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JTA To Move Forward with Philips Highway BRT Plan

Despite popular support for commuter rail linking Jacksonville with St. Augustine, JTA plans to move forward with bringing BRT to the corridor instead. Is this a mistake in the making that will hurt Jacksonville's chances of implementing a viable commuter rail corridor? Does JTA or Jacksonville even care?

Published August 9, 2010 in Transit      69 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


About The BRT Southeast Corridor



Quote
Now that the BRT bus rapid transit downtown infrastructure is in design/construction and the North Corridor Environmental Assessment (EA) study is nearing completion, the JTA continues to move with development of BRT in the Southeast area with the launch of the Southeast Corridor EA study.
 
The study, similar to the north corridor EA, will examine potential impacts and options for implementing BRT improvements within the next 5-10 years for south of downtown from the Kings Avenue Skyway station to a multi-modal hub at the Avenues Walk.
http://www.jtafla.com/JTAFuturePlans/Bus/Default.aspx?page=Southeast Corridor Study&pid=60



Upcoming Public Hearing



Quote
Date: August 23, 2010
BRT Southeast Corridor Public Meeting
Time: 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: Best Western-Southpoint
http://www.jtafla.com/JTAfutureplans/Events.aspx


BRT Southeast Corridor Scoping Booklet

For more information on the BRT Southeast Corridor Project:











































Update by Ennis Davis







69 Comments

Bostech

August 09, 2010, 04:53:43 AM
Lame.

dlupercio

August 09, 2010, 06:42:14 AM
How embarrassing...

Abhishek

August 09, 2010, 08:44:56 AM
Assuming that this project goes forward in spite of plans for commuter rail along the same corridor.

What happens when someone gets dropped off at JTB/Phillips Hwy BRT station and they work at the Town Center Mall? How do they get to work? Is there is a JTA bus/shuttle route that synchronizes with the arrival of the BRT bus?

Page 4 of the report loosely touches this topic whereas it should be of prime concern. No one will use BRT if they don't have an equally safe and reliable commute to within walkable distance from their destination.

rjp2008

August 09, 2010, 09:17:23 AM
Stop complaining here and start complaining to the people who can make decisions on this. I too have no idea why they're not jumping on rail if the line is already there.

urbanlibertarian

August 09, 2010, 09:22:28 AM
Since commuter rail in this corridor will depend on the cooperation of FEC RR or Amtrak (or both), neither of which is certain, proceeding with BRT is probably prudent.  However, BRT stops should be designed where possible to be adaptable to future use with commuter rail.

stephendare

August 09, 2010, 09:23:42 AM
I agree.  We need to go as a group to the JTA board meeting and ask them if they know what their boneheaded staff is doing.

The JTA is a roadbuilding authority.  It always has been, and always will be.

It clearly cannot take the responsibility of transit seriously, and it needs to be given the chance to either do so, or the authority needs to be split up and a Transit Authority established.

rjp2008

August 09, 2010, 09:29:03 AM
What does the Florida Times Union have to say about this? Can someone sponsor a poll of Jacksonville so people can bring them some hard numbers?

Doctor_K

August 09, 2010, 09:34:25 AM
Since commuter rail in this corridor will depend on the cooperation of FEC RR or Amtrak (or both), neither of which is certain, proceeding with BRT is probably prudent.  However, BRT stops should be designed where possible to be adaptable to future use with commuter rail.
Fair point, I s'pose.

Based on the graphics, it looks as if that's been thought of (or at least and more likely, it's a happy coincidence), as there are proposed stops at Emerson, University, JTB, and Baymeadows.  It would be prudent to tie in local shuttle services to those mixed transit stops. 

However, hoping that the transit stops for the "BRT" are designed and built to potentially tie in to anything rail-related is pie-in-the-sky dreaming; this *is* JTA we're talking about, after all.

thelakelander

August 09, 2010, 09:38:59 AM
From what I understand, this BRT line will be similar to the one in KC.  It runs in the street with regular traffic but has shelters with real time information. If our plan is similar, why we can't run a service now without going through all the federal hoopla?  The street is already there and we have the buses.  Other than University/Bowden, traffic flows pretty good so signal priority and dedicated lanes could be phased in if the need arises (it won't with commuter rail in place). That basically leaves you with a need for bus shelters at each stop and more frequent headways.  In the grand scheme of things a system modification (this is done frequently) would seem like the most logical place to start.  That would increase Jax's chances of landing federal help for commuter rail along this corridor and give us reliable bus service along Philips as well.

kells904

August 09, 2010, 09:39:57 AM
EXACTLY, rjp2008!!!!!

rjp2008

August 09, 2010, 09:43:07 AM
What are the current term limits of the JTA leadership? They get four year appointments with a possible extension right? So basically a lot hinges on the new mayor appointing rail friendly people.

tufsu1

August 09, 2010, 09:46:09 AM
Since commuter rail in this corridor will depend on the cooperation of FEC RR or Amtrak (or both), neither of which is certain, proceeding with BRT is probably prudent.  However, BRT stops should be designed where possible to be adaptable to future use with commuter rail.

the concern here is that this may set commuter rail along this corridor back by a decade or more...especially if Federal funds are desired...FTA likely won't want to spend money for both BRT and commuter rail serving the same corridor.

thelakelander

August 09, 2010, 09:47:39 AM
Since commuter rail in this corridor will depend on the cooperation of FEC RR or Amtrak (or both), neither of which is certain, proceeding with BRT is probably prudent.  However, BRT stops should be designed where possible to be adaptable to future use with commuter rail.
It's not as logical if you want the feds to finance two competing lines along the same corridor. There is not a lot of federal money and the competition for it is pretty high.  Thus if you get federal money for BRT on Philips you most likely will not get it for parallel commuter rail any time soon.  Maybe it's just me but would make better sense to shoot for BRT funding to a destination where rail does not exist, like Regency, Southside Blvd or to the Beaches.  At the same time you could push for commuter rail along Philips. Such a method would possibly provide us better transit service to multiple areas of town, sooner rather than later.

Ocklawaha

August 09, 2010, 10:47:26 AM
It's all about free money and a bunch of ignorant lemmings charging off another cliff. People wonder why Florida seems to hate Jacksonville? Because our so-called "authorities," are repeatedly about as sharp as a bag of marbles. These are obviously the guys that sit on the TV and watch the sofa in their spare time.

REALLY want to know how I feel? 30 years of battling this stupidity? I'm sorry, but it is rated such that MJ would be taken off the air!  $^@$%!@%^#$&$%*#^@$!@^&#*$^#!


OCKLAWAHA
Time for a DOUBLE!

Abhishek

August 09, 2010, 10:52:22 AM
Since commuter rail in this corridor will depend on the cooperation of FEC RR or Amtrak (or both), neither of which is certain, proceeding with BRT is probably prudent.  However, BRT stops should be designed where possible to be adaptable to future use with commuter rail.

the concern here is that this may set commuter rail along this corridor back by a decade or more...especially if Federal funds are desired...FTA likely won't want to spend money for both BRT and commuter rail serving the same corridor.
If a BRT route is congruent to a proposed Commuter Rail route (along Phillips Highway), it will make no sense to adapt them to each other. I can see credit in a BRT (or street car) system running from a commuter rail station eastward along University Blvd, JT Butler Blvd and Baymeadows etc.
I agree with tufsu1 that the BRT project may divert funding from Commuter Rail. Is there still time to put a stop to BRT?

simms3

August 09, 2010, 11:10:53 AM
In GA, where MARTA is already strictly a transit authority, gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel has already taken that a step further by proposing that MARTA focus on rail and a private entity pick up the bus routes.  Whether that is stupid or not remains to be fully debated, but it just goes to show how far ahead another nearby city is.  Karen is also an advocate of getting the state more involved in MARTA funding, since MARTA is the largest transit authority and only major one not at least partially subsidized by the state...it's fully funded by Fulton and Dekalb counties and the City of Atlanta.

vicupstate

August 09, 2010, 11:11:02 AM
Your best hope is to postpone this until a new mayor (with new JTA appointees) takes office. That or either hope it doesn't get the required federal funding. 

Overstreet

August 09, 2010, 11:58:29 AM
Which may explain why all the crossing closure signs along Philips Hwy.

TheProfessor

August 09, 2010, 12:40:07 PM
It would seem smarter to put BRT up San Jose Blvd. where people live at.  Not many people live on Phillips Hwy?   Also it would make sense to make an East/West line to the beach.

Doctor_K

August 09, 2010, 12:43:51 PM
It would seem smarter to put BRT up San Jose Blvd. where people live at.  Not many people live on Phillips Hwy?   Also it would make sense to make an East/West line to the beach.

+1!

cayohueso

August 09, 2010, 12:52:58 PM
This stupidity already took up over the parking lane on Blanding Blvd. So basically the plan is to run express buses more often...what a real Transportation Authority is supposed to be doing. What total crap. I have never even seen a bus on the Blanding Bus Lane. JTA is just eaten up with the dumbass.

rjp2008

August 09, 2010, 01:05:22 PM
So lets do something POSITIVE and SHOW jta what a commuter rail can do. While they spin their wheels in useless studies, lets get a train on that track and get it moving as a demonstrator. If they wont listen, then its time to take action.

CS Foltz

August 09, 2010, 02:22:24 PM
JTA does not have brains enough to pour pee out of a boot! They keep pushing for more concrete and the like and have yet to address simple issue's such as "A covered bus stop"! But BRT will have, what was it 24 Historically blending covered stops which I just know will be used to no end......right? What about the other 1800 other bus stops? Why do we have to have advertising in order to have simple shelters for those that use this? If JTA is not going to upgrade something as simple as their drivers extending simple courtesy to potential riders, bus's polluting our air and don't forget about those BRT lanes which will be bus dedicated.........WTH? JTA planners, appear to me, to not be able to plan their way out of a bathroom, much less be the guiding light for mass transit! What the hell about other modes of mass transit? Rail is not even on the back burner, but we can get some more studies done!

stephendare

August 09, 2010, 02:34:31 PM
JTA does not have brains enough to pour pee out of a boot! They keep pushing for more concrete and the like and have yet to address simple issue's such as "A covered bus stop"! But BRT will have, what was it 24 Historically blending covered stops which I just know will be used to no end......right? What about the other 1800 other bus stops? Why do we have to have advertising in order to have simple shelters for those that use this? If JTA is not going to upgrade something as simple as their drivers extending simple courtesy to potential riders, bus's polluting our air and don't forget about those BRT lanes which will be bus dedicated.........WTH? JTA planners, appear to me, to not be able to plan their way out of a bathroom, much less be the guiding light for mass transit! What the hell about other modes of mass transit? Rail is not even on the back burner, but we can get some more studies done!

+1,000,000

tufsu1

August 09, 2010, 05:01:56 PM
Which may explain why all the crossing closure signs along Philips Hwy.

actually they have nothing to do with it...that is an FDOT project to resurface and upgrade the roadway...which includes access management, bike lanes, and sidewalks

stjr

August 09, 2010, 07:23:00 PM
JTA's drawings refer to "stations".  What exactly constitutes a station?  This implies more than a bus stop.

If these "stations" are like the puny, non-user friendly Skyway stations, this project is dead before it gets going.  

If the "stations" are equal to bus stops, what's the substantive difference between BRT versus a regular bus route?  Extra time to make a green light?

"Stations" implies the ability to service hundreds of riders in short periods of time and with multiple buses at once.  Such "stations" will require great road access, drop off/pick up lanes, bus parking, and commuter parking to function at any decent level. Not to mention pedestrian and bicycle access (non-existent on Philips Highway for the most part) and a plan to future connect with mass transit rail.

Is their even a simple concept drawing of these stations?  How will they be accessed?  How much land will they require?  Where will all that commuter parking be?  In all that bureaucratic verbiage and playing with their colorful "crayons", I didn't see any specifics on this subject.

Add BRT to JTA's legacy of the intermodal center, Skyway, JTB interchange, Dames Point bridge port-limiting height, bus shelter ads, Outer Beltway, bus system, mismanaged BJP mass transit and other funds, etc. fiascoes.  How do these guys keep their jobs?!!!

spuwho

August 09, 2010, 08:58:50 PM
Doesn't a plan like this require a public hearing? Usually before Fed Funds can be accepted, they are required to hold at minimum 3 public hearings.

I have only heard about 2 recent public hearings with JTA.

- Regional Transit Authority study
- JTB I-95 Interchange

I would find out when the next one is and let it be known. That is the best time to express yourself.

Unfortunately, if someone can actually find the hearing schedule on the JTA website!

Here is what a BRT looks like;

http://www.jtafla.com/JTAfutureplans/Bus/

rjp2008

August 09, 2010, 09:01:15 PM
Funny how they try to make it look like rail!!!

stjr

August 09, 2010, 09:10:17 PM
Doesn't a plan like this require a public hearing? Usually before Fed Funds can be accepted, they are required to hold at minimum 3 public hearings.

Unfortunately, if someone can actually find the hearing schedule on the JTA website!

Found this on your link under "upcoming events":
Quote

August 23, 2010

BRT Southeast Corridor Public Meeting
Time: 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: Best Western-Southpoint

rjp2008

August 09, 2010, 09:17:59 PM
Talking is good, but again I think getting a demonstrator up on those FEC tracks would make JTA listen and pay attention. With permission from FEC you could have a train up and running within a week if need be.

Charles Hunter

August 09, 2010, 11:14:11 PM
Permission - including liability issues, which have tripped up or delayed commuter rail projects in the state.  I think a demonstration could be a negative for commuter rail, if FEC did not agree to give the CR priority on the miles of single track, and in switching.  If the demo has schedule reliability problems due to freight interference, it could kill the chances for commuter rail for years.

tufsu1

August 09, 2010, 11:14:54 PM
Doesn't a plan like this require a public hearing? Usually before Fed Funds can be accepted, they are required to hold at minimum 3 public hearings.

The article itself mentions the upcoming workshop...and there have ben multiple public meetings that have included the BRT plans, including those for the recent passage of the LRTP and the City's obility plan.

btw, studies like this require 2 public meetings...the first is a workshop and the second is a hearing.

urbaknight

August 10, 2010, 01:32:38 PM
I didn't even have to read the article to know that the plan sucks! I saw the map at the beginning and read some comments. That alone told me JTA is just shovelling more crap down the throats of the people that don't want it. I will not read the article, it will just make me sick!

Overstreet

August 11, 2010, 07:21:46 AM
Looks like a good way to make a right turn and get "t-boned" by a bus. This should also kill right turn on red at those intersections.

I wonder what the almost down town crowd from Emmerson will do at the Avenues Mall. Will the become shoppers or mall rats?

tufsu1

August 11, 2010, 08:12:54 AM
Looks like a good way to make a right turn and get "t-boned" by a bus. This should also kill right turn on red at those intersections.

why?

The plan doesn't call for extensive use of bus only lanes....and where they have a bus only lane on Blanding, right turning vehicles are permitted to use it.

as for the "emerson crowd"....they currently can get to the Avenues via the local route that goes down Philips now....how many of them have you seen there?

thelakelander

August 11, 2010, 08:24:16 AM
If this is being set up to be a spine for most Southside buses to hop on, you'll probably have a bus on it Philips every five minutes or so.  However, I would not worry about t-boning. I'd be more concerned about wasting transit money and economic redevelopment opportunity.  Quite frankly, traffic isn't heavy enough to widen the street for bus only lanes and it doesn't make sense to convert parking into bus lanes just because it's there. Get some shelters, modify you existing bus routes (like they do every year) to run this service and go to the feds to help get commuter rail off the ground.

dlemore

August 11, 2010, 12:56:21 PM
If this system involves overhead electric trolley it might work as a temporary bandaid and funding from the government might be forthcoming, if however, the JTA wants to stick with diesel or gas powered buses, I'll be the first to step in and ask the government to cancel all funding for this project to the JTA.  The idea of moving people at a faster rate of speed should include doing so without relying on foreign sources for fuel. Just because oil companies drill for oil close to our shores doesn't mean that the final product is for the American people only. JTA is sadly mistaken if it thinks it can continue to provide low cost bus service(including BRT)to the people of Jacksonville in the near future when those prices for fuel are subject to rise. The time to go with a low cost transportation system that can move mass amounts of people in the least amount of time....is now!!!  Further conjesting our roadways and arteries, polluting our air, and spending American money on foreign oil is not the answer.

Ocklawaha

August 11, 2010, 01:18:27 PM
If this system involves overhead electric trolley it might work as a temporary bandaid and funding from the government might be forthcoming, if however, the JTA wants to stick with diesel or gas powered buses, I'll be the first to step in and ask the government to cancel all funding for this project to the JTA.  The idea of moving people at a faster rate of speed should include doing so without relying on foreign sources for fuel. Just because oil companies drill for oil close to our shores doesn't mean that the final product is for the American people only. JTA is sadly mistaken if it thinks it can continue to provide low cost bus service(including BRT)to the people of Jacksonville in the near future when those prices for fuel are subject to rise. The time to go with a low cost transportation system that can move mass amounts of people in the least amount of time....is now!!!  Further conjesting our roadways and arteries, polluting our air, and spending American money on foreign oil is not the answer.

Electric Trolley Bus would do nothing for congesting our roadways, but would be far cheaper to operate and have the potential of ZERO pollution if the power plant is operated on solar, hydro or methane. The Rodman Dam probably provides enough flow that a low head power plant would power our whole system.

I WOULD NOT put trolley buses on Philips Highway, as it does not have the density to warrant the investment for a stand alone electric system. However downtown (think the current PCT Routes) and San Jose Blvd all the way into Julington Creek would make for an excellent passive restricted lane trolley bus starter route.

Meet the trains at Atlantic and the FEC RY in San Marco.



We could use this idea on our streetcar system, AND it could be applied to buses too.


Passive restricted lanes could also be used on Blanding, Kings Road, Atlantic etc...  How does it work? Easy! Just resurface the roadways where the buses are planned with a roughened surface such as brick, stone, pavers, or impressed concrete or asphalt, enough to really feel it in an automobile. Meanwhile since buses are generally 102" wide, a smooth busway drive surface can be created just the right size to fit the bus wheels. The same idea is used with Light Rail. In the end product nobody is restricted from the transit lane, in fact you can use it all you want if you don't mind shaking your teeth out as no car is wide enough to straddle the busway.

OCKLAWAHA

CS Foltz

August 11, 2010, 01:37:53 PM
Ock............I concur! Phillips is not the place for rail, not yet at least, but downtown is a hole nother issue! BRT where proposed is just plain silly, not to mention a waste of $12 Million Dollars, waste of asphalt and line marking paint and parking spaces! Factor in the historical shelters being bandied about, at $24K apiece and supposed to be 24 of them going in along the BRT route, without increasing ridership any at all, this is doomed to failure! Not to mention .......we subsidize JTA now and will be doing the same thing with BRT which makes me ask......what is the total yearly cost to the taxpayers going to be? JTA has yet to publish last years figures and with JTA's propensity for cooking their books, I would take everything they say with a barrel of salt!

JeffreyS

August 11, 2010, 04:28:07 PM
Streetcars and commuter rail have worked for over a hundred years why reinvent the wheel.

Ocklawaha

August 11, 2010, 05:04:41 PM

RAIL

To make this clear, I said Philips was NOT the place for BRT, the FEC RY corridor alongside Philips IS INDEED THE PLACE FOR RAIL.



TROLLEY BUS
San Jose, like University, Atlantic, Merrill, Kings, Blanding even Lem Turner are all decent locations for BRT feeder routes and the heaviest of these, with the closest headways SHOULD BE CONVERTED TO TROLLEY BUS.



OCKLAWAHA

CS Foltz

August 11, 2010, 06:19:35 PM
Ock...........I agree! The FEC Rail system is custom built for a Rail system and it extends south to St Augustine! Possibilities are endless, limited by funding and imagination! JTA and City Hall are useless when you go beyond concrete!

stjr

August 22, 2010, 02:49:32 PM
Quote
Understand that BRT is not bad...

LOL, Ock.  Every concept is bad when it is put through the incompetent hands of JTA.  :D

Noticed Ron Littlepage today picked up on the $4 million a year TRANSFERRED from the BUS system to SUBSIDIZE the $ky-high-way! (Even though taxpayers where promised this would never happen.)  He echoed my immediate thought about how many bus shelters that could have paid for and that we should again consider shutting down the Skyway for good.


Quote
Riderless Express rolls on; city cutbacks derailed

Submitted by Ron Littlepage on August 21, 2010 - 11:40pm Ron Littlepage's Blog

Spinning around the news dial … click.

Click.
All kinds of interesting facts pop up during the City Council’s Finance Committee budget hearings.
For example, last week the committee examined the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s budget, including the funding for the Riderless Skyway Express.
Of the $5.3 million that will be spent on Skyway operations in the next fiscal year, only $400,000 will come from passenger fares.
Isn’t it time to put this mistake out of its misery?

Click.
A big chunk of the subsidy for the Skyway comes from $4 million transferred from the budget for bus operations.
That’s particularly galling for those who remember that when the life of the local option gasoline tax was extended, promises were made that none of the money would go to the Skyway.
That’s exactly where some of it is going.


Click.
Hmmm. I wonder how many bus stop shelters could be built with that $4 million?

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/400564/ron-littlepage/2010-08-21/riderless-express-rolls-city-cutbacks-derailed

thelakelander

August 22, 2010, 03:31:21 PM
Only a fool would think that mass transit would make a profit or break even through fares.  Eliminate duplication by consolidating bus operations in DT.  That will reduce bus O&M, travel times through downtown and add riders to the skyway.

stjr

August 22, 2010, 04:05:19 PM
Only a fool would think that mass transit would make a profit or break even through fares.  Eliminate duplication by consolidating bus operations in DT.  That will reduce bus O&M, travel times through downtown and add riders to the skyway.

Lake, once again, I don't think most are asking for transit to not lose money.  The question, is how much for what we get in return.  Mass transit, like any activity, can't have access to unlimited resources.  Return on investment (in this case, the amount of the subsidy) is still the determining criteria.  What Littlepage is highlighting is, would you rather put $4 million in the Skyway or the Bus System.  There is only one $4 million allotment to work with.  (To get a second $4 million, see the Jaguars-Everbank deal :) ).

I do think everyone can agree that nothing JTA does is truly "efficient".

It will be an interesting "test" of the Skyway to see if BRT adds any riders of significance to its system.  If it doesn't, add another nail in the Skyway's coffin.

thelakelander

August 22, 2010, 04:12:02 PM
I actually agree with a good portion of your post.  However, I don't agree with the notion of skyway vs bus or bus vs commuter rail, streetcar or whatever mode selected to pick on for the hour.  I believe the entire system needs to be re-evaluated and modified.   I would bet the house and kids that a better and more reliable transit system (that includes buses and the skyway) could be run with the current amount of funds taken in.

Ocklawaha

August 22, 2010, 06:54:57 PM
I actually agree with a good portion of your post.  However, I don't agree with the notion of skyway vs bus or bus vs commuter  rail, streetcar or whatever mode selected to pick on for the hour.  I believe the entire system needs to be re-evaluated and modified.   I would bet the house and kids that a better and more reliable transit system (that includes buses and the skyway) could be run with the current amount of funds taken in.


Right! The trouble is if you build BRT under the SKYWAY you have set yourself up for failure, a failure that someday down the road, somebody is going to demand an accounting for. If on the other hand you did minor extensions to the Skyway to get it into residential-retail-hospital territories and fed those endpoints with BRT and/or Streetcar and bus, as well as BRT, you'd be explaining why a dead monorail suddenly skyrocketed to the top of small transit systems in performance, it's your choice JTA.

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."


OCKLAWAHA

CS Foltz

August 22, 2010, 08:41:02 PM
Gentlemen...............$kyway is just one slice of an intermodal transportation system........or should be! BRT will be mirroring $kyway and seems to me, to be pretty silly since both systems will suffer! Not to mention, that JTA has said........got no money for bus shelters! $4 Million Dollars would go far to get shelters into place where there are none, but BRT will get $24 Thousand Dollar shelters and a total of 12 (?) There are other issue's with the current JTA bus system...........drivers, lack of shelters and management that is lost! I am not really sure that Phillips is best served by a BRT system because of a lack of riders! Not alot of housing along Phillips and I kinda fail to see just how this will enhance the "Bus experience" in BRT form?

Ocklawaha

August 22, 2010, 10:53:37 PM
Quote
August 23, 2010
BRT Southeast Corridor Public Meeting
Time: 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Location: Best Western-Southpoint

This thread was split with a couple of posts moving to the new "ATTEND JTA's Plan To KILL RAIL, 4-7 MON."

DON'T MISS THIS SHOWDOWN!



OCKLAWAHA

dlemore

August 26, 2010, 04:30:28 PM
If the skyway is not a money maker and is taking away funding from a better transportation system, then why not shut the cash cow down. Maybe someday the skyway will be extended(less concrete I hope, less of a eye sore) and become part of a good maglev monorail system to all points of jacksonville. I can't think of a better way to start filling the void and replacing some of the existing JTA employees with a cost effective driverless system, that could eventually provide a low cost transportation system for that portion that utilize the system to get from point A to Point B without the need for fossil fuel.

stephendare

August 26, 2010, 04:37:44 PM
If the skyway is not a money maker and is taking away funding from a better transportation system, then why not shut the cash cow down. Maybe someday the skyway will be extended(less concrete I hope, less of a eye sore) and become part of a good maglev monorail system to all points of jacksonville. I can't think of a better way to start filling the void and replacing some of the existing JTA employees with a cost effective driverless system, that could eventually provide a low cost transportation system for that portion that utilize the system to get from point A to Point B without the need for fossil fuel.

I highly doubt that the accounting for the full system has been presented.

In fact Im going to go ahead and guess that there is significant revenue from the leasing and alternative revenue that has just not been reported at all.

Ocklawaha

August 26, 2010, 05:29:22 PM
If the skyway is not a money maker and is taking away funding from a better transportation system, then why not shut the cash cow down. Maybe someday the skyway will be extended(less concrete I hope, less of a eye sore) and become part of a good maglev monorail system to all points of jacksonville. I can't think of a better way to start filling the void and replacing some of the existing JTA employees with a cost effective driverless system, that could eventually provide a low cost transportation system for that portion that utilize the system to get from point A to Point B without the need for fossil fuel.

"Maglev" and "low cost transportation system," is an oxymoron. We jumped the gun in suddenly converting our Skyway into a "FUTURISTIC MONORAIL" rather then a sensible its-worked-for-100-years-so-why-not-use-it regular rail system which COULD HAVE been done for a fraction of the cost. At the same time as the Skyway was starting to fly, San Diego created the first leg of a regional LRT system "The Tijuana Trolley", they spent $85 Million for 15 miles, including track, wire, equipment, stations, etc... We spent $200 Million for 2.4 miles!

Driverless (fyi train operators are known as "DRIVERS" outside of North America where they are Engineers) operation isn't really driverless. Fact is someone is doing the driving someplace, or at the very least they have their hand over a kill switch while watching a video monitor. It doesn't get more advanced then our Skyway when it comes to operations. The whole railroad with 4 lines (including the carbarn line) is operated by over 120 video monitors and 2 men at the controlling computer keyboards. The Skyway cars can also be operated by a "Pilot" (monorail terms are different, a Pilot operates the train, though I'd still prefer the term Motorman since the cars are electric) simply by unlocking a hidden control panel in the front of either car.

The good news is, with our $200 Million we have FINISHED all of the infrastructure for a much larger system. 5 miles? 20 miles? 200 miles? We don't need a single thing now but track and track is about $15-35 Million per mile depending on the vendor and style of construction.

Shut it down? That is a CERTAIN way to kill not only the Skyway, but any other fixed mass transit system in this city forever.



OCKLAWAHA

CS Foltz

August 26, 2010, 07:12:09 PM
Ock..."Maglev" is not something Jacksonville is ready for yet! Money is the biggest obstacle, for we can't even fund 1700 shelters without .....advertising or sponsorship! Maybe that $4 Million could be used on the $kyway instead of BRT that is not needed? I just have to love the concept that JTA, or their consultants, seem to think "Build it and they will ride"! Granted,  infill is started by having a transit system and then infill starting to take place but BRT is not the answer,especially on Phillips! That leg is a stand alone and will  only lose money due to low ridership which means we, the taxpayers, will be paying even more than the allready inflated subsidy we provide! But hay......if they sell advertising, some more shelters might be installed! Philips Highway has signs on the side of the road to indicate "Bus stop" but funny as it seems........no shelters with roofs! Something is wrong with this picture!

Ocklawaha

August 26, 2010, 11:15:07 PM
DIRECTIONS OF THE FUTURE IN PHOTOS OF COURSE!


NORTH CAROLINA Raleigh-Charlotte corridor trains


PORTLAND, OREGON One sign says it all


MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA This is the 3Rd what?


LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS Boom town on the Arkansas River


VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLOMBIA The fully automated Sky-Train


MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE Main street USA


SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA The "original" new trolley system


PANAMA CITY, PANAMA This one even has a glass dome car


ATLANTA, GEORGIA, The New South's first heavy rail system


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, When the corridor and LRT are established you build a streetcar line


HABANA, CUBA, Interurban service on the Hershey Railway

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, Cal-Train quickly converted the highway culture


JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, Past-Present-Future?


“Losers visualize the penalties of failure. Winners visualize the rewards of success.”

OCKLAWAHA

CS Foltz

August 27, 2010, 01:44:05 PM
Ock..............we are just getting JTA and the City to work together.......kinda.......sorta! Until they see the light we can count on just what we are getting...............BRT with Federal Funds! We can't afford anything else I would guess!

dlemore

August 29, 2010, 07:55:51 AM
 a surcharge
If the skyway is not a money maker and is taking away funding from a better transportation system, then why not shut the cash cow down. Maybe someday the skyway will be extended(less concrete I hope, less of a eye sore) and become part of a good maglev monorail system to all points of jacksonville. I can't think of a better way to start filling the void and replacing some of the existing JTA employees with a cost effective driverless system, that could eventually provide a low cost transportation system for that portion that utilize the system to get from point A to Point B without the need for fossil fuel.

"Maglev" and "low cost transportation system," is an oxymoron. We jumped the gun in suddenly converting our Skyway into a "FUTURISTIC MONORAIL" rather then a sensible its-worked-for-100-years-so-why-not-use-it regular rail system which COULD HAVE been done for a fraction of the cost. At the same time as the Skyway was starting to fly, San Diego created the first leg of a regional LRT system "The Tijuana Trolley", they spent $85 Million for 15 miles, including track, wire, equipment, stations, etc... We spent $200 Million for 2.4 miles!

Driverless (fyi train operators are known as "DRIVERS" outside of North America where they are Engineers) operation isn't really driverless. Fact is someone is doing the driving someplace, or at the very least they have their hand over a kill switch while watching a video monitor. It doesn't get more advanced then our Skyway when it comes to operations. The whole railroad with 4 lines (including the carbarn line) is operated by over 120 video monitors and 2 men at the controlling computer keyboards. The Skyway cars can also be operated by a "Pilot" (monorail terms are different, a Pilot operates the train, though I'd still prefer the term Motorman since the cars are electric) simply by unlocking a hidden control panel in the front of either car.

The good news is, with our $200 Million we have FINISHED all of the infrastructure for a much larger system. 5 miles? 20 miles? 200 miles? We don't need a single thing now but track and track is about $15-35 Million per mile depending on the vendor and style of construction.

Shut it down? That is a CERTAIN way to kill not only the Skyway, but any other fixed mass transit system in this city forever.



OCKLAWAHA

OCK..... Would you by any chance know how much FEC, CSX and Southern will be charging for the usege of their tracks? BRT? Just maybe the JTA doesn't want to get locked into a long term contract, at  this time. Paying any money to the railroads for the usege of their tracks will turn out to be nothing more then another cash cow for the JTA. And, I doubt shutting down the skyway would effect further funding for rapid transit, from the boys in Washington. If the JTA needs more money for it's transportation improvements, just add a surcharge of $5.00 to everytime someone wants a football ticket. The city can't seem to make any money from Mr. Weaver or the NFL fiasco....Who owns the stadium, certainly not the NFL or Mr Weaver?

CS Foltz

August 29, 2010, 08:07:48 AM
dlemore..........not a question of how much any of the railroads would charge, more of a matter of timing since those are main lines in and out of Jacksonville! Their scheduling is pretty tight to dove tail with other trains moving in and out points south and west and north! Better solution, imo, would be a seperate rail system for just commuter or light rail! But that takes a heap load of money,planning,enviro,row,public input,meetings etc etc! Takes probably 5 to 10 years from the start, before anything starts up and then you have construction time.....anyway you get the idea! We need to start exploring options and thats what this discussion is all about....just trying to get the ball rolling!

thelakelander

August 29, 2010, 08:26:27 AM
We should look at every corridor individually.  For example, BRT and streetcars (modern and heritage) can run in the street or public ROW, so you won't be paying the railroads anything.  In addition, the city already owns the S-Line through the Northside.  That's another corridor that ROW costs will be relatively low.  Then you have the CSX A line paralleling Roosevelt.  Since CSX is selling a chunk of this track in Central Florida for Sunrail, it may not be out of the question to do a similar deal for the Jax portion for commuter rail between DT and Clay County.  Last, with the pending FEC/Amtrak deal, expect capital cost to be impacted on that corridor as well since the State/Feds/Amtrak will have to make some of the same upgrades to that line that we would have to make for commuter rail.  We'd probably save some money here to by piggybacking that deal and its improvements.  Imo, considering the Amtrak deal and pending I-95 construction, JTA should be pushing this one forward to the FTA (here you at least combining financial resources together to complete a project) instead of BRT down Philips. 

CS Foltz

August 29, 2010, 08:32:35 AM
lake I agree! This is something that both JTA and the City should have been working on together instead of all of the Transportation entities pushing their particular slice of the pie! Upgrades have not been done in a co-ordinated manner with an eye towards possible combinations...........FDOT should have taken the lead since they supposedly are the state authority........but what do I know! I just pay for most of it, good or bad!

dlemore

August 29, 2010, 09:21:33 PM
dlemore..........not a question of how much any of the railroads would charge, more of a matter of timing since those are main lines in and out of Jacksonville! Their scheduling is pretty tight to dove tail with other trains moving in and out points south and west and north! Better solution, imo, would be a seperate rail system for just commuter or light rail! But that takes a heap load of money,planning,enviro,row,public input,meetings etc etc! Takes probably 5 to 10 years from the start, before anything starts up and then you have construction time.....anyway you get the idea! We need to start exploring options and thats what this discussion is all about....just trying to get the ball rolling!



How many trains were handled here in Jax in the early 40's? Chicago and Miami seem to be doing just fine with their commuter rail trains....dispatchers of our local railroads are trained to handle mostly  anything!! Most of CSX's traffic is port and intermodal, diverted on trackage mostly outside of the intercity.

Ocklawaha

August 29, 2010, 10:34:39 PM

The Keys to a rail transit system... (If you can't read the locomotives lettering it says TALLEYRAND TERMINAL RR)

Create a "Jacksonville Railroad Authority"

Purchase all CSX and NS trackage from Moncrief Yard/Simpson Yard through Springfield, Export Yard, Talleyrand Terminals, Busch, all the way to Yulee or even to the end of the line just inside Georgia. Railroad's are more in the business of hauling the cargo from JAX to LAX then from Blount Island to Moncrief, so they WON'T buck at a reasonable offer.

Dedicate some public monies - perhaps in conjunction with a ALSO NEW "Jacksonville TRANSIT AUTHORITY" to reconstruct the Jacksonville Belt Railroad (AKA: "S" Line) from Union Terminal to Springfield.

Lease all freight trackage and rebuilt portions to a shortline operator/or reciprocal switching BY ALL CARRIERS or a wheelage charge.

IE:
What is Reciprocal Switching
Reciprocal Switching is the industry term for switching cars between a local facility and the nearest interchange with a connecting railway, where the railway performing the reciprocal switch does not participate in the linehaul of a railcar. Customers may be "open" to reciprocal switching, meaning other railways can ship to or from the facility using the prices in the tariff.

What is a Wheelage Charge
To apportion expenses between the 7 Railways (in the JAX area) in a mutually agreeable manner, a method of counting engines and rolling stock in the Terminal Area would be devised. The count, commonly referred to as "Wheelage", applied against joint trackage maintenance and operating costs with each Railway accruing charges based on traffic volume. Each engine and each loaded or empty car would be counted once upon entering and once upon leaving the JAX Transit Zone except for engines and cars in passenger (Amtrak, commuter or LRT) trains which would be given a lesser count of one-half. A second entry and exit by a passenger train would not be counted. Switching and transfer moves, etc. could be excluded from the wheelage count.

The net effect of these two changes would open our port facilities to any and every carrier in the city, creating open access in Jacksonville. Opening our facilities would greatly enhance our position as a world port and create an economic engine of transportation choice among our major industrial players.

Use the income from originating shipments to upgrade track and assist with commuter rail subsidy's.

Folks, we have a situation like no other place in Florida or perhaps the southeast, NOW is the time to act.

FOOTNOTE:
The line in question in much of the discussion is the FLORIDA EAST COAST RAILWAY between St. Augustine and Jacksonville Terminal. Don't make the mistake of assuming that we can schedule around the transfer movements between the terminal interchanges and Bowden Yard (University Blvd.), we can't. These are often random cuts of cars which the railroads are struggling to get off the property ASAP. This is a case where track improvements may be needed and the FEC would have to agree to move transfers around a mass transit schedule, something they seem willing to discuss.



OCKLAWAHA



spuwho

August 29, 2010, 11:22:33 PM
Getting back on BRT for a second....

A sniff test tells me that JTA is going to continue to do what they want for Duval County (BRT included) and leave commuter rail to a future regional transit agency. Similar to what the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and METRA is the the RTA (Regional Transit Authority).

The CTA still manages and runs all lines (bus and light rail) within the city limits in most cases and has a somewhat minimal relationship with the regional group (they share seats on the RTA board). They still argue about having single passes across all of the RTA services, which CTA usually objects ( I see the same politics with JTA). CTA negotiates their own union agreements separately from RTA entities.

To keep METRA from "over competing", they purposely limit the number of stops METRA trains make within the Chicago city limits to protect CTA buses and trains. The only exception is the Metra Electric.

So JTA continues to own, manage and run a bus based system here in Duval County, while some future taxing entity of which JTA will be a non-majority member will supply the regional rail, with non-Duval bus type of transit.

Personally, I already have a preferred name for the regional rail entity, FIRST COAST TRANSIT or "FCT". The regional authority should be called NEFRTA (North East Florida Regional Transportation Authority)

And while I am on a roll here, turn the Skyway format over to FCT and let them re-purpose it for routes that can't be served by heavy rail. If JTA refuses, then drop and dismantle it and stop the cross subsidy. Let JTA stick to roads and buses, and turn rail transit over to FCT.

Ocklawaha

August 29, 2010, 11:43:53 PM
Personally, I already have a preferred name for the regional rail entity, FIRST COAST TRANSIT or "FCT". The regional authority should be called NEFRTA (North East Florida Regional Transportation Authority)

And while I am on a roll here, turn the Skyway format over to FCT and let them re-purpose it for routes that can't be served by heavy rail. If JTA refuses, then drop and dismantle it and stop the cross subsidy. Let JTA stick to roads and buses, and turn rail transit over to FCT.

First NOBODY is talking about heavy-rail in Jacksonville! We need to pack in another 4 million or so people before that kind of thing is even dreamed of.

Commuter rail is a whole different animal, CTA is heavy rail and METRA is commuter rail (note the little train on the bottom of my posts...METRA-CHICAGO).

JTA is chasing a dream of empire, and don't think for a second that the current directors don't hear the cha-ching from rail studies. While we're on the same team about mass transit, rail or logical Skyway solutions in Jacksonville might be like wishing in one had and spitting in the other and checking to see which fills faster.


OCKLAWAHA

spuwho

August 30, 2010, 07:49:48 AM

Commuter rail is a whole different animal, CTA is heavy rail and METRA is commuter rail (note the little train on the bottom of my posts...METRA-CHICAGO).

JTA is chasing a dream of empire, and don't think for a second that the current directors don't hear the cha-ching from rail studies. While we're on the same team about mass transit, rail or logical Skyway solutions in Jacksonville might be like wishing in one had and spitting in the other and checking to see which fills faster.


OCKLAWAHA

The New Mexico Rail Runner serves Albuquerque and Santa Fe just fine and they don't have 4 million people. So I don't think it is out of the question for NE Florida.

The only critical issue I see is placing regional transit in the hands of a non-transparent, semi-accountable entity like JTA. If I was the county administrator for a collar county like Clay, Nassau or St Johns, who was being asked to partner with them, I would want contractual constraints on their rein of authority outside the Duval County line. While regional cooperation is desirable, I have no taste in the exportation of poor public service.

thelakelander

August 30, 2010, 07:53:17 AM
The New Mexico Rail Runner is commuter rail, which is what has been proposed here.  Atlanta's MARTA, DC's Metro, Miami's Metrorail and Chicago's El are examples of Heavy Rail.

spuwho

August 30, 2010, 08:17:50 AM
The New Mexico Rail Runner is commuter rail, which is what has been proposed here.  Atlanta's MARTA, DC's Metro, Miami's Metrorail and Chicago's El are examples of Heavy Rail.

While the delivery methods are important: Commuter, heavy/light rail etc. My earlier post was expounding on organizational methods and I was using Chicago as an example of regional cooperation even while different client delivery methods are still in use.

If BRT makes sense as a JTA, Duval only implementation, then let commuter (or what ever rail methods work best) in a regional setting take place.

Ocklawaha

August 30, 2010, 08:57:29 AM
No condemnation intended my friend, your point was loud and clear and it's great that you are speaking up. The only reason Lake and I jumped on the fine line definition of the various types of rail is because most people in JAX don't have a clue. Newspaper accounts of "Light Rail on the CSX mainline" and other nonsense has just served to confuse everyone. Now we even have people claiming that our monoRAIL is not a type of rail.

I think BRT has a fantastic place in our mass transit system especially in the Northwest, Argyle/Bellair, Post-Normandy, and Arlington-Beaches or Southside-Beaches corridors. It could easily cross the line into Middleburg, Nocatee or WGV connecting those communties with commuter rail.

Glad your on the team.



OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

September 20, 2010, 06:32:05 PM
I-95 and Philips are a mess today. The option of commuter rail would give riders an option to completely avoid gridlock caused by unpredictable auto accidents. One the other hand, JTA's BRT down Philips would be caught in today's melee.

uptowngirl

September 21, 2010, 07:53:53 AM
I-95 and Philips are a mess today. The option of commuter rail would give riders an option to completely avoid gridlock caused by unpredictable auto accidents. One the other hand, JTA's BRT down Philips would be caught in today's melee.

+1

The light switches are also a mess. You can sit through four or five lights during rush hour at the high traffic intersections like Baymeadows and Emerson. While I find myself needing to go to the Southside quite often, I dread the drive during the week. A commuter rail would be fabulous, especially if there was additional connectivity to key spots.
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