Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Study to Take a Look at Downtown Streets; the City Is Considering Two-Way Corridors near the New Courthouse

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Study to Take a Look at Downtown Streets; the City Is Considering Two-Way Corridors near the New Courthouse

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT GALNOR

Jacksonville's push for a more pedestrian-friendly downtown could result in two major one-way corridors opening for traffic in both directions through the teeth of the core city.

The city is finalizing details to pay just under $200,000 to a local engineering firm for a study on converting four streets to two-way traffic and scrapping plans to reopen Monroe Street once the new Duval County Courthouse is finished.

The city expects the results by the end of the year and could end up making all of the changes, just a few or none at all, said Ron Barton, executive director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission.

The courthouse, scheduled to open in summer 2012, will transform the west end of downtown, Barton said, and the city needs to get its traffic grid in the best position to capitalize on it.

"It's a wasteland in today's environment," Barton said.

Downtowns across the country have converted streets to two-way to slow down traffic, get people to pay attention to storefronts on both sides of the street and encourage people to walk around.

"It just creates an environment where people want to linger more," said Terry Lorince, executive director of Downtown Vision, an organization founded in 2000 by downtown property owners.

The study, to be performed by King Engineering, will look at:

- Converting north-south corridors Pearl and Julia streets to two-way between State and Bay streets, though a three-block stretch of Pearl is already two-way.

- Switching Adams Street, now one-way westbound, to two-way between Jefferson and Main streets.

- Changing Monroe Street, now one-way eastbound, to two-way between Pearl and Main streets.

- Keeping Monroe closed from Broad Street to Pearl Street in front of the new courthouse, rather than jogging Monroe around the building.

Although the latest ordinance on the courthouse budget in 2007 does not address Monroe Street, the previous bill requires it to reopen once the courthouse opens.

Because the courthouse now sits in the middle of what used to be Monroe, the street would have to be rerouted in front of the building and almost on top of Adams. …

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