Nine Restaurants Opening in Murray Hill

March 26, 2017

Edgewood Avenue South is well on its way to becoming urban Jacksonville's next "restaurant row". Here's a look at nine new restaurants and bars coming to this up and coming Murray Hill commercial strip.

Is it time to retrofit Edgewood Avenue?

Murray Hill's Edgewood Avenue is well on its way to becoming a "Great Street". However, despite the increasing number of business openings, the corridor still lacks visual cohesiveness and connectivity due to the reality that Edgewood Avenue is much wider in width than necessary.

Existing roadway conditions along Edgewood feature four 12'-wide vehicle lanes, two 18'-wide diagonal parking lanes and two 6'-wide sidewalks. Sketch and Modeling: Ledia Durmishaj and Ennis Davis.

If redesigned for its context, the corridor could easily include extra room for outdoor dining, parking and dedicated bicycle facilities, without the need to acquire additional property or massively reconstructing the street.  With that in mind, here's three "no-frills" affordable options to revamp the corridor into a pedestrian and bicycle friendly strip.

1. Lane Diet Through Resurfacing

A cross-section depiction of a business and neighborhood-friendly 'right-sized' Edgewood Avenue. Sketch and Modeling: Ledia Durmishaj and Ennis Davis.

As a part of routine maintenance, the time will arrive when the City of Jacksonville will have to resurface Edgewood Avenue.  As a part of such a project, Edgewood Avenue could be reconfigured to include two 11'-wide vehicle lanes, two 7'-wide bike lanes buffered from adjacent vehicular lanes, a 12'-wide center median, two 18'-wide parking lanes and two 6'-wide sidewalks. As on-street parking is an important asset to both businesses and customers along Edgewood, this depiction keeps existing parking facilities intact while adding safe accommodations for bicyclists and enhancing pedestrian safety by eliminating unprotected, mid-block crossings.

Main Street in Greenville, SC is an example of a similar sized street featuring a lane diet with diagonal parking and wider sidewalks. Above: Looking north at the intersection of Main Street and McBee Street. Courtesty of Municipal Association of South Carolina

Greenville, SC's Main Street today.

2. Lane Diet With Parallel Parking

A cross-section depiction of a business and neighborhood-friendly 'right-sized' Edgewood Avenue, featuring an extended sidewalk with enhanced outdoor seating areas. Sketch and Modeling: Ledia Durmishaj and Ennis Davis.

A major component of a cohesive walkable corridor is the ability for business activity to interact with the street's existing sidewalks.  Unfortunately, limited opportunity for outdoor dining and other pedestrian stimulating activity can take place because the street's existing sidewalks are only six feet in width.  A solution to expand the pedestrian realm, while also adding bicycle infrastructure could be the consideration of a two-lane roadway with parallel parking.  By reducing the number of lanes from four to two and shifting to an 8-foot parallel parking configuration, it would be possible to increase the street's sidewalk widths to 15 feet.

Ponce De Leon Boulevard, in Coral Gables, is the same width as Edgewood Avenue. However, parallel parking allows for for a 4-lane street with landscaped medians and sidewalks.

While buildings vary in shape, size and height, the design and landscaping of Ponce De Leon Boulevard provides the "sense of place" and "visual connectivity" for the overall linear corridor.

3. Lane Diet With Median-based Parking

As additional businesses open along the corridor, the need for more parking will become as much of an issue as it is in neighboring Riverside/Avondale today.  With Edgewood Avenue offering 100 feet of space to play with, Murray Hill has the advantage of a built in solution to alleviate the issue.  By taking a page out of the design of the First Block, removing the center two lanes of the street can potentially free up enough space for an additional mile-long row of median-based diagonal parking spaces.  With additional the additional parking spaces, bulb-outs or curb extensions could be added near intersections to create outdoor dining and landscaping opportunities.

Median-based parking in the First Block of Murray Hill's Edgewood Avenue.

Median-based parking on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, FL.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP and Mike Field.  Edgewood Avenue concept graphics by Ledia Durmishaj.  Cover photo by Heather Whitson Blackwell of Geek Chic Photography , via Community Loaves

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