Author Topic: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?  (Read 811 times)

thelakelander

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Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« on: September 15, 2021, 11:30:24 PM »
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Did you know that higher traffic counts help pedestrian oriented retail streets materialize in the urban core? Here is a visual comparison of walkable retail strips throughout Florida and urban Jacksonville along with their 2020 Average Annual Daily Traffic Count (AADT). The numbers unveil a compelling reason for Jaxson's to reimagine the market rate retail and commercial potential around downtown Jacksonville's busiest corridors.

Read More: https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/time-for-designated-retail-streets-in-downtown/
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Charles Hunter

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2021, 10:37:10 AM »
It looks like most of the example streets are two-way. 
Where is Downtown Jacksonville on this?

acme54321

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2021, 10:54:07 AM »
It looks like most of the example streets are two-way. 
Where is Downtown Jacksonville on this?

No shit.  We go downtown a lot less these days (young kids) and when we do it's usually on bikes.  Drove down there the other day and that stupid one way street grid had me cussing.  Multiple blocks to get to a point where you can circle a block.  UGGHGHH

CityLife

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2021, 01:11:02 PM »
I don't see any evidence that those streets are successful because of their average daily trips.

-The retail/dining district of Atlantic Avenue has 8100 ADT's. The portion of Atlantic just west of the dining district has 30,000 ADT's and minimal retail/dining.
-The Las Olas Dining/entertainment district has 10,300 ADT's. East Broward Boulevard to the north of it has 25,000 ADT, but is not a retail corridor.
-Magnolia Street is one block east of Orange Avenue (10k ADT) and it has 30,000 ADT. Colonial bisects Orange and has 44,000 ADT and is not a retail street.
-Alton Road in Miami Beach is not a very pedestrian friendly street due to it's high ADT. Just to its west, Sunset Harbor is a more popular dining/shopping area because it has little traffic and is walkable. Just to it's east, the Lincoln Road mall is pedestrian only and is full of shopping, dining, entertainment.
-Clematis Street isn't on the list (not a state road so tough to get traffic counts), but it has lower traffic counts than Banyan, which is the next street to the north. WPB has intentionally tried to push traffic off of it, to keep it more pedestrian friendly.

Some of the popular streets like Miracle Mile in the article are popular because they have such a wide ROW that they can accommodate traffic and still have a very nice pedestrian environment with wide sidewalks, on street parking, and outdoor seating areas. Obviously a retail/entertainment district should be close to heavily trafficked areas, but I don't necessarily think the street itself has to be heavily trafficked to be successful. Imo, in an ideal setting, a retail/dining/entertainment district would have little to no traffic on it, but be adjacent to one or two popular streets that can accommodate traffic and parking.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 02:01:24 PM by CityLife »

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2021, 02:43:34 PM »
Why wasn't Beaver Street included along with State, Union, Ocean and Main?  It's two way already and probably has traffic counts that could rival some of the other streets listed.  And, much of the land along it is already cleared or a candidate for further development.  I actually recall Sleiman having a "available" sign along there for a number of years now.

I might add that a purely or majority pedestrian corridor should also be considered.  As in St. George Street in St. Augustine or parts of Broadway in New York City.



A before and after picture of Broadway at Times Square:

« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 02:47:22 PM by jaxlongtimer »

thelakelander

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2021, 02:51:08 PM »
I don't see any evidence that those streets are successful because of their average daily trips.

I'd counter and say that one does not see any evidence that AADT stops retail from being viable. In the examples shown, these are also places accommodating pedestrian scale retail on streets busier than most in Downtown Jacksonville that some believe are too busy for retail.

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-The retail/dining district of Atlantic Avenue has 8100 ADT's. The portion of Atlantic just west of the dining district has 30,000 ADT's and minimal retail/dining.

The described portion with 30k AADT was never a historic part of the downtown core of Atlantic Avenue. However, I do agree that you have to take into account the built environment. Relating this to Downtown Jacksonville, despite having a lower AADT, Adams Street is better than Water Street for pedestrian scale retail because Adams has historic retail storefronts and some level of density, while Water Street is surface parking lots with an AADT likely driven by CSX workers and special events at the performing arts center.

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-The Las Olas Dining/entertainment district has 10,300 ADT's. East Broward Boulevard to the north of it has 25,000 ADT, but is not a retail corridor.

Agree. However, you have those who believe that Main Street is too busy for pedestrian scale retail in Downtown Jacksonville. The 10,300 AADT on Las Olas is busier than Main Street. Yet, one would be a fool to say that traffic on Las Olas has stopped that strip from being a pedestrian scale and oriented place. Locally, Park Street has a higher AADT through Five Points than Main Street does through the Northbank. Certainly there's an argument that the Main Street streetscape could be revamped and better balanced between modes. However, the amount of vehicles on it are a plus for future retail, not a negative.
 
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-Magnolia Street is one block east of Orange Avenue (10k ADT) and it has 30,000 ADT. Colonial bisects Orange and has 44,000 ADT and is not a retail street.

Context is key. Orange is the historic commercial street. It has the historic retail storefronts. Magnolia did not but is not infilling in with new development. Colonial does not go through Downtown Orlando and acts more like State and Union as a major east-west corridor through the city. Nevertheless, speaking of Colonial, where it does have retail storefronts (ViMi District or Mills50), they are filled as well, even with +44k cars and trucks passing by their storefronts every day. Visibility and access is a plus for a business, regardless of if the potential consumer is on foot, bike, bus or behind a wheel.

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-Alton Road in Miami Beach is not a very pedestrian friendly street due to it's high ADT. Just to its west, Sunset Harbor is a more popular dining/shopping area because it has little traffic and is walkable. Just to it's east, the Lincoln Road mall is pedestrian only and is full of shopping, dining, entertainment.

There are different types of retail. Alton is a FDOT street, so there's some different design criteria that plays into what the traffic calming elements of the street can be. Nevertheless, having walked and spent money at multiple business facing Alton myself, retail does work there. Certainly not the best street design but it is certainly pedestrian scale, occupied and used, due to the density and mixed use built environment.


Whole Foods on Alton Road


McDonalds on Alton Road


Alton Road near Lincoln Road. Lincoln Road is basically an outdoor mall. Alton, Collins, Washington and 17th are the streets you take to get there and park. Nevertheless, all of those streets are also suitable for pedestrian scale retail use, due to the tourism base and population density of Miami Beach.

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-Clematis Street isn't on the list (not a state road so tough to get traffic counts), but it has lower traffic counts than Banyan, which is the next street to the north. WPB has intentionally tried to push traffic off of it, to keep it more pedestrian friendly.

That area of West Palm Beach is significantly denser than any area of Downtown Jacksonville. You don't need to rely on vehicular AADT if you have the necessary foot traffic present. That's not the case in Downtown Jacksonville and won't be any time soon. So what works from being too selective to the type of traffic and retail tenant mix that can be applied to a West Palm Beach or say....Winter Park, may not work in Downtown Jax until Downtown can come to the table with a similar built environment and demographic mix.

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Some of the popular streets like Miracle Mile in the article are popular because they have such a wide ROW that they can accommodate traffic and still have a very nice pedestrian environment with wide sidewalks, on street parking, and outdoor seating areas. Obviously a retail/entertainment district should be close to heavily trafficked areas, but I don't necessarily think the street itself has to be heavily trafficked to be successful.

I'd agree on that you have to look at things on a case by case basis. However, in none of the examples can one make a strong argument that consumer visibility is a negative for retail. Thus, when it comes to Downtown Jacksonville, where one could pitch a tent during rush hour and not worry about getting hit on most streets, taking advantage of the streets with higher AADT and regional traffic (like Broad, like Main, like Ocean, like Bay, etc.) is a short term option worth extra consideration. With visionary strategy, it would mean not reducing retail frontage on Bay to 35% in a RFP for the old courthouse site. Last thing one needs there is an apartment complex exercise room or office space at the ground level. It would also mean changing policy to not allow for something like a gigantic gas station to take out a full block at Jefferson, Broad, Bay and Forsyth.

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Imo, in an ideal setting, a retail/dining/entertainment district would have little to no traffic on it, but be adjacent to one or two popular streets that can accommodate traffic and parking.

Not diving too deep into ideal settings but I'd say the idea setting needs visibility and access to the consumer for the retailer or dining operator to survive. If you have high pedestrian foot traffic, great! If you don't, you can always use vehicular traffic to supplement. Regardless of how the consumer base arrives, traffic calming and enhancing the pedestrian realm within street ROW is essential to creating an inviting or interactive pedestrian scale environment.
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thelakelander

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2021, 02:53:58 PM »
Why wasn't Beaver Street included along with State, Union, Ocean and Main?  It's two way already and probably has traffic counts that could rival some of the other streets listed.  And, much of the land along it is already cleared or a candidate for further development.  I actually recall Sleiman having a "available" sign along there for a number of years now.

Beaver has an AADT of 4800 between Broad and Main and drops below 4000 east of it. If anything, Beaver is a prime candidate for a road diet. Actually, so is Jefferson, Broad, Main, Ocean, Bay, Forsyth, etc. Just about everything in downtown outside of State and Union operates well under capacity. All of these streets could be modified to enhance the pedestrian experience (ex. wider sidewalks, curb extensions, raised intersections, bike lanes, landscaping, parallel parking, narrow travel lanes, etc.), while maintaining the amount of vehicular traffic utilizing them.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 02:58:35 PM by thelakelander »
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vicupstate

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2021, 04:26:28 PM »
The problem with Main Street being a retail corridor is not the presence or absence of vehicular traffic, but instead literally just about everything else that is there. 

Main Street drawbacks:
1) one-way street
2) relatively high speed allowed or at least tolerated
3) literally nothing except curb to protect pedestrians from autos
4) narrow sidewalks with no shade except from nearby high-rises
5) quantity and placement of poles and signage gives the whole street a 'tunnel' effect that gives strong visual cues that this is essentially an expressway, and that you can't or shouldn't turn left or right.     

There are numerous other better candidates for a designated retail street, and none of them would require the considerable changes that Main would require.   
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thelakelander

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2021, 05:04:47 PM »
No doubt but 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 are all things that can be easily changed with something as simple as a roadway resurfacing project. The most damning thing for Main as a retail corridor is that all the buildings have been blown up and replaced with surface parking and blank garage space.

However, you would not want to ignore Main Street. For example, Forsyth and Bay are two better candidates. When the VyStar garage was first proposed, the DIA discouraged the developer from adding retail to the Main Street side due to Main being too busy with cars. Luckily, VyStar has added retail to that spot. While all the downtown focus has been the lesser traveled Laura Street, retail on that Main Street block further develops Forsyth Street as a walkable retail corridor.

Of the higher traffic streets, Bay, Forsyth, Adams and Broad stand out as those that can be better activated in the short term. Main, Ocean, Jefferson, State and Union are those you'd include in a master plan for but expect infill to take place over the long term.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2021, 05:50:00 PM »
^  As long as State and Union connect to the Matthews Bridge, giving Arlington residents a connection to I-95, I believe they will remain high speed conduits for that traffic.  If Downtown is looking for a large east-west corridor, I do believe Beaver Street would be a far better candidate.  Being south of State and Union, it's also one or two blocks more "into" the core of Downtown making it easier to integrate with other projects there.  And, as noted previously, it's already a 2 way street.  It's relative narrowness also keeps speeding down.

thelakelander

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2021, 06:40:41 PM »
State and Union are no different from similar corridors in bigger, denser and more vibrant cities. For example, Baltimore's Inner Harbor is separated from that city's downtown from wide one way streets carrying a high volume of vehicular traffic, yet still lined with retail and dining.

The setback for Beaver is the same as Main. No storefronts and blank parking garage walls but also with low AADT. No visibility equals low profitability for a business. The other corridors are regional (connection between Westside, Northside, I-95, Arlington, Beaches, etc.), meaning they generate thousands of trips that aren't only downtown focused. So a retailer setting up on a Riverside Avenue (for example) will have everyday visibility and access to trips generated from other neighborhoods. Downtown simply benefits by being in the middle of a much larger retail trade area.

This why Winn-Dixie/Harvey's abandoned Monroe Street for Union instead. It's why McDonald's rebuilds on State instead of reopening near city hall. It's why Fresh Market opens in Brooklyn on Riverside Avenue and not some random low visibility spot on Laura or Clay streets.

I think the general message is for us to not let auto traffic scare us into leaving these places as noman's land. Traffic of any kind is a good thing in a setting with no foot traffic and density. A master plan and/or strategy that traffic calms and requires the right infill site design over time will overcome the assumed negatives, better harnessing the regional traffic they already push through the area.

For the spots like Broad, where storefronts remain boarded up, these are likely the lower hanging fruit where something as simple as a road diet to add parallel parking, could do wonders, as Riverside Avenue's infill pushes into LaVilla.
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Steve

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2021, 09:38:23 PM »
The one street count that really surprised me is Water Street-no ide sit was that high.

I’d actually say the street thst seems like a good target would be Forsyth.

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2021, 10:06:05 PM »
A ways to go and a lot of work to do.
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thelakelander

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Re: Time for designated retail streets in downtown?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2021, 08:23:37 AM »
The one street count that really surprised me is Water Street-no ide sit was that high.

I’d actually say the street thst seems like a good target would be Forsyth.
Water caught me by surprise too. Once one factors in current built environment, Forsyth, Adams and Bay easily stand out as the major east-west corridors where there should be high focus on upping the amount of ground floor retail frontage. Hogan and Laura have the built environment but not the AADT or consistent foot traffic. Things may change for Hogan once the Emerald Trail goes in though. Lower Laura also benefits from Adams, Forsyth and Bay. Broad, between Bay and State, is one people should pay extra attention too. Some traffic calming is needed but the buildings there are tied to national Black, jazz, blues and civil rights history. It also benefits from continued infill in Brooklyn, as a direct extension of Riverside Avenue. There's an opportunity there to revamp around it having a completely different sense of place and feel from the rest of downtown with strategically coordination of adaptive reuse and new infill.
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