Author Topic: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again  (Read 2729 times)

thelakelander

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Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« on: February 15, 2024, 08:10:49 AM »
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On Thursday, February 15, 2024, Downtown Jacksonville's Friendship Fountain will officially re-open after being closed years. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., various city officials will speak, including Mayor Deegan. The event will include a launch of the long anticipated fountain show. Here's more information concerning the event and recent photographs of Friendship Fountain.


Read More: https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/friendship-fountain-accessible-and-flowing-again/
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

UrbanistInExile

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2024, 09:30:12 AM »
I'm glad this phase of the project is finally open, and I hope the micromanaging of the rest of the park ends so the rest of it can be finished. It will especially be good when the Southbank Riverwalk gets extended to the SUP. Another consideration is does the roadway leading to the Main Street bridge need to be elevated? It touches grade at the base of the bridge before going elevated, why couldn't it ramp down at Prudential, become an at-grade urban boulevard, and we can then re-stitch the street grid and urban fabric on the Southbank. The same could be done with the Arlington Expressway west of the MLK interchange. All of the elevated roadways and infrastructure slice up downtown and make it less urban, less vibrant, and less bike/ped friendly.

Charles Hunter

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2024, 12:38:53 PM »
Regarding the "Arlington Expressway" (there has to be a better name since Arlington is across the river) west of MLK, the City has plans. But not to bring it down to grade between Liberty Street and MLK. The City is looking to replace the section on embankment immediately east of Liberty with bridge. The goal is to "daylight" Hogan's Creek as part of the restoration of the creek to a more natural course. I don't remember if the Emerald Trail is involved here.

My guess is that the entire bridge structure needs to be replaced, from Liberty Street to A. Philip Randolph Blvd. - it was built in the mid-1950s and does not meet current design standards.

For the 'real' Arlington Expressway, the North Florida TPO did a study of "boulevarding" the section between University Blvd. and Southside Blvd. a few years ago. As with most studies, it sits on a shelf somewhere. It isn't on the NFTPO website, so it must have been done before 2015 (or the TPO chose not to put it on the website).  If I remember correctly, it just presented options and made no recommendations.

And, finally, the elevated portion of South Main. I think it was built in the 1960s to connect I-95 with the Main Street Bridge into downtown. While it is a visual obstruction, it doesn't disrupt the Southbank grid pattern. Each of the three east-west streets - Prudential Drive, Mary Street, and Museum Circle/Riverplace Blvd. all connect under the elevated roadway.



We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion of the New Friendship Fountain.  :)

Ken_FSU

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2024, 01:28:27 PM »
Gotta take the time to appreciate the small victories.

I posted photos of what the site looked like back in fall.

Here was she was last night:

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Y4JlyuOBJ/

Proves that we really can get things done quickly as a city when the will and leadership is there, and the political favoritism/grudges are dropped.

Awesome stuff, looking forward to the addition of the park.

UrbanistInExile

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2024, 01:47:42 PM »
In a part of downtown that is full of blank walls and suburban-style office buildings, any little bit would make a big difference. Visibility, bike/ped connectivity of the fountain, surrounding park, and the Riverwalk would also increase, as would the place value of such a move for adjacent properties.


Regarding the "Arlington Expressway" (there has to be a better name since Arlington is across the river) west of MLK, the City has plans. But not to bring it down to grade between Liberty Street and MLK. The City is looking to replace the section on embankment immediately east of Liberty with bridge. The goal is to "daylight" Hogan's Creek as part of the restoration of the creek to a more natural course. I don't remember if the Emerald Trail is involved here.

My guess is that the entire bridge structure needs to be replaced, from Liberty Street to A. Philip Randolph Blvd. - it was built in the mid-1950s and does not meet current design standards.

For the 'real' Arlington Expressway, the North Florida TPO did a study of "boulevarding" the section between University Blvd. and Southside Blvd. a few years ago. As with most studies, it sits on a shelf somewhere. It isn't on the NFTPO website, so it must have been done before 2015 (or the TPO chose not to put it on the website).  If I remember correctly, it just presented options and made no recommendations.

And, finally, the elevated portion of South Main. I think it was built in the 1960s to connect I-95 with the Main Street Bridge into downtown. While it is a visual obstruction, it doesn't disrupt the Southbank grid pattern. Each of the three east-west streets - Prudential Drive, Mary Street, and Museum Circle/Riverplace Blvd. all connect under the elevated roadway.



We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion of the New Friendship Fountain.  :)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2024, 03:58:52 PM by UrbanistInExile »

Joey Mackey

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2024, 03:23:43 PM »
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend in person, but I caught the whole show from a nearby office tower for a very unique viewing experience. I was very happy to see the hundreds of people that attended. Great job to all those who got this project back on track - not you Boyer - and brought it across the finish line.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2024, 06:25:23 PM »
Regarding the "Arlington Expressway" (there has to be a better name since Arlington is across the river) west of MLK, the City has plans. But not to bring it down to grade between Liberty Street and MLK. The City is looking to replace the section on embankment immediately east of Liberty with bridge. The goal is to "daylight" Hogan's Creek as part of the restoration of the creek to a more natural course. I don't remember if the Emerald Trail is involved here.

My guess is that the entire bridge structure needs to be replaced, from Liberty Street to A. Philip Randolph Blvd. - it was built in the mid-1950s and does not meet current design standards.

Emerald Trail is included, yes:



I'm of the opinion that a boulevard conversion would be well-served here. We're gearing up to pour a billion dollars or more into the sports complex, between EverBank, the Armada, and the ongoing Ballpark work. That's on top of the Four Seasons at the other end of APR, a redo of Rise Doro, and before you get to wherever a future convention center goes, wherever UF goes (if it's Fairgrounds or FSCJ), the return of Lot J or something along those lines, and the ongoing investment into the Historic Eastside. Spending the money in 2024 for more traffic to speed over all that instead of truly reconnecting the community feels like a bigger miss than the Hart Expressway replacement was.

For the 'real' Arlington Expressway, the North Florida TPO did a study of "boulevarding" the section between University Blvd. and Southside Blvd. a few years ago. As with most studies, it sits on a shelf somewhere. It isn't on the NFTPO website, so it must have been done before 2015 (or the TPO chose not to put it on the website).  If I remember correctly, it just presented options and made no recommendations.

As previously discussed on this forum! Now that we're 9 years removed from that (and the Matthews will be 80 in another 9), it's a shame we don't seem ready for something like the Mega program, where we could perhaps package the replacement bridge with boulevards on both sides, and even transit (something faster than just a bus) accommodations.

But yes, the fountain. It looks great! I'm a little surprised by no railing, hopefully people falling in won't be an issue (or perhaps will become a great local joke like FSU's fountain). More importantly, I hope we'll find the money to upkeep it going forward instead of needing another rebuild in a decade like previous efforts.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

thelakelander

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2024, 09:23:24 PM »
Here's a concept that's been recently explored by FDOT. From my understanding, a PD&E will be coming this summer. The estimated cost for this is $123 million.



Also, this stretch was originally called the Union Street Expressway when it was constructed with the Mathews Bridge between 1952 and 1953.
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2024, 10:05:21 PM »
Looking at the fountain, I miss seeing the higher shooting water jets that used to be the literal centerpiece of the fountain.  Is that capability still there?  Kind of like the high upshots at the Caesar's Palace fountain in Las Vegas  8).

UPDATE:  Just found this picture on the Times Union site so it answers my question...

« Last Edit: February 16, 2024, 10:29:55 PM by jaxlongtimer »

Charles Hunter

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2024, 10:11:31 PM »
Interesting.

I assume the 'orange' sections are on elevated structure ("bridge").
What are the "blue" bordered sections? Embankment?

Oh, and unless my memory has completely failed me (or there's been a redesignation) the Union Street Expressway (thank, lake) is NOT State Road 115. It is State Road 10A. Coming from Arlington, after SR 115 crosses the Mathews Bridge, it turns north along MLK Parkway until it (somehow) gets to Lem Turner Road on the way to Callahan. (I've never been clear on the transition between MLK along 20th Street to Lem Turner - I-95?).

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2024, 10:58:07 PM »
^ The legend in the drawing says the light blue areas are "paved shoulders."

fsu813

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2024, 09:49:02 AM »
Visited Friendship Fountain and the Southbank Riverwalk yesterday.

Great experience, beautiful day, relatively clean, lots of people out visiting.

Unfortunately, someone sprayed a graffiti message on one of the new circular tables already. I suspect an additional barrier (hopefully tastefully done) will be installed atop the short, flat knee wall border of the fountain at some point, to prevent easy access going into the fountain/putting things into fountain.

Great addition to our Downtown, looking forward to the other stages opening in the next year or so.

LadyBugJax

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2024, 10:30:44 AM »
The design around the immediate fountain is a nice nod to Taylor Hardwick. Large round pavers and the round table/seating structures (that house the speakers). The working fountain is something to celebrate and the light shows are fun. 

It really would have been great to reimagine the entire park in an updated (and more practical and tree shaded) Taylor Hardwick design, maybe with some Monstrum or some complementary playground structures with those mushroom type structures the architect had in his original park. The plan created years ago and in place today is an "Explorers" theme for the small surrounding park area to honor Ribault and others with design elements to include a shipwreck, a thatched roof Timucuan Hut concession stand, etc. Just seems a lost opportunity to really be a cool space honoring the architect and last 50 year history of the site.

Here is a link to some vintage historical pictures compliments of the Florida Times Union:
https://www.jacksonville.com/picture-gallery/news/2018/09/02/vintage-photos-jacksonville-s-friendship-fountain/66263794007/

Gambit80

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2024, 08:27:07 AM »
Made a visit with family to the fountain last night on a whim. We were there from 7:20ish to 8:00. It was outstanding and the amount of people out was great. More people down there on a Sunday night than I can remember. Kids playing, people just hanging out. I hope they can add to this. Last night a coffee stand/drink stand would have made some money with the cool weather. I took a few photos and and short video, but not sure how to upload on here.

Zac T

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Re: Friendship Fountain accessible and flowing again
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2024, 03:07:26 PM »
I was also there last night around the same time and 100% agree. The atmosphere was really nice and the activity around the fountain was great to see.

Any idea if the nightly shows will continue after February?