Major urban interchange project underway

Published On: Apr 01 2012 07:48:02 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 01 2012 08:06:46 PM EDT
Construction is underway on MLK, Parkway/21st Street interchange

Two working class African-American communities that were developed in the early 20th Century are now the site of a 21-acre interchange under construction.

Photo from Plane
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The red circle highlights the location of the proposed interchange project. When the 20 Street Expressway (now MLK Parkway) was constructed during the 1960s, it effectively severed close knit communities from one another. Image courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
Like the original construction of what was formerly known as the 20 Street Expressway, this project will enhance accessibility to JaxPort, however it will create a pedestrian scale barrier for the adjacent urban neighborhoods. While proper thought has been given to the movement of truck and automobile traffic, little has been given towards the viability of the neighborhoods the project penetrates. Twenty-first Street has traditionally served as Longbranch's core commercial district and at one time rivaled the built atmosphere that continues to exist in areas like Five Points and 8th & Main today. In addition, Kooker Park, which was once a centralized public space for the surrounding community is now further isolated from the population it was designed to serve. Jacksonville owes it to these distressed communities to place a higher priority on improving their livability and economic vitality going forward.

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