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Traffic and Transportation

For a place that calls itself the “Logistics Capital,” you’d think we might be better at moving things from place to place. With an almost useless monorail system that could be expanded to cover more areas of town, the untapped possibilities are waiting to be utilized.

If you look at most other major cities in the U.S. that are currently attracting new residents, jobs and tourism, a viable public transportation system is a key factor. Finding a solution to this problem would give people the option to choose not to drive (which if you’ve ever tried to do in the 904, you’ll soon realize is not very practical), and in turn, reduce the amount of traffic on the road. Instead, we seem to be stuck funding buses that no one wants to use, and building more ugly highways that no one wants to see. The solution to this problem is no simple feat, with more people moving to the area and neighborhoods expanding at a rapid rate. Expansion plans for the Skyway are unclear, but a glimmer of hope in “Jacksonville’s joke for a generation” indicates that expansion could soon be coming to Brooklyn.

Wake Up

Lack of Interest in Local Politics

Voter apathy is a much more popular mindset for many people than participating in our democratic system. Saying things like, “I don’t care about politics because my vote doesn’t matter” might’ve been cool when you were a teenage dirtbag in college who drank Starbucks everyday and hated everything that had to deal with, “the man.” In reality, if you actually care about “sticking it to the man,” then your best solution is to get off your lazy ass, get educated about the people running for office and go vote in elections — especially local ones where your vote most certainly does matter.

Organizations like the Jax Young Voters Coalition are a great place for people to start or get involved with finding out how to be an active member of society … instead of grumbling about how politics are stupid and telling everyone on Facebook to “WAKE UP SHEEPLE.”

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No Iconic Landmark

The Bold City has been in the news in recent years for an improving job market in the financial and logistics industries and for its growing sports teams. But what does someone who isn’t from the 904 think of when they hear “Jacksonville?” Let’s hope they know more than the fact that we’re getting an Ikea (yay).

Perhaps they know our city was named after Andrew Jackson, not exactly something to brag about. Maybe they think of beaches simply because it’s Florida or, if we’re lucky, they’ll know what the downtown skyline looks like. But what’s the most iconic landmark in Jacksonville? I’m not sure we have one, and not having an iconic landmark is a hindrance to tourism. Where’s the awesome aquarium concept everyone loved so much? Where is the riverfront development?

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St. Johns River Pollution

The St. John’s River system’s ecological health and integrity is being continually threatened, despite the hard work of the St. Johns Riverkeeper. The pesticides and herbicides that make it into waterways from many sources are deteriorating the water quality and health of the aquatic wildlife. These pollutants make their way into the food chain when found in the sediment at the bottom of the river, making some fish unsafe to eat. To make things even worse, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is attempting to increase the allowable limits of numerous toxic compounds that are discharged into our state’s waterways — favorable to industry and agriculture, but not to our health or the environment.

How can you help? Create a river-friendly yard. Excessive nutrients from fertilizers can cause algal blooms that are harmful to the aquatic vegetation, wildlife and even human health. Conserve water and energy at home. Report a problem. If you notice dirt running off a construction site into a creek, or someone illegally dumping trash into a body of water or storm drain, call the Riverkeeper at 904-256-7591. There’s no denying the pollution problem threatening our area. Be a part of the change that improves the environment’s health for our future.

By Zach Sweat | Editor-in-Chief and Haleigh Dunning | Staff Writer