Author Topic: Lighting Laura Lives  (Read 8903 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Lighting Laura Lives
« on: May 13, 2008, 04:00:00 AM »
Lighting Laura Lives



It has been over two years since Metro Jacksonville first presented the Lighting Laura Street Plan to the Downtown Action Plan Committee, chaired by former councilwoman Suzanne Jenkins.  Despite the lack of updates, the movement to improve Laura Street between the Landing and Hemming Plaza has been embraced and is included in the JEDC's 19 point Downtown Action Plan.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/790

jeh1980

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2008, 04:11:22 AM »
ALRIGHT!!! :D I really like to see that come to pass! Now all we can do now is to stop all that murmuring and complaining about why we don't have any urban connectivity!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2008, 04:18:57 AM by jeh1980 »

jeh1980

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2008, 04:17:24 AM »
I got a real cool idea! Let's talk to those planners about restoring that electronic clock on top of the old Barnett Bank building! WE NEED THAT!!!

Charles Hunter

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2008, 06:27:17 AM »
Very cool!  This will be a great improvement to the corridor, and thus downtown.


Is it just me, or are those renderings hard to read?  A combination of size (I can't get them big enough) and fancy font in the labels.  Got pdfs?

thelakelander

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2008, 08:34:52 AM »
ALRIGHT!!! :D I really like to see that come to pass! Now all we can do now is to stop all that murmuring and complaining about why we don't have any urban connectivity!

lol.  Let's take off the rose colored glasses.  By this assessment, everyone should have stopped worrying when all of these plans with pretty renderings were announced over the past 37 years:

River City Renaissance - LaVilla-Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan


Northbank Riverwalk Park - 1991


Friendship Park & Fountain-1985


Downtown Intial Action Plan - 1987


Downtown Master Plan - 1971




I could also toss in the Tri-Legacy's Shipyards, Riverwalk Hotel LLC's San Marco Riverwalk Village and the Atkins Group's Ocean Place.




How about the rotating roof top restaurant in JEA's current tower or Syed S. Hassain's redevelopment plans for the Old JEA Tower?




I want to see Laura Street and Downtown find a way to be just as vibrant as they were fifty years ago, but everything revolves around "connectivity" and we still don't fully understand the concept.  If this were the case, you would see more foot traffic, based on what we already have downtown right now.
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thelakelander

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2008, 09:17:33 AM »
Stephen, assuming you have a limited budget, how would you go about restoring connectivity?  What areas would you focus on first and why?
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zoo

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2008, 09:34:37 AM »
Connectivity is the critical element, but we are also missing drama. I'm not a traffic planner, but I really like the traffic circle idea they've shown in front of the Landing. I don't know if this is the best place for it, but it would be a better locale for the Andrew Jackson/horse bronze that is now buried on NW corner of Landing property. Could be dramatic, but location ensures it isn't.

Don't particularly care for the archway signage idea over Laura. With one at/planned for Hemming Plaza, this could get very overdone.

Plan looks to show a lot of shade trees. This is good idea, as long as they are "neat" trees that don't drop a bunch of leaves, seeds, branches, other stuff that requires clean up. Clean-up maintenance is not one of Jax's areas of strength. Seems to me incorporation of strategically placed misting stations would also help make walkability more comfortable during warmer times of year.

thelakelander

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2008, 11:08:22 AM »
Quote
Connectivity is the critical element, but we are also missing drama. I'm not a traffic planner, but I really like the traffic circle idea they've shown in front of the Landing. I don't know if this is the best place for it, but it would be a better locale for the Andrew Jackson/horse bronze that is now buried on NW corner of Landing property. Could be dramatic, but location ensures it isn't.

Don't particularly care for the archway signage idea over Laura. With one at/planned for Hemming Plaza, this could get very overdone.

Plan looks to show a lot of shade trees. This is good idea, as long as they are "neat" trees that don't drop a bunch of leaves, seeds, branches, other stuff that requires clean up. Clean-up maintenance is not one of Jax's areas of strength. Seems to me incorporation of strategically placed misting stations would also help make walkability more comfortable during warmer times of year.

I'm one of those people who does not believe in throwing a lot of money at something if its not absolutely necessary.  With that said, the circle, the brick gateways and the wayfinding kiosk (as sketched) may be a little overboard.  However, I do love the idea of moving the Jackson statue to that location and making it a visual focal point.

I also like the idea of at-grade tree grates.  This increases the usable width of the sidewalks without having to completely rip all of the existing concrete out and replacing it (which would be another excessive expense in my book).

One thing I don't care for is taking out the parallel parking spaces on the block between Bay Street and Independent Drive.  Laura Street is wide enough to accomodate two lanes of traffic and sidewalks/parallel parking on both sides of the street. 

Overall, I hope we can resist the desire to go overboard, which in turn increases the costs and difficulty in pulling off improvements and can eventually lead to a delay in doing anything.  My advice would be to stick with the basics, even if it means phasing (cheap affordable items first, big ticket items somewhere down the road).  Things like removing the planters, enhanced lighting, encouraging retailers/diners to embrace the sidewalks and better signage are more more important and cheaper to the concept of connectivity than big expenses like brick and iron gateways, rebuilding sidwalks or creating traffic circles.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2008, 02:18:46 PM »
Although that's cheaper than bricking sidewalks, we don't even have to go that far, unless someone is shooting for a certain theme.  On streets like Laura, you already have separation in the form of parallel parking.  Removing the planters gives the sidewalk some extra width, which could then be used for a good range of activities, without providing posts or fencing on the city's dime.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

JeffreyS

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2008, 02:23:20 PM »
Instead of brick pavers you could stain borders in the concrete for next to nothing in one afternoon.
Lenny Smash

Jason

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2008, 03:57:18 PM »
Quote
Connectivity is the critical element, but we are also missing drama. I'm not a traffic planner, but I really like the traffic circle idea they've shown in front of the Landing. I don't know if this is the best place for it, but it would be a better locale for the Andrew Jackson/horse bronze that is now buried on NW corner of Landing property. Could be dramatic, but location ensures it isn't.

Don't particularly care for the archway signage idea over Laura. With one at/planned for Hemming Plaza, this could get very overdone.

Plan looks to show a lot of shade trees. This is good idea, as long as they are "neat" trees that don't drop a bunch of leaves, seeds, branches, other stuff that requires clean up. Clean-up maintenance is not one of Jax's areas of strength. Seems to me incorporation of strategically placed misting stations would also help make walkability more comfortable during warmer times of year.

I'm one of those people who does not believe in throwing a lot of money at something if its not absolutely necessary.  With that said, the circle, the brick gateways and the wayfinding kiosk (as sketched) may be a little overboard.  However, I do love the idea of moving the Jackson statue to that location and making it a visual focal point.

I also like the idea of at-grade tree grates.  This increases the usable width of the sidewalks without having to completely rip all of the existing concrete out and replacing it (which would be another excessive expense in my book).

One thing I don't care for is taking out the parallel parking spaces on the block between Bay Street and Independent Drive.  Laura Street is wide enough to accomodate two lanes of traffic and sidewalks/parallel parking on both sides of the street. 

Overall, I hope we can resist the desire to go overboard, which in turn increases the costs and difficulty in pulling off improvements and can eventually lead to a delay in doing anything.  My advice would be to stick with the basics, even if it means phasing (cheap affordable items first, big ticket items somewhere down the road).  Things like removing the planters, enhanced lighting, encouraging retailers/diners to embrace the sidewalks and better signage are more more important and cheaper to the concept of connectivity than big expenses like brick and iron gateways, rebuilding sidwalks or creating traffic circles.


Honestly, I think the idea should be limited to actually bettering the existing lighting, a few trees and wayfinding signs, but then throw in the coordination between Toney Sleiman and the City to redevlop the Landing and allow it to open up towards the street.  That one item, IMO, it the single largest component of anchoring Laura's south end.

thelakelander

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2008, 06:42:42 AM »
An update on Laura Street:

Quote
Walking is key step in Downtown Action Plan

...The second of the action steps, “Develop and implement a comprehensive streetscape plan,” continues to produce results with the completion of the Main Street Park project. Improvements along Main Street included converting a parking lot into a public park across from the Main Library. Date palm trees have been added and sidewalks have been resurfaced and enhanced with brick pavers and decorative planters.

The next streetscape project will improve Laura Street from Hemming Plaza to the Landing. The JEDC plans to outline the project by the beginning of July

“This was an easy project to choose because it was one people identified as a key project,” said Barton. “This project will help us prove what a great walkable corridor can be.”

Walkability is one of the keys Barton identified that would set a foundation for a revitalized Downtown.

full article: http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=50300
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Dapperdan

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2008, 10:35:39 AM »
It will be interesting to see if any of Metjax's ideas make it into this plan and what exactly the plan is.

thelakelander

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2008, 10:43:19 AM »
Metro Jacksonville's main ideas revolved around creating a visual and stronger physical link between Hemming Plaza and the Landing, in the form of a public/private partnership.  Our goal was to find a way to create a stimulating and safe atmosphere by improving what was already in place to keep the costs down to a minimum.

The only thing we wanted from the city was better lighting and making it easier for private entities to add illuminated signage and outdoor dining.  I'm sure whatever the city cooks up will include these things and more.  I'm just hoping they don't go overboard, like they did with the Main Street pocket park.
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pwhitford

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Re: Lighting Laura Lives
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2008, 11:23:47 AM »
From Jax Daily Record - 06/24/2008

Walking is key step in Downtown Action Plan
by Joe Wilhelm Jr.

Staff Writer

The Downtown Action Plan continued to unfold last Thursday with the opening of Main Street Park and some of the people responsible for that project were trying to get more people behind the plan Monday.

Bob Rhodes, chairman of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, and Ron Barton, executive director of the JEDC, addressed members of the Meninak Club Monday to educate them and guests on the JEDC’s Downtown Action Plan, which is the blueprint for a revitalized Downtown.

Rhodes was introduced by Ted Pappas, of PBV Architecture, who has placed his stamp on buildings throughout Jacksonville including the restoration of Old St. Andrews Episcopal Church and the creation of athletic stadiums at the University of North Florida and The Bolles School.

“Let’s harness some of this energy for Downtown,” said Rhodes after hearing the Meninak members sing the club’s song.

In the fall of 2006 the JEDC determined an action plan needed to be developed to steer Downtown development. That plan was created with the assistance of over 100 local professionals and community leaders.

“This isn’t Ron Barton’s plan for Downtown,” said Barton. “We got help from folks like you in order to develop these 19 steps.”

The second of the action steps, “Develop and implement a comprehensive streetscape plan,” continues to produce results with the completion of the Main Street Park project. Improvements along Main Street included converting a parking lot into a public park across from the Main Library. Date palm trees have been added and sidewalks have been resurfaced and enhanced with brick pavers and decorative planters.

The next streetscape project will improve Laura Street from Hemming Plaza to the Landing. The JEDC plans to outline the project by the beginning of July

“This was an easy project to choose because it was one people identified as a key project,” said Barton. “This project will help us prove what a great walkable corridor can be.”

Walkability is one of the keys Barton identified that would set a foundation for a revitalized Downtown.

“I was in St. Petersburg during a magical time eight years ago,” Barton said. “St. Pete was deader than a door nail. You didn’t have to look up the street to cross. That has all changed in just eight years. You just have to get the basics right.”

Those basics include walkability, making Downtown a destination, making Downtown a neighborhood and developing a framework for continued success.

Another key component of the Downtown Action Plan is to enhance the appeal of the Riverwalk. The wide walkway along the Northbank of the St. Johns River stretches from Berkman Plaza to the Fuller-Warren Bridge.

“People visit our Riverwalk from all over the state and the country,” said Barton. “We want to program the Riverwalk like it’s a theater and make it more of a destination.”

A lull in the real estate market may slow down the revitalization process, but the JEDC is operating with a sense of urgency.

“We need to address these points quicker so we can bring back capital investment when the market comes back up,” said Barton.


jwilhelm@baileypub.com

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