To Councilman Randy DeFoor: I own and live along Beverly Avenue in the Fairfax neighborhood. As a constituent of District 14 under your care, I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with your comments (reported in the Times-Union on April 20) regarding the redirection of traffic entering the Starbucks drive-thru of the ‘US 17 at Beverly Ave.
The inconvenience of a few impatient morning rush hour drivers shouldn’t outweigh the residents and families who live, work and play along Beverly Avenue. Fairfax is a niche, hidden neighborhood of homes dating back to the 1900s. My own home was built in the early 1920s.
This street was not intended to handle car traffic to serve the needs of a company that made nearly $30 billion in revenue last year. The City of Jacksonville, City Council, and Zoning and Superposition Department should bear the consequences of approving the current inept design. No thought was given to the impact on traffic or the safety of drivers and pedestrians, let alone the residents of Fairfax.
The corridors of Beverly Avenue, Fair Street and Irvington Avenue already serve as a thoroughfare for Starbucks customers and Roosevelt Square Shopping Center customers. Everyday I see drivers crossing the stop sign at the intersection of Fair and Beverly, as they enjoy their venti Frappuccino drinks, narrowly avoiding traffic accidents, pedestrians and cyclists who have the priority.
It would only get worse if driving traffic were redirected onto Beverly Avenue.
The FDOT study referenced by you in the article should not be a contributing factor. Historically, the DOT has a proven track record of restoring the automobile, instead of the pedestrian or resident, which has dissected, diminished, and destroyed once bustling, bustling neighborhoods rich in history. For example, two of our historic neighborhoods, Springfield and Murray Hill, which were once easily walkable with plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment, have been warped to allow as many automobiles to move as quickly as possible through what was once pedestrian areas.
After decades of outcry (as well as the shedding of blood, sweat and tears from neighbors and residents), these vibrant hallways are finally returning to their former properly sized nature. Allowing drive-thru to be rerouted to an early 1900s neighborhood would be a step backwards from the current progressive ideology of urban planning that emphasizes walking and pedestrian use. The recommendation offered by you and FDOT is the product of the inferior philosophy used during the sprawl boom seen from the 1960s to the 2000s.
While Fairfax may not have million-plus blocks of homes in its adjoining neighborhoods of Avondale and Ortega, it is not without its own charm and history, which must be preserved and not degraded. It’s an eclectic neighborhood made up of hard-working blue-collar workers, civil servants, lawyers, teachers, engineers, and white-collar workers. The roads that make up this neighborhood are made for walking, cycling, chatting with neighbors, while allowing children to frolic, laugh and play.
I urge you to withdraw your recommendation and allow us to preserve the “neighbourhood” aspect of our community – not become a wrap-around drive-thru line.
Cory Donoher, concerned voter and proud resident of Fairfax.