Author Topic: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities  (Read 16801 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« on: November 19, 2013, 03:04:26 AM »
Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities



The good news is Jacksonville is a more walkable friendly city than Charlotte. The bad news is that isn't saying much. Here is a look at Walk Score's 2014 ranking of America's most walkable cities.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-nov-jacksonville-one-of-americas-least-walkable-cities

simms3

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2013, 04:57:57 AM »
Honestly, I don't understand how Miami and Tampa rank as highly as they do.  For Miami's higher density I find it to be every bit as auto-dependent and unwalkable as Atlanta, Houston (which encompasses 500 sq mi in this case), and Dallas (see Houston sq mi).  Tampa has never struck me as a walkable place pretty much anywhere.  In fact, give me a Midtown Atlanta any day with 2 Publix stores and landscaped sidewalks and a bit of retail and more restaurants/bars than Brickell area in Miami, with its awkward gated condos, the lone Publix, part-time residents, one price fits all restaurants, and limited one size fits all bar scene.

I do understand how cities such as Charlotte and Atlanta rank lower than might be expected (and Atlanta actually used to rank higher if my memory serves me correctly).  Clearly a good chunk of people live in high density mixed-use neighborhoods or urban environments that far far exceed anything presented in Jacksonville, Tampa, or many cities that rank more highly on the list.  However, due to the topography, the era in which each city was built out, the lack of a street grid in 90+% of each city limit/metro, and the overall dichotomy between the urban areas and the suburban areas (even within city limits) it's clear that most people in each metro/city do no live within walking distance of commodity retail, or anything for that matter.

The difference in urban structure/transit options/infrastructure/block size between much of suburban Jax and urban Jax is surprisingly low.  You go to an Atlanta or Charlotte and you'll find a relatively dense, walkable core with 10-20,000 ppsm over a larger than average area for equivalent sunbelt cities, and then an immediate drop off to garden suburbs and a further drop off to 2-lane arterials that wind around, making planning/mixed-use/walkability all but impossible in most of each respective metro.  I remember a study in college showing average metro block size, and Atlanta was by far the largest in the country.  But that includes a street grid with 15-22,000 ppsm in the central core, so the dichotomy between central Atlanta and the rest of the city/metro couldn't possibly be greater.

Of course it appears the score is for City Limits (there again, Buckhead with its 2-5 acre lots is in city limits).

Jax with its relatively large grid and uniform population disribution has a fighting chance to be a widescale walkable city like a Minneapolis.  Just needs better planning and leadership.
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thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2013, 06:41:30 AM »
Miami is pretty easy to figure out. First, walkscore goes by city limits, so cities of small land area are going to fare significantly better than those that have annexed land since 1950.



Also, it's only 36 square miles with an average population density of +11,000.  Despite working with nearly 100 less square miles of land, it almost has as many residents as Atlanta does.

Chicago - 2,714,856 - 227.64 square miles - 11,842 residents/sq mile

Houston - 2,160,821 - 599.59 square miles - 3,501 residents/sq mile

Jacksonville - 836,507 - 747.00 square miles - 1,100 residents/sq mile

San Francisco - 825,863 - 46.87 square miles - 17,179 residents/sq mile

Atlanta - 443,775 - 133.15 square miles - 3,154 residents/sq mile

Miami - 413,892 - 35.87 square miles - 11,136 residents/sq mile

full 2012 list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population






Miami is an example of a primarily low rise city where the majority of residential blocks are occupied.  Nearly every neighborhood in the city is walkable in the sense that they contain a mix of uses within a compact gridded block setting. Most don't realize it but many neighborhoods that some here would be afraid to visit and that aren't popular with millennials and tourist are considered more or just as walkable as some of the well known districts.

Little Havana Walkscore - 86




Wynwood/Edgewater Walkscore - 85


Brickell Walkscore - 84


Different city, but by comparison, Miami Beach's South Beach has a Walkscore of 87. Jacksonville's most walkable district is downtown, with a Walkscore of 73.


Aerial of Little Havana. Typical of Miami's built environment outside of downtown and Brickell.


Aerial of Brickell. Little Havana is considered more walkable.

Although the public realm (streets) is autocentric (this is even changing now) neither Atlanta, Houston or Dallas can claim the level of population density within their city limits and urban core. Outside of a few decent districts, like Jax, the majority of those places are pretty sprawly or much lower in population density.  I'm actually pretty excited to see how much Miami will change over the next decade. The density is there. The public realm just needs to be addressed.
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Know Growth

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2013, 08:12:56 AM »
Fascinating.

Certainly "Jacksonville" person/square mile computation,@ 747 square miles,and much of that undeveloped, alters Jacksonville profile.
How might we rank when Jacksonville assessment draws on developed areas,established neighborhoods?

( I will likely never again walk my native Miami neighborhood due to safety concerns,I wonder if the walk option is preempted in many areas around the nation .....on another note,I recall Miami neighborhoods where many residents did not have personal automobiles, primarily due to financial and perhaps cultural reasons,indeed a reflection of Cuba;these neighborhoods had bona-fide 'to scale' grocery stores,handily sprinkled throughout)
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 08:53:40 AM by Know Growth »

thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2013, 09:09:45 AM »
Yes, Jacksonville's Walk Score rating is negatively impacted by consolidation:



^City of Jacksonville prior to 1968 consolidation with Duval County. Before consolidation, the City of Jacksonville was 30.2 square miles.

With a 1950 population of 204,517, Jacksonville had a population density of 6,772.



Jacksonville's 2010 census tracts align fairly close with the old city's boundaries. Unfortunately, unlike Miami, our urban core's decline since 1950 has mirrored that of Rust Belt cities like Detroit, Toledo and Cleveland.  Using the census data from the tracts that made up the old city, we can identify the population and density loss of the old city of Jacksonville.


1950 Old City Population Density: 204,517 / 30.2 square miles = 6,772

2010 Old City Census Tract Density: 104,047 / 30.2 square miles = 3,445

Net Urban Core Density Loss (1950 - 2010): - 3,327 residents per mile

Net Urban Core Population Loss (1950 - 2010): -100,470 residents

Nevertheless, when it comes to Walk Score, we'd be looking at a 30.2 square mile city with a population density of 3,445. Cities close to this size today include:

Flint, MI: 100,515 / 33.4 square miles = 3,065 residents per mile

Everett, WA: 104,655 / 33.5 square miles = 3,080 residents per mile

Richmond, CA: 106,516 / 30.1 square miles = 3,449 residents per mile

Clearwater, FL: 108,732 / 25.6 square miles = 4,213 residents per mile

Lansing, MI: 113,996 / 36.1 square miles = 3,171 residents per mile


Their Walkscore rankings are:

40 - Flint
45 - Everett
54 - Richmond
41 - Clearwater
40 - Lansing


If I had to make a guess, I'd say the present condition of preconsolidated Jacksonville would fall within the range of these cities.  Somewhere in the 40s or 50s, placing it as a "car dependent (most errands require a car)" or a "Somewhat Walkable (Some errands can be accomplished on foot)" city.

Going a step further.  If the 1950 population density remained, here's a couple of similar sized communities today:

Glendale, CA: 194,478 / 30.5 square miles = 6,295 residents per mile

BUffalo, NY: 259,384 / 40.4 square miles = 6,471 residents per mile

Pittsburgh, PA: 306,211 / 55.7 square miles = 5,521 residents per mile


Their Walkscore rankings are:

66 - Glendale, CA
65 - Buffalo, NY
60 - Pittsburgh, PA

All of these cities fall within the "Somewhat Walkable (Some errands can be accomplished on foot)" Walkscore category.
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thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2013, 09:12:23 AM »
^This information suggests that a one-size fits all approach should not be applied to Jacksonville.  In reality, we are a declining rust belt city surrounded by growing sunbelt suburbs, all within the same municipal boundary.  Our challenge is now our "in-city" suburbs are aging and the new growth is crossing into different communities (St. Johns/Clay County). What we do about this will either make or break Jacksonville's future. However, since our rust belt city and sunbelt suburbs are totally different environments and needs, they must be addressed differently if we want a long term financially viable and attractive overall city.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 09:15:35 AM by thelakelander »
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Wacca Pilatka

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2013, 10:06:04 AM »
I can't believe Chesapeake scored as high as 20.8.  I'd give it a negative 12.
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simms3

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2013, 11:34:13 AM »
Lake, you and I are on same page.  I get the thing about Miami (been all around the city).  I guess you're right about the poorer areas being walkable (though combine heat and crime in NW Miami and it's not a "comfortable" walking area), but my point was that despite the density (which puts it on par with Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, DC, Seattle, Los Angeles) you very rarely see people walking around and my general experience has been that the city is built around the car.  I personally don't find Brickell to be a walkable area at all for its built density, which again was another one of my points.  My final point was that I get Atlanta and Charlotte - they are mostly low density even within city limits...I went on about that.  The dropoff in density within the two cities between their urban districts and the rest of their city limits is probably more stark than any of the other major cities on the list (look at the pic of Atlanta you posted - green or red, no in between).

Miami Beach is a whole different story.  Miami Beach should have a delta of way more than 3 from the Brickell neighborhood.  If Miami Beach is 87, Brickell should be in the 60s, but that's my subjective ranking.
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simms3

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2013, 11:37:21 AM »
I guess if I had my subjective way, Miami would not rank higher than Chicago or DC or Seattle, and Jax wouldn't rank higher than Charlotte.

There's Transit Score now and Bike Score, so I suppose if you somehow integrate all three for a ranking of which cities are best for going car free, then Miami would drop significantly.  Should be well below Los Angeles in my opinion.
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thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 12:27:41 PM »
Yeah, there is a huge difference between South Beach and Brickell in terms of walkability, despite both having high residential and mixed use density.  I don't think Walkscore accounts for the actual streetscape when determining their rankings.
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Scrub Palmetto

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2013, 02:17:15 PM »
^That's something that I surely hope Walkscore finds a way to address, given its popularity and rise in image as this authority on what's walkable and what isn't. And not just street design, but other factors that would affect foot traffic, like crime, climate, topography, conditions of infrastructure, etc. As it is, I pretty much picture it as "Proximityscore." It shows an indicator of walkability, but not walkability in full.

Know Growth

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2013, 08:13:59 PM »
"Nearly every neighborhood in the city (Miami) is walkable in the sense they contain a mix of uses within a compact gridded block setting"

Indeed this describes some of the neighborhoods I witnessed as a Miamian. Neighborhoods that accommodated a sizeable automobile-less population. Did the presence of auto-less citizens contribute to neighborhood evolution towards walkable by necessity?

I imagine the mix of uses would entail diverse individual components, to "scale".

(Even in the face of brisk development,Land Use/Zone activity in my Avondale neighborhood, it appears a walkable bonafide grocery store for example, not in the picture)

« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 08:22:03 PM by Know Growth »

lewyn

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2013, 08:44:36 PM »
It would be nice to think that pre-consolidation Jax is as walkable as anyplace else. But I do not think that's true.  The most walkable nondowntown neighborhood, Springfield, has a 68 Walkscore.  By contrast, Columbus (which has a below-average citywide score of 40) has about 20 neighborhoods that do better.

thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2013, 09:24:33 PM »
^That's not an indictment on Jax's urban core. Walkscore's criteria penalizes cities that have annexed large parcels of low density areas since 1950.  So Columbus suffers from the same thing as Jax, which is massive land area (223 square miles) from late 20th century annexations. In 1950, Columbus was only 39.4 square miles with 375,901 residents and a population density of 9,541. Obviously, it was a much larger city prior to WWII than Jax.  Over time, it's density has been diluted for the exact same reason as most sunbelt sprawlers. In other words, if you applied walkscore's criteria to their old limits, their ranking would probably jump into the 60s or 70s.
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peestandingup

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Re: Jacksonville: One of America's Least Walkable Cities
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2013, 10:07:35 PM »
^That's something that I surely hope Walkscore finds a way to address, given its popularity and rise in image as this authority on what's walkable and what isn't. And not just street design, but other factors that would affect foot traffic, like crime, climate, topography, conditions of infrastructure, etc. As it is, I pretty much picture it as "Proximityscore." It shows an indicator of walkability, but not walkability in full.

This is why I dont give too much thought into Walk Score. Not sure if they've changed, but I remember a few years ago I was fooling around with it & my old address in Lexington got a higher score than my old place in Charleston. My place in Lex was NOT walkable, like at all (not even a shoulder). The only reason it came up higher was it was close to Hamburg Pavilion (a chain shopping/restaurant destination). The place in Charleston was in the core. Not really around many businesses at the time, but still. Way WAY more walkable/bikeable.

 ::)