Local Life and Lore in Jacksonville

Learn some key terms and traditions in Jacksonville, and find out how to get around town like a local.
By: Jennifer Nelson
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KEY TERMS AND TRADITIONS

Jax 

What locals affectionately call their town. It is not the airport designation, as some believe -- that would be JIA. Other nicknames: First Coast, J-ville, River City, The Bold City. That last one stems from a 1960s promotional campaign calling Jacksonville "the bold new city of the south"; Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) still uses the slogan on its logo.

BJP

Stands for the Better Jacksonville Plan, a growth-management plan implemented by Jax Mayor John Delaney in 2001 and financed with a half-cent sales-tax increase. BJP is building lots of new roads and upgrading the old ones like J. Turner Boulevard; sections of Beach Boulevard, I-95, I-10, I-295, the Beach Blvd Bridge and the Dames Point Bridge. The result has been lots of highway construction projects that slow down traffic all over Jax and irk the locals.

The Smell

There’s no odor. Not anymore, anyway. Once upon a time a paper mill near downtown gave off a distinct stench, making Jax a smelly city. But that mill closed back in the '80s and the smell is no more.

GETTING AROUND

The Ditch

Salt lifers (locals who live at the beach) call the Intracoastal Waterway the Ditch, and often talk about not wanting to cross it to go into town. This means they’d rather not drive over the St. Johns River and into Jacksonville proper.

Dames Point Bridge

This monster bridge spanning the St. Johns River is the longest concrete cable-stayed bridge in the U.S. It’s six lanes wide and two miles long, and at its highest point resembles two sailboats rising above the water. Its official name is the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge, but don’t call it that. Locals have called it the Dames Point Bridge from the moment the bridge opened to traffic in 1989, a reference to the area of the city where the bridge is located.

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