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What's Wrong With Jacksonville's Streets

Current utility work along East 8th Street, in the urban core's historic Glen Myra neighborhood, illustrates what's wrong with Jacksonville's streets and why our bicycle and pedestrian death rates continue to rise.

Published March 5, 2013 in Transit      19 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Imagine being in a wheelchair, transit dependent, and trying to move along this corridor without use of an automobile.  Jacksonville is full of roadways that could be improved through effective context sensitive streets and complete streets policy. Complete streets are living streets as implemented in North America, which are designed and operated to enable safe, attractive, and comfortable access and travel for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transport users of all ages and abilities. East 8th Street is one of several four lane roadways in Jacksonville's urban core that could be easily improved through coordination of context sensitive/complete street and 2030 Mobility Plan policies.



Article and graphic by Ennis Davis







19 Comments

Spence

March 05, 2013, 04:08:03 AM
Would it be possible to see a rendering of how the transition between Park St., and Blanding Blvd., north from St.Johns Ave., to Kent campus FSCJ could look?

Currently, speeding motorists make the residential areas on BOTH sides of Roosevelt totally uninviting for the biker or walker to the school.

Bill Hoff

March 05, 2013, 07:29:46 AM
8th Street also has seemingly random utility boxes stuck on the sidewalk in the Springfield historic district as well, mostly on E. 8th It's a dangerous sidewalk for the disabled, bicyclists, and pedestrians simply because of the random objects placed there by COJ or utility entitied.

jaxlore

March 05, 2013, 08:16:43 AM
This is the same thing with Edison. I only take Edison on the way home because I worry I will get swept under a truck but in the evening is quiet and I can come up from Park Street or Riverside Ave.

tufsu1

March 05, 2013, 08:18:37 AM
nice graphic...I think a better idea would be putting the bike lanes on each side...which probably would mean reducing the painted buffer to 2-3' on each....but then you eliminate the need for special signals.

thelakelander

March 05, 2013, 08:38:06 AM
I'm not married to it.  I threw it together in 30 minutes just to quickly illustrate how designing the road for bike and ped could be easily accommodated within a constrained urban corridor.  I believe one of the easiest ways to improve mobility within this city is to coordinate bike/ped improvements with routinely scheduled FDOT and COJ public works resurfacing jobs. Major improvements with minimal additional expense.

Would it be possible to see a rendering of how the transition between Park St., and Blanding Blvd., north from St.Johns Ave., to Kent campus FSCJ could look?

Currently, speeding motorists make the residential areas on BOTH sides of Roosevelt totally uninviting for the biker or walker to the school.

What's the plan for this?  Call me crazy, but it looks like you could easily install a median based cycle track on the stretch between the two Park Street intersections. The stretch between Park and Lexington Avenue would have to see it's lanes narrowed to possibly squeeze in bike lanes. The intersection of Blanding and San Juan is a good example of where Blanding's lanes narrow to accommodate parallel parking.

thelakelander

March 05, 2013, 08:49:21 AM
Some random pictures. First, an example of what's rendered in the article.  You get more buffer from trucks and cars as opposed to regular 4' wide bike lanes with the separated cycle track. In general, this will appeal more to a casual user than 4' wide lanes next to speeding motorized traffic.






Some communities are taking advantage of their roadway medians..



I-205 bike path in Portland. Would FDOT ever consider something like this?


I love the new look of Allen Street in Manhattan...

Koula

March 05, 2013, 11:17:04 AM
Those renderings and photo examples of what can be done with medians look absolutely heavenly to this cyclist, Lakelander. It might be difficult to merge on and off of a bike lane in a median, but the use of that space would make retrofitting older roads with bike infrastructure possible.

Bike Jax

March 05, 2013, 12:41:57 PM
The problem is our local planers, designers and engineers won't do anything that comes close to progressive or out of the box. Take Main St. 1st thru 8th. where the grid has been broken up. That is a FDOT road that was redesigned and rebuild by JTA. When I queried FDOT where the mandated bike lanes are, my face fell off at the reply. "JTA skipped a few site approval steps and by the time we got the plans it was too late, if we had asked them to go back it would have delayed the project and the engineer they contracted wouldn't have gotten payed for the work he had done." Seriously? The engineer wouldn't have gotten payed? He shouldn't have gotten payed for that shitty job.

Move on to today's projects, San Jose Blvd from SanMarco Blvd to Baymeadows Rd. It is getting bikes, but it could be so much better than bike lanes. We have shown FDOT how much safer it would be to create a Cycle Track instead of traditional bike lanes along that stretch. Creating the cycle track is simply switching the bike lanes and parked cars positions creating a buffered bike lane against the passing traffic. it also moves the cyclist out the door zone of parked cars. But nope, can't do that, it's not been done in elsewhere in the state.

The city won't do anything until the state sets the precedent. The state won't do anything until it is done elsewhere in the state. Which leaves us a in deadly state of stagnate stupidity.

Spence

March 05, 2013, 01:38:50 PM
Thank YOU for including a few images to more completely translate the vision in my mind.
I have carefully chosen the hour to walk and measure the true width of the Blanding-Park connecting flyover and 'imagineered' a multi-use path in the center of the span between the two Park St. intersections just as you have mentioned.
Thank you for giving it a name -median based cycle track.

Installing a duplicate 4' high wall of concrete 'K-rail' sections paralleling what already exists, with red and white striped high visibility crosswalks at each Park St. intersection would create a safer route to and from FSCJ Kent campus for ALL of the SouthWest quadrant of Jacksonville residents living conveniently close, but severed from the campus without a car.

South of Plymouth St., east of Lane Ave., north of Timuquana and Harlow, think of how the city could better itself if students could make their own way safely.

On huge sheets of graph paper it sure looks like adding K-rail and removing a vehicular travel lane in the southwest direction could be a cost feasible solution to a problem grown long in the tooth.

I-10east

March 05, 2013, 01:44:27 PM
I'm quite sure that a narrowed two-way Eighth Street would go over very well with all of those people coming and leaving Everbank Field on Sundays....

Spence

March 05, 2013, 02:06:05 PM
I'm quite sure that a narrowed two-way Eighth Street would go over very well with all of those people coming and leaving Everbank Field on Sundays....

8th st between Main and Shands IS currently one lane each way.
I don't understand your post, please clarify?

I-10east

March 05, 2013, 02:12:44 PM
^^^East 8th Street. Bottomline less room for vehicular traffic equals to having more significant back-ups on that eastside portion of the street. IMO that area on East 8th which is basically an industrial area doesn't justify all of that 'downtown-like' pedestrian infrastructure. Hell, I'm just glad that they even have sidewalks out there. Now, is putting utility poles in the middle of sidewalks the answer? No. There really isn't nothing out there to be frank what, one Church's Chicken way on Phoenix?

Spence

March 09, 2013, 08:09:40 PM
OH.
Thanks for correcting me, I was unclear about which portion of 8th St. Thanks.

And YES!
Utility poles period, ESPECIALLY in the middle of a SIDEWALK bring the ire boiling out of me, I absolutely hate to see it anywhere.

I will never understand why all overhead electrical has not been phased underground.
This could have started decades ago following Dora.

More trees and pedestrian refuge, zero power outages associated with lines down following our occasionally extreme weather.
And to think of all the trees not butchered.... one can dream.

thelakelander

March 09, 2013, 10:33:49 PM
^^^East 8th Street. Bottomline less room for vehicular traffic equals to having more significant back-ups on that eastside portion of the street. IMO that area on East 8th which is basically an industrial area doesn't justify all of that 'downtown-like' pedestrian infrastructure. Hell, I'm just glad that they even have sidewalks out there. Now, is putting utility poles in the middle of sidewalks the answer? No. There really isn't nothing out there to be frank what, one Church's Chicken way on Phoenix?

That area is actually a neighborhood. It's a pretty distressed one due to design sentiment (I-10, your even doing it) that treats its residents as second class citizens.  Next time you're in that area, turn down a few side streets.  It's every bit as residential as Riverside, Springfield and San Marco are. In fact, there's a neighborhood elementary school (John Love) and neighborhood park (Glen Myra Park) two blocks away.

I-10east

March 09, 2013, 11:44:30 PM
That area is actually a neighborhood. It's a pretty distressed one due to design sentiment (I-10, your even doing it) that treats its residents as second class citizens.

Yeah shoot the messager, I'm just telling it like it is. I would LOVE for that part of the Eastside to have anything (restaurants, stores, entertainment etc, hence my complaining) to justify having that kinda urban streetscape facelift like mentioned in the article; The fact is that it's a ghost town, and would still be a ghost town with nice very seldom to nil used bike lines, flanked by abandoned industrial buildings if the plan went though. I didn't design that area, just calling it like I see, and what I see is an industrial area with a smattering of nearby residential. I definitely can think of some streets in Jax that can use a bike lane facelift 'East 8th Street' isn't the first thing that comes to mind for me.

thelakelander

March 10, 2013, 08:30:41 AM
Not shooting the messenger, I'm just saying it doesn't have to be the way you're attempting to tell it like it is.  I seriously thing we all know why our streets are the way they are.  However, it doesn't mean we can't change them or shouldn't.  IMO, most streets in the urban core should be context sensitive, especially in mixed use areas (yes, industrial can be a part of mixed use) that have more people living in them than downtown does. The major priority in these areas should be changing policy to coordinate safety design changes with already scheduled milling and resurfacing jobs.  Painting stripes is about as cheap as it can get.

kreger

March 10, 2013, 10:43:14 AM
This is slightly off topic but I'm wondering where Critical Mass is with all this? In my head I envision tons of bike enthusiast taking to all of the Urban Core streets section by section and documenting these hazards. Alvin Brown and Don Redman claim to be strict supporters of bicycling, maybe directly emailing these two or actually reporting these safety issues to 630-CITY could facilitate a change. Just don't forget to save your case #! It sometimes takes a very long time for issues to be resolved, but at least they will be documented. I also think a rebirth of Critical Mass ride during heavy traffic times like FBC or a civic event could raise awareness.

BackinJax05

March 24, 2013, 09:56:14 PM
I like all those utility poles blocking the sidewalk. Perhaps this could be come Jacksonville's "Signature". Chicago has the wind, Seattle has coffee & grunge, LA has smog ... Jacksonville has utility poles blocking the sidewalk. (Hey, at least they dont smell, like our city used to)

SightseerLounge

April 15, 2013, 01:05:21 PM
What's Wrong With Jacksonville's Streets



Current utility work along East 8th Street, in the urban core's historic Glen Myra neighborhood, illustrates what's wrong with Jacksonville's streets and why our bicycle and pedestrian death rates continue to rise.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-mar-whats-wrong-with-jacksonvilles-streets

The easiest thing to do would be to get rid of the grass portion of that sidewalk!
They did it on Lane Ave around 2000 when they resurfaced the road!
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