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Proposed Jax Beach walking trail could run through your front yard, city designs show

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — People living in Jax Beach could soon have a new way of getting around, but some homeowners aren’t happy.

Robert Sherman is one of them, who used his life savings to buy his 15th Avenue home two years ago.

“This was supposed to be my forever home,” Sherman says, “I bought it for cash.”

The city is proposing a new network of trails, the Urban Trail Project, for people walking, running or biking through Jax Beach. Sherman just found out part of his yard could be a personal price tag for the new project.

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“The city is interfering with the quiet enjoyment of our homes,” says Sherman.

These are the five streets affected by the first phase of the project, which, if approved, the city says it would be built by next summer:

- 15th Avenue

- 4th Avenue

- 8th Avenue

- 9th Avenue

- Jacksonville Drive

The city’s designs put the 10-foot wide trail in the right-of-way area of some of the homes along these streets. The right-of-way is the area of the property your home sits on the city’s legally allowed to build on.

Sherman’s worried it could bring more strangers on his street.

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“Part of the reason I moved here was to get away from that. My neighbors have small children and I’m sure they wouldn’t want random people walking through the road,” Sherman says.

But city leaders say, right now, there aren’t enough options for walkers, bikers and families to get around without a car.

“We have a lot of wonderful amenities, but they’re not necessarily easy and safe to get to,” says Jacksonville Beach Mayor Chris Hoffman.

Mayor Hoffman says the trails are also meant to prioritize pedestrian safety. The Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, in a recent study, ranks Florida’s pedestrian death rate as the third highest in the country.

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But with plans to partially build the trails through neighborhoods, the city says safety is still a concern.

“[The trails] are definitely not going to replace bike riders and pedestrians being aware of their surroundings,” Hoffman says.

The city’s holding a public meeting next Wednesday for neighbors to give feedback on the Urban Trail Project. You have to RSVP to attend the meeting, which you can do by clicking the link here.

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