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Are JTA's Priorities Off-Track?

Metro Jacksonville takes a look at the proposed Jacksonville Transportation Center and wonders if JTA's priorities for a new office building are in the right place?

Published February 1, 2011 in Transit      75 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

About the Transportation Offices/RTMC Building



This 4-story, 90,000 square foot office building apparently is JTA's top priority project for the implementation of the Jacksonville Transportation Center.  This facility is intended to serve as the hub of the City's transportation system, managing all traffic operations throughout the region from a central site.

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Transport Offices

Approximately 60,000 SF of combined office space for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) and North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (NFTPO).  The transport offices will also contain a shared board room for JTA and NFTPO.


Regional Transportation Management Center

Approximately 30,000 SF of floor area for the following agencies:

FDOT/ITS Operations
Florida Highway Patrol
City of Jacksonville Traffic Engineering (Signals)
City of Jacksonville Fire & Rescue
Jacksonville Transportation Authority (Security and Customer Service)
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

The Transportation Offices/RTMC building will be 4 stories in height (on-grade parking + 3 levels of offices/RTMC space).  The RTMC will occupy the highest level.  The Project includes on-grade parking under the Transport Offices/RTMC building and a pedestrian bridge that connects the building to the pedestrian concourse of the proposed transportation center's Skyway module.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2009-dec-a-closer-look-at-the-transportation-center




While a centralized traffic operations facility certainly has merit, should the construction of a new office building to house these operations be considered a higher priority than returning Amtrak to the Prime Osborn or actually improving transit rider usability and reliability?  Here are a couple of reasons why reprioritization should be considered.



1. Downtown Vacancy Rates



According to DVI, the downtown core has one of the highest central business district office vacancy rates in the country at 23.5 percent.  Do we really need to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a brand new office building with so much cheap space already available?


2. Downtown Revitalization: Focusing On The Core



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These are some of the sad facts presented by Downtown Vision: Employment in downtown is dropping, and the core has one of the highest central business district office vacancy rates in the country at 23.5 percent. More than 50 percent of the core downtown is either parking lots, garages, vacant buildings or buildings less than 25 percent occupied.

Downtown accounted for 13.5 percent of the city’s property tax base 20 years ago. Today, it’s at 3.2 percent.
The last major office tower built in the downtown core was in 1990, the longest period without a major commercial construction project since the end of World War II.

Reversing these trends is critical because a successful downtown is key to a city’s success. But what to do?
Lorince and Downtown Vision believe that to move downtown forward, the focus has to be on the core.
In the last 10 years, more than $1.1 billion of development has taken place in downtown, but the bulk of it has been in the far-flung outer edges.
http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/400601/ron-littlepage/2011-01-29/looking-ways-reinvigorate-downtown-jacksonville

The clustering of complementing uses within a compact pedestrian scale setting is the key to downtown vibrancy. Which will provide more economic stimulation to the downtown business community?  A new centralized structure a mile away from the core or the reuse of an available site in downtown's walkable heart?


3. Stuck in Holding Pattern



The current $180 million transportation center plan has been on the drawing board for over a decade. Part of the reason it is struggling to move forward is the fact that JTA needs $50 million for phase 1, which includes a new 90,000 square foot office building.  Removing this albatross would allow economic stimulating parts of the plan, such as returning Amtrak to downtown, to move forward.  


4. Can JTA Multitask?



It is already difficult enough for JTA to run a viable mass transit system while also being a road builder.  Do we really want our transportation agency being a commercial real estate developer as well?




For the mayoral candidate looking to better utilize public funds, consider JTA's plans for the transportation center as an area to review in further detail.

Article by Ennis Davis








75 Comments

Noone

February 01, 2011, 07:29:57 AM
I agree. Is there legislation that is pending that would fast track this before the next city council and Mayor will have any input?

Jaxson

February 01, 2011, 08:10:07 AM
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The current $180 million transportation center plan has been on the drawing board for over a decade. Part of the reason it is struggling to move forward is the fact that JTA needs $50 million for phase 1, which includes a new 90,000 square foot office building.  Removing this albatross would allow economic stimulating parts of the plan, such as returning Amtrak to downtown, to move forward.

What kind of brain trust is running the JTA?  ???  It seems to be an obvious choice for them to begin moving forward with what is easiest to implement.  Instead, they are dragging their feet because they are planning yet another boondoggle that makes them feel good about themselves.  In the meantime, we force Amtrak passengers to keep using facilities that could be best described as a rathole in the middle of nowhere.  This is disgusting and shameful!!!

Days like this make me totally give up on our local transportation planners because they couldn't even manage to spell 'CAT' even if we spotted them the 'C' and the 'T.'   >:(

Captain Zissou

February 01, 2011, 08:53:14 AM
I am 100% for this building, on one condition.  JTA is FORBIDDEN to build a single parking space on site for one of their employees.  They have a one hundred million dollar skyway driving straight to their front door, why would they need a parking lot??

The fact that they put a parking lot on the first floor of their building shows just how moronic, inept, delusional, and regressive these guys really are.  The entire entity makes me sick to my stomach.

thelakelander

February 01, 2011, 09:03:08 AM
My thought is along the same path.  It would involve purchasing or leasing an existing building in the heart of the Northbank, adjacent or within a block or so of a skyway station.  Employees could then use the skyway to access JTA's park & ride lots at the transportation center.  Just another form of increasing transit usage with our existing infrastructure while working to reestablish density in the downtown core at the same time.

Ocklawaha

February 01, 2011, 11:07:21 AM
What kind of brain trust is running the JTA?  ???  It seems to be an obvious choice for them to begin moving forward with what is easiest to implement.  Instead, they are dragging their feet because they are planning yet another boondoggle that makes them feel good about themselves.  In the meantime, we force Amtrak passengers to keep using facilities that could be best described as a rathole in the middle of nowhere.  This is disgusting and shameful!!!

Using "brain trust" and "JTA," in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

You are correct that bringing  70,728 people downtown to hang out and wait for a train can't be a bad thing. That number may double when we get our station out from under a highway overpass and away from the surrounding junk yards. With the FEC route coming back we'll easily top the 100,000 mark.




My thought is along the same path.  It would involve purchasing or leasing an existing building in the heart of the Northbank, adjacent or within a block or so of a skyway station.  Employees could then use the skyway to access JTA's park & ride lots at the transportation center.  Just another form of increasing transit usage with our existing infrastructure while working to reestablish density in the downtown core at the same time.

I'm sure JTA and the TPO would argue that having the office and Skyway terminal in the same location will increase ridership on the Skyway. This artificial ridership will make things look good on a nearly useless spur of the system. A spur that will remain useless until they open the station as a station and quit pretending it is a convention center. Imagine if that same effort had been made to connect Baptist and Aetna, what would the ridership be? 

A little off track perhaps, but if JTA really wanted to help the Jacksonville Terminal spur become useful, all they have to do is get it over I-95 to either the farmers market or Durkeeville where there is some collector function to the ridership.



OCKLAWAHA

I thought drawing them a picture might help...


stjr

February 01, 2011, 11:43:08 AM
The entire project is on par with the abominable design of the new courthouse.  It needs to be ripped up and restarted.  We have previously disected the litany of short comings this monstrosity brings to the table.

The City of Jax needs to impose itself on these projects.  JTA is a bunch of clueless urban sprawl road building engineers.  And, its management is all about promoting itself.  I am sure JTA wanted a new building ever since the Jax Airport Authority built its unnecessary monument to itself at the airport.

Here is an idea:  Put Rick Scott in charge of JTA.  It is the one agency he can abolish and no one would shed a tear.  In fact, we should ask our mayoral candidates to ponder the future of JTA as it currently operates and to make a campaign issue out it.

 If there is a silver lining to government budget shortfalls, it's the lack of funds to move this project forward in its current form.

stephendare

February 01, 2011, 12:11:04 PM
The entire project is on par with the abominable design of the new courthouse.  It needs to be ripped up and restarted.  We have previously disected the litany of short comings this monstrosity brings to the table.

The City of Jax needs to impose itself on these projects.  JTA is a bunch of clueless urban sprawl road building engineers.  And, its management is all about promoting itself.  I am sure JTA wanted a new building ever since the Jax Airport Authority built its unnecessary monument to itself at the airport.

Here is an idea:  Put Rick Scott in charge of JTA.  It is the one agency he can abolish and no one would shed a tear.  In fact, we should ask our mayoral candidates to ponder the future of JTA as it currently operates and to make a campaign issue out it.

 If there is a silver lining to government budget shortfalls, it's the lack of funds to move this project forward in its current form.


Wow.  I wholly concur, STJR.  Wholly Concur!

Captain Zissou

February 01, 2011, 12:23:09 PM
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Wow.  I wholly concur, STJR.  Wholly Concur!

You don't hear those words too often.

stjr

February 01, 2011, 12:31:28 PM
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Wow.  I wholly concur, STJR.  Wholly Concur!

You don't hear those words too often.

Wonder if they are suitable for framing?  :D


Stephen, JTA should really be concerned when we can form such an unholy alliance regarding their demise!  As I have said before, we mostly align on transit issues with one notable exception.  When I convince you on that topic the world will finally be at peace.    8)

dougskiles

February 01, 2011, 12:53:47 PM
Here is an idea:  Put Rick Scott in charge of JTA.  It is the one agency he can abolish and no one would shed a tear.  In fact, we should ask our mayoral candidates to ponder the future of JTA as it currently operates and to make a campaign issue out it.

He is to some degree in charge with the power to appoint 3 of the 7 board members directly and the power to appoint the FDOT District 2 secretary as the 7th member.  Because it is a state agency, perhaps he actually could abolish the organization and turn the transit managing responsibility over to the City of Jacksonville.  Of course these are the same people who brought us Parking Garage-ville, so I'm not convinced it would be an improvement.

Here is a list of the current board members:

Michael Cavendish, Chairman (was appointed by Crist in 2007)
Edward Burr, Vice Chairman (appointed by Crist - website doesn't list when)
Cleve Warren, Treasurer (appointed by Peyton - website doesn't list when)
Alan Mosley, Secretary (FDOT District 2 Secretary)
Steve Diebenow, Board Member (appointed by Peyton in 2010)
Donna Harper, Board Member (re-appointed by Crist in 2010 - incidentally this is her second stint; she was on from 1999 to 2007)
Ava Parker, Board Member (appointed by Peyton in 2007)

The next mayor will have the opportunity to appoint at least 1 replacement in their first year.  Rick Scott has at least one coming up this year, also.

jaxlore

February 01, 2011, 05:19:45 PM
Donna Harper, Board Member (re-appointed by Crist in 2010 - incidentally this is her second stint; she was on from 1999 to 2007)

Anybody who has been on the board for that long around here needs to go!

urbaknight

February 01, 2011, 06:30:05 PM
All of JTA management should be fired and replaced with competent people.

wsansewjs

February 01, 2011, 11:21:34 PM
I got my pitchfork ready! Just tell me where to start poking those sorry asses!

By the way, you know what is funny about the map image? It reminds me of the Titanic's bow. So let the irony fall in its place.

-Josh

Jaxson

February 02, 2011, 07:34:59 AM
I got my pitchfork ready! Just tell me where to start poking those sorry asses!

By the way, you know what is funny about the map image? It reminds me of the Titanic's bow. So let the irony fall in its place.

-Josh

Amen to that!  JTA, in my humble opinion, seems to be utterly useless except to make other cities' transit systems look progressive by comparison...

Ocklawaha

February 02, 2011, 10:29:56 AM

Thanx wsansewjs

Captain Zissou

February 02, 2011, 10:38:02 AM
^ Ock, that's exactly what I was thinking.  It's a ship headed for a direct collision with I-95.  There's some bigger metaphor in there that i don't have time to figure out.

dougskiles

February 02, 2011, 07:19:38 PM
I don't have a problem with the office building.  It makes sense to combine those groups under one roof and have them located at the central area.  I do have problem with all of the parking spaces they are proposing.  We have too many garage parking spaces downtown already.  In fact, they claim that was one of the reasons for the Skyway's poor performance - that the city built too many parking garages.

Why the need for secured parking for staff?  They are missing a great opportunity to set an example and promote the use of their own system.

thelakelander

February 02, 2011, 09:09:31 PM
I think the concept of combining these groups under one roof, in a centralized area, is a great idea.  I just openly question if that validates spending $50 million in public funds on a new office building a mile away from the downtown core when it has a +20% vacancy rate.  Like the Universal-Marion (JEA), May-Cohens (COJ), Ed Ball (COJ) and YMCA (COJ) buildings, I think taxpayer dollars are better used putting life back into the heart by reusing existing available structures. 

I can buy the concept of structured parking at JTC since the goal is to make it an intermodal hub.  However, considering everything over there is already underutilized surface parking, a parking garage shouldn't be a high priority either.  Imo, the top priorities should be bringing Amtrak back in and kicking the convention center out.

spuwho

February 02, 2011, 10:03:38 PM
It would be interesting to see how JTA services would change if they were forced to eat their own dog food.

Mandatory, they have to park at Kings Street and ride the Skyway everyday (rain or shine).

Better yet, have them park at The Avenues and ride the BRT everyday.

I wonder if any management at JTA get a car allowance?



Seraphs

February 02, 2011, 10:09:50 PM
The things being said make perfect sense to me.  Not that JTA will knuckle under and listen to something that makes sense, however, I feel they should be asked these questions.

dougskiles

February 03, 2011, 06:35:34 AM
Donna Harper, Board Member (re-appointed by Crist in 2010 - incidentally this is her second stint; she was on from 1999 to 2007)

Anybody who has been on the board for that long around here needs to go!

Apparently, Rick Scott feels the same way.  He rescinded her appointment yesterday.  I nominate Ocklawaha for the position.

Quote
The new Republican governor announced Wednesday he was rescinding dozens of appointments made by his predecessor, Charlie Crist, that had not yet been confirmed by the Florida Senate.

He also removed Jacksonville resident Marty Fiorentino from the Enterprise Florida Inc. board and Donna Harper from the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.

Read more at Jacksonville.com:
http://jacksonville.com/news/florida/2011-02-02/story/grahams-psc-appointment-withdrawn-scott#ixzz1CtWq6EeF

dougskiles

February 03, 2011, 06:49:46 AM
I think the concept of combining these groups under one roof, in a centralized area, is a great idea.  I just openly question if that validates spending $50 million in public funds on a new office building a mile away from the downtown core when it has a +20% vacancy rate.  Like the Universal-Marion (JEA), May-Cohens (COJ), Ed Ball (COJ) and YMCA (COJ) buildings, I think taxpayer dollars are better used putting life back into the heart by reusing existing available structures. 

Which downtown building do you suggest?  One of the arguments for changing that I have heard is that they are almost 'shovel ready' with the design.  A redesign would push them several years back in the race for federal funds.  However, they need to ask themselves, how attractive is the project to the FTA when most of the money is being spent on an office building?  Perhaps a scaled-down project would have a better chance for grant approval.

ChriswUfGator

February 03, 2011, 08:08:56 AM
They should lease space in any of the existing buildings. AT&T, Barnett, SunTrust, BB&T, Independent Life, take your pick they all have high vacancy rates. The whole Atlantic Bank building is completely vacant. This buikding is another silly boondoggle.

fsujax

February 03, 2011, 08:17:42 AM
Stick them in the AT&T tower! then they would be accused having plush offices in a high rise tower downtown. It's a no win situation for the agency.

dougskiles

February 03, 2011, 08:26:34 AM
I'm glad you mentioned that, fsujax.  I was running past the school board building yesterday and thinking about how often we hear people question why the school board has prime riverfront office space.  Imagine the outcry if they packed up and left for a suburban office.  How long would the building stay vacant?

While leasing space probably makes more sense economically, I doubt that will happen.  I'm guessing they want to own the property.  Or at least use a government owned facility.  What buildings are available that they could purchase and renovate similar to what has happened with Ed Ball recently.  How much office space do they need?  What about the Hayden Burns library?  Although I'm not personally crazy about the architectural style of the building, it is unique and could be enhanced.

stephendare

February 03, 2011, 08:27:02 AM
Stick them in the AT&T tower! then they would be accused having plush offices in a high rise tower downtown. It's a no win situation for the agency.

Im not so sure anyone in the city gives a hamster's shit about the agency's sense of public image, fsujax.

Certainly not enough to accept a no win situation for the city.

Saving 30 million dollars and helping to occupy an existing building would actually show a bit of thoughtfulness instead of the callous, skin peeling obtuseness of the transportation ranch that they are presently pushing.

Seriously?  The JTA is proposing blowing 60 million on additional office space that is built over a parking garage?

Screw them.

thelakelander

February 03, 2011, 08:50:37 AM
I think the concept of combining these groups under one roof, in a centralized area, is a great idea.  I just openly question if that validates spending $50 million in public funds on a new office building a mile away from the downtown core when it has a +20% vacancy rate.  Like the Universal-Marion (JEA), May-Cohens (COJ), Ed Ball (COJ) and YMCA (COJ) buildings, I think taxpayer dollars are better used putting life back into the heart by reusing existing available structures.  

Which downtown building do you suggest?

I'm glad you ask.  We have a pick of the litter downtown.  Here are a few options within a block of the Hemming Plaza Skyway Station.  Most are completely empty and available for immediate sale.

1. Furchgott's Building


2. Atlantic Bank Building


3. Rosenblum's/Exchange Buildings


4. Old JEA Building


There's tons of more space available but these are just a few examples that would bring another public agency into an area envisioned to be the governmental cluster of the Northbank core.  Finding a logical way to reuse many of these buildings is already a significant challenge due to changing demographics.  The city and JEA have done their part.  It would be nice to see JTA follow suit.

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One of the arguments for changing that I have heard is that they are almost 'shovel ready' with the design.  A redesign would push them several years back in the race for federal funds.

I've always felt that was a pretty weak argument.  We blew an opportunity to use that $100 million in BJP funds by sitting on it and waiting for federal matching grants instead of investing it on rapid transit and using the value of an actual starter system to lobby for future federal assistance.  In addition, I also feel that we should not be planning our future by only relying on federal funding assistance.  Getting creative and finding other ways to get things quickly implemented the way you want them too is a better way to go.

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However, they need to ask themselves, how attractive is the project to the FTA when most of the money is being spent on an office building?

This brings up another issue in the design.  The office building and parking garage design over the skyway may be shovel ready but it doesn't really accomplish the sustainability goals of the current federal administration.  Considering the amount of projects in other city's that do, we may never see this thing win the amount of federal money needed to construct it.
  
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Perhaps a scaled-down project would have a better chance for grant approval.

If we can scale it down, we may find out we don't need federal money at all to develop a compact transportation center.  One way to scale it down is to take the office component out of it and reuse an existing structure in the heart of the Northbank core for that purpose.  Not only will purchasing a structure be cheaper, grant money (ex. historic) and city incentives could also help pay for renovation costs, given the benefit hundreds of relocated workers would bring to downtown street life.

[/quote]
Stick them in the AT&T tower! then they would be accused having plush offices in a high rise tower downtown. It's a no win situation for the agency.

You can't please everybody but its a huge win for the agency if they can find a way to accomplish their goals for 1/4 or 1/3 of the cost.  If they can begin to think and set priorities with the end user experience as the top goal, things will fall in place.

thelakelander

February 03, 2011, 09:06:06 AM
While leasing space probably makes more sense economically, I doubt that will happen.  I'm guessing they want to own the property.  Or at least use a government owned facility.  What buildings are available that they could purchase and renovate similar to what has happened with Ed Ball recently.  How much office space do they need?

The proposed JTA office building looks to be around 90,000 square feet and will cost $50 million (including the parking garage over the skyway).  With that in mind, I went to loopnet.com and pulled up the asking price for the 162,000 square foot empty old JEA tower.  It's $7 million.  I assume this is on the high end, given that its probably the largest totally vacant structure in DT.



This 19 story office tower is less than one block from the Hemming Plaza skyway station, has some off-street parking (for the big wigs who are too good for mass transit) and across the street from city hall, the federal courthouse and the new county courthouse.  Talk about centralization. 



thelakelander

February 03, 2011, 09:18:25 AM
I'm glad you mentioned that, fsujax.  I was running past the school board building yesterday and thinking about how often we hear people question why the school board has prime riverfront office space.  Imagine the outcry if they packed up and left for a suburban office.  How long would the building stay vacant?

Considering the old JEA building is 72,000 square feet more than JTA's proposed office building, perhaps the school board could team up with them and take up the rest.  Pooling their resources together would make things more financially feasible for both.  Such a move would really help pack the governmental cluster envisioned by the city, add thousands of workers to the core (creating opportunities for additional retail/dining at street level) and free up the school board's riverfront property to be sold and returned to the tax rolls.

ChriswUfGator

February 03, 2011, 10:34:25 AM
I think they'd be better off in the Atlantic Bank building. The JEA building is way too big, it's double the space they need, who would fill the rest? Also I'm hoping that the JEA building would eventually be returned to private sector use, but given the sorry state of downtown that's probably a pipe dream.

thelakelander

February 03, 2011, 10:51:35 AM
They could team up with the school board for the rest or lease the extra space out (generate revenue) to firms wanting to be near the new courthouse.  With an asking price of $7 million, for double the space needed, that's a bargin over paying $50 million for a new building a mile away from the downtown core.  Btw, also looked up the Furchgott's asking price.  It's $3.2 million for 60,000 square feet of space. Combine that with the abandoned 18,600sf Rosenblum's building across the street (also for sale, last occupied by Wachovia) and it will give them 78,600sf to work with for a fraction of the price of constructing a new structure.  Need more, well the six story Exchange Building next door to it is also vacant and available for sale.  The 63,000sf old Atlantic Bank building could be another option.  It's really a pick of the litter in the Northbank.  Given the sorry state of the Northbank, its foolish to think the private sector will come back and fill up all these spaces like it was decades ago.  Thus, if a public agency needs office space, we should be encouraging them to take advantage of the old Northbank core, like COJ and JEA did.

Doctor_K

February 03, 2011, 11:38:19 AM
^ Email that to everyone at COJ, plus Folio, the T-U, and Jacksonvile magazine.

Someone has to educate them. :)

ChriswUfGator

February 03, 2011, 12:08:45 PM
They could team up with the school board for the rest or lease the extra space out (generate revenue) to firms wanting to be near the new courthouse.  With an asking price of $7 million, for double the space needed, that's a bargin over paying $50 million for a new building a mile away from the downtown core.  Btw, also looked up the Furchgott's asking price.  It's $3.2 million for 60,000 square feet of space. Combine that with the abandoned 18,600sf Rosenblum's building across the street (also for sale, last occupied by Wachovia) and it will give them 78,600sf to work with for a fraction of the price of constructing a new structure.  Need more, well the six story Exchange Building next door to it is also vacant and available for sale.  The 63,000sf old Atlantic Bank building could be another option.  It's really a pick of the litter in the Northbank.  Given the sorry state of the Northbank, its foolish to think the private sector will come back and fill up all these spaces like it was decades ago.  Thus, if a public agency needs office space, we should be encouraging them to take advantage of the old Northbank core, like COJ and JEA did.

Atlantic Bank building is a shade under 100k square feet, Lake. That would be the exact size they need.

thelakelander

February 03, 2011, 12:13:01 PM
^I took the square footage number off COJ's property appraiser's site but it's most likely off, given there's more building mass on the AB parcel than Furchgott's next door and the AB parcel is slightly larger.

exnewsman

February 03, 2011, 12:26:21 PM
Well as a previous MJ post had sowed, JTA was not th eonly agency that woudl occupying that structure. AS I recall, it was the base for a regional traffic management center with FHP, COJ traffic engineers, TPO and JTA and making up the space. That, and the fact that it was adjacent to the Jacksonville Terminal, Skyway and the proposed Greyhound station, was why that location was selected, was it not. If that area is going to be the hub for rail and other transit modes, then doesn't it make more sense to have these entities nearby rather than in some downtown high-rise?

I'll grant you though, the building design left lots to be desired.

stephendare

February 03, 2011, 12:33:42 PM
Well as a previous MJ post had sowed, JTA was not th eonly agency that woudl occupying that structure. AS I recall, it was the base for a regional traffic management center with FHP, COJ traffic engineers, TPO and JTA and making up the space. That, and the fact that it was adjacent to the Jacksonville Terminal, Skyway and the proposed Greyhound station, was why that location was selected, was it not. If that area is going to be the hub for rail and other transit modes, then doesn't it make more sense to have these entities nearby rather than in some downtown high-rise?

I'll grant you though, the building design left lots to be desired.

All of those entities were going to be occupying the same amount of space, though.  That doesnt change, whether or not its a new or already built building.

And frankly, given the choice between a stinker of a project like another administrative building for JTA (downtown is merely a corpse scarred by former JTA projects that never panned out.) or sensibly taking a preexisting structure that needs a tenant and will cost an estimated 45 million dollars less?

Well Im not that married to the idea that JTA employees should have private parking underneath their new building at what is supposed to be a transit based TOD.

thelakelander

February 03, 2011, 01:03:10 PM
Well as a previous MJ post had sowed, JTA was not th eonly agency that woudl occupying that structure. AS I recall, it was the base for a regional traffic management center with FHP, COJ traffic engineers, TPO and JTA and making up the space.

A joint use space can be accommodated into existing infrastructure, especially considering many of these existing urban buildings were originally designed to house a mix of uses and businesses.

Quote
That, and the fact that it was adjacent to the Jacksonville Terminal, Skyway and the proposed Greyhound station, was why that location was selected, was it not. If that area is going to be the hub for rail and other transit modes, then doesn't it make more sense to have these entities nearby rather than in some downtown high-rise?

Not for 5 to 10 times the cost on the back of the taxpayer.  Although its always easier doing things with other people's money, being this excessive should be avoided at all costs.  The beautiful thing about the Northbank core's empty buildings is that most are within a block or so of a skyway station.  So, existing space can be utilized, which helps revitalization, preservation and walkability and a built in population of potential skyway riders is created, which promotes transit usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  All of these things happen to be what the current federal administration actually values.  Implementing a plan that responds to these points would set JTA up in a better position of actually landing federal money, if desired.

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I'll grant you though, the building design left lots to be desired.



True.  Let's not forget that these guys are looking for "sustainable" projects.  If I've got a ton of requests for federal assistance and I need to eliminate something, this pedestrian hostile thing would be the first to fly into the dumpster. Solid brick walls at ground level in the 21st century?  Wow......

ChriswUfGator

February 03, 2011, 01:56:11 PM
The renderings look like a bunker. Which I guess is only appropriate since JTA has declared war on the taxpayers.

exnewsman

February 03, 2011, 03:02:44 PM
Wasn't MJ also proposing moving the entire project into the Prime Osborn after the convention moves downtown (assuming it does). As I recall that would unite the various modes much better and free up land for infill. Still seems like the best option.

thelakelander

February 03, 2011, 03:38:09 PM
Yes, that concept works better and could happen more rapidly without the office building.  Not only would it reduce the overall cost but it would also free up an additional block at the transportation center for better integrated transit oriented development.

Jaxson

February 03, 2011, 06:19:36 PM
What is the JTA vision for local transit other than "Let's kick the can farther down the road for other people to worry about"?

mbwright

February 03, 2011, 06:28:40 PM
I say put them downtown, and require use of public transportation.  This might help them realize what is needed for it to work.  Put the savings in the Jacksonville Union Station, and get Amtrak back.  Since this was able to accomodate almost 100 trains per day, it should be pleanty big.  Get the rout to New Orleans re-opened.  This should be a priority. 

Ocklawaha

February 03, 2011, 08:56:44 PM
800 West Water

Isn't the Federal Reserve Building vacant or supposed to be vacant soon? That's right in front of the JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL. A branch pedestrian tunnel could connect the whole thing as the LEE ST Viaduct comes down. It's 200,000 sq ft and has two floors, when downtown revival comes along we could easily lease out half of it and make some money for the agency. Moreover since it is a Federal Building, and if the Federales own it, then we could get it FREE AND CLEAR.

If the rail side of the Terminal comes together like I think it will, look for the tracks and a platform or two to run right behind the back wall.


OCKLAWAHA

urbaknight

February 04, 2011, 11:57:15 AM
They could team up with the school board for the rest or lease the extra space out (generate revenue) to firms wanting to be near the new courthouse.  With an asking price of $7 million, for double the space needed, that's a bargin over paying $50 million for a new building a mile away from the downtown core.  Btw, also looked up the Furchgott's asking price.  It's $3.2 million for 60,000 square feet of space. Combine that with the abandoned 18,600sf Rosenblum's building across the street (also for sale, last occupied by Wachovia) and it will give them 78,600sf to work with for a fraction of the price of constructing a new structure.  Need more, well the six story Exchange Building next door to it is also vacant and available for sale.  The 63,000sf old Atlantic Bank building could be another option.  It's really a pick of the litter in the Northbank.  Given the sorry state of the Northbank, its foolish to think the private sector will come back and fill up all these spaces like it was decades ago.  Thus, if a public agency needs office space, we should be encouraging them to take advantage of the old Northbank core, like COJ and JEA did.

Exactly what I've losing sleep over thinking about. A few great examples, Social Security and Division of Blind Services are both located in the heart of the sprawl. I have an appointment with the SSA, but the bus doesn't go there. So now I have to be a further burden on my loved ones to get a ride there. And don't even get me started with the DBS. No one they serve can get to the office by driving. I think all social services (with the exception of homeless shelters, they'd be better for the rest of us if they were put in the sprawl)should have an office downtown.

I say we find a way to encourrage them to open offices downtown, so that the people they serve can actually get to their appointments on their own.

I went to the Ed Ball Building this morning where I spoke with someone from the Planning and Developement. And, I found out that there are many different agencies involved. We have to use unity to start a movement or petitions to bring all involved to the table. I'll post more details as I learn them.

If I find a way through the red tape, I hope I can count on all of your support toward this issue.

Jaxson

February 04, 2011, 12:53:48 PM
I say put them downtown, and require use of public transportation.  This might help them realize what is needed for it to work.  Put the savings in the Jacksonville Union Station, and get Amtrak back.  Since this was able to accomodate almost 100 trains per day, it should be pleanty big.  Get the rout to New Orleans re-opened.  This should be a priority. 

I totally agree about bringing back Amtrak's Sunset Limited.  Before Katrina hit, I was fortunate to travel on the Sunset Limited to Los Angeles.  It was a great, scenic journey across the nation.

fsujax

February 04, 2011, 01:54:48 PM
you know ock, I thought the same thing about the Fed Reserve Building. I cant find anything about it though, I thought I heard or read somewhere they were closing or moving.

Ocklawaha

February 04, 2011, 10:15:08 PM
I say put them downtown, and require use of public transportation.  This might help them realize what is needed for it to work.  Put the savings in the Jacksonville Union Station, and get Amtrak back.  Since this was able to accomodate almost 100 trains per day, it should be pleanty big.  Get the rout to New Orleans re-opened.  This should be a priority.  

I totally agree about bringing back Amtrak's Sunset Limited.  Before Katrina hit, I was fortunate to travel on the Sunset Limited to Los Angeles.  It was a great, scenic journey across the nation.

Almost 100? Try OVER 250 daily!

* Largest station south of Washington D.C.
* One time busiest station in the world

* Equal in number of tracks to both Atlanta stations (now gone) + Montgomery + Oklahoma City
   Santa Fe Station, combined.
* Or put another way, LARGER then Oklahoma City Union Station, Tampa Union Station, New Orleans Union
   and Memphis Union Station combined.
* If you wanted to add up Memphis Central Station and Portland (OR) Union Station, you'd still need tracks.
* Worlds largest Railway Express Station
* Between 12-15 Million Passengers a year passed through Jacksonville Terminal.

While it's true that Atlanta might be the railroad center of the South because of the number of railroad companies that entered the city, and interchanged freight there, for most of it's existence Jacksonville trumped Atlanta in Passengers. To give one an idea of the shear volume of traffic that moved through and might move through Jacksonville again, Atlanta's Terminal Station had about 130 employees by 1950, Jacksonville had 1,200. You see we at MJ are not talking about another AMSHACK, we are talking about palatal edifice with obscene potential.
 
This might help you visualize what I'm saying:


BIGGER THEN ATLANTA TERMINAL STATION


AND ATLANTA UNION STATION


AND EVEN BIGGER THEN MONTGOMERY UNION STATION - COMBINED!


OR HOW ABOUT OKLAHOMA CITY SANTA FE STATION


AND OKLAHOMA CITY UNION STATION


WITH TAMPA


WITH NEW ORLEANS


AND WITH MEMPHIS UNION THROWN IN FOR GOOD MEASURE!


FINALLY IF YOU COMBINED MEMPHIS CENTRAL STATION


AND PORTLAND, YOU'D STILL NEED 15 MORE TRACKS TO EQUAL JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL!





I'm writing this as a plea to our citizens, and to JTA and the new mayor of Jacksonville, wake up and realize the economic engine that we are sitting on... We OWN the rails in all of Florida, and all we have to do is step up to the plate and claim it. With $1.5 Billion dollars annually spent on tourism in Jacksonville, this isn't peanuts. We could of course sit on our hands and as a conservative "Republican-Tea Party," stronghold continue to bow to pressures from above and claim we just can't support spending on rail..."It's a subsidy."  This is nonsense as every transportation mode is subsidized in some manner or other and to single out rail as our political step child is piltdown thinking.








This isn't a Convention Center, it's a crime against our citizens...

OCKLAWAHA



JeffreyS

February 05, 2011, 10:32:40 AM
Testify Ock.

Dashing Dan

February 05, 2011, 10:57:33 AM
Let's not forget that as the headquarters city for CSX, Jacksonville is the focal point for what's left of about half of the railroads that have ever operated east of the Mississippi River, including B&O, the C&O, and most of the NY Central, along with the two main Florida railroads, i.e. the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard.  We're also the headquarters city for the other main Florida railroad, i.e. the FEC.  If any city in the US deserves more passenger trains, it's got to be Jacksonville.

stjr

February 05, 2011, 04:41:56 PM
800 West Water

Isn't the Federal Reserve Building vacant or supposed to be vacant soon? That's right in front of the JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL.

you know ock, I thought the same thing about the Fed Reserve Building. I cant find anything about it though, I thought I heard or read somewhere they were closing or moving.

Sorry, folks. I don't think the Fed is going anywhere else soon.  I recently spoke with someone in the know there and came away with the impression that, while they have dramatically scaled back due to the transfer of check processing to other sites and through electronic transactions, the remaining function of warehousing and distributing currency and administrating other Fed functions is well ensconced. 

The have leased an excess portion of the building to others but the special purpose Fed Reserve customized vault room(s), etc. are too special to give up.

stjr

February 05, 2011, 04:53:57 PM
I propose splitting JTA into a road building and mass transit agency.  The road building agency should pack up and move in with FDOT's road builders at Stockton and I-10.  There is little difference in the agenda's of the two so they might as well hitch up to each other as "husband and wife".  :D  While we are at it, let the rubber stamp TPO move in with them too.  TPO never saw a JTA/FDOT road they didn't approve and has never shown evidence of taking the initiative to bringing a mass transit project to reality that I can recall.

The mass transit agency should be tied to an urban planning department focused on infill and connectivity within existing infrastructure.  If FDOT is built like JTA, it, too, should be split, and its mass transit group should bunk with the local mass transit people.  Maybe this would help both the urban area and downtown with a new level of vision sharing and coordination that totally does NOT exist now with JTA, FDOT, and TPO.

With technology today, JTA's offices don't need to be at a location that is in proximity to any particular transit infrastructure.  As someone mentioned, what is needed is for JTA employees to ride/use the systems they are responsible for.  Having an office within a block of the systems that they never use will just get us back to where we are now:  An agency clueless about the how to execute their mission.

stephendare

February 05, 2011, 04:56:19 PM
I propose splitting JTA into a road building and mass transit agency.  The road building agency should pack up and move in with FDOT's road builders at Stockton and I-10.  There is little difference in the agenda's of the two so they might as well hitch up to each other as "husband and wife".  :D  While we are at it, let the rubber stamp TPO move in with them too.  TPO never saw a JTA/FDOT road they didn't approve and has never shown evidence of taking the initiative to bringing a mass transit project to reality that I can recall.

The mass transit agency should be tied to an urban planning department focused on infill and connectivity within existing infrastructure.  If FDOT is built like JTA, it, too, should be split, and its mass transit group should bunk with the local mass transit people.  Maybe this would help both the urban area and downtown with a new level of vision sharing and coordination that totally doe NOT exist now with JTA, FDOT, and TPO.

With technology today, JTA's offices don't need to be at a location that is in proximity to any particular transit infrastructure.  As someone mentioned, what is needed is for JTA employees to ride/use the systems they are responsible for.  Having an office within a block of the systems that they never use will just get us back to where we are now:  An agency clueless about the how to execute their mission.


my god, when you are right, you are right.  100% agree with you STJR.

stjr

February 05, 2011, 05:09:34 PM
my god, when you are right, you are right.  100% agree with you STJR.

I'm buying lottery tickets.  I am on a roll here with you.  8)

dougskiles

February 05, 2011, 05:44:43 PM
my god, when you are right, you are right.  100% agree with you STJR.

Ditto.  I think as long as we stay away from the six-letter 'S' word we are on the same page.  Oh no - did I just ruin it?

Ocklawaha

February 05, 2011, 05:48:01 PM
my god, when you are right, you are right.  100% agree with you STJR.

I'm buying lottery tickets.  I am on a roll here with you.  8)

Metro Jacksonville > Community > Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure > DVI Opposes Downtown BRT Plan

...If JTA is not listening, it begs the question, "Why are we one of only 2 major Cities with a highway builder trying to play Transit Agency?"

This is a major step in the right direction, paint the City green with electric mass-transit...


Split up JTA? Why? Just go spend some time in the American Road Builders or Highway Builders web-sites and you get a pretty clear image of the conflict's that lay within JTA. I'm sure when the Consolidation spirit swept them up with all of the other City agency's, no one suspected this was like putting a cat in a box with a rat, then try to shake until mixed. Here is a sample of one recent fight in PA. Highway builders are waging a public campaign against the state's funding scheme for mass transit, saying bus and subway riders in the Philadelphia area benefit at the expense of motorists in the rest of the state.  

Ocklawaha

Metro Jacksonville > Community > Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure > Post reply ( Re: BRT Meeting Held at City Hall )
HIGH NOON FOR BRT!

...Cat out of the bag anyone? A big ugly diesel cat, in circus colors, with rubber tires, belching as it goes, BRT my friends.

1. Let's gear up to stop the "Pathway of Death" before we build it to rip it apart.

2. Let's talk to the City about forming a downtown Light Rail Heritage and Commuter Rail District, with dedicated funding and take this project away from JTA, FTA and FDOT.

3. Take the Skyway away from them and add it to our Special District.

4.. Let's split up JTA and send the highway builders to an attractive new office with black glass windows, in the center of a 40 acre parking lot. Hold the AC, too expensive, I mean, the poor live without it right?

"WE THE PEOPLE, IN CONVENTION ASSEMBLED..." We have the power!


Ocklawaha

Deja Vu eh Stephen?

OCKLAWAHA

ChriswUfGator

February 05, 2011, 05:54:15 PM
I propose splitting JTA into a road building and mass transit agency.  The road building agency should pack up and move in with FDOT's road builders at Stockton and I-10.  There is little difference in the agenda's of the two so they might as well hitch up to each other as "husband and wife".  :D  While we are at it, let the rubber stamp TPO move in with them too.  TPO never saw a JTA/FDOT road they didn't approve and has never shown evidence of taking the initiative to bringing a mass transit project to reality that I can recall.

The mass transit agency should be tied to an urban planning department focused on infill and connectivity within existing infrastructure.  If FDOT is built like JTA, it, too, should be split, and its mass transit group should bunk with the local mass transit people.  Maybe this would help both the urban area and downtown with a new level of vision sharing and coordination that totally doe NOT exist now with JTA, FDOT, and TPO.

With technology today, JTA's offices don't need to be at a location that is in proximity to any particular transit infrastructure.  As someone mentioned, what is needed is for JTA employees to ride/use the systems they are responsible for.  Having an office within a block of the systems that they never use will just get us back to where we are now:  An agency clueless about the how to execute their mission.


my god, when you are right, you are right.  100% agree with you STJR.

Stephen and I just had this conversation yesterday actually, about how JTA's dual purposes are diametrically opposed to one another, and how it's self-defeating to have the same agency responsible for both functions, and how they need to be split off. 110% agree with you stjr.

stjr

February 05, 2011, 06:05:56 PM
^Chris, I will add your comment to the impetus for me to buy those lottery tickets.  :D

Ock, I think many of us here have advocated previously for a JTA split and I recognize your comments amongst them.  I was just taking the opportunity to advocate once again, in the context of this thread, for so doing.  It's good to see so many of us on the same page, whatever our issues may be elsewhere.

Let's hope someone (mayoral candidates?) is paying attention.

dougskiles

February 05, 2011, 06:11:34 PM
Aside from the political element - which I recognize is the largest part of it - what could keep this split from occuring?  JTA is a state agency.  Is there anything in their charter that requires them to be the only transit agency in Jacksonville?  What would have to happen for this to become reality?  Would the city have to buy the resources?

The flip side of the argument - and what JTA reps will likely say - is that Jacksonville has benefited from JTA being somewhat isolated from the city's ever-changing political wind.  But to that I would say, what change?  Haven't we been doing the same basic thing for 50 years?

stjr

February 05, 2011, 06:38:16 PM
The flip side of the argument - and what JTA reps will likely say - is that Jacksonville has benefited from JTA being somewhat isolated from the city's ever-changing political wind.

Doug, I don't think I can agree with this proposition.  My experience is that JTA has consistently blown in the direction of all the political winds (which are not so "ever-changing" as I see it) created by developers and landholders since its creation.  The proof is in the pudding we see today.  Not sure how great the benefits have been to those who are outside of these special interest groups.  JTA projects have contributed to the downfall of downtown, the ruination of neighborhoods bulldozed by its expressways and other road projects, the destruction of our environment by creating urban sprawl, the congestion of our roads and fouling of our air by failing to offer alternative modes of transportation, the degradation of the quality of life in our community by all of the aforementioned issues, etc.  Not that all of that is JTA's fault alone, but JTA has failed to show one ounce of leadership in addressing any of those issues with those who push them to do as they have done.  Thus, JTA is a willing co-conspirator and co-contributor to all these results.

I would expect a JTA supporter to argue that JTA has created economic development for the City by its "contributions" but I would suggest all of this and more could have been achieved with a much different approach to many of the projects JTA has tackled.  By example, we have discussed here how a greater emphasis on rail access to the port would be a both a superior solution and greater economic stimulus than building ever more and bigger access roads.  Would JTA dare push for this position?  Another example: Is there a single JTA project that has advanced downtown or, in summation, have all those expressways, bus system designs, Skyway, bridges, beltways, etc. conspired to drive development away?  Has JTA offered a single appropriate and well conceived solution to advance downtown?

To be clear, I am not saying every road project is bad, just that JTA has a dismal batting record of being proficient and competent in creating, advocating, and/or discriminating between good and bad alternatives.  This has been way more detrimental than beneficial over the decades to our community.

Ocklawaha

February 05, 2011, 07:27:51 PM
Ock, I think many of us here have advocated previously for a JTA split and I recognize your comments amongst them.  I was just taking the opportunity to advocate once again, in the context of this thread, for so doing.  It's good to see so many of us on the same page, whatever our issues may be elsewhere.

Let's hope someone (mayoral candidates?) is paying attention.



Another brilliant solution from City Hall.

Oh I agree stjr, I'm just making the point that we've been saying this for years... and like everything else at the city level, these stripped assed apes blow us off like a swarm of blithering pygmy idiots.

Even in their own palatal sanctuary these guys are frequently at war with themselves... no freaking wonder, having these completely separate purposes or industries under the same roof is as stupid as having GM, Goodyear, Phillips 66, Standard Oil and Greyhound buy up and run your streetcar system.

Oop's we already did that didn't we? And we've been screwing the pooch since 1936.

In the context of today, or in the context of 2006-7 the statement has never rang truer.

SPLIT UP JTA!

Salute my friend, salute... It's hard to be the "Bold New City of the South," when it's decisions are made by a pack of howling cowardly old hillbillies, often imported from the north's nether regions.


OCKLAWAHA

Charles Hunter

February 05, 2011, 08:01:27 PM
Short answer to split up JTA requires an act of the Florida Legislature, to amend Chapter 349.  Which would require the Duval Delegation to propose it.
Chapter 349: http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2010/Chapter349

tufsu1

February 05, 2011, 08:56:49 PM
TPO never saw a JTA/FDOT road they didn't approve and has never shown evidence of taking the initiative to bringing a mass transit project to reality that I can recall.

the TPO sets priorities but it doesn't build/implement projects...now, as to transit issue, the TPO identified funding for commuter rail, streetcar, and yes BRT in the adopted 2035 long range plan....which means those projects now get on the priority list.

stjr

February 05, 2011, 09:24:42 PM
TPO never saw a JTA/FDOT road they didn't approve and has never shown evidence of taking the initiative to bringing a mass transit project to reality that I can recall.

the TPO sets priorities but it doesn't build/implement projects...now, as to transit issue, the TPO identified funding for commuter rail, streetcar, and yes BRT in the adopted 2035 long range plan....which means those projects now get on the priority list.

Tufsu, the question is where on the priority list?  Ahead of 9B, the Outer Beltway, JTB interchange, the 9A/I-95 north ramp, the Blanding/I-295 interchange, Collins Road interchange, JTB widening, etc.?  I bet most or all of those road projects will be funded and completed before new mass transit initiatives.  And, I bet the mass transit initiatives will continue, as they have in the past, to be pushed down that "priority list" by newly created road priorities as we move toward 2035 or any other targeted date.  After all, as you note, the TPO just "lists" priorities, they don't deliver on them.  A dog with no bite.

Per the above, I would suggest the TPO's "priorities" for any given near term (i.e. those most likely to actually come to fruition) highly correlate with JTA and FDOT road agendas. That doesn't show much independent thinking to me.

Ocklawaha

February 06, 2011, 08:55:47 AM
Short answer to split up JTA requires an act of the Florida Legislature, to amend Chapter 349.  Which would require the Duval Delegation to propose it.
Chapter 349: http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2010/Chapter349

Same rules applied to the JAA-JPA split.

TUFSU, could the TPO make a recommendation that the transit functions be removed from JTA?


OCKLAWAHA

dougskiles

February 06, 2011, 11:53:01 AM
Instead of pulling transit away from JTA, it might be better to pull the road building function away and let FDOT handle it.  Seems like a huge duplication of effort to me.  Plus I can't say I trust the City of Jacksonville with transit any more than JTA - perhaps even less.

thelakelander

February 06, 2011, 12:49:37 PM
At least with COJ, you have the opportunity to integrate transit with community planning and visioning efforts. Right now, it's pretty clear that JTA is operating on their own island with priorities and visions that don't align with the community.

Dog Walker

February 06, 2011, 01:12:07 PM
Had a friend of mine who worked for FDOT for years.  He told me something that seems to apply to JTA as well.

"The FDOT's idea of mixed transit is half asphalt and half concrete."

dougskiles

February 06, 2011, 02:53:09 PM
At least with COJ, you have the opportunity to integrate transit with community planning and visioning efforts. Right now, it's pretty clear that JTA is operating on their own island with priorities and visions that don't align with the community.

Or it could also completely backfire when a mayor is elected who decides to mothball our transit system.

tufsu1

February 06, 2011, 03:24:07 PM
Tufsu, the question is where on the priority list?  Ahead of 9B, the Outer Beltway, JTB interchange, the 9A/I-95 north ramp, the Blanding/I-295 interchange, Collins Road interchange, JTB widening, etc.?  I bet most or all of those road projects will be funded and completed before new mass transit initiatives. 

as you can imagine, it takes many years to get projects funded....sadly projects like 9B have been on the drawing board for a long time, wheras the idea of commuter rail here is less than 5 years old.

Ocklawaha

February 06, 2011, 03:30:39 PM
As much as I like the candidate in question, I CANNOT support him if he holds to this one point... It's the same syndrome that has effected Amtrak ever since 1971. "Here's $1.98, now go run a system that covers these cities, with these routes, run a single train each way daily and oh yeah, MAKE MONEY DOING IT." Not to mention in a country more then 1,000 miles from north to south, and nearly 3,000 miles from east to west, we've assigned Amtrak to do it with the same number of trains (15) that California runs between Oceanside and San Diego. Imagine the insanity of that?

OCKLAWAHA

yapp1850

March 10, 2011, 09:09:22 AM
hey what is status of commuter rail in jacksonville

JeffreyS

March 10, 2011, 09:29:49 AM
Right now they are being Scotted.

tufsu1

March 10, 2011, 03:12:38 PM
I believe JTA has been getting ready for the next phase of studies....should be starting in the next few months

exnewsman

March 10, 2011, 04:11:59 PM
City Council tends to take a very miopic view of issues focusing only on what their particular little world (district) needs/wants. Rarely do they think long-term which is what is required for transit planning 10, 20 and 30 years into the future. Those issues are a priority because the individual council members won't be in the seat to reap the benefits.

But for all the JTA bashing that goes on here and elsewhere, and some of it justified, JTA is pursuing HSR (with the southeast HSR coalition linking from Atlanta/Macon), commuter rail and streetcars - all of which are priorities with MJ. The bus system needs some work, but there has been improvement in that area as well in regards to frequencies and less duplication. Perfect? Hardly. But I would say improving.

The road projects are a separate beast. Most of the recent work by JTA has been Better Jacksonville Plan related. But that money is basically gone and many projects dropped by COJ. Some other projects come from FDOT. So JTA hasn't really initiated road project work - mostly managed it - for a long time.

Not sure what would breaking up the band would solve at this point?

Ocklawaha

March 10, 2011, 08:37:48 PM
Not sure what would breaking up the band would solve at this point?

Here are just a few of THOUSANDS of examples why breaking up the band is a very good idea.

Quote
TOLL ROAD NEWS

Toll authorities threatened by NYC-NJ ARC rail tunnel boondoggle
Posted on Mon, 2010-10-25 01:33
...And it should be looking at ways of helping NJ buses from the Lincoln Tunnel move more efficiently over to the eastside core of Manhattan - one seat bus rides to where New Jersey commuters want to go in NY City rather than all being dumped out at the PA Bus Terminal on the westside...
SOURCE: http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/4953

Quote
TOLL ROAD NEWS

Why road?

Here's the answer:

Rubber tires on roads provide vastly more efficient and useful transportation service because of the pervasiveness of roads and the variety and ubiquity of road vehicles. Everyone is connected to the road network via the hierarchy of expressways, arterials, distributors, local streets, driveways, parking lots and loading docks.

The road network extends into every property in the country - allowing door to door travel and door to door deliveries. Moreover the road network supports a rich array of different vehicles specialized and tailormade to user needs, most of them privately financed and operated.

Rail can't possibly compete for most trips made because it lacks the same depth of small feeders and connections at each end of most trips.  How many properties in America have a rail siding as compared to having a driveway or parking spot or loading dock? And rail can't cater to the variety of privately financed and operated vehicles that roads cater to.
SOURCE: http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/5167

Quote
TRUCK DRIVER NEWS

The railroads compete with trucking directly for a portion of the freight market. Railroads only want to have trucks carry the short haul loads in the US, with Railroads owning all the long haul business. Normally, the “market” would determine if Railroads deserve to “own” the long distance freight business if they could prove they are more efficient than Trucking.

Unfortunately for the railroads, the market has already decided that trucks are more efficient for the high value items needed in small locations throughout the US. Railroads are great at hauling massive amounts of coal, sand or wheat, but they are not so good at delivering six cars to the Toyota dealership in Richmond, VA from Kentucky by next Tuesday.

So the Railroads cheat a little bit. They have something the Real Estate developers want – a means to move lots of commuters from the 1/4 acre lots that make developers rich to the high paying jobs in the city centers that taxpayers will stupidly support – rail lines. And they trade their established rail lines to the real estate developers for the influence the developers have with politicians.

The railroads get the politicians to delay and study new rail routes while at the same time the politicians don’t do anything that will really relieve traffic congestion on the highways.
SOURCE: http://www.truckdriversnews.com/rail-system-vs-highway-infrastructure-follow-the-money/

Quote
METRO MAGAZINE (Primarily Bus Transit, OCK)

The impact of the ever-worsening traffic congestion in the U.S. is substantial in time, resources and pollution.
The Texas Transportation Institute’s 2002 Urban Mobility Report estimates that in 75 urban areas the total congestion bill for 2000 came to $67.5 billion. That is the value of 3.6 billion hours of delay and 5.7 billion gallons of excess fuel consumed. In an attempt to lessen traffic congestion and present buses as a more reliable and effective highspeed transit alternative, the concept of bus rapid transit (BRT) has emerged as a viable means of improving mobility.

In recent years, cities across the U.S. elected to build light rail lines. Although high in cost and lengthy in construction, these systems reduce congestion and often attract the added benefit of private investments and residential development.  However, BRT systems have proven far less costly and faster to implement, and can stimulate economic growth.
SOURCE:  http://www.metro-magazine.com/Resources/guest_editorial.pdf

Quote
Railroad passengers paid for airport construction through special tax!

Between 1942 and 1962 a 10% rail ticket tax was levied on railroads as a war measure to discourage unnecessary travel. This tax generated revenues of over $5 Billion, which went into the general revenue fund and ironically, was used in some
cases to build more airports and highways. In today's dollars, that probably would amount to about $100 billion and one wonders what would have happened if that money had been invested in rail service after the war. By the time, the tax was lifted, the passenger train was already on the ropes.
SOURCE: report by USDOT Secretary William Coleman, 1977

Quote
About User Fees... they don't pay the bills

User fees only account for about 60% of highway spending by all levels of government. The rest comes from non-users and in 1990, non-highway users subsidized roads at the rate of $18 billion per year.
SOURCE: Highway Statistics 1990, Tables HF-10 and SMT, Federal Highway Administration

Quote
There he goes again...

When the Reagan Administration claimed that each rail passenger required a $35 subsidy, Amtrak President Graham Claytor countered that air passengers were subsidized at $42 each, including $9 for the air traffic control system.
SOURCE: US News and World Report, April 29, 1985

If the airlines had to pay for the cost of the at traffic control system, as Amtrak now pays for the upkeep of the Northeast Corridor, they would soon be out of business. In 1989, it cost the federal government $3 billion to operate the system vs. the combined net profit of $1 billion for the airline industry.
SOURCE: "Supertains": Solutions to America's Transportation Gridlock, Joe Vranich

Or we could leave JTA as a unique experiment in "conflict of interest" as the only major transit agency that is also beholding to the highway lobby. Such a move won't necessarily make JTA smaller and less significant, but in fact might well make it a lean, well oiled REGIONAL transit machine.  Otherwise our "Expressway Authority should be reincarnated.

OCKLAWAHA
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