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Before & After: Rail Spurs Economic Development

In an effort to prove local rail-based mass transit can bring density and economic development to a sprawling region like the First Coast, Metro Jacksonville presents a visual argument of this phenomenon taking place in peer cities across the country.

Published June 18, 2010 in Transit      47 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

Did You Know?



 Every $1 spent on public transit projects generates on average $6 in local economic activity. (Source: American Public Transportation Association)

 Between 3,140 and 5,700 jobs are generally created for every $100 million invested in public transit. (Source: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.)

 Research shows that businesses realize a gain in sales of three times the public sector investment in transit ; a $100 million transit investments results in a $300 million increase in business sales. (Source: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.)

http://www.detroittransit.org/cms.php?pageid=54


Need Examples?

Click on images to enlarge

San Diego Trolley - Before: 1994, After: 2010


Portland Max LRT - Before: 1994, After: 2010


Quote
More than $6 billion in development has occurred along Portland’s MAX light rail lines since the decision to build in 1978 (Source: TriMet, Portland, Oregon).  Portland’s streetcar line also has generated $2.8 billion in investments. Between 1997 and 2005, 7,200 new housing units and 4.6 million square feet of commercial development occurred in the Pearl District, once a blighted industrial area near the line.
http://www.detroittransit.org/cms.php?pageid=54

Portland Streetcar - Before: 1994, After: 2010


Santa Clara VTA LRT (San Jose) - Before: 1999, After: 2010


TECO Streetcar (Tampa) - Before: 2002, After: 2010

Quote
But proponents say Tampa's Teco Line Streetcar System has delivered on another front: helping to spur development. Some $450 million in residential and retail space is complete along the route, most of it in the Channel District, a once-languishing maritime neighborhood. With another $450 million in development underway and $1.1 billion in the planning stages, local officials expect the district to be home to as many as 10,000 residents within the next decade.

Like stadiums, convention centers and aquariums, streetcars have emerged as a popular tool in the effort to revitalize downtowns in the U.S. About a dozen cities, from Madison, Wis., to Miami, are planning lines. But while research shows that big-ticket projects such as ballparks largely fail to spawn economic development, evidence is mounting that streetcars are indeed a magnet.
http://www.realestatejournal.com/propertyreport/newsandtrends/20070626-herrick.html


Kenosha Trolley - Before: 2000, After: 2010

Quote
In Kenosha, Wis., city officials say a two-mile line helped generate 400 new residential units and the redevelopment of a 69-acre industrial site into a waterfront park.
http://www.realestatejournal.com/propertyreport/newsandtrends/20070626-herrick.html


Little Rock River Rail Streetcar - Before: 2001, After: 2010


Between 2007 and the opening of Little Rock's River Rail Streetcar in 2004, over $400 million in private development took place within two blocks of the streetcar's alignment.
http://www.fortworthgov.org/uploadedFiles/Planning_and_Development/Miscellaneous_(template)/Peer City Handout for distribution.pdf


Memphis Streecar - Before: 1997, After: 2010


Since its opening in 1993, Memphis' MATA Streetcar system has expanded from 2.5 to 12 miles and attracted over $2 billion in Transit Oriented Development (TOD).

http://www.fortworthgov.org/uploadedFiles/Planning_and_Development/Miscellaneous_(template)/Peer City Handout for distribution.pdf


Metrorail (Miami) - Before: 1994, After: 2010


Quote
Dadeland South, or downtown Kendall, is the southern terminus of the Metrorail line and represents a textbook example of transit-oriented development. Initiated by the local chamber of commerce, the project's planning process led to a successful, form-based code that has created a roadmap for converting an auto-intensive area into a mixed-used community along two Metrorail stations.
http://www.railvolution.com/mobileworkshops.asp

Metrorail (Miami) - Before: 1999, After: 2010



M-Line Streetcar (Uptown Dallas) - Before: 1995, After: 2010

Quote
Dallas began building light rail in 1996. Within five years, the 45-mile line generated $3.3 billion in private investment, 32,000 jobs, and 39-53% greater growth in property value than elsewhere in the city.  The investment has continued to $4.26 billion in commercial and residential investments directly related to the rail system (“transit-oriented development”).  The projects have included restaurants, retail shops, professional offices, thousands of housing units, movie theaters, hotels, performing arts centers, and more. (Source: Center for Economic Development and Research, University of North Texas).
http://www.detroittransit.org/cms.php?pageid=54


Metrorail (Austin) - Before: 2005, After: 2010


Old Pueblo Trolley (Tucson) - Before: 1992, After: 2010


The success of Tucson's Old Pueblo Trolley heritage line has led to a plan for modern streetcar system in this city of 540,000 residents.  Construction on the modern streetcar line is anticipated to begin in late 2010.

Quote
Tucson's modern streetcar system, at $25 million a mile, will be an expensive experiment in spurring increased transit use and downtown redevelopment.

Planned for a 2010 start on a four-mile route from University Medical Center to west of the downtown area, the system will be a "great people mover" that will attract new mixed development along its route, especially in the area of the city's Rio Nuevo downtown rejuvenation project, proponents say.

Voters approved the streetcar system last year as part of the Regional Transportation Authority's 20-year transportation improvement plan, which will be partly funded with a half-cent sales tax passed in the election.
http://tucsontransitstudy.com/media_2007_03_22.htm


METRO LRT (Tempe) - Before: 2004, After: 2010


METRO LRT (Phoenix) - Before: 2006, After: 2010


Installed in the middle of suburbia, Phoenix's METRO LRT has stimulated economic development and already exceeded initial ridership estimates.

2009
Quote
City leaders believe that investing in light rail is still cheaper than expanding highways and that rail can help reduce auto emissions in the metropolitan area.  Metro officials expect 26,000 boardings a day in 2009.
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-jan-metro-light-rail-rail-comes-to-phoenix

2010
Quote
Metro’s impressive ridership gains continue apace, the light rail transit agency reported.

April brought new records for total passengers and average weekday passengers, while four times last month more than 50,000 people boarded Metro on a single day. That had happened five times in the entire 16 months of service before April. The Diamondbacks home opener on Monday April 5 now stands as Metro’s daily record-holder, with 55,679 officially measured boardings.

Metro also had its first back-to-back 50,000-passenger days, when D’Backs games coincided with an Eagles concert and a Phoenix Suns playoff game.

Overall, Metro’s weekday ridership continued the yearlong trend of being 20 percent higher than the same months last year. It also meant that Metro saw double-digit increases in total ridership each of the months of 2010. April’s numbers were 4 percent higher than March’s.
http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/lightrailblog/80262


METRO (Alexandria, VA) - Before: 1988, After: 2010


LNYX LRT (Charlotte) - Before: 1998, After: 2010

Quote
Charlotte just opened the LYNX Blue Line, offering fast, convenient light-rail service along a 9.6-mile route between uptown Charlotte and I-485. There has been $1.87 billion in investment and development along the city’s South Corridor, in large part because of the light rail system (Source: UNC Charlotte’s Center for Transportation Studies, April 2007).  About 50 new development projects have been sparked in Uptown Charlotte, including 3,350 new condominium and apartment units, seven new office projects, two new retail projects, and three hotels (Source: Reconnecting America).
http://www.detroittransit.org/cms.php?pageid=54

Aerials from Google Earth


A Lesson for Jacksonville


The passing of the proposed 2030 Mobilty Plan could bring much needed sustainable economic development to many areas of Jacksonville, including Brooklyn (pictured above).

Which comes first?  Density or rail?  The images suggest that rail stimulates the type of economic development that creates pedestrian friendly neighborhoods that can serve as an alternative to ever expanding urban sprawl.

Article by Ennis Davis







47 Comments

JeffreyS

June 18, 2010, 08:45:27 AM
Wow investing in your community is a good way to spur Economic Developement. Some on this forum will say we do not have the money and I say if we never invest in this community with quality of life projects like passanger rail we likely never will.

reednavy

June 18, 2010, 10:56:30 AM
Nothing from Denver? I'd like to see what I'm looking forward to by moving there in a few weeks.

Doctor_K

June 18, 2010, 10:57:57 AM
Awesome article with amazing visuals and descriptions.

But - there are too many proven outcomes here.  I guarantee you detractors and JTA officials alike (aren't they one and the same?) will still bend over backwards and invert themselves to try to come up with plenty of excuses as to why that won't work and shouldn't/can't happen here.

For the rest of us in reality, this is inspiring.

brainstormer

June 18, 2010, 11:23:41 AM
Reed, you are going to love Denver.  The development there is very similar to the examples above.  And their bus system is easy to use and well integrated with other forms of mass transit.  JTA could learn a lot from Denver.

thelakelander

June 18, 2010, 12:05:10 PM
Nothing from Denver? I'd like to see what I'm looking forward to by moving there in a few weeks.

Here you go.

Before: 1999 (old industrial wasteland)


After: 2010 (an urban extension of DT)


Before: 1994 (a suburban dead mall)


After: 2010 (a suburban TOD)

L.P. Hovercraft

June 18, 2010, 04:23:46 PM
Wow--a couple pictures are definitely worth a thousand words.  These are pretty damned convincing; I would think even a semi-literate, near-sighted good ol' boy could see the benefits of fixed rail transit in Jax after viewing these pics (no offense meant to any semi-literate, near-sighted good ol' boys out there).

CS Foltz

June 18, 2010, 09:18:31 PM
LP.....I agree with your take on this situation! You have to remember that the "Nifty Fifty" actually run things here in Jacksonville and thats not good for the people in any shape fashion or flavor! We, the taxpayers, just get to pay for it all plain and simple! JTA (the Just Today Agency) has no vision, management or organizational skills at all.............just interested in keeping their jobs.....I mean look at the shelters, or the lack thereof, routes that get changed about every six months and we get to subsidize them also! Until we round file all of the those bufoons, we are stuck with know nothings and wasters or our resources!

stjr

June 19, 2010, 01:44:29 PM
A tale of "two" types of cities:  Ones that think they have a future, vision it, and make it happen versus one who talks about a future and does little right to get there due to parochial interests embedded in developers' political lackeys (such as the City Council), road building agencies who give lip service to mass transit or other facets of planning and land use, and special interests.

We need a long term entity with broad interdisciplinary authority that can rise above daily political winds and create and execute a vision for this City without special interest interference and political micromanagement.

JeffreyS

June 19, 2010, 02:07:46 PM
You are right stjr it is about fashioning your city the way you want it to be not just trying to figure out how to spend less to just barely serve the sprawlburg you now have.

ralpho37

June 19, 2010, 06:15:23 PM
Makes me sad because i know it will never happen here

JeffreyS

June 19, 2010, 06:47:43 PM
I think your wrong ralpho37 the national attitude and locally the influence of Metrojacksonville.com as a watchdog and idea distributor have pushed a bunch of the "behind the scenes" work that will make the next 5 years very exciting and productive.  You will see ideas like this taking shape on the ground. The only caveat to my prediction is if you see the national politics swing back to the we spend our money overseas not at home party.

stephendare

June 19, 2010, 06:53:03 PM
In fact we were privileged to find out yesterday that stories on Metrojacksonville were used as one of the justifications for relaunching the FEC Amtrak corridor push.

The program, on Hiatus during the Bush years (both state and Fed) was still dormant when MetroJacksonville reporting was used to show public support existed for the system rollout.

tufsu1

June 19, 2010, 07:28:43 PM
clearly Metrojacksonville (and other groups) have been helpful in reviving the project...but the real credit goes to the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, which has been working on this for over a decade....hopefully it will get 50% funded through this round of TIGER grants (the other 50% comes from FDOT).

stephendare

June 19, 2010, 07:31:58 PM
Absolutely TUFSU!  She is amazing and it was a real thrill to have helped in any way for the project!!!

Ocklawaha

June 19, 2010, 07:35:05 PM
Yes TU, the credit goes to Treasure Coast and Dr. Kim Delaney, for the full relaunch.

HOWEVER...

Kim DID pull us aside and told Stephen and I that our loud passenger train articles (what she called our "Bomb Throwing") are the reason TCRPC was able to get the project rolling again.  Aparently as a State Agency they could NOT solicit for "desire or public demand" and thus could not find a way to secure the funding for another run at this. Then, according to Kim, we tossed one of our many AMTRAK BOMBS, which allowed them to show independent public support and demand... That's all it took.

Bottom line, like I've said before, YOU CAN CHANGE CITY HALL!


NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER!



OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

June 19, 2010, 07:36:11 PM
Locally, it's time to figure out how to get that Amtrak station back DT.  Even if the temporary no-frills solution is just adding a siding, simple covered platform and converting some of the space inside the old terminal for Amtrak's use.  Since Amtrak trains are proposed to be split in Jacksonville, this project sets our city up as a passenger rail hub.  We receive no economic benefit from this project if trains are still rolling into the Amshack on the Northside.  Get this thing back downtown and we'll have an additional thousands of people per year exposed to downtown's offerings.

stephendare

June 19, 2010, 07:56:49 PM
Well the entire idea of a train station is totally lost way out there in the middle of bfe.

When those trains start coming through Jacksonville from new York to Miami and New York to Orlando, you would think the local brain trust would figure out that this would make those hotels downtown very attractive suddenly.

I could not believe when I heard the boneheaded suggestion from one of the JTA retards that the only way to make the Amtrak station make sense would be to build transit out to the remote location.

Which is about asinine.

For the same cost of creating and building all that 'transit' out to the remote northside Amshack, and then maintaining all the labor, drivers, stops and etc, you could bring the station right back downtown and give people a reason to get off the train for an evening and explore downtown.

It was one of those real moments when you realize the people working for you are going to be the death of all your dreams.

JeffreyS

June 19, 2010, 08:01:29 PM
Perhaps some Amshak pictorial bombs to let people know what our officials are trying to show off when people pull into the station labeled Jacksonville.  It is shameful that we have this beautiful historic train station and we do not have the stop there.

stephendare

June 19, 2010, 08:04:19 PM
We are all Pappy O Daniel.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/gOaCD_JNgkA" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/gOaCD_JNgkA</a>

stjr

June 19, 2010, 08:23:19 PM
I could not believe when I heard the boneheaded suggestion from one of the JTA retards that the only way to make the Amtrak station make sense would be to build transit out to the remote location.

Uhhh...JTA...that same agency that dreamed up the Skyway, created a poorly conceived plan to use ads to build bus shelters it should have built decades ago, supports the outer beltway and 9B, will need 3 tries and over $100 million to maybe get I-95 and JTB right, has plans for a mess of an intermodal transit center, runs a third class bus system, refuses to post updated financials on its web site, specializes in providing misleading information and creating mistaken understandings, thinks nothing of conflicts of interest, and gives lip service to real mass transit service?  That JTA?

stephendare

June 19, 2010, 08:27:21 PM
I could not believe when I heard the boneheaded suggestion from one of the JTA retards that the only way to make the Amtrak station make sense would be to build transit out to the remote location.

Uhhh...JTA...that same agency that dreamed up the Skyway, created a poorly conceived plan to use ads to build bus shelters it should have built decades ago, supports the outer beltway and 9B, will need 3 tries and over $100 million to maybe get I-95 and JTB right, has plans for a mess of an intermodal transit center, runs a third class bus system, refuses to post updated financials on its web site, specializes in providing misleading information and creating mistaken understandings, thinks nothing of conflicts of interest, and gives lip service to real mass transit service?  That JTA?

STJR!  Is that really you?  Oh STJR!  Ive missed you so!

Its good to be back on the same team.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/glC9_8Ijt9k" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/glC9_8Ijt9k</a>

thelakelander

June 19, 2010, 08:57:40 PM
It would be nice to get some of the mayoral candidate's positions on this issue.  Quite frankly, if JTA can't take care of business, someone else should.  There is simply no reason that we should not be able to pay to relocate the station downtown BEFORE the FEC/Amtrak trains start running again.  Whether its going after grants, earmarks or changing the phasing priorities of the transportation center, we should be able to get a station back downtown for a minimal cost.  After all, we're not talking about rebuilding interchanges or highway overpasses here.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Burbank Airport Station


Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Van Nuys Station


Does anyone believe we can't afford to construct something like these examples above (in addition to using some space inside the Prime Osborn)?  Need money? How about taking another $1 million or so from the Metropolitan Park funds?

Ocklawaha

June 19, 2010, 09:40:01 PM
Lake you or Stephen could probably photo shop this, but consider the downtown location as is:

1. Add 2 tracks and 1 platform (covered butterfly shed) atop the fill and end them at the viaduct. Since current rail traffic will always leave heading west, the stub tracks serve to return the station downtown.

2. Immediate Concourse, UNDER the viaduct to the end of the tracks provides for a circutious walkway to the start of a platform running from the concourse west 2,000 ft. +/-.

3. The original Ticket area is VACANT, I'd capture that and the "Colored Waiting Room" (it has a pretty ceiling) as the current station, and use the BAY STREET ENTRY.

------------------------------------------------------------

INTERIM:

4.  Expand to 3 additional platforms with 6 new boarding tracks bringing the total up to 8

5.  Remove blockage and reopen boarding tunnel and concourse, including whatever rebuilding might be needed to patch things up. (things COJ destroyed).

6.  Remove Viaduct and raise the clearance to 23'6" across all 8 tracks + 2 FEC tracks (without platforms)

7.  Replace connection for all 8 tracks with the FEC east of LEE STREET viaduct site.

-------------------------------------------------------------

HOMECOMING:

DING DONG THE PRIME IS DEAD! Move that Convention Center sucker out of the middle of JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL.

8.  Raze the Convention "exhibit halls" except for the new East-West Concourse running from the 1919 Headhouse to the West Parking lots.

9.  Convert former hall space into a first class GREYHOUND and TOUR BUS facility (and PLEASE don't sell out to one carrier! We could have several more {SEE NOTE}*.)

10.  Reopen total 1919 headhouse as "JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL".

LASTLY - Find the guy that came up with the clever "Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center" title, which has all of the appeal of a full rectal lobotomy, and hang him/her with piano wire.



OCKLAWAHA

* NOTE:
http://www.ny.com/frame?url=http://www.bonanzabus.com/&frame=/frame/travel.html (passing thru daily)
http://www.ny.com/frame?url=http://www.martztrailways.com/&frame=/frame/travel.html  (passing thru daily)
http://www.coachusa.com/ (already in town)
http://www.coachamericanc.com/ (already in town)
http://www.lacubanabus.com/ (really close)
http://www.southeasternstages.com/Home.html (really close)
and guess who is rebuilding a nationwide network AGAIN?
http://www.trailways.com/press/articles/Express%20Trailways.asp


thelakelander

June 19, 2010, 09:42:45 PM
We should attempt to sketch this up and run your idea as a front page article.  Perhaps it will serve as a swift kick in the rear end for this city and JTA.

Ocklawaha

June 19, 2010, 10:37:51 PM
Let's do it, the 3 phases of JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL'S rebirth!

OCKLAWAHA

fieldafm

June 21, 2010, 11:18:21 AM
Really thought-provoking article Lake.  Thank you.

Also, any thread with O Brother Where Art Thou referances get an A+ in my book.

Captain Zissou

June 21, 2010, 11:34:24 AM
"You can't run on 'reform' with a d@mn incumbent"!

One of my favorite movies ever. 

'Well ain't this place a geographical oddity? Two weeks from everywhere!"

Pete- "Who elected you leader of this outfit?"
Ulysses- "Well Pete, the leader should be the one of us who's capable of abstract thought"

AaroniusLives

June 21, 2010, 12:01:42 PM
Quote
Awesome article with amazing visuals and descriptions.

But - there are too many proven outcomes here.  I guarantee you detractors and JTA officials alike (aren't they one and the same?) will still bend over backwards and invert themselves to try to come up with plenty of excuses as to why that won't work and shouldn't/can't happen here.

For the rest of us in reality, this is inspiring.

Doctor K, I think it's pretty much indisputable that rail transit spurs economic development; indeed, the two are usually linked via government legislation: that in order to build rail, the government grants development rights that increase the density around the rail stations, thus helping pay for the system and in creating more tax revenue off less land. That's nearly a given at this point. If the idiots at JTA don't realize this, you have much larger problems than a board of directors that don't want rail.

What I do find interesting, however, is that while rail transit usually is legislated to spur transit-oriented, dense development, it doesn't necessarily translate into increased ridership on the rail transit next to said transit-oriented development.

For example, as a former magnet-school attendee in Miami, I took the Kendall Area Transit bus to the Dadeland North MetroFail station and on to downtown. What they've done over there is remarkable; it used to be a sea of concrete next to a mall, and now it's a great "fake downtown" with MetroFail access. It looks better. It makes better use of the space. It offers mass transit...that less people are actually taking than they did when the area was just a parking lot. That's true of the Channelside District in Tampa as well. It seems that people want to live in a walkable, liveable, dense area, but that transit isn't exactly necessary to make the area successful. Boca Raton's Mizner Park, which essentially created a dense downtown out of a mall, and spurred development outside of it's original boundaries to give Boca a pretty damned viable downtown, doesn't have rail transit. Atlanta's Atlantic Station, another TOD infill development was and is criticized for being nowhere near MARTA...and yet, it's a success.

A great deal of this has to do with incomplete links in the transit system. For example, I suspect that the new residents of "Downtown Dadeland" would take the Miami MetroFail if it went to places they wanted to go: if Coconut Grove wasn't 2 miles from the "Coconut Grove" station, if it went to the goddamned beach, if it did more than beeline to downtown (and if it wasn't such a poorly maintained s*&thole of a system.) The same is true of Tampa's streetcar as well: it doesn't really "go" anywhere.

(I've purposefully left Washington's Metro out of the comparison because it's such an expensive, vanity system that it's almost not fair to include it in the mix. Of course Metro spurs development: aside from the obvious legislation that enables that development, it's an expensive, modern, clean and shiny system. It costs kazillions of dollars to build it, kazillions to maintain it, kazillions to expand it. It totally works, it's totally awesome, and it's a few kazillions away from anything Jacksonville will get in terms of money on it's mass transit system.)

For me, I think complete linkage is the key to overall success: that the different nodes of transit need to link to one another so that the option of taking mass transit over a personal automobile is viable. If the transit system doesn't go where people need it to go, whether it's rail or bus or donkey is a moot point. And if you create a dense, walkable, viable community next to rail that nobody uses, you've only proven that people like TOD...they may not like your transit system because it doesn't complete the circle.

Again, not a detractor: I believe in mass transit...but dense development is not always a guarantee for transit use. A system that everyone can use is. Let's say MetroJacksonville gets enough momentum to build a rail line in Jacksonville. The county-city will legislate dense TOD along the line, which will help defray the cost of the line and "justify" it to the bean counters. But, if it's not the backbone of a completely linked transit system, it won't be used, won't meet ridership expectations, and will act as the SkyWay does (or MARTA or the MetroFail,) as a physical example of why mass transit shouldn't be invested in.

What I utterly adore about this site (as someone who literally doesn't live there) is how intelligent the posters are here. There's the rare "I dig skyscrapers and trains so build it" post; most of y'all get the idea of transit and how it should work, and how it should work for y'all. That's just effin' awesome.

Captain Zissou

June 21, 2010, 12:16:29 PM
I know this message has been reiterated over and over again, but rail is a capital investment in the infrastructure of a city, an overpass is not. 

To me, Jax is like one of those honda civics that the owner spent 5 grand on to put chrome accent pieces everywhere, a new exhaust pipe, 12 inch woofers, a non functional spoiler, fake air vents, spinners, and a dragon decal on.... when they could have put the 5 grand towards buying a BMW or volvo without the non-functional bells and whistles.

When Jax has 14 lane highways and more overpasses than you can shake a stick at, how will we be better off??  We'll be able to get from the Arby's in Jax Beach to the Wendy's in 5 points in 12 minutes, but there will be nothing of significance in between.  Stop with the short sited patchwork 'improvements' (transit to the Amshak), and start inversting in something that will have a positive effect on our city as a whole. 

aaronious, great argument.  I haven't researched it, but I believe you in that just because something is a TOD, it doesn't mean the residents will use the transit.  What I say is, what difference does it make?  If a $100 million dollar investment in rail spurs $600 million in dense, walkable TODs, who cares if they hop on the train??  That's a 600% return on the city's money in development for the price of an overpass.  stjr would jump all over it for being inefficient and a waste, but I see it as a net positive.

thelakelander

June 21, 2010, 12:20:03 PM
Quote
What I do find interesting, however, is that while rail transit usually is legislated to spur transit-oriented, dense development, it doesn't necessarily translate into increased ridership on the rail transit next to said transit-oriented development.

I believe another factor is walkability.  Once you get up to a certain level of density and decent street interaction, the pedestrian mode of travel (the greenest of all) becomes dominant.

thelakelander

June 21, 2010, 12:22:28 PM
For me, I think complete linkage is the key to overall success: that the different nodes of transit need to link to one another so that the option of taking mass transit over a personal automobile is viable. If the transit system doesn't go where people need it to go, whether it's rail or bus or donkey is a moot point. And if you create a dense, walkable, viable community next to rail that nobody uses, you've only proven that people like TOD...they may not like your transit system because it doesn't complete the circle.

Again, not a detractor: I believe in mass transit...but dense development is not always a guarantee for transit use. A system that everyone can use is. Let's say MetroJacksonville gets enough momentum to build a rail line in Jacksonville. The county-city will legislate dense TOD along the line, which will help defray the cost of the line and "justify" it to the bean counters. But, if it's not the backbone of a completely linked transit system, it won't be used, won't meet ridership expectations, and will act as the SkyWay does (or MARTA or the MetroFail,) as a physical example of why mass transit shouldn't be invested in.

Great point!

AaroniusLives

June 21, 2010, 01:09:49 PM
Quote
aaronious, great argument.  I haven't researched it, but I believe you in that just because something is a TOD, it doesn't mean the residents will use the transit.  What I say is, what difference does it make?  If a $100 million dollar investment in rail spurs $600 million in dense, walkable TODs, who cares if they hop on the train??  That's a 600% return on the city's money in development for the price of an overpass.  stjr would jump all over it for being inefficient and a waste, but I see it as a net positive.

Captain Zissou, I believe the argument is thus: why spend the $100 million when you can get the $600 million in dense, walkable TODs without spending the $100 million? Now, I'm not making that argument. A TOD without a transit component seems like a wasted opportunity, but if I were a bean counter, one could make that argument stick.

To use Atlanta's Atlantic Station (arguably the dumbest name ever for a development that has no transit station and is in a landlocked city,) as an example again, the development is basically built over a multi-tiered parking deck (indeed, the symbol of Atlanta is the parking garage,) encouraging people to drive to a place where they can then walk. As another example, a South Florida city named Coral Springs has a TOD-lite area called The Walk, which has the same paradox: a facsimile of a dense, urban environment that people never actually walk to. (To be entirely fair, The Walk is as "lite" as one can get: it's essentially a strip-mall done over in TOD-drag. It's like the RuPaul of New Urbanism.)

In many ways, this is kind of like the Walt Disney World approach to urbanism. One of the more subversive appeals to going to a Disney theme park in the United States is the subtle sell of a pedestrian-friendly environment. People drive to (or fly and then drive to) Walt Disney World to experience an idealized city that you can walk around in, sans fear of cars, of crime, of grime and of decay. Think about it: one traverses from a "Mickey Central Station" of transit to a perfect turn-of-the-century Main Street, to a "downtown of the future," to a central hub that takes you to other "districts" and so on and so forth.

Of course, it's not real urbanism; nobody lives on Main Street or in Tomorrowland. But people like the "experience" of being in a pedestrian-friendly place without actually completing the circle: why don't I have this pedestrian-friendliness where I live and work? Why is the ability to walk from one place to another a rare commodity in communities all over the country? My parents are living examples of this inability to connect the dots; they love visiting me in Georgetown, and one of their favorite activities is to go down to Mizner Park and eat, shop and people watch...before they go to the parking deck, get back in their SUV and drive home to their overpriced development home behind the guard gates.

Don't get me wrong, there are many New Urban developments that both increase transit usage and facilitate growth into a more sustainable, walkable fabric of urbanity. I'm just saying that it's not necessarily the rule, and that one could make the argument that it's a lot to spend on the chicken to get the egg.

It's why I urge a "complete connection" strategy going forward towards a mass transit system in Jacksonville. If the spine of the system is light-rail (ideally both a north-south and an east-west spur,) then the other points on the compass need to feed into that system via easy-to-use, clean, circulating buses that head to and from the spine. Moreover, if those bus stops are typical Floridian examples of transit hell (which is to say a slab of concrete labeled "bench," with no protection from the elements,) you've already reduced the system to a 2nd class status. People want to use transit when they feel that it's not a massive step down. So, it's not just completing the circle, it's making sure the completion extends to the nodes that connect to the spine.

I know that BRT isn't preferred as the Jacksonville option, and with good reason: the United States has piss-poor implementation of BRT. But the city-county-region could learn a lesson or three from the BRT systems in South America, where they connect their buses to actual, real stations, as opposed to concrete slabs on the side of the road. (Heck, DC could learn from them; it totally sucks to wait for a bus on the side of the road in the swamp heat/bitter cold/November rain.) So while Jax probably shouldn't use BRT for their mass transit system, they could take the lessons of simple station design from Curtiba's BRT and create a bus system that links to the light rail system...with station that folks would want to use.

AaroniusLives

June 21, 2010, 01:19:45 PM
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What I do find interesting, however, is that while rail transit usually is legislated to spur transit-oriented, dense development, it doesn't necessarily translate into increased ridership on the rail transit next to said transit-oriented development.

I believe another factor is walkability.  Once you get up to a certain level of density and decent street interaction, the pedestrian mode of travel (the greenest of all) becomes dominant.

thelakelander , that's not always true. Remember, a great deal of these developments are islands of urbanity in a sea of suburbia. There's not a continuous grid of dense, urban streets to walk upon. Miami's "Downtown Dadeland/Downtown Kendall" TOD is the perfect example of this. You can walk around the TOD, but it's not advisable to walk beyond the TOD. At present, it's not connected to another TOD, another set of densely populated streets and services. Arlington's Orange Line off the DC Metro represents a critical mass of five TODs located seamlessly next to one another...in effect a really large island to explore before one goes off the grid and into suburbia.

Am I disputing the value of these TODs? Of course not. In many ways, they represent a phenomenal first step towards a New Urban future. You have to start somewhere, correct? I'd rather have people driving to a TOD and then experience the enjoyment of a pedestrian-friendly environment than not. But until the islands link into a continuous fabric (and in that case, transit use should skyrocket,) people are merely trading "driving from nowhere to nowhere" for "driving from nowhere to somewhere."

Captain Zissou

June 21, 2010, 01:42:14 PM
Aaronius, I'd rather not spend the $100 mil either, but in Jax I don't see the development happening otherwise.  It's like promising desert so your kids will eat vegetables.  While the vegetables are good for the children, the kids refuse to eat them unless there's a reward.  So we tell city council that if they build commuter rail, they will get new shiny TOD's and dense development.  The commuter rail is good for the city without the TOD's but they refuse to do it otherwise.  We also can't just say 'change your policies and be more forward thinking and dense walkable development will come'. That's too nebulous.  We need something that's more cause and effect.

Build Choo Choo Train=Get Shiny Buildings.

thelakelander

June 21, 2010, 02:02:54 PM
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What I do find interesting, however, is that while rail transit usually is legislated to spur transit-oriented, dense development, it doesn't necessarily translate into increased ridership on the rail transit next to said transit-oriented development.

I believe another factor is walkability.  Once you get up to a certain level of density and decent street interaction, the pedestrian mode of travel (the greenest of all) becomes dominant.

thelakelander , that's not always true. Remember, a great deal of these developments are islands of urbanity in a sea of suburbia. There's not a continuous grid of dense, urban streets to walk upon. Miami's "Downtown Dadeland/Downtown Kendall" TOD is the perfect example of this. You can walk around the TOD, but it's not advisable to walk beyond the TOD. At present, it's not connected to another TOD, another set of densely populated streets and services.

I never gave a timeline.  In another 10 years or so, many of these isolated islands of urbanity will grow to become more extensive walkable neighborhoods reducing the need to use transit or the automobile for many short routine trips.

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Am I disputing the value of these TODs? Of course not. In many ways, they represent a phenomenal first step towards a New Urban future. You have to start somewhere, correct? I'd rather have people driving to a TOD and then experience the enjoyment of a pedestrian-friendly environment than not. But until the islands link into a continuous fabric (and in that case, transit use should skyrocket,) people are merely trading "driving from nowhere to nowhere" for "driving from nowhere to somewhere."

You're coming from a more suburban TOD view but within urban areas, TODs can stimulate additional connectivity and vibrancy in existing urban districts.  Using DC as an example, many of the new developments along the Green Line around Columbia Heights and U Street do just that. 

From an economic development angle, this is what attracts me to good mass transit the most.  This type of investment has been proven to redirect growth in distressed and underutilized urban communities that were originally developed for twice as much density as they have today.  In Jacksonville, neighborhoods that would fit this bill include Durkeeville, Springfield, New Springfield, Brooklyn, LaVilla and the Eastside.

thelakelander

June 21, 2010, 02:14:43 PM
Captain Zissou, I believe the argument is thus: why spend the $100 million when you can get the $600 million in dense, walkable TODs without spending the $100 million? Now, I'm not making that argument. A TOD without a transit component seems like a wasted opportunity, but if I were a bean counter, one could make that argument stick.

You can't have a TOD without transit.  You can modify development and land use regulations for a walkable project, but it will not be a TOD.  I also don't think it's a good idea to build transit for the sake of building transit.  I'd come from an angle of economic development stimulation.  In Jacksonville, we have an urban core that developed around mass transit and the mass transit component was removed.  Since that removal, public policy, social and development patterns have resulted in these former transit oriented districts to decline.  Now this city claims to want to revitalize its downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.  It also claims to want to be a place that wants to improve its quality of life, not suffer from brain drain and to build an urban environment that is attractive for educated workforces and the companies that employ them.  Restoring what was torn out to help redirect new walkable development to the urban core is a critical economic development component, imo.  With that said, this is why you drop the $100 million in transit.  That $100 million will help stimulate the type of development we claim we want and save us from continuing to drop billions into the same old road projects that energize unsustainable sprawl.

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I know that BRT isn't preferred as the Jacksonville option, and with good reason: the United States has piss-poor implementation of BRT. But the city-county-region could learn a lesson or three from the BRT systems in South America, where they connect their buses to actual, real stations, as opposed to concrete slabs on the side of the road. (Heck, DC could learn from them; it totally sucks to wait for a bus on the side of the road in the swamp heat/bitter cold/November rain.) So while Jax probably shouldn't use BRT for their mass transit system, they could take the lessons of simple station design from Curtiba's BRT and create a bus system that links to the light rail system...with station that folks would want to use.

If your goal is sustainable economic development, then BRT is a waste.  It's going to cost you just as much money as rail and you're not going to get the same level of economic development.  The fact that we have to go outside of this country (where public policies are completely different) to find decent examples is very telling indeed.

AaroniusLives

June 21, 2010, 04:09:23 PM
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Am I disputing the value of these TODs? Of course not. In many ways, they represent a phenomenal first step towards a New Urban future. You have to start somewhere, correct? I'd rather have people driving to a TOD and then experience the enjoyment of a pedestrian-friendly environment than not. But until the islands link into a continuous fabric (and in that case, transit use should skyrocket,) people are merely trading "driving from nowhere to nowhere" for "driving from nowhere to somewhere."

You're coming from a more suburban TOD view but within urban areas, TODs can stimulate additional connectivity and vibrancy in existing urban districts.  Using DC as an example, many of the new developments along the Green Line around Columbia Heights and U Street do just that.

From an economic development angle, this is what attracts me to good mass transit the most.  This type of investment has been proven to redirect growth in distressed and underutilized urban communities that were originally developed for twice as much density as they have today.  In Jacksonville, neighborhoods that would fit this bill include Durkeeville, Springfield, New Springfield, Brooklyn, LaVilla and the Eastside.

thelakelander, the key difference, of course, between DC and Jacksonville, is that DC didn't tear itself apart to make the environment more habitable to cars. Columbia Heights and the U Street corridor may both have benefited from TOD, but even without the shiny new urban Target, the condos over housing and the rest, they'd still be "urban." To put this another way, a great many people moved to Columbia Heights long before they designated the area as a TOD. You got a lot of beautiful housing stock for the money, you got a grid of streets that led to transit, and you got to be an urban pioneer.

The new community popping in DC is Shaw/LeDroit Park, neither of which has done a thing regarding new TOD, but since the fabric of pedestrian urbanity was never torn asunder for the sake of automobile traffic, even when people were fleeing into the hinterland suburbia melee, it never ceased to be a traditional urban environment. Does having Metrorail access enhance it? Of course, as does several bus lines, as does a fabric of streets with houses, shops and the rest already in place. DC has it much, much easier than most other cities in the country (for many reasons,) specifically because a great deal of it's pre-automobile infrastructure is in place, is in use.

The challenge for Jacksonville is to not only reactivate those places that were once urban and thriving, but in many cases, to refit those places as well, since they've been carved up, rezoned and replanned for the age of the car. Transit, will..of course, help those prospects.

As for "coming from a more suburban TOD view," that's for a couple of reasons. In the first place, the very fabric of the downtown core has been torn up by a series of highways, no? That's an endemic problem for most American cities: they are an "urban" environment existing in a "suburban" reality. But I agree: transit will help link the city back together...and in many places, as demonstrated via the photo tours on this site, TOD isn't necessary, the infrastructure is awaiting reactivation into it's original urban purpose.

The second reason is that you need to involve the suburbs in this transformation as well. They need to see the "fake downtowns" as a viable place to live and work and play. For many of them, they won't be the urban pioneers taking a risk by moving into the core...but they will visit the core and begin to appreciate a slice or urban life through their "island TOD."

Heck, I live in the city, and I'm not an urban pioneer. I'm not moving to Shaw or LeDroit Park or even Columbia Heights while it's still in between crack-and-commerce town. I'm not saying that to appear elitist (although I suspect that it does make me, in fact, elitist. I own it.) But I am saying that as an example of a suburbanite drawn to TOD in the 'burbs, where it's marketed as the best of both worlds: the safety of the suburbs (despite all the statistics that show that suburbia ain't safe,) the newness of the suburbs, and the "excitement" and "opportunities" of the cities. Before the real estate crash, I sold tons of these communities in exactly this manner. And periodically, such as in my work for your failed "The Shipyards" for LandMar, we had to sell the safety AND privacy as much as the connectivity and pedestrian-friendliness (that didn't really exist.) You can't leave out the 'burbs.

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If your goal is sustainable economic development, then BRT is a waste.  It's going to cost you just as much money as rail and you're not going to get the same level of economic development.  The fact that we have to go outside of this country (where public policies are completely different) to find decent examples is very telling indeed. 

Firstly, I wasn't suggesting that Jacksonville implement BRT. Lord knows light rail is better (and even the suggestion gets virtual eggs thrown at the doofus on the stage at this site.  ;D)

I was suggesting a way to make the bus system be more premium, however, but using the lessons of BRT systems elsewhere to make the "stops" into "stations." That's all.

As for BRT being a waste, in North America, that's certainly true. We haven't adequately approached anything resembling a true BRT. LA's metroliner lines suuuuuuuuck, for example. However, if 85% of Curtiba residents use their BRT every day, there is an argument for a comprehensive implementation of BRT. That we don't have a viable example of said implementation yet stateside, doesn't mean that the ideas behind it are bunk. (The enclosed stations should be implemented for every bus system in the country, IMHO.)



thelakelander

June 21, 2010, 05:52:59 PM
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Am I disputing the value of these TODs? Of course not. In many ways, they represent a phenomenal first step towards a New Urban future. You have to start somewhere, correct? I'd rather have people driving to a TOD and then experience the enjoyment of a pedestrian-friendly environment than not. But until the islands link into a continuous fabric (and in that case, transit use should skyrocket,) people are merely trading "driving from nowhere to nowhere" for "driving from nowhere to somewhere."

You're coming from a more suburban TOD view but within urban areas, TODs can stimulate additional connectivity and vibrancy in existing urban districts.  Using DC as an example, many of the new developments along the Green Line around Columbia Heights and U Street do just that.

From an economic development angle, this is what attracts me to good mass transit the most.  This type of investment has been proven to redirect growth in distressed and underutilized urban communities that were originally developed for twice as much density as they have today.  In Jacksonville, neighborhoods that would fit this bill include Durkeeville, Springfield, New Springfield, Brooklyn, LaVilla and the Eastside.

thelakelander, the key difference, of course, between DC and Jacksonville, is that DC didn't tear itself apart to make the environment more habitable to cars. Columbia Heights and the U Street corridor may both have benefited from TOD, but even without the shiny new urban Target, the condos over housing and the rest, they'd still be "urban." To put this another way, a great many people moved to Columbia Heights long before they designated the area as a TOD. You got a lot of beautiful housing stock for the money, you got a grid of streets that led to transit, and you got to be an urban pioneer.

I agree.  I normally use sunbelt sprawlers like Charlotte as an example but threw a few DC hoods into my earlier post since that's where you're currently located.  Like DC's Columbia Heights, locally inner city neighborhoods like Springfield, Durkeeville and Brentwood are already urban.  These former streetcar suburbs have a grid of streets, beautiful dense housing stock and a mix of uses to build upon.  In these places, transit and TOD will serve as vital conduits liking them back to downtown and other areas of the city while also spurring infill pedestrian friendly development in the process.

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The challenge for Jacksonville is to not only reactivate those places that were once urban and thriving, but in many cases, to refit those places as well, since they've been carved up, rezoned and replanned for the age of the car. Transit, will..of course, help those prospects.

I agree again.  Most are still in decent physical shape.  One area that will be a significant challenge is the retrofitting of Jacksonville's early inner ring automobile dependent suburbs. These areas don't have many of the physical assets still associated with Jacksonville's older neighborhoods.  

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As for "coming from a more suburban TOD view," that's for a couple of reasons. In the first place, the very fabric of the downtown core has been torn up by a series of highways, no? That's an endemic problem for most American cities: they are an "urban" environment existing in a "suburban" reality. But I agree: transit will help link the city back together...and in many places, as demonstrated via the photo tours on this site, TOD isn't necessary, the infrastructure is awaiting reactivation into it's original urban purpose.

We're probably talking semantics here but it sounds like we're saying the same thing.  I've just included the reactivation and adaptive reuse of existing urban stock as a form of TOD as well.

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The second reason is that you need to involve the suburbs in this transformation as well. They need to see the "fake downtowns" as a viable place to live and work and play. For many of them, they won't be the urban pioneers taking a risk by moving into the core...but they will visit the core and begin to appreciate a slice or urban life through their "island TOD."

Definitely agree.  In no case am I advocating leaving out the suburbs.  However, I do recognize that a phased implementation approach may be best in getting things underway locally.

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If your goal is sustainable economic development, then BRT is a waste.  It's going to cost you just as much money as rail and you're not going to get the same level of economic development.  The fact that we have to go outside of this country (where public policies are completely different) to find decent examples is very telling indeed.  

Firstly, I wasn't suggesting that Jacksonville implement BRT. Lord knows light rail is better (and even the suggestion gets virtual eggs thrown at the doofus on the stage at this site.  ;D)

I was suggesting a way to make the bus system be more premium, however, but using the lessons of BRT systems elsewhere to make the "stops" into "stations." That's all.

I'm an advocate of this as well and have mentioned it many times.  However, i'd like to see JTA start running such a service immediately by retrofitting their existing system instead of waiting years for all the "BRT" associated bells and whistles.

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As for BRT being a waste, in North America, that's certainly true. We haven't adequately approached anything resembling a true BRT. LA's metroliner lines suuuuuuuuck, for example. However, if 85% of Curtiba residents use their BRT every day, there is an argument for a comprehensive implementation of BRT.

Without fully understanding how that country's government is set up and how their policies compare to America's I'd be hesitant to use them as an example.  Nevertheless, looking at their dedicated busway system, that would cost us just as much as rail to set up here.  In that event, why bother?

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That we don't have a viable example of said implementation yet stateside, doesn't mean that the ideas behind it are bunk. (The enclosed stations should be implemented for every bus system in the country, IMHO.)

I'd rather do what we know works instead of experimenting on unproven theory (at least in America).  I say this because in the past, we've shot ourselves in the foot several times experimenting instead of just investing in proven theory.


AaroniusLives

June 23, 2010, 05:57:21 PM
OK, so I've done a little homework on BRT. It seems that successful implementation of the systems involves a complete execution, as in:
  • dedicated lanes
    dedicated, exclusive roadways
    upgraded stations
    massive implementation

So, the reason that Curtiba's system works as well as it does is because Curtiba essentially built a highway/roadway combination specifically for their BRT system. This is also true for TransMillenio as well.

This contrasts highly with "BRT" as it's implemented in the United States, which I believe you generally stated, thelakelander. It appears that US municipalities use the idea of BRT to upgrade bus systems without actually creating a true bus rapid transit system. In other words, they do exactly what you shouldn't do in any transit system implementation, which is to half-ass it. So, with the exception of LA's Metroliner lines or the South Miami-Dade Busway, we don't have true BRT in the States. Moreover, LA's Orange Line is at-or-near capacity, so while it's a successful BRT line (and still kind of half-baked, as it runs at street grade, although on a dedicated busway,) it needs to be upgraded to some form of rail transit (and hysterically, because of politics, it has to be a subway and not a light rail.)

What hysterical about both the Orange Line AND the South Miami-Dade Busway is that they ripped up existing rail lines to lay down pavement for a busway! Moreover, in South Miami-Dade Busway's case nobody was using the rail line, and the rail line/busway begins where the freakin' MetroFail ends. That's nucking futs.

It appears that Tampa/Hillsborough county is actually taking the BRT concept a step backward, as their implementation will only use existing streets, will have outdoor, slightly upgraded bus stations, and will have signal priority.

So, after a day of looking, I'm in total agreement. We can't or won't do BRT effectively in the States. Light Rail or above all the way.   

thelakelander

June 23, 2010, 06:29:26 PM
^Yes, BRT works best when the system has dedicated infrastructure.  However, that dedicated infrastructure cost just as much or more as flat out building rail.

CS Foltz

June 23, 2010, 06:41:18 PM
Well......seeing how we don't even have 100% shelter coverage and won't for the next 20 yrs, as has been pointed out................BRT, the JTA way, will be half done and like most of JTA projects will  have as much success!

stjr

June 23, 2010, 07:09:39 PM
BRT, Skyway... I say these side shows just take away focus and resources from the solutions that provide the most bang for buck: commuter rail, streetcars, a first class bus system, sidewalks, and bikeways. 

Why do we have to keep falling in love with the unproven or dis-proven snazzy idea of the day and avoid the solutions that have stood the test of time for over a century or longer?

JeffreyS

June 23, 2010, 09:49:24 PM
It is horrible that we even considered BRT with the rail infrastructure already in place in Jacksonville. our rail lines also all converge on a beautiful historic station in our downtown.  I am not in favor of tearing down our skyway but it is not the answer. Commuter rail and Streetcar Now!!!

Ocklawaha

June 23, 2010, 11:17:47 PM
OK, so I've done a little homework on BRT. It seems that successful implementation of the systems involves a complete execution, as in:
  • dedicated lanes
    dedicated, exclusive roadways
    upgraded stations
    massive implementation

So, the reason that Curtiba's system works as well as it does is because Curtiba essentially built a highway/roadway combination specifically for their BRT system. This is also true for TransMillenio as well.

As a dual national aka: COLOMBIAN and AMERICAN, I would do an injustice to our city if I didn't jump in on this Aaronius.

Actually, the TransMillenio system is a national joke in Colombia. Though Bogota is the largest city and the capitol, Medellin, Bogota and Cali are always in a close competition for a superior quality of life. Medellin built Heavy Rail and Rope Cableway's, Bogota built a MUCH bigger and complex system of BRT, and Cali is just getting some BRT and standard rail up and running (Cali is always a bit slow, I think it's the heat in the Cauca Valley HA!)  Today Medellin is expanding it's metro in several directions one of which will eventually be a mountain climbing railroad to connect the international airport up on a high plateau with the city. Cali is carefully watching but slowly rebuilding it's traditional rail system (American 3' foot gauge). Bogota's highly praised system is in virtual gridlock! Works? Hardly! Military police swarm the place just to keep riots from breaking out. The system is beautiful and a team of workers wash and scrub 24/7 because the big diesel buses spew filth over every inch of the stations and roadways. Today, the big secret (you can't sell BRT TECH if the world knows your secret) is the lousy TransMilenio is being undermined... BY A NEW SUBWAY - METRO! Not only that but the National Railroad system is back in business (wonder how THAT happened...hee hee) and Commuter Rail is right around the corner. BRT will make an excellent feeder network but it should NEVER have been built as the main or trunk line of the city.


THIS PRESENTATION HAS A GRAPHIC THAT DEMONSTRATES HOW BRT (or a Skyway) BECOMES A VITAL LINK IN A MUCH BIGGER SYSTEM
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/tIdHDGDoIzI&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0x402061&amp;color2=0x9461ca&amp;border=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/tIdHDGDoIzI&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0x402061&amp;color2=0x9461ca&amp;border=1</a>


CURTIBA, is experiencing the EXACT SAME THING... BRT is a great compliment to any mass transit system but it fails when it is thrust into the role as the mainline. Once again, new RAIL METRO right around the corner in Curtiba. Why? Just as you never bring a knife to a gun fight, you don't run a bus where a railroad should be. Understand if you will that the average traffic velocity in Curtiba is LESS THEN 15 MPH! BRT runs at the astounding speed of 12-13 MPH average...  and JTA thinks that will improve Jacksonville? Hardly. Remember BRT as an answer FAILS, as a compliment it SUCCEEDS.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZSgyYbQbDvE&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0x402061&amp;color2=0x9461ca&amp;border=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ZSgyYbQbDvE&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0x402061&amp;color2=0x9461ca&amp;border=1</a>

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This contrasts highly with "BRT" as it's implemented in the United States, which I believe you generally stated, thelakelander. It appears that US municipalities use the idea of BRT to upgrade bus systems without actually creating a true bus rapid transit system. In other words, they do exactly what you shouldn't do in any transit system implementation, which is to half-ass it. So, with the exception of LA's Metroliner lines or the South Miami-Dade Busway, we don't have true BRT in the States. Moreover, LA's Orange Line is at-or-near capacity, so while it's a successful BRT line (and still kind of half-baked, as it runs at street grade, although on a dedicated busway,) it needs to be upgraded to some form of rail transit (and hysterically, because of politics, it has to be a subway and not a light rail.)

BRT is not a "thing" it is a cover term for a "cafe" of bus improvements. In other words, Miami has REAL BRT, so does Eugene, Oregon, and Cleveland, and Boston, and depending on how we tweek it, one could call parts of the current JTA plans in downtown ---properly---BRT.  My own concepts for a Jacksonville TRANSIT system, would actually include many more miles of BRT then what JTA has or had on the drawing boards. The investment in various "toys" would be limited as the role of this larger system would be connectivity. TRUE BRT yes, Bogota, Santiago or Adelaide? NOT!

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What hysterical about both the Orange Line AND the South Miami-Dade Busway is that they ripped up existing rail lines to lay down pavement for a busway! Moreover, in South Miami-Dade Busway's case nobody was using the rail line, and the rail line/busway begins where the freakin' MetroFail ends. That's nucking futs.


Miami was a complete rail line, while the Orange Line had but a small segment of an old rail line intact. I was in Miami when construction was completed on this fiasco and had to shake my head at the stupidity of Florida. A single rail diesel car shuttling back and forth all day would have been a quick solution and I probably could have had such a system up and running for under $20 Million, while the boys on the bus spent $88.8 Million. Of course little Jebbie (I love Oil) Bush, and GW, and Daddy all cheered.  Amazingly our own BRT transportation think-tank CUTR in Tampa has told us BRT could have higher capacity then rail provided it runs on 2 second headways! Oh the humanity! Our FDOT representative stood facing the crowd last week as he told us FDOT has "always" sought to include "all modes" as we are truely an intermodal state, in fact we have "ALWAYS" supported Amtrak.
He sadly didn't explain how Carolina, California and even Oklahoma and Maine have added all manner of train services while our own network dwindled from 12 daily trains to 2.


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It appears that Tampa/Hillsborough county is actually taking the BRT concept a step backward, as their implementation will only use existing streets, will have outdoor, slightly upgraded bus stations, and will have signal priority.


Exactly as it should be done, with very limited use of exclusive lanes or busways, many of the normal operating delays can be defeated with Que-Jumper lanes and signal priority. If I were designing the connector system in Jacksonville, I'd be looking at: que-jumper lanes, signal priority, real time information, enclosed AC stations at major stops or junctions, some park and ride capabilities, no onboard fare collection, radio and video monitored buses and stations, and a transit police force. The only major busway would connect North Main Street to Moncrief Road parallel to the rebuilt "S" LINE, aka: Jacksonville Belt Railroad.


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So, after a day of looking, I'm in total agreement. We can't or won't do BRT effectively in the States. Light Rail or above all the way. 


We can, and we do, frankly our city needs ALL OF THE ABOVE!
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/mkR0LO1kG6g&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0x402061&amp;color2=0x9461ca&amp;border=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/mkR0LO1kG6g&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0x402061&amp;color2=0x9461ca&amp;border=1</a>


OCKLAWAHA 


Timkin

June 23, 2010, 11:27:19 PM
cool video... If only in Jacksonville................................................ :)

stjr

June 23, 2010, 11:52:07 PM
Quote
We can, and we do, frankly our city needs ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Ock, you want Jax to go from the stone age to the space age in mass transit at warp speed.  With the laughable JTA at the helm who can't even get a few bus shelters built to support a third class bus system, an FDOT/JTA/political bias toward road building ad infinitum, and a failed Skyway representing mass transit in the eyes of many of our citizens, I think you need to pace your mass transit expectations.

I support much of your mass transit vision, but I see the need to pursue it incrementally whereas you seem to indiscriminately want it all at once.  What is your "doable" plan for the real world we live in?  You need to prioritize and prove out step 1 before selling step 2.  To ask for all of it as one is to risk getting none.

I would be happy, as a start, if they fixed the bus system, implemented street cars, and started commuter rail with redirected resources from a bagged Outer Beltway and like road projects due to a moratorium on urban sprawl creators.  Maximum bang for the buck as I have noted frequently.  In this town, those projects are at 20 years from fruition. 

Figure out the rest when that's done.  With some experience under our belt, new technologies, updates on growth and demographics, and changes in lifestyles, we may have all new ideas as to what to do for an encore.

Ocklawaha

June 24, 2010, 12:17:18 AM
Absolutely it would have to be done in increments, though those increments could include slow improvements and additions across the board as far as mode is concerned. For example "REAL TIME INFORMATION", the Skyway already has it, and the bus system needs it (major stops) and BOTH need Google Bus or NEXTBUS tracking technology.

Keep in mind I was merely responding to a reader that seemed to be buying into a This mode or That mode line of thinking. If I'm about anything at all on here it is that ALL TRANSIT has it's place in the system and we should never have to choose with an "either or" new start.


OCKLAWAHA
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