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Route Suggestions from Paltaka to Jacksonville?

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Route Suggestions from Paltaka to Jacksonville?

Old 12-19-19, 08:50 AM
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jpescatore
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Route Suggestions from Paltaka to Jacksonville?

My wife and I will be driving down to Venice FL in mid-January to visit friends. I'm planning on biking from Venice to Jacksonville and then taking Amtrak back to Washington DC while my wife stays in FL.

The last day will be from a motel in Palatka to the JAX Amtrak Station. Just using Google maps biking for directions brings up a 55 mile route that is mostly Rt. 17N on the west side of St. John's River, which doesn't look too bad from the satellite view.

RideWithGPS and Strava both suggest a longer route on the east side of the river, closer to 80 miles. I'm not a big fan of the routes Google maps usually picks for biking but that is a significant difference.

Anyone in the Jacksonville/Gainesville/Palatka have an opinion on biking on Rt. 17N in that area?

I'll be on a fairly lightly loaded bike, will generally add a few miles to avoid constant 55mph+ traffic whizzing by my left ear - but on the last day of a trip, a 30% shorter route is kinda tempting.

Thanks, John P
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Old 12-19-19, 06:11 PM
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Baldy1953
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You are going to run into fairly heavy traffic on the east or west side of the river. The east side ( up US 17) has you going through 2 smaller towns ( Green Cove Springs and Orange Park) along with riding through some fairly heavily traveled areas in Jax. No easy way to avoid any of this on 17. Orange Park is a mess and no easy way to get around it . You would also have to pass a naval station and the traffic can be heavy at quitting time ( 3-5).

I would think that on the East side, you would ride up SR 13. That is a 2 lane road for most of the ride north. It is also a heavily traveled road. I do not think there are bike lanes on it. There might be sidewalks though to travel on. When you get to Jax if you come up SR 13, you will have to cross the river and come through downtown to get to the Amtrak station. Busy roads there also. Not the most desirable part of town either.

If I was going to do this segment, I would travel straight up US 17 until I hit Edgewood Ave. Follow it to the corner of US1 and Edgewood and turn right . Amtrak is just down the road maybe 1/4 mile or so. Just be extremely careful as the drivers are crazy here in Jax.
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Old 12-20-19, 05:25 AM
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jpescatore
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Thanks! I think what you suggest is pretty much what Google maps shows for biking.
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Old 12-21-19, 07:33 PM
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Baldy1953
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I am not sure where google maps has you crossing the river. It would be either in Palatka going into east palatka and the hit SR 13 east of there. Or crossing the river at SR 16 just south of Green Cove Springs and then taking Sr 13 north. SR 13 is 2 lane for quite a while and no bike lanes in that area . Either way is going to have quite a bit of traffic. I would not want to ride through Orange park ( US 17 N) during rush hour. It gets pretty busy.
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Old 12-23-19, 05:51 AM
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jpescatore
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The Strava long route on the east side of the river crosses into JAX over the 1/90 Alsop/Main St. bridge, which I've been told has a walking/biking path over it.

If I turn off the Strava "Popularity" feature, it switches to the Acosta Bridge, still staying on the east side of the River.

The Google maps route on the west side doesn't cross the main river, but you have to go over the Ortega bridge over the Ortega River to get to Edgewood, vs just staying on 17 and going over the Roosevelt Blvd. bridge.
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Old 12-24-19, 09:39 AM
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Going over the Ortega bridge will net you quite a bit less traffic for the most part. You will go through some old residential area with some pretty nice homes right on the river.
if, you choose, the Main Street bridge,that will take you directly through downtown Jacksonville. I dislike driving, let alone riding a bike there. Gets pretty crazy unless you go well before or after rush hour. Not the best parts of town to ride a bike through either to get to the Amtrak station.

There is not really a good way to get there as the station sits on the North west side of downtown. I would tend to ride more on Edgewood Ave. than going through downtown.
Get close and take an Uber for the last 10 miles or so. Orange Park would be about as far North as I would care to ride. Or get to an area on the East side of the river called Mandarin ( SR 13 and I 295) and get an uber there.
If you are a really adventurous person, go for it. You will most likely make it without a problem. I am an overly cautious rider and the cars do not look out of you.
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