdown on one-way streets that are stopped.  You, as a ped, have to press the button to get that signal.  And amazingly one of the world's top civil engineering programs is in the backyard (I don't think any grads are employed by the city).

Jacksonville has such an easy setup, it's one of the best I have ever seen.  Beyond the streets, the built environment or lack thereof depending is where the challenge is.

Not following the logic of how designing a system to serve autos to the detriment of pedestrians, is helpful .

The traffic goes faster than 35 in several areas many periods of the day.   The ability to speed thru Main and other streets because the lights are long and you hit every light green, is very condusive to speeding. This is very intimidating to pedestrians.

No pedestrian trying to cross Main St. is going to be too comfortable doing so, which effectively puts something of a wall up between the east and west sides of that street. 

That is multiplied 10 times over  when you consider the State-Union highway (and that is essentially what it is).  There is a huge disconnect between DT and Springfield because of that.   

DT Jax needs more streets like Laura, and fewer like Main, State/Union and Broad.  Just about every street needs to be 2 way as well. 

Your points are well taken, but I think properly managed one ways and an organized traffic system actually can be beneficial to pedestrians and bikers.  In my opinion Jacksonville's traffic system is highly organized and easy.  With that being said, I believe to your point major one ways like Main, State, Union, Bay and Adams can be modified to then include a better pedestrian component, as well as a dedicated bike component.  It would be easier to add those to the mix with the system Jacksonville has in place (and the lack of overall traffic and activity to impede construction).

Of course as has been analyzed by MetroJacksonville, certain one-ways should probably be converted to two ways, but given the grid/traffic system, the synchronization and organization of automobile traffic would not necessarily go away.

Alax44

June 22, 2012, 03:41:30 AM
DeLorean used car dealership would fit in well here.

Adam W

June 22, 2012, 08:41:19 AM
Downtown's Latest Park an Afterthought?



Now that the Duval County Courthouse is finally open for business, Metro Jacksonville visits downtown's latest green space and discovers its presence appears to be an afterthought to city leaders promoting downtown revitalization.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2012-jun-downtowns-latest-green-space-an-afterthought

I think you're being generous to call it a 'park'. It's more like a massive waste of space. It's not good enough to deserve to be called a park.

vicupstate

June 22, 2012, 08:45:53 AM
Courthouse Lawn is more accurate than Park.

carpnter

June 22, 2012, 08:57:46 AM
^^^Feel blessed to have synchronized lights that move traffic at a light 35 mph.  I think Jacksonville has engineered its lights so well, and that should actually make pedestrian crossings easier with such an organized automobile system.  It should be easy to now tie ped crossings into the system and add bike lanes.  I live in a city with no grid, no timed lights, no synchronized lights, no organization for anybody, including the hundreds of thousands of cars that pack into a few square miles each day and a growing pedestrian environment, and it's pretty much a mess.  It's so bad that ped crossing signals don't even say walk or countdown on one-way streets that are stopped.  You, as a ped, have to press the button to get that signal.  And amazingly one of the world's top civil engineering programs is in the backyard (I don't think any grads are employed by the city).

Jacksonville has such an easy setup, it's one of the best I have ever seen.  Beyond the streets, the built environment or lack thereof depending is where the challenge is.

Not following the logic of how designing a system to serve autos to the detriment of pedestrians, is helpful .

The traffic goes faster than 35 in several areas many periods of the day.   The ability to speed thru Main and other streets because the lights are long and you hit every light green, is very condusive to speeding. This is very intimidating to pedestrians.

No pedestrian trying to cross Main St. is going to be too comfortable doing so, which effectively puts something of a wall up between the east and west sides of that street. 

That is multiplied 10 times over  when you consider the State-Union highway (and that is essentially what it is).  There is a huge disconnect between DT and Springfield because of that.   

DT Jax needs more streets like Laura, and fewer like Main, State/Union and Broad.  Just about every street needs to be 2 way as well.

The reason people speed down those streets is because the lights are not synchronized at 35mph, frequently the lights will start to change before someone traveling 35mph can get from one end of the street to another even when there is no traffic, so people have a tendency to speed up to get ahead of the changing lights. 

Adam W

June 22, 2012, 09:15:00 AM
Courthouse Lawn is more accurate than Park.

True.

It boggles the mind that they didn't make all that land into an actual park (with benches, walkways, trees, etc). I bet it's to make sure homeless people don't set up shop or whatever. But that land could be put to good use.

thelakelander

June 22, 2012, 09:21:27 AM
It still can be made into a park with amenities incrementally.  Lakeland's Lake Mirror Park is a great example of how to make a plain "no-frills" space grand, with incremental improvements.

Lake Mirror Park master plan


1994


2010


http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-apr-lakelands-green-treasure-lake-mirror-park

Ocklawaha

June 22, 2012, 11:28:14 AM
now, looking at the picture. that space is large enough to support the planting of live oaks! Plenty of room for them to grow and mature majestically.

What this place needs is a healthy planting of the Giant Sequoia Redwood's, then in 1,000 years or so, nobody would have to look at that damn ugly building.

Jaxson

June 22, 2012, 04:49:24 PM
Thankfully, it is not too late to create something from this space in front of the courthouse.  Sure, we could have used a little more creativity with this space a little earlier than now, but I still see great potential...

jcjohnpaint

June 22, 2012, 05:16:07 PM
Yeah it sure is better as a clean slate than having a big blvd running through it. 

mtraininjax

June 23, 2012, 10:19:39 PM
Quote
Courthouse Lawn is more accurate than Park.

So how much water will this "lawn" require? Any plans on using grey water from the building, as a model of what the city can do for conservation? Hard to cast the first stone, if you are not practicing what you preach. Oh, wait, we don't preach anything here, so go ahead and water on all days.

Noone

June 24, 2012, 03:50:16 AM
Quote
Courthouse Lawn is more accurate than Park.

So how much water will this "lawn" require? Any plans on using grey water from the building, as a model of what the city can do for conservation? Hard to cast the first stone, if you are not practicing what you preach. Oh, wait, we don't preach anything here, so go ahead and water on all days.

I recently asked the question on 690 WOKV Q&A with JEA with Gerry Boyce and Roxy Tyler if reclaimed water was being used at the new $350,000,000 courthouse. They didn't know but was told to tune in the following week for the follow up. Didn't catch all the show the following week so I don't know the answer. Does anyone?

officerk

June 24, 2012, 04:38:47 AM
I missed someting big.. and I appologize for this... if one of you could humor me I would appreciate it... I work shift work and frequenlty miss "big news" such as why Jacksonville needed a $350 MILLION court house to begin with? I did catch that court hearings were delayed by safety issues in opening it (given my line of work, I pay attention to court cases). But in a city where cuts are being made left and right to schools, police, fire and many other public service agencies I am at a loss as to why a court house with such a high price tag was required? I am assuming that there were issues with the former court house that were beyond repair or cost prohibitive and thus it was more fiscally responsible to build new but $350 million just seems exhobitant in a city that is screaming broke.

tufsu1

June 24, 2012, 08:38:09 AM
^ simple....population growth and the ever increasing use of our judicial system.

the old courthouse was built in the 1950s and had already been outgrown in the 1970s...in fact, the state pretty much required Duval County to build a new courthouse over 20 years ago.

officerk

June 24, 2012, 10:13:38 AM
ok... are you saying the building was in disrepair, did not have enough court rooms to handle the case load or just architecturally/aesthetically out of date? All of the above?
 but that did not answer the $350 million price tag question... It is not so much the new building I am questioning as the cost of the new building, if the new building was in fact NEEDED and not just WANTED.  The building looks to be pretty extravagant from the photos shown.  Could it not have been a bit more utilitarian for $100 million or so less and had that money put to more beneficial use than a building and a "park" that is not very park-like?  I am thinking that our schools, police, fire and rescue services that have been getting cut repeatedly could have put the money to good use.

Charles Hunter

June 24, 2012, 10:52:05 AM
There have been several discussions here at MJ decrying the cost over-runs on the Court House.  But the money used for the CH could not have gone to schools, teachers, firefighters or the police.  It was part of the Better Jacksonville Plan referendum to finance certain, specified, capital projects.

officerk

June 24, 2012, 11:23:23 AM
ah hah... that I do understand... sort of... I am familiar with once funded must be spent in that manner alone... though I don't truly "understand" as I see wasteful spending so many times with it...

JFman00

June 24, 2012, 11:27:45 AM
The Bronx's new shiny courthouse for a population twice that of Duval is 75k sqft smaller with an underground parking garage and bomb-proof windows for $425 million on a 2x1 block footprint. The cost overruns for the Bronx Hall of Justice are attributed to site contamination, underground waterway discovered during construction. additional security features (construction began weeks before 9/11) and problems with the underground parking structure. I like theirs better.



I-10east

June 24, 2012, 12:27:02 PM
Ah, I'm in that "Pull up any random courthouse pic in the US that supposed to be 'WAY better' than Jax's courthouse" part of MJ again, how delightful.

JFman00

June 24, 2012, 03:58:51 PM
Glad you love them. Here's more. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2012/04/hit-and-miss-architecture-new-courthouses/1861/ And ours gets a shout out too! "Jacksonville's new Duval County courthouse, due to open this year, looks a bit like something an 18th century architect might have dreamed up to be 'futuristic.'"

thelakelander

July 01, 2012, 01:12:54 PM
Speaking of other city's courthouses, yesterday I came across this new courthouse in downtown Columbus, OH.  Btw, I was very impressed with Columbus' downtown pedestrian level vibe.  It was head and shoulders above Charlotte's (another city I stopped in).



Quote
Franklin County’s new $105 million Common Pleas Courthouse opened its doors Monday morning, welcoming 17 judges and nine magistrates who will administer justice in the seven-story, 325,000-square-foot building.

The building at the northwest corner of High and Mound streets in downtown Columbus was scheduled to open in February, but problems with reception for police radios in the building caused the delay.

The courthouse replaces the overcrowded and outdated Hall of Justice building, a 30-year-old structure that will be overhauled but whose tenants have yet to be determined by county officials.

The new courthouse has 32 courtrooms and 33 holding cells for prisoners awaiting court appearances. A $20 million system of tunnels and street-level pavilion connect the courthouse to the county offices complex across Mound Street.

Much of the design work on the courthouse focused on making the building environmentally friendly. That includes a sod-like green roof to reduce storm-water runoff into city sewers, a building layout designed to reduce heating and cooling loads, low-flow and dual-flush plumbing fixtures and exterior sun shades to cut glare and heat gain.

There also is a rain garden and collection tank to catch and store water for irrigation of courthouse landscaping and a series of high windows help pull daylight to illuminated interior spaces.

http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2011/06/06/new-franklin-county-courthouse-open.html
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