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Light poles in sidewalk trigger fuss between Jacksonville council, JEA

Posted: January 29, 2014 - 6:16pm

When JEA moved streetlights on Stockton Street in North Riverside, crews shifted them only a few feet.

But they started a string of protests because they moved them into the sidewalk.

“I don’t see why they moved it out there in the first place. … That’s stupid,” said Vasco Williams, who leaned on a cane Wednesday as he paused near one light to talk to a reporter.

The complaints had spread by then to City Hall, too.

Tuesday night, Jacksonville’s City Council unanimously asked the city-owned utility to relocate about a dozen lights that crews had planted in walkways between Edison Avenue and McCoys Creek Boulevard.

The poles should have gone in the grass nearby, said Councilman Warren Jones, who represents the area and sponsored the emergency resolution that also asks JEA to talk to council members before changing infrastructure in their districts.

Jones said JEA told him the old poles crews being replaced — they haven’t come down yet — were too close to the roadway to meet state safety rules. Jones told members the road doesn’t get state funding anyway, so he didn’t understand why that was reason enough to plant the poles in concrete in the sidewalk.

“We are all frustrated by this action,” Councilwoman Lori Boyer said, adding that the change could backfire if it makes the sidewalks impassable for people with disabilities.

“We, as a city, are under a judicial order about our handicap accessibility. … I certainly don’t want to now have to widen the sidewalk to go around the pole that they chose to put in the sidewalk.”

A JEA spokeswoman, Gerri Boyce, said the poles were replaced to make the electric system in that area more reliable. She said the utility followed the Americans with Disabilities Act and state guidelines for locating poles, but hopes it can work out a solution to the complaints.

JEA “continues to meet with council member Jones and is currently working on alternatives, including movement of the poles, to address neighborhood and council … input,” Boyce said.

Steve Patterson: (904) 359-4263

Comments (1)

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Mockingjay
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Mockingjay 01/29/14 - 07:42 pm
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I wish someone would move the

I wish someone would move the green box at the end of Caron Rd at Old St Augustine road traffic light.

A driver has to pull into the crosswalk to look for oncoming traffic.

Many accidents there too to prove it

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