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Poltergeist IV: They're Back! JTA and BRT

Like a bad rash, it just won't go away. The second round of public hearings for JTA's proposed downtown Bus Rapid Transit System was recently held and the environmental assessment results are of particular interest regarding BRT Downtown. Take a look at the information and make up your mind for yourself.

Published April 27, 2007 in Transit      22 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article



April 27, 2007, 08:36:46 AM
Downtown is screwed no matter what. I don't believe that the small amount of people that are against BRT will be able to turn JTA and the cities heads. I have written a letter to Mayor Peyton and the others listed, but we would need a huge outcry from people. I just don't see people living in Mandarin and Southside actually caring to email, call or mail anything for downtown. I wish we had smart people as our leaders. JTA sucks, I don't even know why we have bus' running through downtown. I have been on a few and everytime I have rode the bus I was the only on on there. Funny thing is, I was going to Orange Park, but still needed to weave through downtown??? Stupid leaders, Stupid JTA... group of monkeys I tell ya


April 27, 2007, 06:23:53 PM
I see 2 problems with the Beaver St. option.  1. FL DOT may not want that type of use on US 90.  2.  First Baptist Church would be impacted especially on Wed nites.


April 28, 2007, 12:41:55 AM
I concurr. Shut down the entire system, stop the waste!  >:(


April 28, 2007, 12:47:10 PM
The sad thing about this whole situation is the people who want this system least are the ones that will be effected most....
But just as hanjin stated, this is not an issue for people in the suburbs...
I fear they couldn't care less....
I hope I am wrong...
I live in Avondale, but I frequent Downtown and look forward to the time when I can spend much more time there.
I pass Willowbranch library to go to the Main Branch, I eat at restaurants there, go to Art Walk as much as possible and MOCAJ.
I believe a great city begins with it's downtown and Jacksonville could have a great downtown....
But having fume spewing buses on the main streets of development and eliminating street parking in these areas is stupid and irresponsible. I think it will have a VERY negative impact on Bay Street, especially at night when people can park along the street and frequent the bars that are trying to establish there...
I believe the city departments have no idea of each others direction. One claims to want an entertainment area, while the other wants to impede parking and make what I would consider a VERY unfriendly  pedestrian  experience...
If I am totally ignorant to this issue, please someone correct me.
Until then, how can this idea be either stopped or at least improved upon...


April 29, 2007, 01:15:38 AM
They are in use in Atlanta and will be here soon, since our SMOG levels will soon rival that of Atlanta at the rate we are going. Ethanol would be another good alternative, especially since the JTA has their own fuel at their depot.


April 30, 2007, 08:19:25 AM
While Beaver Street is not as ideal as State & Union, all of the major routes JTA is considering are DOT highways, including Forsyth and Adams Streets.  As far as First Baptist is concerned, that should be an afterthought, if the choice was betweeen negatively impacting the core of an urban neighborhood on an around the clock basis, as opposed to parking garage access for Wednesday night church service.


April 30, 2007, 03:16:08 PM
Thank you for your interest in the JTA Downtown Transit Enhancements project. You expressed some concerns regarding Adams Street as a bus only roadway. Adams Street is an alternative that we are investigating for east/west travel in the downtown from Lee Street to Liberty Street. However, we are proposing to convert it to two ways for this limit with 2 lanes in the westbound direction maintaining the parking on the north side of Adams Street and one lane in the eastbound direction which would eliminate parking during the off peak on the south side of the Street. During peak hours, one lane in each direction would be bus only lanes.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a relatively new mode of transit in the United States. However, there are many new BRT systems proposed in many parts of the country and supported by the Federal Transit Administration. You are correct there aren't many success stories of BRT in this country, yet. Most of the BRT success stories are outside the US.
One last note on the pollution from our buses you mention, we are moving our fleet to the newer technology vehicles that have low floors for easy boarding, low emissions, and run much quieter than older models. We will have one of our new buses at our Rapid Transit System/Transit Talk meetings next week. The locations are listed on our web site . We invite you to come and view the bus and provide your input to our project.
Thank you again for your interest and concern.
Suraya Z. Teeple, AICP
Transportation Planning Manager
Jacksonville Transportation Authority
P.O. Drawer "O"
100 N. Myrtle Ave.
Jacksonville, FL  32203
Phone: 904.598.8711
Fax:     904.598.8718
Cell:     904.334.1169


April 30, 2007, 04:30:50 PM
Just to clear some things up, in this lastest response from JTA.

1. Bus Rapid Transit is not a new concept  

The idea of express bus lanes have been around for years, with little success in benefitting urban retail in the United States.  If planners will admit that it's success has been limited in the US, then why even consider putting this thing down Adams Street, which is rapidly becoming downtown's premier retail / dining / loft oriented corridor?  If it's not broke, don't fix it.

2. New bus technology

Everybody already knows about the hybrid buses.  However, it will be decades before JTA gets rid of all the gas guzzlers currently running on our streets.  On the other hand, the downtown bus lane plan could be up and running within 3 years.  If the concept of "flexibility" remains a priority for JTA officials and BRT, this means regular city buses running the streets and clogging pedestrian's lungs with poison, will also be using Adams, Forsyth or Bay as a part of this transit way.  Once again, the negative examples are already out there.  Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, is referred to by locals as “Everyone’s favorite place to eat and inhale exhaust fumes".  Why do we have to bring this crap here, learn the hard way and waste millions in the process?  Lets be different and learn from other's mistakes for a change.

Also, another thing, you can put lipstick on a big, but at the end of the day, it's still a pig.  Apply the same concept to diesel-hybrid buses mixing in traffic with our regular fleet of exhause blowing monsters terrorizing the streets today.

Adams Street Transit Design

I would advise all to come out and see this thing for yourselves.  What you will have is an entire lane of parallel parking replaced by a eastbound bus only lane to the south and a westbound bus only lane to the north.  In the middle of that, you'll have one westbound lane of vehicular traffic.  That's not exactly an ideal pedestrian friendly setting.  Its a disaster waiting to happen, not only from a safety issue, but also for small businesses, who will have their accessibility limited by such a system.  What really stings about this response is it seems like some making the decisions on this thing are too stubborn to seriously consider the negatives, despite them not even being apart of the urban scene starting to sprout up in the heart of the core.

All in all, for what? To move buses swiftly through the heart of downtown at the expense of all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears of small businesses and downtown pioneers who have invested their savings into bringing back the core? >:(

Skot David Wilson

October 25, 2007, 04:54:21 AM
Not long after I came to Jacksonville they made 95 and ten 3/6 lane from 2/4....  Back then the limited DC powered Skyway was a bad joke, but ONLY because it was so limited in application. I simply didn't understand why they didn't run it straight down the center of 95 and 10 and make park-n-rides. Think of it... Back then a line could have gone to Southpoint, circled it with like five stops, a few with commuter parking, and zoom-zip, straight downtown... first to stops off University and Emerson, then the current line, across the bridge, and stops downtown. Same for I-10. With a start at Commonwealth & 295 for expanded commuter parking, and quick connects at 10 & lane, Cassat, McDuff, a Riverside branch tie in, then to the Convention Center terminal....
The Riverside branch could have run to Five Points then to St Vincents, with a bus route to Kent, and feeder lines and buses....
They were pure stupid and still are...
LTR is the best way to go

JTA  J-ust T-ugging A-ppendages


October 25, 2007, 08:52:34 AM

Why does your alternate sho busses running between the north and south banks?  The skyway already does that.  Why not just stop all busses at the outer nodes and let the skyway cover the core?


October 25, 2007, 09:18:08 AM
JTA's answer would be that no one wants to transfer.  If you want to go with that argument (its a bad one), then it would also negatively affect their plans for feeder bus routes into BRT, since one would still have to transfer.


October 25, 2007, 09:29:15 AM
So you were just trying to come up with a similar concept just with a better alignment?


October 25, 2007, 09:43:54 AM

Disregard the last reply.  I assume this is what your question was about?

In this case, this study's purpose was to find solutions to keep BRT out of the core.  At this particular time an alternative rail plan had not been fully thought out.  So, if BRT was to be built, instead of running it down Adams, Bay or Forsyth, buses would run down State & Union (AWAY from the core).  Access to the core would be provided by the skyway and downtown trolley system.

So we took the existing BRT route selections, kicked them out of the core and eliminated all stations except where they meet with the Skyway's terminal spots.  By doing this, you would feed all downtown transit riders into the Skyway and keep the buses out of the core.


October 25, 2007, 10:48:28 AM
But the yellow route still shows the busses crossing the river between the Transit Center and King's Avenue Station paralleling the skyway.  Is this route necessary?


October 25, 2007, 11:00:33 AM
Yes, its necessary if BRT buses are going to transport passengers from the Southside to the Northside.  However, it does not mean that these express buses have to stop in downtown or that this routes are dedicated busways.  Instead the stops connecting BRT to downtown would be the Skyway's Kings Avenue, Convention Center and FCCJ stations.  All these are end points for the skyway.  Making these locations miny transit centers into downtown will feed the skyway with a continuous flow of new riders.


October 25, 2007, 11:16:36 AM
Ok, I see what you're saying now.  It'll save a couple transfers for those passing through downtown.


October 25, 2007, 01:41:24 PM

Here we have the typical JTA coach...Did you know Trolley buses are more economical then even Hydrogen Fuel by a factor of 2+?

DOWNTOWN SEATTLE! just imagine, it's a fixed route, and thus enjoys an 18% higher ridership then diesel, and HEY JTA! This brand new baby is a Gillig, just like your new "almost BRT" buses...But this baby is silent, and doesn't pollute.

Oh You Naughty BRT propagandist... You were holding out on us with 1/2 truths...The FAMED BOSTON SILVER LINE is a TROLLEY BUS! The proof is in the photos... SHAME! This is NOTyour JTA BRT plan and YOU KNOW IT!

Meanwhile, in the rust belt, corn fields and re-birth of good old Dayton, Ohio, the abandonment plan has been scraped and the people DEMANDED the City add more TROLLEYS! Trolley buses that is, but before you repeat this in the next meeting, Dayton wants LRT too...Where are the plans for BRT??? Where indeed! 

Up the hill, over the bridge, over the mountain, down the hill, electrics do the job better in San Francisco! Wake up JTA... Just WAKE UP!

Here we see Jacksonville's own JTA, demonstrating the benefits of BRT in our City, no rail, no streetcars, no Skyway Expansion, and certainly NO TROLLEY buses or Heritage Streetcars... Why? Well, JTA know's best. Remember that good ol Jacksonville Song? "WHAT'S THAT SMELL?" Well folks, that's the smell of JTA burning your dollars to impress their bosses...

JTA? Time to pull your heads out on the BRT plan!
1. NO BRT TRUNK LINES save for the Beaches
2. NO BRT elevated or exclusive freeways
3. No BRT that doesn't tie into and FEED commuter rail
4. Revisit limited access BRT, using HOV and less costly systems.



October 25, 2007, 04:29:53 PM
I guess that would be cheaper than laying track.  Personally i don't care for the Trolly-Bus.  Its still a bus and would likely suffer from the same negative stigma.


October 25, 2007, 06:50:43 PM
Jason, the trolley bus concept should be in use, here, St. Augustine, the Beaches etc... It should be the connecting secondary lines and shuttle lines that go under wire.

Streetcars..............Trunk Urban and downtown distribution
Commuter LRT/Rail...Trunk Suburban to urban
Skyway..................Trunk Downtown distribution System
Trolley Bus..............Downtown and Secondary mainline feeders and shuttles
Diesel BRT in HOV.....Express Flyers and quality bus rapid connectors (Beaches + OTHERS)
Diesel/Hybrid Bus......Suburban feeder lines
Diesel Mini-Bus.........Community or Suburban local circuit
Water Transit...........Blanding-Downtown, Orange Park-Downtown connection.

Call it a matrix and a mix, something JTA just isn't doing or planning. If I were king!



October 26, 2007, 10:43:49 AM
So do those buses run on electric and diesel?  Can they transfer from no-wire to wire?


October 27, 2007, 12:13:43 PM
While they could be dual mode, the economic way to run them is on the fixed route under the wire. This is why I'd like to see them only in the CBD core and perhaps Arlington Expressway, Beach or JTB.



October 29, 2007, 10:08:11 AM
Also, can these trolly-busses be converted to rail later on?  One major gripe of mine is that the proposed BRT system has been touted as having the capability to be converted to LRT.  But, why not go ahead and build the LRT system instead of investing in both?  If the trolly-busses can't be converted then to me we would be investing in two different systems (although the wire could be re-used).
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