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The Riverplace Boulevard Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Project would "prioritize access for pedestrians and bicyclists over cars."
Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jun. 13, 201712:00 PM EST

A Riverplace Makeover: Project would transform the Southbank boulevard with pedestrian, bicycle-friendly features.

by: David Cawton Associate Editor

Narrower lanes for cars, protected paths for bicyclists and more room for runners and walkers could be coming to the Southbank.

The Riverplace Boulevard Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Project is up for final approval from the Downtown Development Review Board on Thursday.

The project would alter about a half-mile of Riverplace Boulevard from the Main Street Bridge to Prudential Drive on the Southbank to “prioritize access for pedestrians and bicyclists over cars.”

The “road diet” includes slimmer traffic lanes in exchange for protected bike paths, off-street parking, wider sidewalks, built-in bus stops and upgraded landscaping.

The DDRB application said the project focuses on “reduced travel lanes, traffic calming, and enhanced landscaping” to make the area safer for Southbank residents.

In addition to existing condo and apartment towers, more housing is in development for the area, including Catalyst Development Partners’ proposed San Marco Apartments at 1444 Home St. and the 263-unit riverfront Broadstone River House under construction.

Design renderings presented to the Downtown Investment Authority show three lanes of traffic and off-street parking which would provide a buffer for 5-foot-wide bike paths and 8-foot-wide sidewalks on each side.

Pedestrian areas would feature a mix of concrete and brick sidewalks, wooden platform and concrete bench seating, steel bike racks, cast aluminum trash cans, and more trees and green space.

One of the biggest changes will be incorporating off-street parking spaces, and built-in bus stops for JTA, as well as highly viable cross walks and signage.

In 2014, City Council approved $5.5 million from Southbank CRA tax increment district revenues to pay for the changes.

Construction for the streetscape project is set to begin in October, wrapping up a year later, if it receives DDRB approval.

GIA Consultants is listed as the project’s engineer, with GIA Community Solutions Group as the landscape architect.

GIA Principal Nick Mousa directed a request for comment to the DIA, which didn’t immediately return calls.

The DDRB gave conceptual approval to the project at its February meeting.

The Thursday meeting will be at 2 p.m. in the Lynwood Roberts room on the first floor at City Hall.

[email protected]

(904) 356-2466

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