Author Topic: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly  (Read 2919 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« on: May 30, 2008, 04:00:00 AM »
Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly



A guest article by Michael Lewyn questioning whether Jacksonville is a driver-friendly or unfriendly city.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/808

Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2008, 01:02:48 PM »
Great article! "Super-Roadways" also divide neighborhoods as you described. How likely are you to get to know the guy across the street if you have to run the gauntlet just to say hello?

They also build life threatening walls to emergency vehicles. The recent car fire event at 6:pm along JTB at Kernan is a prime example of big road walls. As the car exploded into a ball of flame, the rescue and fire trucks were way back at Gate Parkway, lights and horns but noplace to go. No one could get over enough to make a space.

As New Orleans found out and Orlando or Miami could quickly learn, having only one freeway or one or two choices of escape is NOT good road planning. Another Andrew in Miami, or a earthquake in Orlando... and all of hell would break loose making Katrina pale.

Overpasses and pedestrian walks are not always the save all-be all of a solution. Overpasses further cut and dice the neighborhood and overhead walks MUST be used or they don't work. How many people have you ever seen darting across I-95 North in downtown, back when we had a sea of overhead walks?

It is still possible to have a grid and retain the tight curve and rural feel that many are looking for. Tight curving streets add to safety for families by reducing speeds to a crawl. Perhaps a form of wavy grid would be the best solution.

Downtown Jacksonville is cutting off the center median crossings with mixed reviews. Some are furious that their favorite street causes them to have to go to the corner to make that turn. Yet my experience in New Orleans YESTERDAY, showed me the dangers of dozens of cars cutting over the center of the road. It wasn't so much the streetcars as the fools that will get crosswise and get just one more car trying to make that turn. On Canal Street, the traffic would stop in the fast lane and back up. Cars dodge right and run into traffic making turns, or buses stopping for passengers. Having a clear center median for short segments, as in the plannned city of Lakewood, California (circa 1950) might not be a bad idea at all.

Lakewood has a system of gridded neighborhoods, that let out onto local connectors. A median splits the connectors from the main highways. Every 7-8 blocks the medians break and the cars enter the highway.
Every 10 blocks or so the highways cross with turn lanes and full crossing protection. End result is neighborhood kids stay within their megga-blocks, shops cluster at highway crossings, express routes (highways) don't worry about crossing or darting cars inbetween. Perhaps we should post some of Lakewoods street images... See what I can do... Or perhaps one of you can go in and lift some out as I have described.


Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2008, 02:51:50 PM »
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Lakewood's primary thoroughfares are mostly boulevards with landscaped medians, with frontage roads on either side in residential districts. Unlike in most similar configurations, however, access to the main road from the frontage road is only possible from infrequently spaced collector streets. This arrangement, hailed by urban planners of the day, is a compromise between the traditional urban grid and the arrangement of winding "drives" and culs-de-sac that dominates contemporary suburban and exurban design.

Lakewood is credited as a pioneer among California cities in services provision. Although it is an incorporated city, it contracts for most municipal services, with most of these provided by Los Angeles County and, to a lesser extent, by other public agencies and private industry. Lakewood was the first city in the nation to contract for all of its municipal services when Lakewood incorporated as a municipality in 1954, making it the nation's first "contract city." Many other Los Angeles suburbs, such as Cerritos and Diamond Bar have adopted the "Lakewood Plan."

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 03:02:08 PM »
Quote
Downtown Jacksonville is cutting off the center median crossings with mixed reviews. Some are furious that their favorite street causes them to have to go to the corner to make that turn. Yet my experience in New Orleans YESTERDAY, showed me the dangers of dozens of cars cutting over the center of the road. It wasn't so much the streetcars as the fools that will get crosswise and get just one more car trying to make that turn. On Canal Street, the traffic would stop in the fast lane and back up. Cars dodge right and run into traffic making turns, or buses stopping for passengers. Having a clear center median for short segments, as in the plannned city of Lakewood, California (circa 1950) might not be a bad idea at all.

Lakewood has a system of gridded neighborhoods, that let out onto local connectors. A median splits the connectors from the main highways. Every 7-8 blocks the medians break and the cars enter the highway.
Every 10 blocks or so the highways cross with turn lanes and full crossing protection. End result is neighborhood kids stay within their megga-blocks, shops cluster at highway crossings, express routes (highways) don't worry about crossing or darting cars inbetween. Perhaps we should post some of Lakewoods street images... See what I can do... Or perhaps one of you can go in and lift some out as I have described.

There's a major pre-existing difference between Springfield's Main Street and the New Orleans' St. Charles Avenue or Lakewood, CA's model that you did not mention.  Unlike the idea of using medians to create commercial nodes centered around median crossings, Springfield's Main Street has been a highly urbanized continuous commercial corridor since the 1920s.  With that in mind, changing an urban pattern that existed just fine for over 80 years and replacing it with one more conductive to a residential community will have a negative impact on the existing commercial properties (whose curb cuts are closed off by a new median) by limiting their access to potential customers.  Lakewood, CA would serve as a better model for suburban design as opposed to a 19th century inner city neighborhood.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 03:04:07 PM by thelakelander »
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Ernest Street

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2008, 11:09:05 PM »
Great article! I agree about the cul-de-sacs...I was working in Argyle and saw a poor pizza guy desperately driving in and out of the Maze of CDS'. Interestingly, Orlando Neighborhoods near downtown (Colonial drive) Have gotten the city to put those temp DOT concrete barriers down completely blocking all the exits. Making "Johnny come Lately" cul-de-sacs. hope they have a new Hurricane escape route onto I-4 LOL!!!

Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2008, 02:34:30 PM »
Quote
There's a major pre-existing difference between Springfield's Main Street and the New Orleans' St. Charles Avenue or Lakewood, CA's model that you did not mention.  Unlike the idea of using medians to create commercial nodes centered around median crossings, Springfield's Main Street has been a highly urbanized continuous commercial corridor since the 1920s.  With that in mind, changing an urban pattern that existed just fine for over 80 years and replacing it with one more conductive to a residential community will have a negative impact on the existing commercial properties (whose curb cuts are closed off by a new median) by limiting their access to potential customers.  Lakewood, CA would serve as a better model for suburban design as opposed to a 19th century inner city neighborhood.

I agree that retrofitting North Main would be a nightmare and probably take out whatever is left of our history near downtown. I'm thinking in terms of both our newer suburbs as well as the chance to use "Lakewoods" brain in a few blocks in the older areas. Certainly it couldn't be done on a huge scale. But combine Lakewood, Canal Street and our own North Main and see what you can propose? Anyone got purple crayons? How do we:

1. Reinstall streetcars on Main Street
2. Prevent all of the City from cutting across left and right over said median
3. Provide access for EVERYONE to both sides of the street

My own thoughts are why not something like our historic North Main Street. Single lanes with parking on each side, turning lanes near corners subplant parking. The center median, rather then a hedge of curbs and Holly becomes a welcome green lawn, with palms between and tropical plantings near the trolley poles. Trolley poles which hold both wires and two streetlights al la canal would be the bomb.

Any one else? Lake?



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thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2008, 03:43:21 PM »
The main obstacle would be FDOT.  I can't see a short term scenerio where FDOT agrees to take out two lanes on the core's only N/S alternative to I-95.  You'll face the same problem that killed Peyton's Main Street Bridge plan.  The current streetscape project doesn't help the situation either.  How would you convince FDOT to forget about the money they just invested to rip things back up and reduce their current capacity?
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hank

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2008, 07:56:20 AM »
Great article.  While I try to avoid Mandarin and Orange Park as much as possible because of this mega surface street problem, you eventually have to go there and can feel that a road rage and/or collision incident is waiting at every turn.  The first time I had to use one of these streets, people were pulling out in front of me every two minutes - whipping their car out of a strip mall, screeching the tires, etc. I started to think that either everyone in the neighborhood was an asshole or they were all shitty drivers... perhaps some kind of geographical retardation had set in.  Then I realized that this is the only way to get into the 50-60 MPH flow of traffic that never breaks long enough for a leisurely (or safe) turn in!

The worst part is that all of the things you described - multiple wide lanes of high speed traffic, frequent turn lanes, curbs and medians everywhere - are the ingredients of a transportation planner's wet dream.  These remain the principals of good road design despite the real-world evidence that it does nothing to insure safe transport, vibrant business activity, quick and efficient mobility, or citizen connectivity.  Based on the short-sighted policies of our government leaders, who shoot down rail solutions at every chance and can't even provide an accurate city bus map, we have nothing to look forward to but more of the same.

Maybe $12/gallon will help with traffic!  What are we going to do with all that concrete?

pwhitford

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2008, 05:18:54 PM »
StreetInsider.com - Birmingham, MI, USA

Study Shows that Freight Rail Can Reduce Gridlock on America's Highways - July 1, 2008 1:02 PM EDT

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

The seventh annual Congestion Relief Index, a study of traffic congestion in 82 major urban areas, shows that freight rail can help reduce time spent in gridlock traffic, thus saving drivers hundreds of dollars in gasoline and hours behind the wheel. If 25 percent of freight volume is shifted from trucks to rail, by 2026, commuters across the United States could each save an average of $985 in fuel costs. Even more, the shift of freight volume would save commuters 41 hours a year - an entire work week - in time spent in their cars.

"With gas prices at an all-time high, Americans can't afford to waste money and time sitting in traffic. Because one intermodal train can take nearly 300 trucks off our highways, shifting freight from trucks to trains reduces competition between commuters, drivers and freight traffic for space on the road," said Wendell Cox, author of the study and principal of Demographia, a market research and urban policy consultancy. "Freeing up space on our highways increases the flow of traffic and saves commuters' time, money and gasoline."

The study shows that a 25 percent shift of freight from trucks to rail in urban areas in the U.S. by 2026 would, on average:

    --  Save each commuter 41 hours a year
    --  Save $985 in congestion costs per commuter each year
    --  Save each commuter 79 gallons of fuel each year
    --  Reduce air pollution by nearly 920,500 tons each year

In addition to easing highway congestion, shifting freight from trucks to rail also helps the environment. Freight trains are at least four times more fuel efficient than trucks, and can move one ton of freight 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel. Since modern freight locomotives emit less nitrogen oxide and particulate matter than trucks, shifting 25 percent of freight volume from trucks to trains would decrease air pollutant emissions by 920,500 tons.

"In order to realize the full potential of freight rail in reducing highway congestion and saving commuters' time and money, we need to ensure that there is sufficient rail capacity," said Cox. "While the railroads already invest billions of dollars each year maintaining and expanding the rail network, increased public-private partnerships, as well as tax incentives, will help America meet growing demand for freight transportation and yield benefits for the entire country."

Projections by urban area if 25 percent of freight was shifted from trucks to rail by the year 2026:

                             Annual       Annual
                             Delay         Gallons
                             Hour          of Fuel      Annual
                             Savings      Saved      Congestion  Annual
                             per            per          Cost per     Tons of
       Urban Area       Commuter  Commuter   ommuter     Pollution

Jacksonville, FL                 47       102      $1,164      9,200

For more information, please visit: www.aar.org
Source: AAR and Demographia




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pwhitford

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2008, 05:20:59 PM »
Bizjournals.com - Charlotte, NC, USA - Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 4:42 PM CDT - Rail group claims greater freight shipments would alleviate road congestion - by Yvonne Freckmann/San Antonio Business Journal

A new study released Tuesday analyzing traffic congestion in 82 major urban areas shows that drivers could reduce the amount of time, money and gasoline spent commuting if more freight is shifted from trucks to trains.

If 25 percent of freight volume is shifted from trucks to rail by 2026, commuters across the nation could each save an average of $985 in fuel costs, and 41 hours a year of time spent in their cars, according to the seventh annual Congestion Relief Index, published by the Association of American Railroads, an industry trade group in Washington, D.C.

San Antonio drivers, in particular, could save 49 hours off their commute, 95 gallons of fuel, $1,169 of congestion costs and 6,400 tons of pollution each year, if 25 percent of freight were shifted from trucks to rail by 2026.

At least four times as efficient as trucks, freight trains can move one ton of freight 436 miles on a single gallon of fuel.

Since modern freight locomotives emit less nitrogen oxide and particulate matter than trucks, shifting 25 percent of freight volume from trucks to trains would decrease air pollutant emissions by 920,500 tons. One intermodal freight train can carry as much freight as 300 trucks.

"In order to realize the full potential of freight rail in reducing highway congestion and saving commuters' time and money, we need to ensure that there is sufficient rail capacity," says Wendell Cox, author of the study and principal of Demographia, a market research and urban policy consultancy, based in Belleville, Ill. "While the railroads already invest billions of dollars each year maintaining and expanding the rail network, increased public-private partnerships, as well as tax incentives, will help America meet growing demand for freight transportation and yield benefits for the entire country."

San Antonio has a major industrial rail development slated to open by the end of the year. The Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal is being built one mile south of Loop 410 between Interstate Highway 35 and Old Pearsall Road. The depot is five times larger than first planned, and will be able to serve four trains simultaneously, processing 100,000 40-ton containers per year, with room for expansion.

The new location, which will consolidate two other Union Pacific terminals, is expected to eliminate 80,000 trucks a year from San Antonio's roads.

Expected to employ 250 individuals and have a $2.48 billion economic impact over the next 20 years, the development has been in the works since 2005. Union Pacific approached 4M Properties about scouting out 1,500 acres, which came from a dozen family- or family trust-owned tracts
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Lunican

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 11:10:39 AM »
Quote
Fla. deadliest state for walkers, cyclists

MIAMI, Florida — Florida is the deadliest state in the U.S. for pedestrians — and bicyclists don't fare any better.

In 2008, the most recent year for which federal statistics are available, 11.1% of pedestrians and 17.4% of bicyclists killed in the U.S. died in the Sunshine State, which has 6% of the nation's population.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-02-28-florida-pedestrians-cyclists-deaths_N.htm

reednavy

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Re: Jacksonville: Not so Driver-Friendly
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2010, 11:32:29 AM »
A statistic that I'm not one bit shocked by, and honestly deserve it. That deserving part is not in a good way either.
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