Author Topic: Public Meeting Planned For Hart Bridge Ramp Removal (Renderings included)  (Read 988 times)

Charles Hunter

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A good turn out.  FDOT had 2 pairs of tables with maps: one showing the roads that will transfer from the state to the city, the other showing the map in The Jaxson article.  There were several FDOT employees and consultants there to answer questions and explain the maps.  Although this is primarily a City-driven project, the only city representative I saw was John Pappas, and he didn't have one of those bright yellow badges the FDOT folks wore.  Most of the conversations I heard were citizens not happy with the project.  Biggest concern was that removing the ramps will put too much traffic on Bay Street / Gator Bowl Boulevard, and not just on game days.  People were also concerned about the cost, and traffic during construction.

FDOT folks did not have answers about whether, or when, the parking displaced by the project - both the lots under the existing ramp and the lot used for RV City for the Florida-Georgia game.  I didn't hear if anyone was able to ask Mr. Pappas about this.

The FDOT will be giving the entire ramp system to the City - from Forsyth, Adams, Monroe and Duval Streets near Liberty, eastward to near the end of the Hart Bridge.  That is what is shown in red on the first picture below


Hampton Ray, FDOT explaining the project map (early, before the crowd arrived)


Crowd shot - it got even more crowded after I took this.

Charles Hunter

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From the Times-Union article
Quote
Opponents scoffed at projections that motorists will see little impact to how much time they spend in traffic. They said the city is poised to tear down a segment of ramp that’s in perfectly good shape so Khan can profit from the planned development.

“It’s just a huge waste of taxpayers’ money to make a fairy tale project look better,” Jacksonville resident Kermit Dunwoody said.

“It’s ridiculous what is going on in this city now,” said Mark Stephenson. “It’s all a land grab. It’s all a money grab.”

On the other hand
Quote
While most of those who turned out Thursday were against the demolition, urban planner Wiatt Bowers sought to make the case for demolishing all of the elevated ramp structure going to downtown.

After tearing down a portion of the ramps, the city plans to build new ramp connections from Gator Bowl Boulevard to the Hart Bridge and also from Gator Bowl Boulevard, also known as Bay Street, to the network of elevated ramps that arch over Hogans Creek and touch down at Liberty Street.

Bowers said the city should tear down the ramps over Hogans Creek as well, which would keep all the traffic on Gator Bowl Boulevard and Bay Street heading into the downtown.

“I think we have an opportunity to build a true boulevard that we can be very proud of and this isn’t doing it,” Bowers said.

He said other cities have transformed parts of their downtown by removing elevated roads, but Jacksonville won’t gain as much with a half-measure that leaves intact some of the elevated ramp system.

https://www.jacksonville.com/news/20190314/residents-skeptical-of-hart-bridge-ramp-demolition
« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 09:49:46 AM by Charles Hunter »

Charles Hunter

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WJCT -
Quote
David Bruderly, a retired engineer, said the Hart Bridge elevated ramps could be an important evacuation route during hurricanes and other emergencies. 

“This is well above the flood line. So by taking this down, you make it difficult to use the Hart Bridge as part of your evacuation route for downtown,” he said. 

In addition to those concerns, some open house attendees also said tearing down the overpass isn’t the best use of city funds.

“Downtown is coming together and it seems like a waste of time and a lot of money to be focusing on this Lot J,” McEvoy asked. “It seems like the focus should be on the downtown core.”

https://news.wjct.org/post/jacksonville-residents-raise-concerns-about-tearing-down-hart-bridge-ramps


Steve

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The evacuation route thing makes no sense. You don't wait for the flood to evacuate; you evacuate before the flood comes.

But regardless, what a good concept made into a mess with a terrible implementation. It's like they worked hard to make this thing pedestrian unfriendly.

Lostwave

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I still wish that the part they are keeping could be turned into ped walkway ala highline.  Maybe one side of it could be for the clown cars, the other for pedestrians.  Could make a nice link to downtown from the stadium district.

thelakelander

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The evacuation route thing makes no sense. You don't wait for the flood to evacuate; you evacuate before the flood comes.

But regardless, what a good concept made into a mess with a terrible implementation. It's like they worked hard to make this thing pedestrian unfriendly.

Pretty much.

I'm convinced we don't really know what we're doing and that downtown will continue to fall below many's expectations after all the money being tossed around these days is finally lit on fire. Lots of big talk but the actions aren't necessarily resolving problems that aren't resolved by how much money we spend or invest to wipe out our sense of place.

Fortunately, this can be a salvageable project if common sense can be applied. The first part of the common sense approach is accepting what this is. It isn't about freight movement, hurricane evacuation bike/ped/traffic safety, etc. It's about economic development. Any professional in the transportation industry who will tell you differently is likely pulling your leg with no sound data behind them to support the argument. Now, with that said, there's nothing wrong with making public investments for the sake of stimulating economic development. This particular plan likely suffers from having too many roadway oriented engineers in the room (no offense to my engineering buddies out there :). Here's a few simple things that can improve the concept shown at last night's meeting:

1. Close the elevated portion west of A. Philip Randolph. Just because there's no money to demolish it doesn't mean it has to be open to auto traffic. Closing it means there's no reason to turn the intersection of A. Philip Randolph and Bay into an expressway interchange. Run that traffic Khan needs to make commercial development viable around the stadium, straight down Bay, through the Northbank and on to I-95. Downtown is a ghost town partially because most of the historical through traffic patterns have been shifted to bypass it. More traffic on Bay actually enhances the potential of filling vacant properties and storefront that have visible access.

2. Tighten up the intersection at Festival Park Avenue. It's heavily designed for cars at the expense of the crowds on foot that will move through there. There should be money savings and multimodal safety benefits from doing so.

3.Save JTA from themselves. The AV thing is likely doing to turn out into a disaster without more outside and multi-disciplined perspective. The proposed design of the street needs to be more context sensitive and multimodal friendly. Even if we're not going to pay for certain things today, some space should be provided on the south side of this corridor for the future inclusion of transit separate from roadway and bike/ped traffic.

4. Channelize pedestrians and cyclist. Unlike other cities that have turned elevated expressways into context sensitive boulevards, we're turning an existing low volume street into a highway where drivers will naturally gun it to make it through the few green lights to get back up on the bridge. Without some fencing or heavy landscaping, this will become a death zone for pedestrians. Physically channelizing them to marked crosswalks is one way to design to limit the potential safety hazards.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2019, 03:04:38 PM by thelakelander »
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Charles Hunter

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Finally pulled out the flyer I got at the meeting.  Comments can be sent to either (both):
Brittany Chastain, FDOT Project Manager
FDOT
1109 S. Marion Avenue
Lake City, FL  32025
brittany.chastain@dot.state.fl.us
386-961-7520 or 800-749-2967

Duane Kent, P.E.
COJ Project Manager
City of Jacksonville
Engineering and Construction Management Div.
214 North Hogan St.
Jacksonville, FL  32204
rkent@coj.net
904-255-8910

Since this wasn't a Public Hearing, no deadline is given for providing comments. But, considering the accelerated pace of the project, I would send them soon.

Project info is supposed to be (it isn't as of 3pm 3/15) www.nflroads.com/Talleyrand

So, send your comments to FDOT and COJ.  Although they may read this site, comments here don't have the same weight as direct comments.

sandyshoes

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Re: Steve's interesting use of words, regarding "...not waiting until the flood comes"...that brings to mind several questions about removing this ramp.  If we are going to drive on the same street, at ground level, where the stadium is located, what do you think will happen to that street in the event of another Irma?  Right now we have a ramp and we can get out of town high and dry if necessary.  Plus I'm not wild about Mr. Khan taking ownership of the city in which we pay our taxes so that we can keep buying toys for him to play with when he tires of re-re-revamping the stadium ad nauseum.  Those are my two cents. 

tufsu1

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But regardless, what a good concept made into a mess with a terrible implementation. It's like they worked hard to make this thing pedestrian unfriendly.

some pretty good comments on First Coast News today....although I may be a bit biased ;)