Southbank Riverwalk opens; Redman questions bench design

Southbank Riverwalk opens; Redman questions bench design

Local residents help spur safeguards prior to ribbon cutting

By replacing the semicircular benches with straight ones the width of the path becomes acceptable, he said. “That will take it to a couple inches short of 8 feet wide and I am okay with that,” he said.

Christopher Flagg, a Haskell Co. architect responding to Redman’s concerns, noted the Riverwalk design was primarily intended for pedestrians and to have adequate shaded areas.

The Riverwalk is designed so “that bikers would be considerate enough to dismount at high pedestrian use areas, seating areas and gathering spaces,” Flagg said in an email to city officials in response to Redman’s concerns. “Therefore, all walkway widths, pass through points, etc., all meet or exceed safety and handicapped accessibility requirements for pedestrians.”

David DeCamp, spokesman for Mayor Alvin Brown, said the city was happy to address Redman’s concerns and replace the benches. He noted, however, the new Riverwalk is a different style and design from the one it replaced. “This (new) one actually extends out over the river in some places whereas the old Riverwalk was attached to the bulkheads,” said DeCamp, who noted the new walkway was also never intended as a bicycle path.

Redman said no one with the City told him the new Riverwalk would be narrowed from its previous width in order to stay within budget.

SBRWRC_05“I just assumed it was going to be the same,” said Redman, who acknowledges city officials provided him with revised architectural drawings but didn’t tell him the new path was narrower. “I couldn’t read those little bitty numbers on that drawing.”

Redman said he understood why the architect who designed the Riverwalk felt the semi-circular benches would look good there. “But just putting them there because it looks good doesn’t solve the problem of having an unsatisfactory Riverwalk,” Redman said.

With the safety issue resolved, Redman said Jacksonville residents should enjoy the view a Southbank Riverwalk offers. “I am just excited about it being a better safer walking path. Once we get this worked out there shouldn’t be any other problems with it,” he said.

By Greg Walsh
Resident Community News


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