Proposed changes to downtown Jacksonville could mean smarter commute for drivers, pedestrians

Big changes planned along bay street

The city of Jacksonville’s downtown area is expected to see many changes to the way people commute downtown.

Organizers from the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization are using technology as one of the main sources to drive that change.

North Florida TPO plans to convert Bay Street from a one-way to a two-way street.

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Commuters like Jason Minor who work in the area are hoping that change will minimize some of the traffic issues.

“Coming out here on lunch, you always see people taking the wrong way down a one-way and whatnot” Minor said.

That’s why the North Florida TPO is trying to make Jacksonville a smart city by implementing smart sensors, pedestrian sensors and smart lighting, among many others.

“Yeah there’s definitely some changes that can be made. It's kind of awkward when you go down Bay Street. At one point, it’s a two-way, but then all of a sudden, it’s a one-way. A lot of people get confused with that,” Minor said.

Action News Jax told viewers last year when testing for autonomous shuttles began downtown. Those shuttles are a new feature a lot of people, like Brandon Williams, are surprisingly looking forward to.

“That’s good technology that they’re trying to bring into the city. I think it will be worth it. Give it a shot, see what happens,” Williams said.

That’s just a portion of the smart changes proposed that will ultimately bring jobs and make the commutes safer and more entertaining for people in the area.

“It will probably bring more tourists here and bring more life to the city. That will be good,” Williams said.

Minor agrees.

“I don’t look forward to the construction but yes the end result will be good,” Minor said.

At last check, there was no definite timeline concerning when these changes will start, how long it will take and when people can expect to see some of the new technology in downtown.