City applies Band-Aid to holes in Riverfront Park

City applies Band-Aid to holes in Riverfront Park
The Jacksonville Department of Public Works used heavy equipment to temporarily patch large holes along the bulkhead in Riverfront Park.

No longer do visitors or fishermen have to worry about being swallowed up by a deep crevice as they stroll along the bulkhead in Riverfront Park.

The Jacksonville Public Works Department put a Band-Aid on the problem of its crumbling bulkhead when it used heavy equipment in late March to fill several holes along the River Road bulwark near Laverne Street.

“Public Works has advised that this was a bulkhead failure,” said City spokesperson Tia Ford in an email. “RWSM (Right of Way and Stormwater Maintenance Division) has provided a temporary repair as a precaution. A permanent repair project is planned,” she said.

District 5 Councilwoman Lori Boyer said RWSM used a “filter fabric” in the holes to help prevent a washout until permanent bulkhead replacement can be obtained. “Right now they are looking for funding,” she said.

Boyer said she believes the installation of a fishing platform, which would extend from the bulkhead, might help prevent the grassy area along the cement shoreline from being pocked with holes. She plans to put the platform on the Florida Inland Navigation District List (FIND) for funding consideration next year.

Alley through-way stymies traffic solution

Meanwhile, the quest to make the segment of River Road extending from Landon Avenue to Laverne Street one-way heading northbound has hit a major snag. While the city’s Public Works Department claims the directional change can be implemented in six weeks or less, nothing can be done until a solution can be worked out to prevent commuters from cutting through the alley behind the residences lining that portion of River Road.

“The issue is the alley,” said Boyer. “It doesn’t make sense to implement it without addressing traffic going through the alley.”

One solution would be to install gates on both ends of the alley with keypad, allowing the alley to be closed to anyone other than local residents. However, this is problematic because garbage trucks and other utilities need access to the alley. Also, because the buildings are independently owned, no homeowners association is available to take responsibility to maintain the gate, she said.

All homeowners on both sides of the alley would have to be in agreement in order for a gate to be installed, said Boyer. “Someone would have to accept responsibility for maintaining the gate or crossing arm,” she said.

Another solution being explored is the possibility of installing a gate or crossing arm on the north end of the alley while keeping the south end open, Boyer said. The gate could open up automatically to allow residents and utility trucks to exit but would prevent traffic heading south from cutting through the alley. Currently Boyer said she has asked the San Marco Preservation Society to assist her in contacting the homeowners. “It takes leg work,” she said.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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