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Philips Highway: Safety Improvement or Death Trap?

Ever wonder why Jacksonville and the rest of Florida's major cities lead the nation in pedestrian and bicycle deaths? Look no further than the Florida Department of Transportation's (FDOT) current Philips Highway project.

Published November 29, 2012 in Transit      26 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Hubbard Construction Company of Winter Park has been hired by FDOT to resurface a five mile segment of Philips Highway from Business Park Boulevard to Baymeadows Road. Work on the $8.9 million project began in July 2012 and is anticipated to be completed Spring 2013.



As a part of the resurfacing project, several safety improvements are being made to the corridor, including ADA accessible bus stops.  There's only one major problem.  There's no sidewalks to access the bus stops or even an attempt to connect the stops to the nearest businesses.  Imagine being in a wheelchair and trying to dodge semi-trucks traveling over 45 miles per hour to catch the bus?  If asked, one would expect some logical reason to be given for excluding sidewalk improvements.  Perhaps it's policy or perhaps it's cost (sidewalk money from the mobility fee could have helped with, if not for a recently expired moratorium).  





At this point, all we can say is City Council considering adopting some form of Context Sensitive Streets policy in Jacksonville can't come fast enough.

Images by Ennis Davis

For more information on the Philips Highway project visit: http://www.northfloridaroads.com/projects/details.asp?ProjectID=553









26 Comments

Adam W

November 29, 2012, 03:18:21 AM
...and they wonder why people don't ride the bus.

Things like this are designed by people who've never had to (or wanted to or bothered to) ride a bus. They put these things out there because they think "we need to have bus stops" but the thought process stops there.

Noone

November 29, 2012, 05:03:22 AM
MJ, Thanks for posting this update. I've noticed this along Philips and I was hoping there is more to this than just a slab. I remember a few years back listening to the Andy Johnson radio show and it was in the summer time and the conversation was about bus stops and it was pouring out. I was traveling up Philips and the timing for the topic couldn't have been better.
Was there a garbage can? Was there a seat? And was it sheltered?
It was gut wrenching to witness this traveling for miles up this corridor and the customers just being soaked, standing in mud. With no options. Garbage just laying everywhere. Will they be sheltered?
Aren't we just stoked beyond belief that we just awarded a golden parachute to the outgoing JTA director by a Board.
So many othe examples of abuse.
Just destroy the Public Trust.
Monuments for everyone.

Bill Hoff

November 29, 2012, 07:05:34 AM
Mind boggling.

gedo3

November 29, 2012, 07:22:52 AM
Thank you for noticing and alerting people to this.  Sadly, many times you are the only voice "in the wilderness" to warn people.  I'm hoping this isn't yet another of those times!

Overstreet

November 29, 2012, 07:48:49 AM
AND they are technically not installed correctly for a pedestrian slab. It violates everything ADA. The slope is wrong.  They have a high crown in the middle of a short run. Just look at how some of the benches sit at an angle. The forming and reinforcing is slack.......read not very  professional. It's too close to the road. Some are too close to the ditch without bulkheading or foundation(undermining errosion)  or hand rails (fall) . 

mbwright

November 29, 2012, 08:38:48 AM
I guess they never got around to building the new shelters, that were to be paid for with advertising.  something about visual blight?  But it is OK to completely wrap a bus? 
I think your assessment of those that are doing the designing never actually using the product.  It's obvious there is no oversight, or review.  It will be much cheaper to do it correctly, than payout for an ADA lawsuit.

Ocklawaha

November 29, 2012, 08:49:12 AM
...and they wonder why people don't ride the bus.

Things like this are designed by people who've never had to (or wanted to or bothered to) ride a bus. They put these things out there because they think "we need to have bus stops" but the thought process stops there.

Sorry to disagree with you Adam W. but historically "they" don't "think," at least not in Jacksonville.

I've been looking at the BRT score card site and find it interesting that a couple of the items that increase the score of a BRT system are:

(The obvious) sidewalks
(The easily done) a pedestrian and bicycle trail the length of the project
(The low scorer) do nothing at all

From this we can get a pretty good idea of what BRT is going to look like in Jacksonville.

Josh

November 29, 2012, 08:49:46 AM
How embarrassing.

cline

November 29, 2012, 09:03:26 AM
So during design did someone from FDOT think to themselves "This will be a great idea, we're going to make Philips Hwy pedestrian friendly!" or was this simply an afterthought.  It's pretty sad.  I would imagine it is a joint JTA-FDOT idea?  I would also like to know how much having sidewalks installed would cost in relation to the total cost of the project?  Better yet, what would that cost be in relation to the Overland Bridge project? 

tufsu1

November 29, 2012, 09:15:29 AM
FDOT has interpreted some new Federal rules on transit as such....if you have a transit stop with just a sign, you can get away with nothing more...if you have amenities of any form (be it a bench, trash can, bike rack, shelter) than the stop must be ADA accessible.....but here's the catch...only the stop itself has to be....so notice that one could access each concrete pad by riding the wheelchair along the shoulder of the road.

I'm guessing that's the motivation behind this awesome effort!

thelakelander

November 29, 2012, 09:23:00 AM
Is the shoulder going to be considered a bike lane once the resurfacing is done, like it is further south on Philips?  If so, what happens when the cyclist and 70-year-old lady with a walker meet?

tufsu1

November 29, 2012, 09:28:24 AM
Is the shoulder going to be considered a bike lane once the resurfacing is done, like it is further south on Philips?  If so, what happens when the cyclist and 70-year-old lady with a walker meet?

not sure....but FDOT directive now is to consider signing shoulders as bike lanes wherever feasible

jcjohnpaint

November 29, 2012, 10:30:02 AM
Now those are some very attractive bus stops

Bridges

November 29, 2012, 01:38:15 PM
Are you guys kidding me?  Them some real fancy bus stops!  Heck, they even have a slab of concrete and all.  Just imagine catching the bus on Roosevelt just south of Timuquana. 

50 mph, no sidewalk, and NO slab.  Hope it didn't even rain the day before. 

http://goo.gl/maps/28Z9U



cline

November 29, 2012, 01:50:57 PM
^You're right.  Even a simple slab is an upgrade over what we see on Roosevelt.  I guess that shows you what kind of value we place on transit around here where a crappy slab is actually an upgrade.  I guess we're striving to be average/below average.

Ocklawaha

November 29, 2012, 02:03:57 PM
Are you guys kidding me?  Them some real fancy bus stops!  Heck, they even have a slab of concrete and all.  Just imagine catching the bus on Roosevelt just south of Timuquana. 

50 mph, no sidewalk, and NO slab.  Hope it didn't even rain the day before. 

http://goo.gl/maps/28Z9U



You've just got to love the way they placed the bushes in the median, it's not enough to get mowed down running across the street, now you've got to run across and down a traffic lane to get to the stop.  What happens if you take the short route and just before you run your foot catches one of those roots? SPLASH!

All joking aside, like it or not, ANYTHING like a paved slab is an improvement. We should go out with a tape and hold their feet to the fire to be certain that EVERY slab meets ADA standards. With JTA'S BRT likely seeking a high score for future funding, they had better make sure those slabs get attached to something.  Extra points are awarded to a system that builds a lineal bike and pedestrian trail along the entire BRT route (See Denton Texas A-TRAIN and bike trail). Such a requirement could be golden for Jacksonville citizens.

Adam W

November 29, 2012, 02:05:19 PM
...and they wonder why people don't ride the bus.

Things like this are designed by people who've never had to (or wanted to or bothered to) ride a bus. They put these things out there because they think "we need to have bus stops" but the thought process stops there.

Sorry to disagree with you Adam W. but historically "they" don't "think," at least not in Jacksonville.


Touche.

Overstreet

November 29, 2012, 05:45:58 PM
Don't get me wrong people do ride the bus on Philips. I have an office near one that often has 2 to 6 people at it. Which seems a lot compared to other places.

thelakelander

November 29, 2012, 05:51:26 PM
Driving Philips during "rush hour", you'll notice quite a few people walking from stops near major places of employment, Walmart, and the mobile home parks.

cline

November 29, 2012, 06:14:43 PM
^Yes, there are a lot of people that use that route.  A lot of people get off at the Avenues as well.  I've mentioned this before but I see a lot of students that ride the bus and get off at the Avenues.  They go to the Sanford Brown school which is on the east side of Southside adjacent to the Avenues so that means they have to cross at the light at Southside and Malabar.  There are no sidewalks and no pedestrian signals at this light.  It's  basically a death trap waiting to happen.  You have to cross a total of 7 lanes (including turn lanes) to get across which means you're almost forced to wait in the median.  FDOT resurfaced this section a few years ago which would have been a perfect opportunity to add some ped features but they did nothing.  It is clear they do not give a damn about anything other than moving cars.

Ocklawaha

November 29, 2012, 09:09:36 PM

The sidewalk from downtown on the west side of Philips Highway end at Reba Street.




Sidewalk from downtown on the east side of Philips Highway end at Fleetwood Trailer Park. 3.78 miles short of Philips and the Avenues, this indicates that we've got to build about 8 miles of mixed use trail to get a fully walkable Philips Highway.



There is a short segment of sidewalk in front of BJ'S and Lowes on the west side of Philips which ends just south of the Scan Design store .

It would be nice if MJ and the local CPACS and BIKE CLUBS to pressure a system of mixed use arterials with downtown as the hub.



Who says Jacksonville doesn't have sidewalks?

Adam W

November 30, 2012, 03:11:16 AM
I used to catch the bus from my apartment in Riverside to Baymeadows way. The route I took home ran up Phillips Highway (I would get off the bus after it crossed the river on the Acosta bridge and would walk home up Riverside Avenue instead of waiting forever for a connection - it was just quicker that way... if a little scarier at night).

When I changed jobs and started working at Bank of America, I had a steady ride and eventually got a car. But one time I had to catch the bus to work from Riverside to the BoA office park (or "campus" as they loved to call it) on Southside near the Avenues. That took almost two hours. When I finally got there, I actually was deposited at the Avenues Mall and had to walk into the campus along the edge of the road (no sidewalk) until I could cross into one of the interior lots and then work my way towards my building. It was quite an interesting commute.

Taking the bus in Jacksonville really is difficult if you have to go any appreciable distance and don't live on a direct route. It's really a shame, because there is something great about being able to take the bus and not have to worry about driving - my wife actually chose to take the bus to work for a few months one year when she was living in Riverside and work in the Regency area. She finally gave up on it because she got tired of having to wait for a second bus to take her to her office when she got to Regency, even though she was within walking distance - simply because the area wasn't pedestrian-friendly.

Ocklawaha

November 30, 2012, 09:31:53 AM
Moved from another thread:

The ADA non compliance of the resurfacing and 'safety improvements' along US1 have my wheels turning...
Any one out here have any helpful thoughts toward how I can plead and to whom regarding the two sidewalks which do not meet over the CSX "A-line" at Lakeside Dr/LakeShore Blvd below US17 just south of Chamblin bookmine?

The pictures of the bus benches just pathetically sitting on slabs with no trash can or shelter from the weather irks me to no end.  No sidewalks connecting these stops to the businesses they sit in front of, too close to the motorized traffic, too close to the ditches with no hand rail, no real connectivity at all for pedestrians and cyclists along US1.

I WISH I were made of money, the walkability of this city would be light years ahead of where it is now.

The area I mention at the top is a specific irritation to me because I bike this stretch often and see how many motorists display awful behavior toward the disadvantaged traveler, deplorably honking, raising the middle finger, and often nearly intentionally sideswiping when there is no oncoming vehicle.. tossing trash AT cyclists and kids, parents with strollers, seniors >
ALL using this CSX crossing on foot or bike MUST walk or ride through TWO ditches AND high step it OVER the actual train track rails
OR risk your own safety in the narrow road where drivers notoriously LOVE to go airborne.

I was recently told by our council rep that he was told the cost to correct these issues would be in excess of $500,000.00!

Some folks at the meeting immediately began rather uncontrollably chattering about how a load of quick-crete and a bundle of lumber to form up a proper 6' wide by 6" thick walk, and skreet it off correctly could be accomplished for a miniscule few hundred dollars - to which we were firmly made aware we would be arrested for such activity!

Unbelievable

Josh

December 06, 2012, 02:11:34 PM
It's nice to see the news is starting to pickup this story. No idiotic comments attached yet however.

http://www.actionnewsjax.com/content/actionlocal/story/Questionable-sidewalk-construction-on-Southside/MpxbhPLf-U2iAcd4bjjZeA.cspx

Jaxson

December 07, 2012, 12:03:29 AM
I agree with the previous posts about the need for better improvements that are more amenable to those who use public transit, but we are at cross purposes with those who argue that they are not willing to foot the bill to make real improvements possible.

SightseerLounge

December 25, 2012, 05:44:46 PM
Now, just imagine if they took the "barely compliant" mentality and put some concrete slabs at Union Terminal! I wouldn't mind that at all!
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