Sidewalk upgrades coming to 5 Points

By Steve DiMattia
Resident Community News

The 5 Points Merchants Association wants to ensure the intersection of Park and Margaret streets are not where the sidewalk ends in the historic district.
The association plans to upgrade sidewalks along two streets in 5 Points’ commercial sector: Lomax between Oak and the roundabout, and Margaret between the roundabout and Post.
“We want to revitalize those streets to be congruent with the rest of the area,” said Allan DeVault, association president and co-owner of Black Sheep Restaurant. “Our goal is to make the district safer and more pedestrian friendly overall.”
The plans also include reworking the roundabout to improve traffic flow.
“We would love to make it a true roundabout, but there may not be enough space. We’d at least like to make it a more defined circle,” DeVault said.
The association has $35,000 for improvements. The money came from charitable donations to Riverside Avondale Preservation, according to RAP’s executive director Carmen Godwin.
“While they are charitable donations to RAP and we can utilize them for any purpose, we have been saving these private donations for a capital project in 5 Points,” Godwin said. “Making those streets more pedestrian friendly can only improve property values on that corridor.”
The project has no city funding. The association and volunteers will do all maintenance and landscaping.
“Getting city money is difficult in these tough budgetary times. I think it’s important to show an effort and invest our own time and money before we seek help,” DeVault said.
DeVault did approach the Jacksonville Bicycle Pedestrian Action Committee about lowering the blinking light at the Sun-Ray Cinema pedestrian crossing to six feet, with a street level sign referencing Florida’s pedestrian right-of-way law.
David Joudi, owner of Riverside Liquors & Village Wine Shop, embraces the changes and thinks it is 5 Points’ turn to join other historic districts in their recent revitalization.
“I see 5 Points like the East Village in New York City, with its varied restaurants, boutiques and bars. We are going in a positive direction.”
Better sidewalks beginning some time after the New Year will mark that direction.

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