Downtown Ambassadors: Keeping Streets Safe and Well Lit

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Credit: @mattbluejayphotography

The Riverwalk will be a bit brighter this Fourth of July, and it’s not just thanks to the fireworks.

If you ask people Downtown what the Downtown Ambassadors do to make Downtown better and safer, there will be a variety of responses. They walk you to your car, stop nuisance activity, pick up litter, give directions and just generally keep an eye on things.

Did you know they also conduct monthly surveys of street lights in the Downtown Improvement District so outages can be reported and fixed to make Downtown safer at night?

Each month, DVI’s Downtown Ambassadors stay on the job until 10 p.m. to identify streetlights that aren’t working properly. Fanning out over the Northbank and Southbank, Ambassadors record the identification number of out lights and the exact location if there is no identification number. DVI’s Director of District Services, Jennifer Hewett-Apperson then uses these surveys to report outages to the appropriate agency and stays in contact to ensure prompt repair.

Since streetlights in Downtown Jacksonville are managed by three different agencies, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Lights on most roadways are maintained by JEA, while lights on the bridges are maintained by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).  Lighting along the Riverwalk is maintained by the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

This month, we’ve coordinated with the Parks Department who are working diligently to repair nearly a dozen broken lights along the Northbank Riverwalk–from the Acosta Bridge to The Plaza Condominiums–in time for Downtown’s Fourth of July festivities.

Part of our job at DVI is to understand the nuances of who does what and make sure that regardless of “who’s on first” the issues get resolved. Downtown Ambassadors are capable of resolving numerous issues on public property, including graffiti, human/pet waste, litter, odors, spills, tree falls and weeds. To report a cleanliness or graffiti issue Downtown, you can submit a service request here.

If you’ve every wondered who to call for a sidewalk hazard or broken parking meter, we have a handy list to point you in the right direction, too. And, you can always report a broken streetlight or any other infrastructure concern via a Care Complaint with the City of Jacksonville.

There are a lot of folks involved in keeping Downtown clean and safe on a daily basis, and with everyone’s attention to the small things, we can really make Downtown shine.