Avoid Downtown? Avoid the hype instead

In the wake of the Mathews Bridge ship collision and resulting closure, some of the initial coverage of the event has raised unsubstantiated travel concerns. One article even stated, “Officials recommend avoiding the downtown area if possible in the weeks ahead.”

Avoid Downtown? Hang on a minute.

Main Street Bridge

Avoid the more than 300 events happening Downtown in October – including tomorrow night’s Oktoberfest @ Art Walk (shameless plug!)?

Avoid Downtown’s premier dining, nightlife and shopping locales?

Downtown is open for business. And, with four functioning bridges spanning the St. Johns River in Downtown proper, it’s still plenty accessible and oh-so-worth the trip.

Instead, avoid the frustration by using the following JSO-recommended detours and allowing for a few extra minutes on the road:

  • Eastbound primary detour route is to the Hart Bridge via the Union Street Expressway to the Sports Complex exit.
  • Westbound primary detour route is to the Hart Bridge via Cesery Boulevard to Atlantic Boulevard – motorists should be aware of possible additional delays due to heavy construction.
  • Detours for Arlington, Ft. Caroline and Regency areas: I-95 North to Zoo Parkway to the Dames Point Bridge.
  • Detours for Southside area: I-95 South to Emerson Street or University Boulevard exits.

Or how about avoiding rush-hour traffic altogether?  Stay Downtown for happy hour after work at one of two dozen bars. Go local and grab dinner Downtown. Unwind with a stroll on the beautiful Riverwalk, maybe even walk the bridges. The list goes on.

Suggesting residents avoid Downtown is damaging to Downtown businesses, organizations and revitalization efforts. Help fight the hype by supporting Downtown businesses and events. Sign up for our Downtown Information and Safety Alert e-newsletter for up-to-date information on the Mathews Bridge closure and suggested detour routes.

While the Mathews Bridge is closed until repairs are made, we hope to see you Downtown soon via the Main Street Bridge. Or the Acosta Bridge. Or the Hart Bridge. Or the Fuller Warren Bridge.