Residents voice concerns on MLK Parkway project

Haines Street to be replaced with retention pond

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida Department of Transportation officials heard from Talleyrand residents at a meeting Tuesday about safety concerns with a project meant to widen Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

Crews will be working at the intersection of MLK Parkway and Haines Street, and neighbors say they're worried about the added traffic that will be going down their streets in the meantime.

FDOT officials and residents looked at maps of the project as they tried to get an understanding of what will happen.

"We elderly people have to cross the street sometimes, and with the big trucks coming down, I just really, really -- and we have children -- I'm really concerned what will happen," resident Earnestine Black said.

"Probably be pretty hectic because there are older people, and I'm concerned about anything happening in neighborhood, ambulances trying to get to the people," said Dolores Sutton.

One of the main points of contention was that FDOT said it must remove Haines Street and replace it a retention pond for water runoff. Residents say removing Haines Street will create more traffic elsewhere, but FDOT says it can't make any changes to that part of the project, which is scheduled to be complete by late 2013.

"From the way things are going, no one is paying attention. To me, they're not concerned," said Elizabeth Googins.

FDOT spokesman Mike Goldman said these concerns are being taken seriously.

"They've had some concerns about additional truck traffic going through 21st Street, so we've put a stop light right where 21st Street meets Bennett (Street), which is where the park is," Goldman said.

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