If you live near the urban core of Jacksonville and drive an automobile, you likely know that the highways near downtown are pretty much a mess to navigate through. Although things are much better for automotive traffic in this area than it was when I was a kid (when I95 crossed the St. Johns River with a draw bridge), the area where I95 floats above the Southbank is just a mess, at best. Finally, this part of I95 is getting a facelift, which is great for motorists. What does all of this have to do with bicycles? It appears that bicycle connectivity was not thought of at all when re-designing the in-town roads underneath the highway.
As always, Ennis Davis of Metro Jacksonville breaks the project down in an easy to digest manner here. Bottom line is this: travel by bicycle should have been considered in these plans, but was not.
The Overland Bridge Project is expected to fix highway issues in this particular area on the Southbank for the next 50 years or so (according to an engineer I spoke with at a BPAC meeting last week), and if we want bicycles to be included in the plans, the time to act is now because there may not be the physical room to add bike lanes later on. This area is a major artery between a few different parts of town, and to ignore bicycle needs in this area would be a great disservice to the bicycling community.
Here's how you can help:
Please take a moment of your time to write to the project manager of the Overland Bridge project and let him know that you want bicycling infrastructure included in his plans. Encourage your friends or anyone else who gives a damn, to write in as well. Deadline for comments is Friday,
November 9, 2012. All interested persons are encouraged to contact or
send an email to Craig Teal, P.E. at the Florida Department of
Craig Teal, P.E., Project Manager
Florida Department of Transportation
1109 s Marion Avenue, MS 2002
Lake City, Fl 32025-5874
(386) 961.7703 or (800)749.2967