Brushing Off The Dust: 20 Affordable Fixes For Downtown

August 12, 2013 21 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Following the City Council Finance Committee's recent decision to remove $9 million intended for downtown revitalization, many are ready to label Mayor Alvin Brown's efforts to revitalize the city's heart a bust. In May 2011, we asked Metro Jacksonville readers for cost-effective ideas that city leaders could get behind that could spur downtown revitalization. With Mayor Alvin Brown's two years of efforts unable to bare fruit so far, perhaps it's time to dust off a few of these ideas and actually implement them?

One would never know that First Baptist Church's restaurant occupies an entire block of Laura Street. Something as simple as adding transparent windows and awnings would eliminate the feel of emptiness and abandonment that currently dominates this stretch in the heart of Downtown.

11. Modify public policy to allow creative uses and concepts like "Tactical Urbanism", and mobile truck-food-courts, etc. to add life to vacant lots.

12. Remove the large network of duplicate JTA buses from the downtown core. Instead, eliminate the Skyway's fare and run it like a real, fixed transit spine, by consolidating duplicate bus routes at the Skyway's terminal points. This will at the least, accomplish these cost, operational, and time-saving goals:  

A. Cut down on mass transit O&M costs.
B. Increase bus frequencies for other neighborhoods throughout the city.
C. Max out ridership numbers on the skyway, ending the talk of it being useless.
D. Create more opportunities for infill business in DT because of the increased accessibility.

UPDATE: Skyway's Fare has since been eliminated but remaining suggestions should still be considered.

13. Sell off or lease out excess city-owned property and buildings.

Gosh, we are currently spending $400 million on a new courthouse. Do you think we could have fixed the entire Downtown for $400 million???
Quote by Metro Jacksonville discussion board member MusicMan

14. Maintain the public ROW (pick up the trash, light the streets, maintain the landscaping, etc.).

15. Coordinate between public agencies. For example, if Public Works, JTA, or FDOT is going to repave a street, make sure things like bike lanes, multi-use shared paths, mass transit, and placement of on-street parking are considered, in order to create a multimodal, friendly urban environment.

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