The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is pitching several parcels of land near transportation hubs as "transit-oriented development" opportunities.
The idea is that where there is strong public transit, development will often follow. That in turn can reduce the need for automobiles and create more pedestrian-friendly areas.
The strongest example is in LaVilla, where public/private sector development is well underway. The Intercity Bus Terminal, also known as the new Greyhound station, opened last year.
It’s across the street from where the new Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC) is scheduled to open in March 2020, across the street from the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
The Skyway, which will run from the new JRTC station, up Jefferson Street and into Downtown, goes right by the recently completed Lofts at Lavilla apartments, the under construction Lofts at Jefferson Station and just a few blocks away is the Lofts at Monroe.
The JTA is hoping to expand on that synergy by offering a 1.5 acre site along Johnson Street near the JRTC for transit-oriented development.
The transit agency is hoping it can trigger additional momentum for underutilized properties it owns by using its transit services and property as a carrot along with things like wider sidewalks, bicycle lanes and smarter intersections.
Also mentioned as a carrot is the plan to build-out the LaVilla Heritage Trail – a greenway that would connect bicyclists, pedestrians and others from McCoy’s Creek to Hogan’s Creek as part of the Emerald Necklace system of trails.
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JTA Chief Administrative Officer and Sr. Vice President Cleveland Ferguson said during a symposium that putting all the pieces together can make LaVilla “a true live, work and play neighborhood, again through transit-oriented development.”
He said JTA is ready to partner with developers on projects they may already be considering.
Other Areas Also Targeted
While LaVilla is the most visible example of transit-oriented development, the JTA is also highlighting four other areas that it feels are primed for future opportunities.
“Of course every property offers something for Jacksonville. A lot of them are centered around Downtown and the Southbank, so there’s great opportunity and for a lot of these locations. There’s already existing infrastructure and also other development stuff around there,” said JTA spokesman David Cawton.
The 1.5-acre Rosa Parks Transit Hub at 201 W. Union St. will be scaled back to a Skyway and bus stop once the JRTC opens in March 2020. The JTA is promoting it as one of the areas ripe for transit-oriented development.
In Northwest Jacksonville, the JTA has a more than 7-acre property at 813 Golfair Boulevard, a site sandwiched between Interstate 95 and Golfair that will be home to a First Coast Flyer Blue line BRT stop.
On the Southside, JTA has property at Avenues Walk, and on Kings Avenue it has property in the area of its San Marco Skyway station near where the I-95 Overland Bridge was recently completed.
The JTA has an informational webpage for developers or others interested in learning more.
WJCT's Michelle Corum contributed to this story.