Monday, March 17, 2008

Beach & Hodges

We went into Jacksonville today for some errands. It was rather overcast out, but it thankfully never rained. The trip reminded me of how happy Tim & I are to be living in our current location!

Having lived on one side of Jacksonville & worked on the other side for years, this picture is all too familiar to me... notice the light is green & no one is moving? The cars behind the FedEx truck blocked the intersection & we ended up having to wait for the light to change FOUR times before we actually got through it. It was about that time I noted how rapidly my blood pressure was increasing. When we finally did get to go... it was complete pandemonium!! First we had to dodge a lone mini-van strattling the intersection (why put yourself in the middle of the intersection when traffic is not moving ahead?). Then a work truck (trying to turn around in the median) was severely sticking out into oncoming traffic. We somehow managed to maneuver through the madness, but it made me realize how desensitized I was during college. I came to believe that this traffic was normal. My mom reminded me that I dealt with it by making phone calls (when I moved to a school closer to home I actually heard from several people that they never got 'afternoon' calls from me anymore... i.e. "I'm stuck in traffic, can you talk?"). Apparently my cell phone was my coping skill during those days...

Above is the intersection of Beach & Hodges. When I came to school this intersection had only two gas stations & the other side was all trees. Just after graduation, rumors spread of a huge shopping development being started, and then the construction started. According to the Florida Department of Transportation prepping for these shopping centers included "adding two lanes to provide a six-lane highway from the FCCJ entrance to Hodges Blvd (3 miles). The project began on March 10, 2005 & should finish in 1,134 days at the total cost of $25,277,057.58." As noted above... this work is badly needed to repair roads & alleviate traffic, but does it really take THREE YEARS to add two lanes to three miles of road? Grrr... the bureaucracy!

In the past month, they've been able to throw up a Walmart SuperCenter on one corner of this intersection & a Super Target on the other (complete with all the shops & restaurants that go along with each). If they could get ALL those stores up so quickly... why'd the roads take so long?

I'm posting this because I feel like FDOT should know that someone is watching them (after all, these are the people who've been working on I-95 here for over 10 years...). Maybe I don't fully understand road making & it really does take that long, but I'm thinking it's time for a Stephen Covey follower to take over FDOT!!

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