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Jacksonville Should Love A Streetcar: Ten Reasons

Ten reasons why Jacksonville's peer cities are pursuing, building, or already operating streetcar systems. From Street Smart: Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century.

Published May 29, 2009 in Transit      53 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


1) Streetcar systems shape a city – positively.



Well-conceived streetcars do much more for a city besides move people from point A to point B. As fixed-rail transit, they uniquely shape urban land-use, development, and growth patterns. The "streetcar effect" serves to stimulate desirable development along the line. In fact, streetcar lines shaped how most American cities (including Austin) developed in the early 1900s.

A streetcar system's power to affect land-use patterns will never be shared by buses; the public investment in streetcar rails along a fixed route is an assurance of permanence. Developers and investors need to mitigate risk; they get no help from a bus route, which could move or disappear overnight. Emerging data from numerous U.S. cities show that developers will vigorously invest in compact, high-density development along a streetcar line, almost from the moment that it's confirmed.


2) Streetcars are place-making tools that promote compact, walkable, people-friendly development.



Streetcars help create the kinds of streetscapes where people want to walk, bike, shop, and hang out in a neighborhood. With their frequent stops and supportive effect on storefront shops and cafes, they excel at shaping lively and appealing "people places."

Streetcars also are proving themselves as popular image-makers for rising neighborhoods: As an amenity, a streetcar makes a neighborhood more desirable to live, shop, and get around in. Known as a "pedestrian accelerator," the streetcar encourages outings that are part walking, part streetcar ride. Streetcars shaped the older neighborhoods (like Austin's Hyde Park) that we now celebrate for being handsome, walkable, mixed-use, and human-scaled. These central-city neighborhoods remain popular because people are drawn to diverse, interesting areas where they can walk to destinations.

New transit-oriented development can be required to include livable-city amenities such as affordable housing, public open space, desired redevelopment, high-quality urban design, and public art. (TOD planning is ongoing in Austin for MetroRail stops and would occur around the streetcar line as well.) When backed by intelligent planning and policy, a positive place-making effect becomes a positive tool for shaping the kind of city we all want.


3) People like to ride streetcars. Mass transit will only work if people choose to use it.



Getting people out of their cars requires enticing "choice riders" – people who own a car but choose to use transit instead. Everyone knows it, so let's say it: Buses lack sex appeal and yuppie appeal. In our image-conscious culture, who wants to ride the bus? Yet in cities around the world, people love taking the streetcar. Maybe it's our happy association with the choo-choo trains of childhood – whatever, it works.

Both affluent and working-class folks are attracted to the streetcar's image of comfort, convenience, and charm. The ride is smoother, quieter, more comfortable – and somehow more upscale. Recruiting white-collar transit users is tough in Texas; a streetcar is the "breakthrough" ride that can change attitudes. (Of course, downtowns also want to attract the disposable-income set – as consumers of entertainment and shopping.) Plus, like developers, we're all reassured by the permanence of rails in the ground. People don't mind standing at a trackside stop for 10 minutes, because they feel confident that the streetcar will come – even without seeing a schedule or route map. Other American cities recently have replaced bus lines with streetcar lines on the same route, then documented their power to attract many more riders.


4) A streetcar entices people to ride regional rail.



As circulator transit, a streetcar system typically serves just a few miles in the central city. (Cap Metro's current recommended alignment for Austin, at 6.7 miles, is fairly long.) An interfacing streetcar system provides the critical "last mile" connection for riders on regional commuter rail (such as the 32-mile MetroRail Red Line from Leander that opens in Austin in late 2008).

Commuters will only switch to transit if they are delivered to their final destination – within a couple of blocks. Failing to provide that "last mile" transport can doom an entire regional rail system. If far-flung suburbanites hate the bus, and their offices are too far to walk from the last rail or rapid-bus stop, then they'll just keep driving, however long their commutes.

In Austin, the new MetroRail Red Line currently plans to deposit its suburban commuters at the Convention Center. Then what? (ROMA urban designer Jim Adams has suggested – only half-joking – that Cap Metro should meet the first year of commuters at the MetroRail station with hired limos, to take them to work and keep them using the train.) The proposed streetcar line would scoop up those commuters, carry them across Downtown and at least up Congress Avenue. If the entire proposed route up through the UT campus and out to Mueller is built, it effectively will link regional rail into much of Central Austin.

Folks who have good experiences taking the streetcar become open to using other transit. In this way, streetcars can help build ridership (and voter support) for expanded regional rail and rapid-bus systems.


5) Streetcars are green transportation.



All the enviro-reasons that mass transit is preferable to cars – for clean air quality, for environmental sustainability, for climate protection – apply equally to streetcars. Because streetcars promote 1) high-density, compact development instead of sprawl and 2) regional transit use, they pack a far stronger sustainability punch than their short routes suggest. As an incentive for patterns of sustainable growth, a streetcar fits neatly within the Envision Central Texas goals being increasingly embraced by regional governments and organizations.

Every transit user is one less car on the road, which helps reduce traffic congestion and emissions. Streetcars run on electricity, not gasoline and emit no exhaust. In fact, some cities have tapped federal programs for reducing traffic congestion and emissions to help fund new streetcar systems.


6) Streetcars attract tourists, conventioneers, and visiting grandchildren as fun "transportainment."



A city's visitors, tourists, and convention attendees can be counted upon to deliver a steady base of riders – provided that the streetcar conveniently takes them where they want and need to go. Neighborhoods with streetcars – and cool places to see or visit – typically become tourist destinations. Cities with streetcars linked to their convention centers and major tourist destinations have become more successful at attracting major convention business. That yields more "bed tax" and rental-car and parking-fee dollars – which can in turn be used to fund the streetcar system.


7) Where streetcars go, private development follows.



Quality development becomes more economically feasible when it requires less parking. (In Portland, new streetcar-area housing averaged just 1 to 1.3 parking spaces per unit.) With structured parking in Austin costing up to $25,000 a space, a developer can save tens of thousands on parking for projects near transit. This can offer an "in lieu" revenue stream to help fund the streetcar system. Developers are able to build higher-quality and better-designed projects or to fund community benefits like affordable housing and parks.


8) By generating new value and revenues, a streetcar system can pay for itself.



The built-in development boon from streetcars makes a new system an excellent public and private investment. The "streetcar effect" predictably raises property values for three blocks on either side of the line, immediately for existing structures, dramatically for new high-rise development. If properly captured by the public sector, the increased property-tax yield (in Austin, to the city, county, and Austin Independent School District) can sustain investments in the streetcar system.

Streetcars also tend to boost retail and restaurant sales – and, thus, sales-tax revenues. Business improves because more customers are walking down the street and because new residents flock to the transit-oriented development.

In most cities, funding comes through public entities from the business sector – often through special tax assessments or tax-increment financing on surrounding business-improvement districts.


9) Streetcars are much less expensive than light-rail.



Streetcar systems can be started up for less than $10 million per track mile; typical costs are $10 million to $15 million per mile, rising up to $25 million per mile for systems with new, modern trains. By contrast, light-rail systems run $30 million to $50 million, even up to $75 million, per mile. At roughly one-third the cost of comparable light-rail, streetcar systems have about 65% the rider capacity.

They're also fast and simple to build, impacting traffic and neighborhood on each block for just a couple of weeks as they go in. The lines fit easily into existing neighborhoods and streetscapes, with minimal disruption. They don't require the expensive infrastructure – like passenger stations and parking garages – needed for regional rail.

Streetcar systems are also a cost-effective investment over decades. Cars last at least 30 to 50 years and can be refurbished for another 50 years of service. Buses, by contrast, wear out after eight to 12 years. Plus, tracks don't require the constant maintenance and expansion of roads.


10) Streetcars can be historic and charming – or sleek and modern.



Vintage streetcars have been retooled and put back in service in Seattle; Memphis, Tenn.; and San Francisco. New replicas of vintage trolleys were ordered up for Tampa and Little Rock. Old systems with vintage cars still survive in New Orleans, San Francisco, Toronto, and Philadelphia. Systems using modern streetcars – which Cap Metro has favored for Austin – operate in Portland and Tacoma, Wash., and are planned for Atlanta, Miami, and Washington, D.C.

Modern vehicles are faster, quieter, larger, carry more riders, are more comfortable, and don't have to stop as long. But they're also far more expensive ($800,000 vs. $80,000) and less historically charming as "transportainment." San Francisco has acquired some 90 vintage streetcars from around the world to gradually refurbish for service; their colorful variety is part of the fun. Replica cars (which can be air-conditioned) provide a middle ground of practicality and charm.


In need of a Legacy Project: What is Jacksonville waiting for?

With $100 million already in hand for mass transit in Jacksonville, this is a legacy project that Mayor Peyton, the City Council and JTA should be all over.

* For the supporting data, see Street Smart: Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century published by the nonprofit Reconnecting America, with the American Public Transportation Association and the Community Streetcar Coalition. It may be ordered online:
http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/public/books






53 Comments

Keith-N-Jax

May 29, 2009, 04:32:41 AM
Send this thread over to city hall. Some will say its the build it and they will come idea. Jacksonville is waiting for a swift kick in the a$$.

Keith-N-Jax

May 29, 2009, 04:42:23 AM
Ok lets say we some forget that this is Jacksonville, where do we start and end this. Are we also hoping that this will spur other developments like Channelside in Tampa. I hope so. I was just in Tampa last weekend, the Aquarium, Channelside, Ybor city all packed with people. Even the Casino there was packed so before anyone says anything about the economy, not everybody is hurting.  We(the city) needs to really get it together.

thelakelander

May 29, 2009, 06:59:25 AM
Ok lets say we some forget that this is Jacksonville, where do we start and end this.

Simple.  Something that links Riverside to Downtown and Springfield.  You can virtually guarantee that you'll have decent ridership by linking dense neighborhoods with major employment centers, downtown, parks and cultural establishments in the core.  You'll also pentrate neighborhoods in need of economic stimulating, like LaVilla, Brooklyn and the Cathedral District.  A starter four or five mile line also would not break the bank (could be done for $50 million or less) and could be used as a pilot project to demonstrate the power of rail in a community like Jacksonville.  Rome was not built in a day.  Follow Houston (7.5 miles) and Charlotte's (9 miles) lead.  Start small, logical, efficient and work your way up. 

urbanjacksonville

May 29, 2009, 07:14:32 AM
What great timing on this post! Today I posted Public Space is Good, But We Need To Talk Transportation Too on Urban Jacksonville: http://www.urbanjacksonville.info/2009/05/29/public-space-is-good-but-we-need-to-talk-transportation-too

I too point to the value of streetcars in reviving our urban core. I'd like to host a live chat next week to discuss some of these issues. What representatives from the city and JTA should I try to invite to the chat?

BridgeTroll

May 29, 2009, 07:52:00 AM
Lets put that 100 mil to work now!

thelakelander

May 29, 2009, 07:58:26 AM
What great timing on this post! Today I posted Public Space is Good, But We Need To Talk Transportation Too on Urban Jacksonville: http://www.urbanjacksonville.info/2009/05/29/public-space-is-good-but-we-need-to-talk-transportation-too

I too point to the value of streetcars in reviving our urban core. I'd like to host a live chat next week to discuss some of these issues. What representatives from the city and JTA should I try to invite to the chat?

Bill Bishop, Glorious Johnson, Mike Miller and perhaps Adam Hollingsworth would all be good public candidates to bring on the show to discuss mass transit.  However, if you're going to have a city or JTA representative on the show, I'd recommend having Bob Mann as a guest on the same show.  This way you'll have a discussion that can include someone with actual background knowledge on these types of systems and what it takes to pull them off.

fsujax

May 29, 2009, 08:07:24 AM
Great article. Now march it over to City Hall and tell them to tell JTA to get it done, with the $100 million that was set aside in the BJP. JTA gets it, wants to do it, but with no direction or clarification on the $100 million from City Hall or City Council it isn't going to happen.

thelakelander

May 29, 2009, 08:27:23 AM
I wonder if JTA needs help in putting together an actual compelling argument to council?  Its going to take an all around effort and the transit authority is going to have to get vocal, like they are for advertising on bus shelters and BRT.  As long as JTA remains mum on these issues, the fight for them will take longer.

zoo

May 29, 2009, 08:58:27 AM
Quote
Now march it over to City Hall and tell them to tell JTA to get it done, with the $100 million that was set aside in the BJP. JTA gets it, wants to do it, but with no direction or clarification on the $100 million from City Hall or City Council it isn't going to happen.

So I'll copy the same post from the Main Street Pocket Park thread, and let you readers replace "revitalized Downtown" with "smart, integrated urban transit options."

Quote
This is what the citizens of Jacksonville want -- a revitalized Downtown area. Our city can't get it right b/c politics gets in the way of leadership. This Mayor and this Council just aren't cut out for making smart decisions about it. They are penny-wise and pound foolish, and don't realize that a revitalized Downtown would be a boon for the entire region, including their own districts...

Deuce

May 29, 2009, 09:06:44 AM
Ditto to all above.

zoo

May 29, 2009, 09:09:43 AM
Btw, here are "Guiding Principals" # 1 & 2 from the Reality Check First Coast exercise that was conducted last week down at WGV:

1. Alternate transportation modes.
2. Redevelopment and urbanization.

And here's a info on what the purpose of the exercise was:

"A visioning exercise designed to discuss, analyze and develop alternative growth scenarios for our region through the year 2060.

On May 21, 2009, Reality Check First Coast brought nearly 300 leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors together in groups of eight to 10 to discuss, analyze and develop alternative growth scenarios for our region.

The exercise is designed to raise awareness of projected levels of region-wide growth and to lay the foundation for the development of a concrete list of next steps to meet the region’s future job, housing, transportation, infrastructure and recreation needs.

How should we grow? Where will grow?

By the year 2060, 1.6 million* additional people will be living in our Region, requiring the addition of new jobs and housing to accommodate this growth. As a region, we have choices to make. Where will development occur? How will we maintain open spaces and our natural resources? What will our transportation and infrastructure needs be? Those questions will be considered at Reality Check First Coast.

At the Reality Check event, regional leaders were challenged to rethink where and how to grow the First Coast in a way that adds value to the local economy, while preserving our environment and quality of life. Participants divided into groups of eight to 10 will discuss and allocate housing and job growth throughout the First Coast. The First Coast consists of seven counties, including Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns — and their 27 municipalities."

fsujax

May 29, 2009, 09:29:04 AM
Zoo, I wonder what peoples reactions would be to Jacksonville spending $50 million to build a streetcar line in the urban core?

thelakelander

May 29, 2009, 09:37:56 AM
I'll take this one.  Better than spending $100 million to purchase isolated office parks and shopping centers and taking them off the taxrolls for BRT a decade down the road.

As I said in a meeting with JTA a few months ago, it all depends on how you present a plan.  If you sell it as spending $50 million for a streetcar line only for the urban core, they'll take it as well as spending a billion for dedicated busways that don't stretch past Gateway, Regency, Wilson Blvd and Baymeadows.

If you sell transit as a part of a vision, an investment in our future and a start to actually implementing a true integrated regional transportation plan, you may be suprised.  The US is choke full of successful examples out there to follow.

Maybe its time for JTA to fire their marketing staff and hire John Delaney?  Who would have thought he would have been successful at selling this community the BJP?  Its all about marketing and selling a vision.  Right now, that's not happening at 100 North Myrtle Avenue or 117 W. Duval St.

fsujax

May 29, 2009, 09:49:37 AM
I agree with that Lake.

hightowerlover

May 29, 2009, 10:07:32 AM
they are just so much cuter than a nasty old bus

JeffreyS

May 29, 2009, 10:39:17 AM
I don't think today would be a great day to take our transit officials this info. I mean with our high powered delegation all attending the Federal 8 billion dollar transit workshop in Houston. ::)

civil42806

May 29, 2009, 10:52:27 AM
Zoo, I wonder what peoples reactions would be to Jacksonville spending $50 million to build a streetcar line in the urban core?

Deconsolidation?

thelakelander

May 29, 2009, 10:57:21 AM
How about the public's reaction to spending $100 million to spruce up Kids kampus/Metropolitan Park?  After all, that's just what the Mayor stated in his press conference last week.  Which one do you really think would benefit the community more?

Bewler

May 29, 2009, 01:35:30 PM
11) You can ride drunk and worry free in a Streetcar


Say good-bye to those pesky DUI charges and countless speeding tickets. Actually that could be one reason the idea hasn't been fully embraced. Where would the JSO get its funding without traffic citations and whatnot?

zoo

May 29, 2009, 04:17:22 PM
Quote
Its all about marketing and selling a vision.

Problem with this is, everyone, including pols, thinks they know how to market, just like everyone, including pols, thinks they know how to plan.

Quote
How about the public's reaction to spending $100 million to spruce up Kids kampus/Metropolitan Park?  After all, that's just what the Mayor stated in his press conference last week.  Which one do you really think would benefit the community more?

I can see it now. COJ tackles Kids Kampus/Metropolitan Park like it did the Main Street Pocket Park, and the downtown ends up with another, larger (better - it's riverfront, after all) spot for its social service beneficiaries to spend their time.

I'll take $50M on connective, economic-development-generating, streetcar any day!

fsujax

May 29, 2009, 05:13:47 PM
Zoo, I couldnt agree more. It needs to be sold as is Downtown is for everyone! and the streetcar is only part of the master plan!

ralpho37

May 29, 2009, 09:12:24 PM
Interestingly enough, today I just read an article in Model Railroader Magazine about Savannah's new (started in 2008) River St. Streetcar system.  It runs for 1 mile down the middle of historic River St. on an abandoned Norfolk Southern freight line.  Since it runs by all of the historic shops and restaurants of this historic district, it attracts a good deal of ridership.  Here's an informative link... http://www.railwaypreservation.com/vintagetrolley/savannah.htm

Anyways, in all seriousness, how difficult would it be for us to present an idea like this to the city?  Is this something that MetroJax could get moving?

coredumped

May 29, 2009, 09:25:29 PM
Do any of our experts on the forums have a map of best possible street car lines?

urbanlibertarian

May 29, 2009, 09:40:08 PM
What would really help it fly would be a 50/50 partnership with a private company or group.

tufsu1

May 29, 2009, 10:48:08 PM
Do any of our experts on the forums have a map of best possible street car lines?

JTA has already done a study that includes downtown, Riverside, Springfield, and San Marco....check it out on their website

samiam

May 29, 2009, 11:39:47 PM
How about Jacksonville powering a new trolley system with the battery's from its new lithium ion battery factory and time it where both come on line at the same time. J-ville could be there first customer to show there support.

thelakelander

May 30, 2009, 02:04:21 AM
Anyways, in all seriousness, how difficult would it be for us to present an idea like this to the city?  Is this something that MetroJax could get moving?

Its been easy to present the ideas.  The problem has been in getting JTA to publicly back an effort to gain council support to allow the BJP rapid transit money to go towards construction as opposed to ROW only.  Right now, it appears that JTA's top priorities are BRT and bus shelters.

thelakelander

May 30, 2009, 02:12:13 AM
Do any of our experts on the forums have a map of best possible street car lines?

Here's JTA's plan:



The first phase would run from Five Points to the Hyatt downtown.  While there are several kinks that still need to be worked out with the suggested route, its a start.

Here is a link to the Metro Jacksonville article and comments that suggest ways that we can improve on JTA's preliminary plan:

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-jan-streetcars-coming-to-downtown-jacksonville

ProjectMaximus

May 30, 2009, 02:51:41 AM
Just going back to a question (off topic, sorry) I asked awhile ago that I don't think was ever really answered.

This article defines choice riders as "people who own a car but choose to use transit instead." Is there a distinction for people who have the means but choose NOT to own a car and use transit instead?

thelakelander

May 30, 2009, 02:54:16 AM
If they have the means but choose to use transit instead of purchasing a car, they would be still be choice riders.

mtraininjax

May 30, 2009, 06:39:08 AM
Lake - Sell this idea at the beaches. The announcement of the JTA to use the Beaches Trolley shows that there is a need for transportation up and down the beach. People use it. It is a densely populated area that would do well with a rail system. Besides, third street is limited to 35 MPH anyway, so the trolley system is a no-brainer there.

ralpho37

May 30, 2009, 03:50:45 PM
A trolley system would be perfect at Jax Beach either along the oceanfront boardwalk or down 1st Street North.  It would ease parking congestion and traffic in the area, benefiting businesses and making the area more pedestrian-friendly - definitely an economic booster for the area.

mtraininjax

May 31, 2009, 12:10:34 AM
Lake - No response, perfect opening to JTA, yet you want to run rails downtown? Why? What is up?

thelakelander

May 31, 2009, 12:21:38 AM
No response to what?  A streetcar system at the beaches?  Go for it.  I believe it has been discussed on this site in the past by Ocklawaha.

As for me, if you're going to make an investment in rail, the initial investment should be made in a fashion that does the following:

1. Connects DT with dense residential neighborhoods
2. Accesses underutilized areas to spur dense infill development
3. Connects with other modes of transit at the proposed intermodal transportation center
4. Complements the skyway by feeding riders into it.
5. Should not break the bank or require raising taxes to implement or maintain annually.

Since my main position is to take advantage of rail as a redevelopment tool in the Urban Core, that should be more than enough to answer the question of why I prefer reconnecting Jacksonville's densest neighborhoods with fixed transit before building an isolated system at the beach.

Ocklawaha

May 31, 2009, 12:51:10 AM
Lake, I'll add to your last post by saying: having isolated or even independent systems at the Beach, STJTC and Downtown would not damage our odds of Mass Transit Development. Since Light Rail Transit and Streetcar can be interchangable (depending on construction). This just means as the system grows, many of the feeders would already be in place to create network.

OCKLAWAHA

zoo

May 31, 2009, 09:46:10 AM
Quote
How about Jacksonville powering a new trolley system with the battery's from its new lithium ion battery factory and time it where both come on line at the same time. J-ville could be there first customer to show there support.

I don't mean to be a negative Ned, but an idea like this is far too innovative for the existing Jax power structure. Here are two un-verified bits of info that support that thought (and if someone wants to go verify or dis-credit, I welcome that):

1. I believe Paul Crawford of the JEDC has been looking into improving downtown's parking situation for at least the past 18 months (and probably more likely since the 2006 Task Force studies). I and others have personally sent to JEDC suggestions regarding an integrated fare/parking system, that links various modes of transit (including skyway, trolley and water, taxi for example), on-street parking and parking garages that can be deployed free/cheap because it uses revenue-sharing model.

So a visitor to Downtown would be able to park at a meter or a garage by swiping a pre-loaded card, use that same card to use the transit system, and re-load the card at Downtown retailers. Whatever unit the card is swiped through would automatically direct the revenue from the swipe to the appropriate accounts - some for city, some for private parking/transportation owner, and some for system supplier. No meter collection, no quarters, no human disbursement of revenue. The convenience and ease of this for the user seems very forward-thinking (at least imho).

Because of the Herculean coordination effort it would take to get public agencies (JTA, COJ), private transportation providers (water taxi) and private garage/lot owners to get on board for all of their mutual benefit, and then the effort it would take to get Council to approve, I expect JEDC is not even considering this. Or maybe they are, and the revenue-sharing percentage is too high. Either way, what I expect we'll get out of Mr. Crawford's efforts are a few more 2-hr meters that take quarters only.

2. A local company, started by an engineer/scientist who formerly worked at JEA, has developed a method for turning garbage into electricity without massive amounts of harmful by-product. They have had conversations with JEA and COJ over the past several years about building a plant somewhere in Northeast Florida, but Duval/Jax has consistently indicated they would continue to deal with waste through existing locations/methods (Waste Management/Trailer Ridge, anyone?)

This company now has financing in place to build the plant, and a contract with Tallahassee and surrounding counties for waste processing and plant development in that part of the State (I think it is being built in Leon County). So here we have a local, innovative business that will be implementing its forward thinking somewhere other than its Jacksonville hometown.

Again, I don't want to dash anyone's hopes that Jacksonville can be forward-thinking and innovative. My goal in putting this info out there is to give our local decision-makers a "kick-in-the-pants" about what they are blowing. It also seems much of the citizenry doesn't care, or is terrified of moving out of the "good-ol-boy" age, or the political and decision-making process here would be evolving more dramatically...

JeffreyS

May 31, 2009, 10:52:08 AM
What parking situation downtown. There is an abundance of parking. Rip out the meters put up some 2 hour signs and barely enforce.

Ocklawaha

May 31, 2009, 11:22:41 AM
What parking situation downtown. There is an abundance of parking. Rip out the meters put up some 2 hour signs and barely enforce.

That parking could easily be spun into a huge supporter of FREE curbside parking AND mass transit.

Say? Does ANYONE have a fix on the garage and lot locations and approximate capacity? How about total meter revenue? Lake you want us to explore this in the coming week? I've got a hunch that a solution, as I explained it to MJ and Councilman Bishop is the solution.


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

May 31, 2009, 01:55:02 PM
Lake, I'll add to your last post by saying: having isolated or even independent systems at the Beach, STJTC and Downtown would not damage our odds of Mass Transit Development. Since Light Rail Transit and Streetcar can be interchangable (depending on construction). This just means as the system grows, many of the feeders would already be in place to create network.

OCKLAWAHA

The money to build it at the beach before the core would reduce the amount that you could invest in the core, unless the beach communities decide to pay for it themselves or someone donates a big pot of money.  In addition, a system of isolated systems would also require multiple O&M facilities, thus increasing the implementation costs on the community as a whole.

heights unknown

May 31, 2009, 08:26:14 PM
Jacksonville is not ready for streetcars, commuter rail, or any of these envogue items; when we grow up and realize that we are a big city, and finally know who we really are, then we'll be ready for streetcars, commuter rail, and other types of mass transit outside of just bus transit.

Heights Unknown

Ocklawaha

May 31, 2009, 08:38:07 PM
Lake, I'll add to your last post by saying: having isolated or even independent systems at the Beach, STJTC and Downtown would not damage our odds of Mass Transit Development. Since Light Rail Transit and Streetcar can be interchangable (depending on construction). This just means as the system grows, many of the feeders would already be in place to create network.

OCKLAWAHA

The money to build it at the beach before the core would reduce the amount that you could invest in the core, unless the beach communities decide to pay for it themselves or someone donates a big pot of money.  In addition, a system of isolated systems would also require multiple O&M facilities, thus increasing the implementation costs on the community as a whole.

Right, but as I said before, I don't see us paying for the SJTC "system" or anything within the beach cities. They COULD however plan and qualify for federal funding without COJ being involved, unless their heads are in a noose to our local AUTHORITY.

OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

May 31, 2009, 08:43:58 PM
I believe their heads are.

Charles Hunter

May 31, 2009, 09:13:13 PM
The JTA is the agency recognized by the Feds for receipt of Transit dollars for Duval County, so unless JTA agreed, the Beaches cities - or anyone else - could not get Federal transit funding.

Ocklawaha

May 31, 2009, 09:16:54 PM
Jacksonville is not ready for streetcars, commuter rail, or any of these envogue items; when we grow up and realize that we are a big city, and finally know who we really are, then we'll be ready for streetcars, commuter rail, and other types of mass transit outside of just bus transit.

Heights Unknown

Heights, sad part is, we once had Commuter rail, and we abandoned it. We once had the largest train station south of Washington D.C.. At one time it was even the busiest in the world, and we turned it into a "gun show center". We once had the largest Streetcar system in the state, and we sold them out and scrapped them. We once had multiple bus lines (Greyhound, City Coach, Tamiami Trails, Trailways, Colonial, Southeastern Stages and the San Jose Lines) but we allowed them to waste away, while our planners want today's bus station "Out of Downtown." We once had the largest City Bus transit system in Florida. We combined it with a state highway builder and named it "An Authority." Then we fell to 2Nd, then 3Rd, and we are teetering on a collapse to number 5, if Orlando, and Tampa, step up their efforts. We built 1/2 of a DPM system, then lost interest and converted it to a monorail, then quit any improvements calling it political suicide. Now we have citizens calling to dismantle the whole project. We could already have Light Rail up and running but they told THAT consultant to leave town or not work again.

Heights Unknown? After all this industrious success, you guys REALLY think I could just walk away from this? Bring it on Jacksonville!


OCKLAWAHA
I don't know Lake and Charles, one of their planners sure wants to talk to me...Wonder what they have in mind?

Keith-N-Jax

June 01, 2009, 04:48:09 AM
I would like to believe that Jacksonville is ready. It's our leaders that are not.

mtraininjax

June 17, 2009, 11:42:52 PM
How about 10 reasons why it should love a bus instead of a streetcar:

1) Cheaper
2) Cheaper
3) Cheaper
4) Cheaper
5) Cheaper
6) Cheaper
7) Cheaper
8) Cheaper
9) Cheaper
10) Cheaper

If you want streetcars, go where they are, stop wasting time, money and resources asking for something not important to MOST taxpayers here.

Keith-N-Jax

June 18, 2009, 03:42:16 AM
SO when did you do a survey and last time I checked I was paying taxes also.

thelakelander

June 18, 2009, 07:24:44 AM
How about 10 reasons why it should love a bus instead of a streetcar:

1) Cheaper
2) Cheaper
3) Cheaper
4) Cheaper
5) Cheaper
6) Cheaper
7) Cheaper
8) Cheaper
9) Cheaper
10) Cheaper

If you want streetcars, go where they are, stop wasting time, money and resources asking for something not important to MOST taxpayers here.

I guess you could say its also cheaper to hire a prostitute for an hour than to establish a true relationship with someone.  The core has had buses since the 1930s and look at it today:























Your rubber wheeled options, both the regular bus and faux trolley, have done nothing to spur development or increase property values since their beginnings in the 1930s. 

Now we get news that Jax has one of the weakest economies in the US right now.
http://jacksonville.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/stories/2009/06/15/daily28.html?surround=lfn&ana=test

Regardless of how you feel, what we have done in the past is clearly not working (see images above).  Considering Jax is in need of an economic catalyst swift kick in the pants, streetcars are an economic development tool and buses (fake trolleys included) are not, here are ten real reasons that suggest fixed transit is worth exploring:

1. Portland Streetcar

stimulated $3.5 billion and 10,212 new residential units within 3 blocks of the streetcar corridor since it was approved in 1997.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-apr-elements-of-urbanism-portland

2. Seattle South Lake Union Streetcar

stimulated 6,100 residential units and 3.3 million sf of commercial space within 4 blocks of the streetcar corridor after it was approved in 2005.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-jan-seattle-streetcar-opens

3. Tacoma Link

stimulated over 2,000 residential units along the route since operation began in 2003.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2007-sep-im-smaller-than-jax-and-i-have-rail-tacoma

4. Little Rock River Rail Streetcar

$400 million in development and 600 new residential units within 2 blocks of streetcar alignment since operation began in 2004.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-jan-affordable-streetcar-little-rock-river-rail

5. Tampa TECO Streetcar

As of 2008, $1 billion in private development along streetcar route since the operation began in 2002.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-dec-elements-of-urbanism-tampa

6. Kenosha Streetcar

350 units and $150 million in development along a 1.9 mile line in a really small town since operation began in 2000.  That city is now considering a $16 million, 4-mile extension.

7. Memphis Streetcar

$2 billion in development along streetcar corridor since operation began in 1993.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2007-aug-im-smaller-than-jax-and-i-have-rail-memphis

^http://Peer%20City%20Handout%20for%20distribution.pdf

8. Charlotte Trolley

The success since its opening in 1996 has spurred the implementation of a starter 9.6 mile light rail that already carries over 21,700 riders a day.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-may-rail-ridership-exceeds-expectations


9. Norfolk's Tide Light Rail

The economy may be down but this 7.4-mile line is already spurring development that Jacksonville can only dream of at this stage.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-apr-a-lesson-for-jacksonville-norfolks-tide-light-rail

10. Dallas M-Line Streetcar

Began operation in 1989, spurred massive redevelopment in Uptown Dallas and led to the community's acceptance of light and commuter rail systems.  Btw, its a volunteer service with no fares to ride.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-mar-affordable-streetcar-m-line-streetcar

Quote
"To say DART Rail's impact has been substantial for the Dallas region's economy would be an understatement," said Dr. Bernard Weinstein, director of the University of North Texas Center for Economic Development and Research. "It's a trend that's impossible to miss; the local business community certainly hasn't."

Beyond the jobs and direct economic benefits generated by construction of the system, DART Rail is dramatically changing the urban landscape with more than $7 billion in current, planned and projected transit-oriented developments (TODs) springing up around station areas.

In a November 2007 study, Weinstein and colleague Dr. Terry Clower project transit-oriented development near DART Rail eventually will generate more than $46 million each year to area schools, $23.5 million to member cities, millions more to other local taxing entities.
http://www.dart.org/about/economicimpact.asp

Isn't sending extra money to schools your thing?  Do you really believe buses will result in developments that will pay property taxes that will send more money to schools?




BridgeTroll

June 18, 2009, 07:30:42 AM
Lake... your ten reasons are much better than mtrains ten reasons.

thelakelander

June 18, 2009, 07:38:14 AM
There is a reason more cities are jumping on board.  I'm not Ocklawaha, but I've traveled enough to know that these things spur the development and density that Jacksonville has struggled to attract.  Being "cheaper" (which is highly debatable that buses are cheaper over time) is what has gotten us to where we are today.  Now its time to be sensible.



BridgeTroll

June 18, 2009, 07:58:43 AM
More and more cities are seeing the light and it looks like the Feds are slowly coming around also.  Jacksonville is at a important crossroads.  Mass transit in the form of rail is something most cities of any size or significance are jumping into.  Jacksonville needs to decide if it is going to be a player or a bystander left behind.  I hope for the former but I feel we are destined for the latter.

Keith-N-Jax

June 19, 2009, 05:54:50 AM
BT I agree with your last post. With state of the economy it will be tough though. A broke city and sub pat leadership does not spell well for our city. Its almost if time had run out on Jacksonville now

tufsu1

June 19, 2009, 01:02:40 PM
the next few months will be key....lets see if streetcars make it into the region's Long Range Transportation Plan Update.
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