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Old 02-08-2010, 10:09 AM
 
306 posts, read 1,574,838 times
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Just wondering if anyone here has relocated from Charlotte & how you view the differences between the two cities, your impressions. I relocated to Charlotte 2 years ago from Western NY State & now considering a move to JAX. Would love to be closer to bodies of water & the beaches, also would appreciate a lower cost of living. CLT is actually higher cost to me than Buffalo NY where I relocated from. Plus I miss the combo of easy, inexpensive access to waterfront, bodies of water in Buffalo-- the river, the lakes, waterfront parks, etc.-- CLT doesn't have that at all!

Also, my impression of Charlotte so far is that it's obessed with being "upscale", kinda snobbish & not welcoming to newcomers, would appreciate a more laid-back, easygoing vibe (but still within a city, I'm not into suburban or rural living.)

BTW, employment is not an issue for me, also not concerned about the school systems since have no kids, so not seeking comparisons about these things. More looking for comparisons about the vibe in JAX, quality of life, etc. Wondering about shopping in JAX (but don't care about "upscale" expensive stores, Charlotte is oversaturated with those!) and opportunities for recreational activities, particularly for biking and playing tennis (the tennis scene & opportunities for playing tennis actually very strong in Charlotte, but not so much for biking.)

Also, if there are any transplanted Buffalonians here, maybe you could give me your impressions of Buffalo NY vs. Jacksonville-- both cities seem to have issues about downtown development & how to enhance the waterfront area downtown-- but might start another thread for that!

Any responses would be appreciated!
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
3,530 posts, read 7,517,473 times
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Jax is mostly suburbs, unfortunately.

Riverside, Avondale, San Marco, & Springfield are my favorite areas of town.

They all surrond Downtown and are generally considered the most walkable/bikeable in the city.

They're also all historic districts (San marco is only semi-historic) with unique architecture, cafes, restuarants, botiques, and shops. These areas are also going to be the center for all of the Arts, city events, concerts, sporting events, museums, etc. Fortunatley, they are also very close to the River and have many, many nice parks.

These neighborhoods are also probably the most progressive & diverse in the city (more so Riverside & Springfield than Avondale & San Marco), with the Beaches area thorwn in as well. And, not surprisingly, they are very popular with young adults and young professionals.

You won't find very many box stores, chain stores, or cookie-cutter houses however, if that's what you're into.

2 things you specifically asked about: There are lots of tennis courts and some decent biking trails.

For more information of these areas, here are 2 recent threads:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/jacksonville/880176-family-looking-urban-living-jacksonville.html

&

http://www.city-data.com/forum/jacks...ch-living.html


I know a lot about these areas, far more than i'm able to post, so feel free to ask or PM me if you'd like.
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:01 PM
 
306 posts, read 1,574,838 times
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Quote:
Riverside, Avondale, San Marco, & Springfield are my favorite areas of town.

They all surrond Downtown and are generally considered the most walkable/bikeable in the city.

They're also all historic districts (San marco is only semi-historic) with unique architecture, cafes, restuarants, botiques, and shops. These areas are also going to be the center for all of the Arts, city events, concerts, sporting events, museums, etc. Fortunatley, they are also very close to the River and have many, many nice parks.

These neighborhoods are also probably the most progressive & diverse in the city (more so Riverside & Springfield than Avondale & San Marco), with the Beaches area thorwn in as well. And, not surprisingly, they are very popular with young adults and young professionals.

You won't find very many box stores, chain stores, or cookie-cutter houses however, if that's what you're into.
Thanks, Fsu813, responding-- I've been getting discouraged at the lack of responses to all my postings here so far! (Was it something I said??)

All your info has been very valuable and it's great to see an Urban Booster here in the land of Suburbs! The Riverside or San Marco areas would probably be best for me if I relocate to JAX (I'll be renting.) The fact that Riverside has nice parks, great river views, walkable/bikeable neighborhoods & plenty of basic-needs shopping along with being one of "the most progressive & diverse" areas in the city sounds great to me. And I've always been a City Person, not into rural areas, the burbs or any "cookie-cutter" communities. No interest in cookie-cutter houses at all, just LOVE the photos I've seen of the unique historic houses/buildings in Riverside. However, San Marco seems a little more central in location as far as getting to different parts of the city (and closer to the beach areas.)

I might PM you but for now, maybe you could respond to a few more questions:

-- Since I love biking & often use it as my main form of transportation (I HATE driving!), is it workable and safe to bike-ride from the Riverside area over to San Marco or to further south of San Marco (Mandarin? Southside?) & vice-versa? In other words, are there either sidewalks or bike paths or safe roads to bike on from one area to the other? Or is it crazy heavy traffic with nowhere for a bike to go? (like in most of Charlotte NC!)

-- Is it possible to use public transit/buses to go from Riverside or San Marco to the beaches? (I don't mind switching buses as long as the whole trip doesn't take 3 or 4 hours to go the 30miles or less!)
-- How about using buses to get from Riverside or San Marco occasionally to get to a Mall or to discount stores such as Target? (not a constant thing for me, just once in a while when I need to make certain purchases, mostly I like to go to local, neighborhood, independently-owned stores/restaurants.)

Yes, I've tried to get this bus info thru the JTA transit website but it's been difficult to figure out, maybe someone here can help with this?
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
7,392 posts, read 8,098,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie09 View Post
Thanks, Fsu813, responding-- I've been getting discouraged at the lack of responses to all my postings here so far! (Was it something I said??)
whoops, sorry. This board is pretty active but I guess some questions slip through the cracks. I personally read your other posts but I usually don't respond to everything and let others handle it like they usually do. As you say, I think Riverside/Avondale is your best bet. Maybe you could consider downtown too, but the biking and retail opps won't be quite as prevalent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie09 View Post

All your info has been very valuable and it's great to see an Urban Booster here in the land of Suburbs! The Riverside or San Marco areas would probably be best for me if I relocate to JAX (I'll be renting.) The fact that Riverside has nice parks, great river views, walkable/bikeable neighborhoods & plenty of basic-needs shopping along with being one of "the most progressive & diverse" areas in the city sounds great to me. And I've always been a City Person, not into rural areas, the burbs or any "cookie-cutter" communities. No interest in cookie-cutter houses at all, just LOVE the photos I've seen of the unique historic houses/buildings in Riverside. However, San Marco seems a little more central in location as far as getting to different parts of the city (and closer to the beach areas.)

I might PM you but for now, maybe you could respond to a few more questions:

-- Since I love biking & often use it as my main form of transportation (I HATE driving!), is it workable and safe to bike-ride from the Riverside area over to San Marco or to further south of San Marco (Mandarin? Southside?) & vice-versa? In other words, are there either sidewalks or bike paths or safe roads to bike on from one area to the other? Or is it crazy heavy traffic with nowhere for a bike to go? (like in most of Charlotte NC!)
I'll let someone else answer this in detail. I'm not really sure about an easy way to get across by bike, but I'm sure that it's possible...just far from ideal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie09 View Post

-- Is it possible to use public transit/buses to go from Riverside or San Marco to the beaches? (I don't mind switching buses as long as the whole trip doesn't take 3 or 4 hours to go the 30miles or less!)
Yes, but it might take you 3 or 4 hours if you're unlucky. As much as I bash the buses in Jax, they're not nonexistent. Just unreliable for commuting to work and altogether inefficient. But if you have time on your hands and won't get easily frustrated, you can give it a shot. You'll probably need to take a bus/trolley downtown and then transfer for a bus to the beach. Probably would take under two hours...unless the bus never comes, or one of those other horror stories that i hear too frequently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie09 View Post
-- How about using buses to get from Riverside or San Marco occasionally to get to a Mall or to discount stores such as Target? (not a constant thing for me, just once in a while when I need to make certain purchases, mostly I like to go to local, neighborhood, independently-owned stores/restaurants.)

Yes, I've tried to get this bus info thru the JTA transit website but it's been difficult to figure out, maybe someone here can help with this?
Like I said above, you should be able to do it by transferring to downtown. If you lived downtown and could eliminate the transfer, that would probably make it much more convenient and doable. Mass transit in Jax is awful, but it can be used to get around. Thousands use it daily...
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Old 02-08-2010, 01:55 PM
 
306 posts, read 1,574,838 times
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Thanks, ProjectMaximus for your reply. I know the Jacksonville board is not quite as active as the Charlotte NC forum (think that's the MOST active of all the city forums due to so many relocations there!) but I've been wondering about the lack of responses to my postings.

Another question: is it possible to walk or ride a bike over the Fuller Warren Bridge or the Acosta Bridge? That would make the walking/biking trip a lot shorter if, let's say I wanted to bike from Riverside to the Southside Tennis Center (on Hendricks St in San Marco.) Looking into living in Riverside but not crazy about choices for public tennis courts there (the Boone Center has mostly clay courts, I prefer hard courts.)

If cannot bike over the Fuller Warren Bridge, is it workable/safe to bike from Riverside to San Marco thru Downtown?? (this would be a longer route than using the bridge.)
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
392 posts, read 1,387,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie09 View Post
Thanks, ProjectMaximus for your reply. I know the Jacksonville board is not quite as active as the Charlotte NC forum (think that's the MOST active of all the city forums due to so many relocations there!) but I've been wondering about the lack of responses to my postings.

Another question: is it possible to walk or ride a bike over the Fuller Warren Bridge or the Acosta Bridge? That would make the walking/biking trip a lot shorter if, let's say I wanted to bike from Riverside to the Southside Tennis Center (on Hendricks St in San Marco.) Looking into living in Riverside but not crazy about choices for public tennis courts there (the Boone Center has mostly clay courts, I prefer hard courts.)

If cannot bike over the Fuller Warren Bridge, is it workable/safe to bike from Riverside to San Marco thru Downtown?? (this would be a longer route than using the bridge.)
The Fuller Warren Bridge carries I95, and no bikes or pedestrians are allowed. It is simply too dangerous.

The Acosta is ideal for bikes and pedestrians. It even has a concrete wall to separate you from the traffic.

As far as access to big box stores go, many have bus stops nearby. However, the big box stores tend to be located in the outer suburbs, which means a long ride. Some of the malls, like The Avenues or Town Center, may have express bus lines serving them, but I am not certain of that.
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Old 02-08-2010, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
3,530 posts, read 7,517,473 times
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The Riverside or San Marco areas would probably be best for me if I relocate to JAX (I'll be renting.)

Riverside & San Marco have TONS of apartments. Finding one won't be a problem.

Not sure if you saw these yet, but these 2 are the best realty companies for these areas:
Atkinson Realty Group, Inc.
TraditionsJax.com

Or Craigs List.

However, San Marco seems a little more central in location as far as getting to different parts of the city (and closer to the beach areas.)

San Marco & Riverside are literally just acorss the River from one another.
Take about 60 seconds to cross the bridge to get into eachothers neighborhood. So one isn't really more central located than another.

is it workable and safe to bike-ride from the Riverside area over to San Marco or to further south of San Marco (Mandarin? Southside?) & vice-versa?

Yes. Just cross the bridge to get from Riverside to San Macro. (FYI- Avondale and Riverside are basically the same neighborhood, so this all goes for Avindale too.) Mandarin & Southside are NOT walking/biking friendly in the least. Mandarin is more like sleepy suburbs, not a lot of sidewalks and car dependant. Southside is huge apartment complexes and subdivions located off of big expressways - not walking/biking friendly in the least.

In other words, are there either sidewalks or bike paths or safe roads to bike on from one area to the other? Or is it crazy heavy traffic with nowhere for a bike to go? (like in most of Charlotte NC!)

Hypothetically you could it, but it's not advised. Outside of these neighborhoods I mentioned and the Beaches, not much Jax is exceptionally walking/biking friendly.

Is it possible to use public transit/buses to go from Riverside or San Marco to the beaches? (I don't mind switching buses as long as the whole trip doesn't take 3 or 4 hours to go the 30miles or less!

Yes, but it will take a while. The Beaches are about 16 miles away from Downtown (and all it's surronding neighborhoods) and it would take you at least an hour to get there. Perhaps more. Multiple stops. By car it takes 25-30 minutes. However, in the Summer the city has a Beaches bus that's none stop to the Ocean. You meet at a location near the city and just ride it out there (and back).

How about using buses to get from Riverside or San Marco occasionally to get to a Mall or to discount stores such as Target?

Not as big of deal, as there are Targets, Wal-Marts, etc not too far away from these neighborhoods. 10-20 minutes by car (depending), probably 30 minutes or so by bus.

Yes, I've tried to get this bus info thru the JTA transit website but it's been difficult to figure out, maybe someone here can help with this?

JTA sucks. Plain and simple. Mass transit in Jax sucks. There are pockets of decent service, but over they stink. The most helpful feature of JTA's website is the "map your trip" or "plan your trip" feature. You basically tyoe in where you're going and it tells you which buses to take and how long it will take to get there, estimated.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Northern Colorado
7,517 posts, read 17,672,688 times
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We have been living here for a year and everything you're being told in your Thread is true! From what we have seen, Jax is NOT a bus-friendly city/area, sorry. We have seen only a few bicyclist on any streets here, including kids. If you want water close, downtown is right next to the St. John's River, which is a pretty good size/nice river that we even boat on. If you want the ocean close, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach are there.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:36 PM
 
402 posts, read 967,021 times
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Jacksonville is not a very bike friendly city, quite the oppisite but I think they realize it and are now putting bike lanes in most new roads.
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:53 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
7,392 posts, read 8,098,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parks71 View Post
Jacksonville is not a very bike friendly city, quite the oppisite but I think they realize it and are now putting bike lanes in most new roads.
I think it's a requirement now on all new roads. Although there are still ways to get around this...
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