About Metro Jacksonville

June 14, 2013 5 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

A behind the scenes look at Metro Jacksonville, our story, our successes and independent consulting services.


Metro Jacksonville was founded in March of 2006 in order to share news and information about Jacksonville and encourage discussion.  The mission of Metro Jacksonville is to educate and provide an avenue for discussing the important issues facing cities and residents. We strive to be a reliable source of information and to increase public awareness about the urban core, promote continued urban and pedestrian oriented growth with a focus on the Jacksonville metropolitan area, and to provide a platform for the study and implementation of public development policy around the United States.

Metro Jacksonville publishes original content every weekday, and has grown exponentially since its founding. We feature several unique products and one of the most respected public discussion forums in the country. The site has become one of the largest and most comprehensive urban transportation and public municipal policy resources available online and has won widespread respect and recognition for efforts in planning, historical preservation, and public dialogue.





First Coast American Planning Association 2008
Excellence in Media Award

Florida Chapter American Planning Association 2009
Outstanding Public Interest Group Award

City of Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission 2010
Heritage Education and Publication Award

Folio Weekly's Best of Jacksonville 2010
Best Political Blog

Alan Colmes: MetroJacksonville the future of Media?
Citizen Journalism At MetroJacksonville.com A Model For What’s To Come

City of Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission 2012
Heritage Education and Publication Award for Metro Jacksonville's Reclaiming Jacksonville book

City of Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission 2013
Heritage Education and Publication Award for Metro Jacksonville's Cohen Brothers: The Big Store book


Metro Jacksonville's influence has been felt on a number of local issues, including:

City of Jacksonville Public Email Access

In 2006, in an effort to stem the increased public exposure, due to the explosion of local blogs, the Peyton Administration announced plans to eliminated public web access to City Hall. After a few weeks of increased public scrutiny led by Metro Jacksonville, those plans reversed and public web access continues to remain available today.

Lighting Laura Street and Modification of Downtown Parking Policies

Laura Street in 2007.

In April 2006, four Metro Jacksonville members were appointed to be a part of Councilwoman Suzanne Jenkins' Downtown Improvements Implementations Committee. Metro Jacksonville members used this opportunity to modify archaic downtown parking regulations, which penalized customers with aggressive ticketing schemes. Metro Jacksonville members also introduced the concept of Lighting Laura Street. The Lighting Laura Street presentation focused on concepts such as outdoor seating, better lighting and landscaping in a four block stretch of Laura Street, creating a pedestrian scale cooridor linking Hemming Plaza with the Jacksonville Landing.

In 2007, the Lighting Laura Street concept was incorporated into the JEDC's 2007 19-point initiative called the Downtown Action Plan.

This 2006 Metro Jacksonville streetscape concept became reality in 2011 with the completion of the $2.7 million Laura Street Streetscape project.

Laura Street in 2011.

Metro Jacksonville Crashes JTA's Transit Planning Party

<a href="http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008120101.swf?s=ZT0xJmk9NDU4MjQ2ODIzJms9dEpSZUQmYT03MDg2NjQzX1l6UEFMJnU9bWV0cm9hY2tzb252aWxsZQ==" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008120101.swf?s=ZT0xJmk9NDU4MjQ2ODIzJms9dEpSZUQmYT03MDg2NjQzX1l6UEFMJnU9bWV0cm9hY2tzb252aWxsZQ==</a>
October 2007 Metro Jacksonville video illustrating why a downtown bus only mall would be a bad idea for Jacksonville.

In June 2006, Metro Jacksonville began its public campaign on exposing the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's (JTA) proposed +$1 billion Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as one of the largest public boondoggles in Jacksonville history. While exposing the flaws of the BRT plan, which included converting Adams Street into a bus only mall, the group suggested commuter rail and streetcars as sustainable and economically viable transit alternatives.

Successfully winning the backing of Downtown Vision (DVI) and the JEDC, JTA's plans for a downtown bus mall were eventually eliminated. In addition, the entire original BRT proposal has since been significantly modified and complemented with future commuter rail and streetcar lines. In 2011, the City of Jacksonville approved the 2030 Mobility Plan, which includes a Mobility fee funding mechanism to assist in paying for the construction of these rail lines.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ua7O48sNNgc?fs=1&hl=en_US" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ua7O48sNNgc?fs=1&hl=en_US</a>
Metro Jacksonville's presentation on the future of transit in Jacksonville. This presentation was prepared for the City Council's Transportation, Energy Utilities Committee meeting, which was held February 20th 2008.

Monroe Street/Duval County Courthouse Public Square

This image highlights a plan led by Councilman Michael Corrigan and Architect Ted Pappas to reconstruct Monroe Street in front of the new Duval County Courthouse. Overlayed by Metro Jacksonville, the Google Earth aerial is intended to visually illustrate how this plan will fit into the surrounding urban landscape. Combined with Adams Street, this option would place six lanes of vehicular traffic between the entrance of the courthouse and the garage/retail structure designed and built by taxpayers to serve it.

In 2009, in an effort to make the best of a bad urban design situation, Metro Jacksonville began its lobbying efforts for the creation of a public square in front of the new Duval County Courthouse, as opposed to rebuilding Monroe Street.

This position was taken early on because rebuilding the street would be a repeat of the same failed autocentric policies that transformed a vibrant urban core into the sleepy place that exists today, over a three decade period.
Metro Jacksonville saw a green space at the courthouse's main entrance as an opportunity to create a setting that allow the courthouse building to better integrate with the surrounding urban environment and serve as a catalyst for attracting future infill development.

Over the next few years, Metro Jacksonville routinely featured articles questioning the City Council's desire to build a road and the need to properly plan for this future urban environment.

Finally, in 2012 with the backing of Metro Jacksonville and other urban core advocates, Councilman Don Redman and Councilwoman Lori Boyer were able to draft an ordinance saving taxpayers $800,000 by greening the space instead of constructing a road.  The new Duval County Courthouse's square opened in summer 2012 and has quickly become one of the Northbank's most heavily traveled locations.

Wells Fargo Community Mural Program

The goal of the Wells Fargo Community Mural Program is to provide a unique visual enhancement to the customer experience in its Wells Fargo stores. Designed to be a snapshot of Turn-of-the[Last]-Century America, historic images are chosen that convey a sense of history, tradition, stability, longevity, optimism, and progress. A typical mural design combines Wells Fargo images and local images that reflect the history and diversity of the community. An accompanying legend describes each historical image used in the mural, and credits the source.

In 2011, as a part of Wells Fargo's acquisition of Wachovia, Metro Jacksonville was brought in to assist the financial institution's DSSG Strore Formats & Design department with their Florida conversion.  Metro Jacksonville's photo gallery and ability to provide historical research was utilized by Wells Fargo for community murals in Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Sunrise, Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs, Clearwater, Largo, Weston, Davie and Cooper City.

Jax Truckies, Your Resource For Northeast Florida Food Trucks

Jax Truckies organizers (from left to right): Mike Field, Caron Streibich, Stacey Steiner, and Ennis Davis.

Despite the food truck industry's nationwide popularity, the industry struggled to survive in Jacksonville due to antiquated anti-industry regulations.

This industry's struggles appeared to be further exaggerated by Downtown Vision's (DVI) Board of Directors' March 2012 decision to further restrict this burgeoning small business sector from being a part of Jacksonville's downtown revitalization process.

In an effort to showcase economic benefits of this industry and the best of Jacksonville's local street food culture in a single location, Jax Truckies, The Jacksonville Food Truck Championship was organized.

Fresh off the heels of that successful April 2012 Jax Truckies rally in Riverside, a second rally was hosted in June 2012 to demonstrate how the food truck industry could add foot traffic and small business growth opportunities in downtown for an affordable cost, while being a positive to both trucks and brick & mortar businesses.

Since the launch of Jax Truckies, the food truck scene has exploded throughout Northeast Florida, leading to the creation of jobs, brick & mortar restaurants, new food truck legislation in Jacksonville Beach and designated truck spots in downtown Jacksonville. Today, you can continue to get your daily scoop on food truck locations at Jax Truckies Facebook site.

Jax Truckies June 2012 Downtown Food Truck Rally

The 2013 Mobility Fee Moratorium Compromise

The intersection of Philips Highway and JTB, reimagined as a mixed-use node centered around mass transit.

Adopted by the Jacksonville City Council in 2011, the 2030 Mobility Plan and Fee is an innovative plan that provides a framework to integrate rail, pedestrian, bicycle and road transportation planning with land use strategies to combat unsustainable sprawl.  In an effort kill the plan's effectiveness, the development community lobbied the council to enact a moratorium on the plan's fee structure, which charges higher transportation fees for new development that places a burden on the existing public infrastructure network.

In response to Councilman Richard Clark's January 2013 decision to sponsor a bill at the taxpayer's expense, Metro Jacksonville used its influence to present a counter argument to rally the community.  Responding to heavy grassroots-based community opposition, the City Council and the Development Lobby agreed to a compromise in April 2013.

To contact Metro Jacksonville about advertising, content partnership opportunities, press interviews, general questions/suggestions, consulting services or anything else, email at: metrojacksonville@metrojacksonville.com

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