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St. Augustine Selects Location for Amtrak Station

The Florida East Coast Railway and Amtrak project that will directly link Jacksonville to Miami via passenger rail service continues to move forward.

Published May 13, 2010 in Transit      87 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature


Video by John Buckley at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wirRpLK4SNw





Proposed Station Location:

Carrera Street at US 1


Proposed Station Size:

2,500 square foot full service station with baggage facility (medium sized Amtrak facility)


Estimated Passengers/Year:

175,000 passengers a year


Station Architecture:

Station will be designed to reflect the architectural styles of the nearby historic district.


Jacksonville Bonus:

Amtrak has expressed an interest in additional Jacksonville area stations in the NAS/Orange Park and or Avenues/San Marco areas.


Estimated Economic Impact of FEC/Amtrak Corridor Project:

$2 billion +




Also serving as a future commuter rail stop, the new train station will be within immediate walking distance of Flagler College and St. Augustine's Historic District, directly connecting Jacksonville's urban core with the popular tourist destination.




Plans are also being made for a future commuter rail station at St. Augustine Airport


Update by Robert Mann







87 Comments

thelakelander

May 13, 2010, 08:15:54 AM
Additional information about the FEC/Amtrak rail project:





St. Auggie

May 13, 2010, 08:35:59 AM
Sorry if I am just being lazy, but will there ever be a station up at JIA? This seems to make a lot of sense, so I am guessing no.

thelakelander

May 13, 2010, 08:41:15 AM
Yes, there will be a commuter rail station nearby.  So it will be possible for St. Augustine residents to catch a train in that city and take it up to JIA.

JeffreyS

May 13, 2010, 08:53:02 AM
If Amtrak stations were put in Orange Park, N.A.S and the Avenues could a seperate commuter rail system also use the facilities at those stops?

St. Auggie

May 13, 2010, 08:56:59 AM
Thanks, that looks like a good start!

thelakelander

May 13, 2010, 08:57:35 AM
If Amtrak stations were put in Orange Park, N.A.S and the Avenues could a seperate commuter rail system also use the facilities at those stops?

^Yes.  This happens right now with St. Florida's Tri-Rail system.

jandar

May 13, 2010, 09:47:12 AM
I would place it at Doctors Inlet. Plenty of land to use, and more people would use it. Those that would drive to Wells or Kingsley would just continue on to work from that point. They already fought enough traffic to get that far.

Doctor_K

May 13, 2010, 09:52:29 AM
There are no existing rails there, if I'm not mistaken.  I think the study makes use of rails already in place, no?

Can someone with more knowledge confirm that?

fsujax

May 13, 2010, 09:55:03 AM
Any service relating to commuter rail or Amtrak Inter-City service takes advantage of exisiting track.  There is a potential commuter rail station cited in Clay near Doctors Inlet. it's noted on the map above.

jandar

May 13, 2010, 09:56:02 AM
The CSX line passes across 220 east of College Dr/West of Fleming Island (and north down US17 eventually)
The FEC line passes across the street (basically) from the Avenues.

jandar

May 13, 2010, 09:57:59 AM
Any service relating to commuter rail or Amtrak Inter-City service takes advantage of exisiting track.  There is a potential commuter rail station cited in Clay near Doctors Inlet. it's noted on the map above.

And that is the first one I would build. Cleared land, just need to buy it. Nothing to demolish, room for parking, etc.

Orange Park there is no room, gotta tear something down. Lakeside, you will have a fight with homeowners about the location (and only a few limited strips of grass.)

JeffreyS

May 13, 2010, 10:03:33 AM
Any service relating to commuter rail or Amtrak Inter-City service takes advantage of exisiting track.  There is a potential commuter rail station cited in Clay near Doctors Inlet. it's noted on the map above.


And that is the first one I would build. Cleared land, just need to buy it. Nothing to demolish, room for parking, etc.

Orange Park there is no room, gotta tear something down. Lakeside, you will have a fight with homeowners about the location (and only a few limited strips of grass.)
In fact Clay County has already reserved the land for a future rail station.  Clay really wants commuter service.

jandar

May 13, 2010, 10:06:10 AM


Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Still trying to find room at Lakeside, nowhere to be found.
Orange Park @ Kingsley, there is a spic of land, but there are some shanty houses that will need to be torn down.

Doctor_K

May 13, 2010, 10:10:06 AM
Any service relating to commuter rail or Amtrak Inter-City service takes advantage of exisiting track.  There is a potential commuter rail station cited in Clay near Doctors Inlet. it's noted on the map above.
My fault - I thought the inquiry was directed more towards the stretch of US17 south of the bridge over the inlet.

fsujax

May 13, 2010, 10:15:46 AM
Clay County has actually been proactive in their planning for future transit needs. Good for them. I do not think the station for commuter rail identified in Lakeside was intended to be a large park and ride station, maybe more like a small neighborhood station.

thelakelander

May 13, 2010, 10:18:26 AM
The site (the one in jandar's image) is already owned by Clay County.  That's where the proposed multimodal station will be located.

Quote
What is this regional park-and-ride in Clay County?

It is a long-term plan to have a bus station, and possibly a train station, in Clay County that will allow commuters access to downtown Jacksonville. More than $1 million is going toward the design and construction of the facility that will be off of County Road 220 adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks.

The timeline for getting the park-and-ride built is still up in the air, but design work will take more than a year, Arrington said.

http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-03-22/story/jta-get-93-million-federal-stimulus-money

jandar

May 13, 2010, 10:23:27 AM
Wow, missed that story. Thanks Lake.

Surprisingly Clay is serious about this.

Captain Zissou

May 13, 2010, 10:23:51 AM
This is great news.  A step towards creating a regional network of transit.  Now jax will be able to develop as a city should, with hubs of activity and development connected by mass transit.  No more sprawl!!

jbroadglide

May 13, 2010, 10:59:16 AM
Hi Metro Jax
 I am flattered that you chose to use my YouTube video of the Amtrak/FEC train crossing the St Johns downtown, but could I at least get credit for it?
BTW I am as excited about anyone at the prospect of riding the train from Jax to Miami without having to go through West wayoutback Florida to get there.
John Buckley

thelakelander

May 13, 2010, 11:38:27 AM
Sorry about that.  I thought I had included a link to the video.  I'll add it to the article.

jbroadglide

May 13, 2010, 11:41:15 AM
BTW my buddies and I were going to try and pace it down US1 from Bayard to St Augustine. But as you can see from the last few seconds of the video, they were already moving at close to 60mph and by the time we got onto US1 they were long gone! I was told later by some friends who rode the train that they even hit the max speed of 79 mph in a few spots.

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 12:12:23 PM
Duuh, I live in Clay and I really want commuter rail, and we really need it. Scratch the outer beltway and just invest in commuter rail. I am sure it will be of much more use then the outer beltway, and it should be a lot less then $1.8 billion.

The St. Augustine Station is in a very strategic position near historical downtown, like the idea.

JIA needs to have an commuter rail connection. A connection to that from Downtown would be a vital network.

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 01:07:32 PM
I am thinking about creating a website called, Jax4rail.org, it will be a website promoting the use of rail in Jacksonville, for freight, state-wide and city-wide passenger rail.

However, there might already be a site promoting this...

TheProfessor

May 13, 2010, 01:21:08 PM
This is exciting.  I wonder what the timetable is in building the transportation center around the Union Station?

jandar

May 13, 2010, 01:21:32 PM
Mattius,

The one chink in the armor about Commuter Rail is that it first relies on Downtown Jax being the only hub.

Yes, this makes logical sense, and would work for most of Jacksonville.
There is however, a huge portion of Clay that commutes to the Southside.
You will not get buy in from that crowd until there is a direct route between points in Clay and the Southside of Jax without having to go through downtown first.
If you want to tie commuter rail in with the Amtrak/FEC line, it still wouldn't attract that many people from Clay to downtown Jax. Most would drive to St Augustine and use that facility.

I say build the outer beltway, a good portion is already done/started. And yes, it does help relieve congestion (although a bridge in Fleming Island is a much better idea than GCS)
Add a commuter line down the middle of it, this will attract more ridership from Clay than the route through downtown would.

Trust me, this is what helped slap JTA in the face over BRT. You cannot expect people to take longer to commute by bus or rail than they do by car. My commute is 45 minutes each morning, it would take over an hour using Commuter Rail. Not only do I save 1/2 hour each day, I also have my car with me. Is it worth the extra 30 minutes a day, and loss of car use if needed for work, and being stuck to a schedule for a few dollars a day savings in gas?

You have to hit home on time/cost/speed.

stephendare

May 13, 2010, 01:26:42 PM
jandar has the minority opinion on this issue mattius.

You should come to our meetings at three layers on tuesday night if you want to meet the rail guys!

JeffreyS

May 13, 2010, 01:30:42 PM
Jandar one of the main benefits of fixed rail is delopment starts to conform to it. People start to live and work with commuting in mind. So employers and deveopers start taking advantage of the transit lines.

Doctor_K

May 13, 2010, 01:30:57 PM
I don't know - he has a point about the OP-Southside commuters.  

And, as the vast majority of people in this area are mass-transit uninformed, I believe jandar actually puts forth a majority question/concern.

The question is, since Downtown will be the hub, you will have commuter lines running primarily north-south, and the only viable option for those commuters is and will be for the foreseeable future the Buckman Bridge, how *will* you entice this demographic to use it?

EDIT: JeffreyS posted before I was done.  So basically, you'll entice these people over time?

fsujax

May 13, 2010, 01:37:19 PM
The argument of downtown not being the largest employment hub is often used. Two things it is still the most dense employment center in the region, served by existing transit to circulate people once off the train and secondly, people need to realize that commuter rail may actually entice some employers back to Downtown! all trains lead to Downtown.....all aboard!

Captain Zissou

May 13, 2010, 01:39:07 PM
Perhaps you would entice the OP-Southside commuters to move....  If a regional transit network develops, it will be desirable to live anywhere near the FEC line, or around the Roosevelt line if they work downtown.  Maybe poorly planned areas of town will become less desirable and die off, allowing for denser development near transit lines.  

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 01:41:31 PM
In real reality poeple in Fleming Island and south will probably benefit the least from commuter rail, because the distance from Fleming Island to DT is rather large and there is a lot of stops along the way. The only I think this could be solved is having an express train from Fleming to DT in the mornings and afternoon.

Let me do this mathematically, its around 25 miles from DT to Fleming Island, now if an express train doing 50-60 MPH straight to DT it would take less then 45 minutes. Now I am not sure how fast commuters can reach, but if they were to do 75MPH on an express route they could get to DT in around 30 min.

People North of Fleming Island but south of NAS JAX will still have around 30-45 min to get to DT, because they aren't on a express train.

This could be the same for the St. Aug to DT route, an Express Train from St. Aug to DT will reduce the amount of time.

And hell I dont mind walking, I have lived in the so called country for 8 years I walk 1.6 miles just to get the mail and back, and I am moving to the most transit friendly city in the US once I graduate College. See ya Jacksonville you fail me.

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 01:44:16 PM
I don't know - he has a point about the OP-Southside commuters.  

And, as the vast majority of people in this area are mass-transit uninformed, I believe jandar actually puts forth a majority question/concern.

The question is, since Downtown will be the hub, you will have commuter lines running primarily north-south, and the only viable option for those commuters is and will be for the foreseeable future the Buckman Bridge, how *will* you entice this demographic to use it?

EDIT: JeffreyS posted before I was done.  So basically, you'll entice these people over time?

Wanna fix OP-Southside Commuters, build an rail line down the middle of the Buckman, guess what its fixed!

thelakelander

May 13, 2010, 01:45:39 PM
When people think about rail, people forget the fact that rail is only one form of an integrated mass transit system.  Even in cities like DC, NYC and Chicago, bus service is needed in certain areas that aren't accessible by rail.  As a transit spine, the Jax rail corridors will serve as major N/S transit connectors and encourage pedestrian friendly infill development along their entire paths.    

With that in mind, the commute from OP to Southside isn't a negative with the rail argument.  Since we're talking about an integrated regional transit network, its a reason for an express east/west bus line that directly ties the Southwest/Southeast rail corridors with each other at OP and Avenues, via I-295.  This service could be made possible by rerouting existing bus services that would duplicate proposed rail corridors.

Doctor_K

May 13, 2010, 01:48:49 PM
Lake, this is why you're my hero. :)

thelakelander

May 13, 2010, 01:49:14 PM
Perhaps you would entice the OP-Southside commuters to move....  If a regional transit network develops, it will be desirable to live anywhere near the FEC line, or around the Roosevelt line if they work downtown.  Maybe poorly planned areas of town will become less desirable and die off, allowing for denser development near transit lines.  

So true, so true.  Those that want to really take advantage of using rail-based transit in their lifes with begin to seek areas where this is possible.  The side benefit of this would be a reduction in the amount of sprawl being developed on the outer edges of our communities.

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 01:55:01 PM
Yall see that oil disaster in the Gulf, and wonder how we could stop things like that from happening. Well its called reduce the use of oil, and how do you do that. Well you could walk, but that isn't practical. So whats the next best thing, Mass transit, gosh. Buses and trains use oil but the oil they use is used for more poeple then just a standard car carrying ONE person.  

My generation is making to move to reduce oil, I am guess we will just have to wait for the previous generation to die before we can make any changes.

One thing that makes me stand out from hundreds of other people, is I look at every side and I know how things actually work. And if I dont know something then, guess what, I find it out. Ignorance is a huge factor on why certain things happen in our country. I can go on an on...  And yes not everyone is going to agree, because I am defying what is normal, and therefore be considered wrong.

stephendare

May 13, 2010, 02:00:56 PM
well most of us are from the two older generations than you are, mattius, and most of us agree with you.  During the day, you have several posters from the suburbs who post.  And you don't have to wait for anyone to die.

You just get involved, and become part of the vocal majority.

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 02:11:22 PM
Yeah, well I plan to be vocal, however I am wondering if my vocal opinion will bring on negativity. I am going to start by not voting for leaders that are not interesting in any smart planning.

Captain Zissou

May 13, 2010, 02:14:56 PM
Mattius, I strongly disagree with you.  As a whole, I think the younger generation is one of the worst to ever walk the earth, especially in America.  The attitude of entitlement, apathy, and laziness runs rampant through teens and young adults.  Since birth, this generation has been inundated with the get rich quick mindset and the mass marketing of the corporate machine.

However, I think that the internet and media glut has also allowed the forward thinking and innovative minds of our generation to be far more influential than those in the past.  Grass roots movements are able to quickly mobilize and disseminate over vast distances far more easily than in the past.  Because of this, I think our generation will be able to affect positive change in society.

I do not think our generation is in any way better or more enlightened than the ones before us.  In many ways, I think we are worse.  We have really had no great crisis, and we do not know the meaning or the benefits of hard work.  I think we just have greater tools for informing the masses and influencing others as to the perils of our current way of life.  This is why we will create a better tomorrow.  It is foolish to discredit the generations before us.  They fought the wars, built the cities, and paved the way for us to be in the state we are today.  

stephendare

May 13, 2010, 02:20:36 PM
Yeah, well I plan to be vocal, however I am wondering if my vocal opinion will bring on negativity. I am going to start by not voting for leaders that are not interesting in any smart planning.

I can tell you from experience.  Being vocal will bring on negativity.

It also brings on positivity, curiousity, change and commentary.  Change is stressful, even good change, always keep that in mind.  But you get points for trying to do what you think is the right thing, and for keeping an open mind.

Don't be afraid of negativity.  It will come.  Its proof you are being heard.

The trick is how to deal with it without being an asshole. ;),  which requires the open mind......

but yah.  Stop voting for leaders that are against smart things.

Theres too much at stake to be wasting time arguing with dumbasses.

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 02:23:20 PM
True, but many of our leaders have become corrupt, and they are making there generation look bad, but not saying there generation is bad. What we will see is when my generation starts to enter politics then we will see if there is going to be "change". And in time we will become the ones that are running the country, we will be the CEOs, and the Generals. The key to promoting a better generation is looking at the past and seeing what needs to be done in the future to create a better State, country and world.

And yes we are what poeple will call, the first generation of the Information Age. We have a different look on things and we grew up with computers and the internet, these tools help us, and corrupt us. Overall though we have a larger and more educated view on things, because we know what happened in the past.

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 02:25:17 PM
Don't it suck for me being the youngest active participator in these forums.

stephendare

May 13, 2010, 02:28:41 PM
lol
1.  why should that matter?
and
2.  how old are you?

jbroadglide

May 13, 2010, 02:33:30 PM
No, it sounds like you have a lot on the ball. Surprising, since you're a Gator Mattius!  ;)

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 02:38:33 PM
I am 17 and I am still underage which means technically I wont have any say till I am turn 18 this December. I can still convince poeple and have a vocal say in things, just doesn't mean that they will matter anything or not. Better to start off early, right?

stephendare

May 13, 2010, 02:43:40 PM
I am 17 and I am still underage which means technically I wont have any say till I am turn 18 this December. I can still convince poeple and have a vocal say in things, just doesn't mean that they will matter anything or not. Better to start off early, right?

It is better.  I started when I was 15.  Since there isnt an election before you turn 18, you have just as much say as the rest of us!

Mattius92

May 13, 2010, 02:48:23 PM
That is true, well I plan to be active once I turn 18. Attend planning meetings and making our leaders think... haha

Ocklawaha

May 13, 2010, 03:41:17 PM
Mattius, I wrote my first letter to the late Congressman Charles Bennett, at the age of 14, it was about passenger rail on the FEC.  While there was nothing he could do in that day of pre Amtrak train-slaughter, he wrote back to encourage me to carry the flag and NEVER give up.  Today I am one of the oldest Dis·es·tab·lish·men·tar·i·an (look it up) on these webs. "Charlie" and I became good friends, he as a sort of mentor to the loud mouth kid.

Jandar, Think we should change your choice of words here, spic of land or spit of land.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=spit+of+land&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS355US355&ie=UTF-8
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/spic

Otherwise all of the problems could be fixed with scheduling, express trains and reverse commutes both AM and PM.  This just means while 5 trains are running from Green Cove Springs to Jacksonville, 2 trains are running the other way.  Thus people that came in from St. Augustine and need to get to NAS (for example) can change downtown and head for the ultimate destination. FSUJAX is correct that once this is up and running, employers will flock to it. There could be all sorts of dollar incentives to move near the tracks. Green Industry, less parking required, tax breaks etc...  All of those folks from OP to Southpointe would just swap trains downtown and ride a reverse to their destination station.  JTA could run an on demand jittney from Bay Meadows, JTB etc... to learn where the business is headed until putting on regular connecting buses.  Meanwhile streetcars and Skyway will greatly expand the choices of "where to locate" for urban businesses.

As for pacing the train, they ran at track speed 79 mph most of the way, good luck on pacing THAT.


OCKLAWAHA




jbroadglide

May 13, 2010, 03:52:17 PM
I chased the circus train north one year on the FEC from St Augustine to Bayard at just a "touch" over the posted speed limit.  ::) If we could have met the train farther south, say down around SR207, from there I think I would have gotten some good vid. But slower cars and a fast train killed that idea. Imagine going 79mph down that smooth FEC track from Jax to Miami!! The mouth waters at the very idea.

urbanlibertarian

May 13, 2010, 05:22:46 PM

The trick is how to deal with it without being an asshole. ;),  which requires the open mind......


Stephen, let us know when you master this trick. ;D

Jason

May 13, 2010, 05:26:00 PM
This is fantastic news that the official site has been selected.  Now all the city needs to get in line is a circulator system to move the riders from the Amtrak station to the historic core and bay front.  Real streetcars would be ideal but in the short term the trollys they have running now would work.  If all this happens in time for the 450th anniversary in 2015 it would be an amazing feat and should REALLY place St. Augustine on the map.

http://www.oldcity450.com/



Here is a route I mapped out a while back....


Ocklawaha

May 13, 2010, 05:51:14 PM
All of this was covered in the meeting too. Lot's of talk about 450Th, transit and a need for pedestrians to cross US 1.  This last point, walking across one of the busiest and fairly fast roads in NE Florida, nearly shot down this site. We pulled the access street North to Carrera, where a more civil cross walk could be constructed. The city is very sensitive to "VIEW" and "PERCEPTION", so a giant overpass wouldn't work either. Any form of transit MUST cross over to the West side and enter a bus loop near the station. The track will probably be set back somewhat and the curve reconfigured. With the advent of Commuter Rail, this stop would NOT serve as a park and ride but would give good downtown access. If the curve is rebuilt and the line double tracked, a second drive coming in from Depot Street to the west and following the tracks over the San Sebastian River would be possible.

BTW, St. Augustine had a great electric streetcar system with roots that dated back into the 1830's! The famous postcard view of a small train crossing the Matanzas River next to/or where Bridge of the Lions is today is the forerunner of the St. Johns Electric RY.. Another view from the same vantage point with color added clearly shows a St. Augustine Streetcar rolling over the same bridge. Lines extended from St. Augustine Beach to the West Side on King Street, also from downtown North to line into Vilano Beach. It vanished over hot protests in the mid 1920's. Replaced by "modern flexible buses" which lasted until the last streetcar was hauled out onto a farm. Today, the city once again has a transit system - "Sunshine Bus" with several routes including an interchange with JTA at the Avenues Mall. 



OCKLAWAHA

Jaxson

May 15, 2010, 10:32:41 AM
If you support Amtrak/FEC, please send an e-mail to gregor.senger@dot.state.fl.us and let Mr. Senger know that you want to have your comments added to the public record.  If we are silent about passenger rail in Florida, how will our government know what we want?

Mattius92

May 15, 2010, 10:43:39 AM
What year did the last passenger train run on the FEC??

Ocklawaha

May 15, 2010, 12:04:11 PM
What year did the last passenger train run on the FEC??

1968

OCKLAWAHA

jandar

May 15, 2010, 04:58:11 PM
What year did the last passenger train run on the FEC??

1968

OCKLAWAHA

Fond memories Ock?

:)

tbh, if the FEC line had Amtrak running down it, I would probably visit Miami and such more often. I rarely go that far south unless it is business or plan to stay for more than 2 days. 6 hours in a car wears me out to do much that same day.

Murjax

May 15, 2010, 08:28:02 PM
I really like the location they chose for this station, however I have my concerns. While the location is technically within walking distance to downtown, passengers still would have to walk over US 1 in order to get to it. With the kind of tourism St. Augustine gets they would need to build a pedestrian bridge there. Also the strip of land they plan to build it on is kind of small so I'm wondering how big they're going to be able to make that parking lot. Not saying it can't be done, I just hope they do it right because if it turns out to be a nothing more than a station and small parking lot then they've just rebuilt another version of what already exists just north of SR 16. ;)

Mattius92

May 15, 2010, 09:10:21 PM
I just sent a wonderful email to Mr. Senger. Hopefully it will get him thinking.

thelakelander

May 15, 2010, 09:21:29 PM
From the aerial posted above, the strip of land looks pretty large.  It looks just as large as the old FEC headquarters building now owned by Flagler College.  As for crossing the street, my guess is it could become much better if signalized along with pedestrian enhancements.


A crosswalk broken up with a median can help improve crossing conditions for pedestrians.

Ocklawaha

May 15, 2010, 11:05:57 PM
I really like the location they chose for this station, however I have my concerns. While the location is technically within walking distance to downtown, passengers still would have to walk over US 1 in order to get to it. With the kind of tourism St. Augustine gets they would need to build a pedestrian bridge there. Also the strip of land they plan to build it on is kind of small so I'm wondering how big they're going to be able to make that parking lot. Not saying it can't be done, I just hope they do it right because if it turns out to be a nothing more than a station and small parking lot then they've just rebuilt another version of what already exists just north of SR 16. ;)

The view from the train was something critical that marketing - tourism, etc. were very concerned with, otherwise it might have gone west where they "located" one in 2002. As it stands, the station will have 28 parking spaces, plus accommodations for tour buses, trams and cabs. The track and curve will be reconfigured leaving a possible opening for both railroad double tracking of the bridge as well as a Depot Street extension to the west, otherwise it will bump up the land available. Somewhere alongside the lot there is a Kayak Rental going in on the San Sebastian (according to the gossip from the planners).

The longest discussion that went on was the crossing of US 1 by pedestrians, in fact it was nearly beat to death. Overpasses would kill the view that they want to market. Beyond that pedestrian crossings, every corner, the fire station stoplight, even shuttles, until I had a "DUH!" moment and suggested we move the entry drive North on US 1, as many blocks as it takes to make a safe crossing. Everyone pounced on that and we ended up with Carrera (Boulevard) Street. It didn't dawn on us in the meeting, but looking at the maps, Carrera couldn't be more perfect as it is a straight shot to the heart of the Ancient City, and far enough from the traffic back ups at US 1 and King to be easily crossed with signals.

JANDAR... FOND MEMORIES? OMG! Last 1st class passenger, off the last train on the FEC RY... Amtrak say's they want to make me the first on... "We'll see..." My folks moved to Daytona Beach where they had a marina, and dad could recover from his accident and surgery's. I was emancipated at 14 and used the FEC as my link between HOME - JAX and HOME - DAB... At least until crazy hippy sis came along and hauled me off to a commune in California but THAT is the beginning of another life story!



OCKLAWAHA

Jaxson

May 15, 2010, 11:18:42 PM
@Mattius92 -- Thanks for contacting Mr. Senger.  I hope that other Metro Jacksonville people will do the same.
@Ock -- I envy you for having been able to travel on FEC back in the 1960s.  I have always been curious about what passenger rail was like in the pre-Amtrak days.  It must have been quite an experience being able to board the train from a real terminal instead of the shed that they have now in Jacksonville!

Ocklawaha

May 16, 2010, 12:17:58 AM
This would be very hard to explain to those of you born after 1971. Maybe the closet I could get would be to say it is the difference between a luxury resort and a military barracks. The resort being PRE-AMTRAK, and the barracks being AMTRAK. 

You have to understand that every railroad had it's own colors, its own features, and EVERY train had a personality all it's own. NOBODY EVER "took the Coast Line" as people today "took the Amtrak." A passenger took the 20Th Century Limited where they walked out to their train cars on a special red carpet. Every detail from the match books to the china and linen services were emblazoned with the 20Th Century Limited logos. The menu was that of "The 20Th Century Limited" and NOTHING ELSE. Chefs were recruited from the most famous hotels and resorts to create special dishes such as the Seaboard's "Peanut Soup", or the Northern Pacific's "Cedar Plank Salmon". Head's rolled if "the varnish" (slang for the best trains) was 30 seconds late! No excuse! None! Ever! Each railroad generally fielded a fleet of such trains. If you didn't want the 20Th Century between New York and Chicago, there was always "The Empire State Express" on the same route, "The Broadway" over on the Pennsylvania, or even "The Phoebe Snow" over on the Erie.  None of this one train each way a day crap. Those trains SERVED and pampered their clientele, live music, piano, bar, lounge, glassware, china, beds and rooms, barbers, manicurist, stylists, fashion shows, RN onboard, Kiddie Programs, movies, etc...  Then it was SERVICE - today it is basic ACCOMMODATION. I only wish that somehow I'll be instrumental in taking us back there.


OCKLAWAHA

JC

May 16, 2010, 08:33:51 AM
From the aerial posted above, the strip of land looks pretty large.  It looks just as large as the old FEC headquarters building now owned by Flagler College.  As for crossing the street, my guess is it could become much better if signalized along with pedestrian enhancements.

A crosswalk broken up with a median can help improve crossing conditions for pedestrians.



One of the best things the city can do is implement a "no turn on red" policy this will prevent impatient people from creeping into the middle of the cross walk and blocking it while pedestrians are trying to cross.  I understand this would be wildly unpopular among the crowd that only drives through downtown, which is most people, so they would have to be shown the value in waiting for the green.

CS Foltz

May 16, 2010, 11:34:30 AM
That might be difficult JC...........but with lights and crosswalk enhancements, that might help! I would not count on the City Council to do anything other than bolux things up! By the way, I put my two cents in with Mr Senger regarding Amtrak service and the potential in could bring!

danno

May 16, 2010, 01:00:46 PM
Just sent my letter to Mr Senger as well.

Murjax

May 16, 2010, 02:19:14 PM
The longest discussion that went on was the crossing of US 1 by pedestrians, in fact it was nearly beat to death. Overpasses would kill the view that they want to market. Beyond that pedestrian crossings, every corner, the fire station stoplight, even shuttles, until I had a "DUH!" moment and suggested we move the entry drive North on US 1, as many blocks as it takes to make a safe crossing. Everyone pounced on that and we ended up with Carrera (Boulevard) Street. It didn't dawn on us in the meeting, but looking at the maps, Carrera couldn't be more perfect as it is a straight shot to the heart of the Ancient City, and far enough from the traffic back ups at US 1 and King to be easily crossed with signals.

I guess a signaled crossing at Carrera would work with just 2 Amtrak trains daily, but what if St. Augustine were ever to get commuter rail? This would result in a constant flow of people coming to and from the station, especially on weekends when a great deal of Jacksonville residents come down to St. Augustine for a day trip. Since passengers discharging from trains come in large groups, the crossing would have to be clear for a lot longer than the 10 seconds that most crossings are. Wouldn't this still make a crossing at Carrera a strain on traffic?

thelakelander

May 16, 2010, 03:06:20 PM
I don't see why it would become such a big issue.  People cross busier streets on foot in thousands of cities across the US.  Signalizing the intersection and providing some pedestrian/traffic calming enhancements in the immediate area should be fine, imo.  I also don't see it becoming a strain on traffic.  Its only one additional signalized intersection and to be honest, traffic through there should probably be slowed down anyway.

Ocklawaha

May 16, 2010, 08:43:12 PM

I guess a signaled crossing at Carrera would work with just 2 Amtrak trains daily, but what if St. Augustine were ever to get commuter rail? This would result in a constant flow of people coming to and from the station, especially on weekends when a great deal of Jacksonville residents come down to St. Augustine for a day trip. Since passengers discharging from trains come in large groups, the crossing would have to be clear for a lot longer than the 10 seconds that most crossings are. Wouldn't this still make a crossing at Carrera a strain on traffic?

Not really an issue at this stage and perhaps 15 years out. Amtrak "now" plans 6 daily trains, 3 each way. Money has it that the Palmetto will again be extended to Miami and with luck, an overnight schedule will be created that will make for great intra-state travel. The other two are more then likely going to be sections of the Silver Star and Silver Meteor, both Southbound in the AM, Northbound in the PM.

Commuter rail plays a minor roll at Carrera Street as it WILL NOT be a park and ride station, but it will be served by transit buses and trams. West Augustine is the spot for a large park and ride facility. Airport station will also be just a commuter stop and the only parking will be in the airport itself. I doubt many will want to pay for that short term lot just to go to work.

Don't expect JTA commuter Rail to be much more then 5 or 6 schedules in daily and a like number outbound with perhaps 2 reverse trips, maybe 3 between JTB and JAX TERMINAL.




OCKLAWAHA

Jason

May 17, 2010, 10:18:52 AM
I don't see why it would become such a big issue.  People cross busier streets on foot in thousands of cities across the US.  Signalizing the intersection and providing some pedestrian/traffic calming enhancements in the immediate area should be fine, imo.  I also don't see it becoming a strain on traffic.  Its only one additional signalized intersection and to be honest, traffic through there should probably be slowed down anyway.


Exactly!  The Square and bayfront can see just as much traffic (although not as fast) but people still find ways to cross safely in masses.

IMO, St. Augustine is the one NEFLA city that understands the pedestrian and fully embraces them, even along US-1.  This line should also help that corridor to densify and weed out the car oriented development that has littered it for so many years.

Just drop in a steady stream of trams in the short term and start planning for streetcars and any crossing issues will weed themselves out.

Mattius92

May 17, 2010, 12:52:36 PM
Streetcars would be a really good addition to St. Augustine, however there trolleys are alright, but they aren't streetcars. While I am for modern looking streetcars for downtown Jax, St. Augustine needs to find them some retro streetcars.

What is so great about streetcars is there is so many types and looks of them, its almost like a form of poeple-moving hot rod.

Jason

May 18, 2010, 11:39:57 AM
A historic streetcar would be a must in order to fit the St. Augustine vernacular.  I do like the articulated trams but they are better utilized for tours.  Fixed transit would be an amazing boon for the core area and allow infill to follow.

Ocklawaha

May 18, 2010, 01:07:54 PM
Hells bells, St. Augustine would look good with horsecars!

Likewise, a Heritage Streetcar would be a perfect fit in the historic fabric of downtown Jacksonville, as well as Brooklyn, Riverside, Avondale, Fairfax, Ortega, Murray Hill, Lackawanna, Durkeeville, LaVilla, Fairfield, Springfield, Brentwood, Phoenix, Panama Park, St Nicholas, San Jose and San Marco! After all, streetcars are responsible for building all of them.

But I AGREE with Lake, FSUJAX and others that modern LRV'S would look KILLER GOOD tooling down Philips, Blanding, Arlington Expy, Beach, JTB, Southside etc... etc...

I will be first to suggest a totally "green" system in Jacksonville, using methane gas to generate electric power. Calgary has it's RIDE THE WIND LRT system which is totally wind powered, and ours? well? FLORIDA AREA RAPID TRANSIT .... ride the Fart!


OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

June 24, 2010, 07:06:48 PM
So they changed their mind and have decided to go with station north of town because of cost concerns. Hopefully, they'll have some sort of transit service to connect riders to downtown.

St. Auggie

June 24, 2010, 07:27:20 PM
Wasnt the WHOLE POINT of the stimulus funds to create jobs? Which one would create more jobs: a repurposing or a whole new station, which they will want to build in the future anyways. Why waste the money when the jobs would help  now and not waste taxpayers money later.  Ohhh, thats right, we are talking about the government.  Carry on.

tufsu1

June 24, 2010, 10:05:05 PM
So they changed their mind and have decided to go with station north of town because of cost concerns. Hopefully, they'll have some sort of transit service to connect riders to downtown.

they will...the County runs the Sunsine Bus service...and planning is already underway to restructure some routes if Amtrak service returns...and actually, one of the current routes already serves the site and downtown.

as for building at the new site...I think there may be some major environmental issues in that open field (its likley at least partially wet)...so choosing the other site may expedite the project.

JeffreyS

June 24, 2010, 10:18:44 PM
The most interesting part is the side article.

http://jacksonville.com/news/florida/2010-06-24/story/st-augustine-ready-designate-amtrak-station-san-marco-avenue
Quote

What about Jacksonville?
It isn’t often that St. Augustine takes priority over Jacksonville, but in this case the smaller city is the most important.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is hoping to create a new train station at the Prime Osborn Convention Center around the time the Florida East Coast rail line starts being used for Amtrak service from Jacksonville to Miami.
But advocates for the Florida East Coast line have not focused on Jacksonville, since an Amtrak station is already available on Clifford Lane.
“We need St. Augustine to designate a station,” said  Kim Delaney, growth management coordinator for the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. “It would be nice if Jacksonville could get to the Prime Osborn, but it’s not necessary.”
The existing station on Clifford Lane would close if the Prime Osborn becomes operational.
The JTA wants to turn the entire convention center into a transportation facility that would house buses, the Skyway and possibly commuter and high-speed rail sometime in the future. This would cost about $180 million.
But JTA Executive Director Michael Blaylock said it might be possible to open a train station at the location while the building is still being used as a convention center.

thelakelander

June 25, 2010, 12:14:41 AM
^It is possible to open a no-frills affordable station at the Prime Osborn, sooner rather than later.  I've been working with Ock to draw up a conceptual plan.  Hopefully, we can get it up online within the next week or so.

Jason

June 25, 2010, 09:15:43 AM
I can see the benefits of both locations.  The old station has some growing room and would allow for a great streetcar connection to the core via San Marco Ave.  The line would easily pick up 90% of the core destinations.

I think I'm still a bit more stuck on how great a station at US1 and Saratoga would look and how it will help to significantly revitalize the area.  I guess the same could be said for the other location.

fsujax

June 25, 2010, 09:44:21 AM
Lake. I have heard JTA is meeting with Amtrak to discuss this very issue.

stephendare

June 25, 2010, 09:49:47 AM
FSUJax.

There was a rumour that a very talented replacement for Scott Clem was being interviewed.  Have you heard anything about this?

fsujax

June 25, 2010, 09:56:24 AM
I heard it is today.

stephendare

June 25, 2010, 10:02:29 AM
Well hopefully JTA will finally start making sensible employment choices. 

tufsu1

June 25, 2010, 10:13:37 AM
Well hopefully JTA will finally start making sensible employment choices. 

maybe they should hire you  ;)

fsujax

June 25, 2010, 10:20:38 AM
you know I saw an advertisement for the Director of Mass Transit position as well. Maybe some of the folks on here who "rail" against JTA should submit their applications.

https://jta.jtafla.com/SiteDirectory/hr/JOBS/Job%20Template%20Library/dirmasstransitFT.aspx

stephendare

June 25, 2010, 10:58:51 AM
you know I saw an advertisement for the Director of Mass Transit position as well. Maybe some of the folks on here who "rail" against JTA should submit their applications.

https://jta.jtafla.com/SiteDirectory/hr/JOBS/Job%20Template%20Library/dirmasstransitFT.aspx




Let me know when the "executioner' position gets advertised.

Bob is the guy with the resume to direct mass transit, but why on earth is JTA hiring for a job that they don't actually perform?

Is the agency going to start in with Mass transit now?

fsujax

June 25, 2010, 11:03:16 AM
haha. Stephen you kill me sometimes!
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