In a few years, it will be easier than ever to access the Riverside Arts Market.
The Florida Department of Transportation’s two biggest Jacksonville projects – the Overland Bridge rebuild and the I-95/JTB interchange – are set to (finally) be completed this summer.
At that point, the focus will shift to the next big task: a project aimed at reconfiguring the I-10/I-95 interchange, including improvements to the Fuller Warren Bridge.
One of the most interesting aspects of this project is the planned construction of a $20 million pedestrian pathway spanning the length of the Fuller Warren Bridge. The pathway would lead pedestrians coming from the San Marco end of the bridge straight toward the large parking lot underneath the Riverside end of the bridge – best known as the home of Riverside Arts Market.
The Riverside Arts Market is Jacksonville’s largest weekly gathering of farmers, artists, and other vendors. The market regularly draws thousands of residents each Saturday.
The pedestrian pathway will be 12 feet wide, and will be separated from regular traffic by protective barriers. It will accommodate both walking and bicycle traffic.
This investment, as part of a larger bridge and interchange improvement project, gives RAM even more room to grow. The pedestrian pathway will make it easier than ever for San Marco residents to come over the bridge each Saturday.
It also provides a valuable pedestrian link between San Marco and Riverside, the city’s two most walkable (and bikeable) neighborhoods.
Currently, pedestrians and bikers generally have to cross the Acosta Bridge to travel between the two neighborhoods. This is particularly problematic for the bikers, as this bridge lacks a dedicated bicycle lane at its on- and off-ramps – making it particularly dangerous.
In a city where pedestrians are at great risk, this pathway may even save lives.
The pathway was not in the project’s original plans, proposed a few years ago, but a citizen campaign brought about expansions.
The project also includes a new parking lot to be built across the street from the RAM lot, creating space for those who drive to the market.
The bridge and interchange project, which in total is valued at $125-130 million, will begin construction this summer with an expected completion date of summer 2020.