Author Topic: Nate Monroe: Jax’s crumbling infrastructure takes back seat to developers  (Read 953 times)

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 29753
    • Modern Cities
This Nate Monroe column is a must read, IMO........Ouch!

Quote
COMMENTARY | There is no more concise illustration of Jacksonville’s urban decay than Liberty Street, a piece of which first collapsed into the St. Johns River in 2012, followed by another chunk in 2015, and which still inexplicably remains under construction today.

This small portion of waterfront road has wallowed in disrepair longer than it took contractors to fully rebuild two six-mile spans wrecked by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that connected New Orleans to the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. That got done in five years.

So it might have made sense for U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to take a gander at some of Jacksonville’s crumbling infrastructure during her Friday visit to Jacksonville, where instead she spent her time celebrating a federal grant that will help pay for a much less-needed project: Tearing down a functional road that mars the riverfront view on a piece of downtown property Jaguars owner Shad Khan says he wants to develop one day.

In other places, these so-called BUILD grants are used to — um — build things. In Jacksonville, it will be used to demolish something that still works.

The $39 million project to take down the Hart Bridge elevated ramps — of which the feds will cover about $12 million — is one of City Hall’s top priorities, and it will be one of the most visible public-works efforts this era. The other is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project dredging the St. Johns River from 40 to 47 feet, which will cost at least $500 million and include virtually no work to compensate for the inevitable damage this will cause to the river’s ecosystem.

These two projects work in some ways at cross purposes — deepening the river will intensify storm surge, which will imperil downtown developments like the one Khan envisions — but they share an important feature: They marshal taxpayer money to serve niche business interests.

Full Editorial: https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190208/nate-monroe-jacksonvilles-crumbling-infrastructure-takes-back-seat-to-developers
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Jagsdrew

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
Great read! I’ve been reading his column for awhile and it’s been refreshing
Twitter: @Jagsdrew

jaxnyc79

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 609
This Nate Monroe column is a must read, IMO........Ouch!

Quote
COMMENTARY | There is no more concise illustration of Jacksonville’s urban decay than Liberty Street, a piece of which first collapsed into the St. Johns River in 2012, followed by another chunk in 2015, and which still inexplicably remains under construction today.

This small portion of waterfront road has wallowed in disrepair longer than it took contractors to fully rebuild two six-mile spans wrecked by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that connected New Orleans to the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. That got done in five years.

So it might have made sense for U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to take a gander at some of Jacksonville’s crumbling infrastructure during her Friday visit to Jacksonville, where instead she spent her time celebrating a federal grant that will help pay for a much less-needed project: Tearing down a functional road that mars the riverfront view on a piece of downtown property Jaguars owner Shad Khan says he wants to develop one day.

In other places, these so-called BUILD grants are used to — um — build things. In Jacksonville, it will be used to demolish something that still works.

The $39 million project to take down the Hart Bridge elevated ramps — of which the feds will cover about $12 million — is one of City Hall’s top priorities, and it will be one of the most visible public-works efforts this era. The other is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project dredging the St. Johns River from 40 to 47 feet, which will cost at least $500 million and include virtually no work to compensate for the inevitable damage this will cause to the river’s ecosystem.

These two projects work in some ways at cross purposes — deepening the river will intensify storm surge, which will imperil downtown developments like the one Khan envisions — but they share an important feature: They marshal taxpayer money to serve niche business interests.

Full Editorial: https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190208/nate-monroe-jacksonvilles-crumbling-infrastructure-takes-back-seat-to-developers

Nate Monroe is why I decided to subscribe to the Times-Union again:

"Apologists for the powers that be will object that the Hart Bridge ramp removal will result in a more pedestrian-friendly road. That’s all well and good, but it would be preferable for that kind of work not to take place in a make-believe neighborhood near the football stadium, where Canadian geese outnumber daytime pedestrians.

How about building pedestrian-friendly roads in places people actually live?"

Charles Hunter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2687
You could make GB Blvd. more pedestrian friendly without spending $50M to remove the Hart Ramps.

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 29753
    • Modern Cities
Very true. One could make a convincing argument that removing the ramp makes the area less pedestrian friendly.  As of now, high speed traffic is 100% separate. Now we're integrating it at ground level.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

jaxnyc79

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 609
It’s amazing what sense of vibrancy can be engendered by simply opening up storefronts to the street.  Jax could designate a mile-long corridor for that sort of street level integration, and even with single story buildings, you suddenly have a pretty compelling draw of a district that could be well-covered with $50 million, with probably still a ton to spare.

jaxlongtimer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 201
It would be interesting to grade the condition of various streets around Jax, especially the urban core, and see how many pass the basic standards for maintenance.  I can't remember seeing more streets with potholes and washed out/cracking/crumbling pavement than what we have now.  The effects of "won't raise taxes no matter what" combined with allocating the precious few dollars we do have for Mr. Khan and suburban developers seems to be coming home to roost.

thelakelander

  • The Jaxson
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 29753
    • Modern Cities
It’s amazing what sense of vibrancy can be engendered by simply opening up storefronts to the street.  Jax could designate a mile-long corridor for that sort of street level integration, and even with single story buildings, you suddenly have a pretty compelling draw of a district that could be well-covered with $50 million, with probably still a ton to spare.

I agree with the idea of street hierarchy. If combined with things that really drive the local retail market, you'd set yourself up for success. The map below illustrates downtown's street network by Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) counts. The streets with the highest traffic counts are the ones that serve more than just downtown.



The corridors to target would be Riverside Avenue/Jefferson/Broad, State/Union, Main/Ocean and Bay/Forsyth between Ocean and Broad Streets.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

lowlyplanner

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 91


bl8jaxnative

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 227
Re: Nate Monroe: Jax’s crumbling infrastructure takes back seat to developers
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2019, 12:00:36 PM »

I'm not sure why Nate Monroe has his undies in a bunch.   He's complaining that the city isn't fixing something that wasn't being used ( the stub of Liberty St. ) and then complaining that they are fixing something that he says isn't being used.   Which is it, Mr. Monroe?