Downtown's Doro District Secures Parking

January 6, 2017

Amidst a sea of parking, the owners of downtown's Doro District and the Downtown Investment Authority finally secure a short term parking solution. Project is positioned to transform long-dormant area around sports facilities into a vibrant commercial corridor much like San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter heading into 2017.







In addition to improving this surface parking lot (known to many as ‘Parking Lot X’), the Downtown Investment Authority will be partnering with the Parks and Recreation Department to construct a pedestrian walkway beginning at the corner of A Philip Randolph and Bay that will lead to an existing, public floating dock facility located on the former ‘Shipyards’ property. This dock was originally constructed for the use of a water taxi stop when Jacksonville hosted the Super Bowl in 2005. Once the Super Bowl was over, the public docking facility has since been closed to public access. With the expected redevelopment of the Shipyards property and Metropolitan Park, public access to the waterfront in this area has once again become a necessary amenity.



This floating dock was built to serve as a water taxi stop during Super Bowl activities held on the former Shipyards property in 2005. Once the Super Bowl left town, public access to this dock has been closed. That is scheduled to change perhaps in time for the 2017 football season.


The Super Bowl parallels do not end with an unused floating dock. The funds used for both the short term parking facility enhancements and the pedestrian path came from a Super Bowl-era program called the Bay Street Town Center. Originally conceived by Jim Bailey, publisher of the Daily Record and property owner along Bay Street, the Bay Street Town Center program was designed to create an entertainment district along Bay Street ahead of the Super Bowl. This area is now known as 'The Elbow'.


The Bay Street Town Center program upgraded infrastructure throughout Bay Street including streetscaping (lighting, trees, pavers), the installation of computerized traffic signals (allowing four lanes of Bay Street to switch directions in order to accommodate traffic flow during gamedays and major events) and most recently improvements to the Bay Street Bridge crossing Hogans Creek. The final phase of the program was to include streescape improvements along Bay Street fronting the former Courthouse Annex building. With the redevelopment of the Northbank Riverwalk and the reconfiguration of Coastline Drive underway along with the possible redevelopment of the Shipyards property to potentially include public parkland along Bay Street, streetscape enhancements near the Courthouse Annex building are no longer a priority until plans for the Shipyards property shake out. Accordingly, the Bay Street Town Center program has officially been deemed to be completed, and unused funds were able to be utilized by the DIA in support of redevelopment opportunities on the eastern edge of downtown.



As part of the Bay Street Town Center program, streetscape enhancements supported a string of entertainment-related businesses along Bay Street following the Super Bowl in 2005.



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