Slow & steady: Changes coming to Arlington River near Cesery Bridge

Signs requiring boaters to slow down being added to Arlington River for 300 feet on both sides of Cesery Bridge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Changes are coming to the Arlington River. The city plans to post signs requiring boaters to slow down in the area around the Cesery Bridge.

On Tuesday night, the Jacksonville City Council voted to spend $65,000 on signs to go into the river for a stretch of roughly 300 feet on both sides of the bridge.

It was almost a year ago when News4JAX spoke with the director of the First Coast Rowing Club, which is right across the street from the bridge.

He said he wanted to see changes along the waterway near Cesery Boulevard back there that would help keep people safe.

The stretch of water in Arlington is often used by rowers, boaters, and even standup paddlers, who are all in close proximity.

As of right now, there are no rules in place making that part of the river a no-wake zone or low-speed area.

Over the last 10 months or so, there was a push to do just that because of the diverse make-up of people who use the space.

A lot of boaters said they slow down and are extra cautious anyway, but some felt the request was an inconvenience.

First Coast Rowing Club Director and Head Coach Davis Bales has approached the Jacksonville Waterways Commission, as well as the city council, many times about changes to prevent tragedies on the water.

“There are absolutely more pros than the one con,” Bales said. “The one and only con is that some boaters will feel inconvenienced for nearly a minute -- 50-something seconds was calculated (as the time it takes) to pass through the 600-something feet stretch at a safe speed. It is for the assurance of the safety of all, including those boaters themselves.”

Leslie Smith, who lives near the Cesery Bridge, also shared her concerns.

“Since COVID, there has been a lot more volume there,” Smith said. “As you go around the corner from University Boulevard bridge to Cesery Boulevard, there is a lot of high, concentrated traffic that goes there. Non-motor boaters, rowers, kayakers, and the stand-up paddle boarders.”

It’s not clear how soon people can expect to start seeing some of the new signs go up along the water.

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