Oak Street: From streetcar to bike lane

A Jacksonville streetcar destined for Riverside shortly after being assembled by the Philadelphia-based J.G. Brill Company.

In 1905, the Jacksonville Electric Company extended its streetcar system from downtown into Riverside. With Oak Street serving as a major streetcar route, by 1912 the system shuttled over 13.8 million passengers annually throughout the city. Expanding to as much as 60 miles of track, Florida’s largest streetcar system ceased operations for good in 1936 in favor of buses. Left in its place is a network of wide asphalt streets covering forgotten wooden railroad ties that still lay beneath. After 84 years, a City of Jacksonville roadway project could transform a forgotten streetcar route into a bicycle friendly corridor connecting Riverside’s most popular mixed used commercial districts.

A map of Jacksonville’s former streetcar network. Courtesy of Robert Mann.

In summer 2020, the City of Jacksonville will resurface Oak Street between Margaret Street in Five Points to Park and King’s King Street. As a part of the project, the city has proposed the addition of 6-foot bicycle lanes on both sides of the street, triggering a potential on-street parking change in select areas along the corridor. Ultimately, the project would become part of an extensive and connected network of designated bicycle facilities and routes tying Riverside and surrounding neighborhoods with an active mode of transportation.

Other related projects with funding already committed include road diets for Edgewood Avenue in Murray Hill and Park Street through Brooklyn. Additionally, the Oak Street bike lane would connect with one on Riverside Avenue running through part of Riverside into Brooklyn.

Virtual public meeting

Planned designated bicycle corridors through the Riverside area. Courtesy of the City of Jacksonville.

On Thursday, April 30, Riverside Avondale Preservation will host a virtual information meeting on the project. The purpose of the meeting will be to provide stakeholders an opportunity to learn more about the project and provide additional comments that could further shape the final design.

A map of the proposed resurfacing project corridor. Courtesy of the City of Jacksonville.

Virtual meeting details

When: Thursday, April 30, 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Where: Meeting via Zoom: Download the app at Zoom.us

Meeting ID: 939 0968 0574

Password: 060951

If you are unable to attend but would like to comment or have questions please contact: Karissa Moffett, kmoffett@coj.net.

Looking north on Oak Street in Five Points (Mike Field)

Article by Mike Field. Contact Mike at mfield@moderncities.com.