Thursday, July 24, 2014
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
 

Rick Mullaney Unveils Plan for Jacksonville

Rick Mullaney, Republican candidate for mayor of Jacksonville, shares his 34-point plan to shrink government and grow jobs.

Published January 25, 2011 in News      188 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

















For more information visit: www.mullaneyformayor.com







188 Comments

peestandingup

January 25, 2011, 05:33:23 AM
Gotta love this one:

Quote
Part III

17. Stop wasting taxpayer money on the Skyway

Sometimes, we have to admit when something is not working. The Automated Skyway Express (ASE) is a train to nowhere, and it's taking the taxpayers for a ride. The ASE costs the people of Jacksonville $5 - $8 million a year, with taxpayers kicking in $9 for every $1 fare. As mayor, I will lead the charge to place a moratorium on Skyway operations and stop the waste!

Notice he never says anything about replacing it, or the fact that it was never finished & that's the reason it "goes nowhere". Gotta love it.

I sometimes think the only reason that thing was built was just to half-ass it, then kill it to show that public transportation is some kind of waste.

thelakelander

January 25, 2011, 06:25:05 AM
I noticed that as well and would like to see what else he has to say about this and mass transit in general.  If we don't truly address our mass transit issues during this next term, we endanger our chances of being able to compete against our peers in this 21st century economy.  If Rick reads this thread, here are a few things I'd like him to consider with this particular issue.

1. The skyway is a part of an overall dysfunctional transportation network.  Despite the bad press, unreliable service, broken turnstiles, not being fully integrated into the overall mass transit network, going nowhere to nowhere, its JTA's 6th busiest route, most popular in terms of ridership/mile and ridership has increased 18% over the past year.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-oct-jta-transit-ridership-numbers

The skyway is easy to single out because of its prominence but placing a moratorium on it doesn't really solve the real transit elephant in the room, which is the organization running it and the bus system into the ground.  Considering we subsidize our bus system and roads more than the skyway, I believe we need to look at our overall transportation system's problems holistically.  Before going the moratorium route, I'd recommend actually attempting to integrate it into the mass transit network by eliminating all buses out of the downtown core (saves O&M cost/increases ridership by eliminating duplicate routes), pushing for TOD around existing stations, wrapping trains with ads (revenue increase) and leasing ground floor station space to retail/food vendors (more revenue/ridership).

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2008-oct-re-evaluating-the-skyway


2. Moratorium aside, I love the urban medical district concept.  However, it becomes more difficult to pull off when you don't effectively connect medical anchors and the university with reliable fixed mass transit.  You also miss the opportunity to benefit from the economic infill development that tends to spring up around stations that would create affordable housing opportunities, retail and jobs that many urban core communities (including DT) need and desire.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-jun-before-after-rail-spurs-economic-development

The problem with downtown and urban core revitalization is the fact that we've ripped apart connectivity and clustering complementing uses together within a compact setting.  At a minimum, we need to start working to reestablish that urban core connectivity between downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.  Doing such (which could be funded by the Mobility Fee and a revamp of bus operations) would lay the foundation for more long term market rate economic development than more significant investment in something like a convention center, blowing up DT blocks for more greenspace or subsidizing the creation of an entertainment district ever would.


3. I'd also suggest getting more familiar with the 2030 mobility plan and fee that is working its way through council now.  It takes the old traffic concurrency system and utilizes fees being generated by development in a manner that integrates mobility with land use.  Urban core CIE priority projects are transit based and actually tie the Shands area and EWC with DT and St. Vincents.  Considering their connection to the proposed LaVilla transportation center, we also have an opportunity to utilize the skyway to provide direct access between these areas and the Southbank medical cluster.  It's a good plan to piggyback this plan's funding mechanism as a way to build upon the idea of promoting our healthcare sector, downtown and urban core revitalization.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-dec-2030-mobility-plan-presentation


4. I'd like to get Rick's opinion on desire to have a new $40 - $50 million transportation center office building as a higher priority than improving the actual system or relocating Amtrak back downtown.  Considering the high number of vacant office buildings in the core of downtown, it would seem to make more financial sense for a public taxpayer funded agency to take advantage of a cheaper existing space (many within walking distance of JTA's own skyway) to consolidate office needs.

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

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-oct-an-empty-feeling-inside-the-walls-of-downtown

5. Also, I'd like to get Rick's thoughts on the latest BRT plans.  I wonder why can't we have BRT lines and reliable bus service right now with our existing infrastructure and buses?  If we want to run premium bus service down corridors like Philips, modify the existing network and run it without waiting years for a federal handout to basically purchase more buses.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-sep-trimming-the-fat-how-to-reduce-the-cost-of-jtas-brt-

peestandingup

January 25, 2011, 07:33:59 AM
All good points, Lake. Although I would assume that he probably knows a lot of this stuff, however won't admit to it because he wants to play up his "conservative" role & to the people of Jax in general (many of whom probably see public transportation strictly for poor people and/or a failure after seeing the Skyway turn into a boondoggle). So as open minded, rational, historical buffs as we all are here on this forum, let's not forget where we're actually talking about (an extremely car-centric area that has the biggest footprint of any US city, has no respect for its core or its history, & has one of the worst public transportation systems I've ever witnessed).

Speaking of which, I still think there's something to the creation of this thing & what they realistically had planned for it. Someone once told me the cost per mile of the Skyway (can't remember the exact figure), but it was insane & dwarfed the cost of any light rail system. So they basically ended up building the smallest most expensive system they could that they knew probably couldn't be extended (for cost issues). I mean, who the hell does something like that?? They can't be THAT stupid.

I think they got just what they wanted outta this thing.

Jimmy

January 25, 2011, 07:37:42 AM
When I read this list, I "hear" it in John Peyton's voice.  "We're really gonna run the City like a business this time.  Honest, we swear."

fsujax

January 25, 2011, 08:44:15 AM
No other points on mass transit other than killing some form of it or really transportation for that matter. Very disappointed and I will not be voting for him. Guess I know who I am supporting now!

thelakelander

January 25, 2011, 08:59:28 AM
Someone once told me the cost per mile of the Skyway (can't remember the exact figure), but it was insane & dwarfed the cost of any light rail system. So they basically ended up building the smallest most expensive system they could that they knew probably couldn't be extended (for cost issues). I mean, who the hell does something like that?? They can't be THAT stupid.

It cost $184 million for 2.5 miles or $73.6 million per mile, which is insane.  Although this was paid by the federal government as a part of a demonstration project, we made things worse by doing the following:

1. Didn't build route as originally proposed.  The original route had it going north along Hogans Creek to Shands and east down Bay Street to the courthouse area.  That would have at least tied downtown with a major employment center and two residential neighborhoods (Springfield & Sugar Hill) to the north.  For transit to work, it really needs to actual go somewhere and tie major destinations together.  Right now, it doesn't do this.


Original route vs what has been built.

2. We built two systems.  The first was a people mover system with MATRA vehicles.  When we extended it to the Southbank, we replaced that system with a monorail using Bombardier equipment.


The original skyway

3. We paid for a state of the art operations and maintenance center that was designed for a much larger system.


Inside the J. Charles Sawyer Operations Center in Brooklyn

4. We have an expensive double tracked river crossing in the middle of the Acosta Bridge.


The expensive bridge, parking garage and an example of an elaborate station can be seen in these images.

5. We also constructed some pretty elaborate stations.  We sunk a whole lot more money into these things than what was necessary.  Looking at the convention center line, I also wonder if we spent money on purchasing ROW and demolishing buildings to make space for it instead of designing it 100% within existing public ROW.


6. The elevated structure the monorail sits on is over engineered for the vehicles in use.  We actually have a 2.5 miles of parallel concrete bridges when we could have gotten away with a monorail beam on top of modest support columns.


Compare this amount of concrete with the concrete used in the Indy example below.


All in all, we wrote the book on how not to implement a mass transit system.  Its a shame, considering Indianapolis just built a similar double tracked system a couple of years ago for $26.6 million a mile.  To pour salt on our wounds, its O&M costs are $1 million/year and it operates 24/7.


The Indianapolis' Clarian Health People Mover opened in 2003, tying two medical centers together with a medical university, just north of DT Indy.

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-sep-the-clarian-health-people-mover

I mention all of this because if my experience with MJ has taught me one thing, its that to move forward, you really must understand the past and how we got to where we are today.

So when a number is tossed out there, like a $5 - $8 million a year O&M cost, I tend to be more interested in knowing why and seeing the numbers that combine or are omitted to come to that conclusion.  This is how we were able to prove the old BRT plan would have cost taxpayers a cool billion.

Once that's known and understood, it will be easy to develop solutions to significantly streamline numbers such as that.  However, at this point, I'm skeptical that it takes a moratorium on the skyway (the effect) to figure out that it is being run into the ground along with the existing bus system.  So the question becomes, how do we restructure or flip the apple cart to make sure that reliable cost efficient mass transit is the number one priority at 100 North Myrtle Avenue (the cause)?

Dashing Dan

January 25, 2011, 10:12:14 AM
With no drivers, the hourly operating cost for the skyway is much lower than the hourly operating costs for buses and trolleys.  It's past time for Jax to reap more of the benefits from the skyway's high initial capital costs.

For starters, run more bus routes that terminate at outlying skyway stations.  The SS6 and WS6 routes were recently reconfigured to do this.

A more ambitious option would be to extend the skyway beneath I-95 down into San Marco, including an FEC crossing.  The FEC crossing would give the skyway a unique advantage over driving in San Marco, running rubber tire trolleys there, and maybe even walking!  Instead of going up closer to the Southbank, the BRT would be cheaper and more reliable if it connected with the skyway at some point near Philips Highway and Atlantic Blvd.

Unfortunately, the existing skyway system will need some upgrades in order to make it more reliable, including better functioning escalators, fare collection equipment etc.  TOD near the existing stations would also help out a lot.

Dog Walker

January 25, 2011, 10:17:36 AM
His whole plan strikes me as technocratic and managerial.  The plan of a COO, not a CEO.  A lot of the fixes he proposes are great, but where is the vision for the future?  "More efficient government" doesn't really inspire, does it?

Captain Zissou

January 25, 2011, 10:18:00 AM
These are not the points I thought he would make in a statement like this.  He says nothing about downtown, the core, sprawl, or transit.  I do agree with a lot of his points, but I would like for him to be more vocal on some of the things I mentioned above.  I would really like for him to commit to bring more businesses downtown.  It's great to bring businesses within the city limits, it's even better to get them into the core.

I do really like that he mentioned soliciting private donations and funding for projects.  I don't think our current mayor has done that on anything of significance.  Simms will agree that private money is crucial to building up quality of life amenities like parks, public spaces, and cultural venues.  Do you think Charlotte would be close to what it is today without significant private investment??

TheProfessor

January 25, 2011, 10:24:45 AM
Sounds like he burned some bridges with all of these specific steps.  No plans for smart growth?

jcjohnpaint

January 25, 2011, 10:30:08 AM
honestly I don't care for his points.  He is playing off his conservative agenda.  I am a liberal and I will vote for a Republican if I like what they have to say.  I am not hearing it from this guy.  If he has something to prove to his party and constituents then he will continue to put party before problem-solving.  His point on the skyway is proof of this.  Instead of solving a problem he wants to tear it down.  I can keep going on, but I really think Lake did a great job covering it. 

jcjohnpaint

January 25, 2011, 10:35:37 AM
and I guess one other thing is that the skyway has pretty decent ridership for a train that goes nowhere.  If it went somewhere or linked to other transit then I think it would be fine.  Thanks for the maps Lake and this is the point.  Close the circle and then see what happens. 

stjr

January 25, 2011, 10:44:50 AM
I don't have time right now to reply ad infinitum to the Skyway boosters here, but Mullaney reflects what I have said all along:  The tone of the overall, non-MJ community, is to not support further investment in the Skyway.

And while people here focus on the sunk investment, the missed opportunities, etc., they miss focusing on the fact that, at whatever the costs, most people do not see the cost/benefit to keeping the Skyway in business.  Just cutting costs means nothing if there still is no appreciable benefit derived from the remaining costs.

Also, conveniently overlooked here, is that the existing Skyway is, after over two decades, 90+% below ridership projections made WITHOUT the benefit of a larger system.  So, claiming that if would perform better if "only it was expanded" in no way addresses this huge shortcoming.  Due to this history, proponents of the Skyway lack major credibility with the voters over any future promises of its potential.  

Lastly, I think the "man on the street" looks at the Skyway and sees a "common sense" lack of appeal to this mode of transportation versus other options.  As I have said before, a true lover of mass transit would sacrifice the Skyway project to rally support behind other mass transit modes that would provide much better cost/benefits and yield stronger political backing.  The Skyway's continued operation just serves to undermine and frustrate those efforts.  In this day and age, where politicians are facing very hard choices over budget issues, they can ill afford to squander precious resources on projects that offer very little benefit or evidence of success or to advocate for new projects until less successful ones are "pruned" out of the mix.

Aside from the Skyway, I do find it amusing that Mullaney plans to focus so much effort on City procurement and contracting given his past involvement and track record with this area as General Counsel.  I think when the TV and other ads starting running, his opponents will be exploiting this "Achilles heel" of his.  Not sure putting it as a centerpiece of his platform will enhance his campaign.

I agree with those who note the absence of quality of life issues being discussed here.  Taxes and jobs are just a piece of the greater puzzle.

stephendare

January 25, 2011, 10:52:38 AM
the sentiment of the community is that the skyway doesnt work.

However, unlike you or the handful of anti skyway people who hated it before it got built, they don't blame the system itself, they blame the incompetence that surrounds it.

Similarly, the sentiment of the community is that crime is a problem.  They do not however think we should get rid of the police.

I know you hate the skyway STJR, but lets keep it real.   ;)

peestandingup

January 25, 2011, 11:07:22 AM

As I have said before, a true lover of mass transit would sacrifice the Skyway project to rally support behind other mass transit modes that would provide much better cost/benefits and yield stronger political backing.  The Skyway's continued operation just serves to undermine and frustrate those efforts.

No, I actually think most people would probably agree with that. The problem is, that doesn't seem to be what this guy is saying (replace it with something else).

I think in tearing it down, that'll probably set the city back in these regards for decades & anything with the words "mass transit" attached to it will be a hard sell to people. But then again, they can't keep a failed system going either. Especially one that was obviously doomed from the start & too expensive to properly build out.

So yeah. They've kinda screwed the pooch with this thing. Whoever came up with this system in the first place needs a colossal beat down.

stjr

January 25, 2011, 11:21:26 AM
Quote
However, unlike you or the handful of anti skyway people who hated it before it got built, they don't blame the system itself, they blame the incompetence that surrounds it.

Stephen, this an unsupported conclusion of yours viewed through rose tinted glasses.  LOL.  It is, to many more than you will ever admit to, an incompetent system built by incompetent people.  That's how we get a 90+% failure rate and very little political will to move forwards with it.  But, continue to delude yourself with dreams of Skyway grandeur.   ;D  In the mean time, precious resources and political capital are diverted from buses, streetcars, commuter rail, etc.  Fiddling while Rome burns.

stephendare

January 25, 2011, 11:24:29 AM
Quote
However, unlike you or the handful of anti skyway people who hated it before it got built, they don't blame the system itself, they blame the incompetence that surrounds it.

Stephen, this an unsupported conclusion of yours viewed through rose tinted glasses.  LOL.  It is, to many more than you will ever admit to, an incompetent system built by incompetent people.  That's how we get a 90+% failure rate and very little political will to move forwards with it.  But, continue to delude yourself with dreams of Skyway grandeur.   ;D  In the mean time, precious resources and political capital are diverted from buses, streetcars, commuter rail, etc.  Fiddling while Rome burns.

meh.  I bet I talk to more people about it than you do. ;)

Actionville

January 25, 2011, 11:26:13 AM
Make the train to nowhere go somewhere! Perhaps using those relatively attractive and unobtrusive light rail beams

Captain Zissou

January 25, 2011, 11:35:09 AM
honestly I don't care for his points.  He is playing off his conservative agenda.  I am a liberal and I will vote for a Republican if I like what they have to say.  I am not hearing it from this guy.  If he has something to prove to his party and constituents then he will continue to put party before problem-solving.  His point on the skyway is proof of this.  Instead of solving a problem he wants to tear it down.  I can keep going on, but I really think Lake did a great job covering it. 

It is my understanding that he doesn't want to tear it down, just suspend operations.  I'm not in favor of either option, but suspending operations is better than tearing it down. 

STJR, I see why you're saying what you are, but you're wrong.  If you spent too much money building the frame of a bike with handlebars, front fork, gears and brakes, but didn't put wheels on it, you wouldn't scrap the bike.  You'd pony up some more cash to make the bike effective, even if it meant going over your already exhausted budget.  The current skyway is a bike without wheels.  Yes, we spent too much money already, but without additional cash outlay, it will never be effective.  The skyway has to go where it will be used for it to ever gain more riders.

It is in this light that I think Mullaney is right.  Currently the skyway doesn't go far enough to be effective, but we can't afford to expand it right now.  Rather than dismantle it, suspend operations to free up additional funds until we are able to expand it and get it up and running again.  If he does suspend operations, I'd love to see that 8 million a year either go into a mass transit (no buses) fund, a fund for capital improvements for the skyway specifically, or into the downtown area that the skyway would serve.  If the money went to adding infill and density to the areas around the stations, that would be a win-win for when operations resumed.

Keep in mind, I'm not for suspending operations.

Ocklawaha

January 25, 2011, 11:35:20 AM
So they start tearing it down, its not an overnight job, for months the mess is all over downtown . They haul out the junk, take down the bents and panels, remove roofs, lift beams, disconnect electric, removes millions of dollars of high tech circuitry, strip the barn of components, repair the streets and sidewalks... MONTHS. During that long period virtually every citizen from 8 to 80 will be intimately familiar and accustomed to answering "why?" Of course its because, "People in this town love their cars too much and won't use mass transit..."

Next refund the Federal Government $186 Million as required by the FTA and as demonstrated by the recent Wisconsin, Ohio High Speed Rail disaster.

After that go before the city and tell Jacksonville you want $100 million to build a streetcar system... Tell the Federal Government that you need an $800 million dollar grant for the same.

See how far you get.



OCKLAWAHA


fieldafm

January 25, 2011, 11:39:18 AM
Shutting down the skyway is a message that reasonates well with people in Jacksonville.

But, those very same people think that the city constructed it and pays for it all by itself.  Which isn't true.

Nationwide the crime rate is dropping... but when you poll people, something like 76% of people polled say that the crime rate is rising and is a serious problem.

Its all about perception, which is why the city has not moved forward over the last 8 years.  If perception is not changed, we will get a new mayor that is just more of the same.

That is why we need a mayor who has a solid vision and can inspire people to make it happen.

I very much agree and very much disagree with a lot of these aforementioned points.

Case in point... the term 'privatizing the IT dept costing the city 55million' sounds great.  'Let's cut out the waste' people would scream when hearing this... but frankly the 'technology' we get from that 55 million sucks and is archaic.  

You want to make a real savings and create a user-friendly functional IT network in this city?  Well, opening up a shareware program to program developers and fostering partnerships with such companies as Cisco and Google would be a BIG start.  Do you know the kind of government interaction both citizens and businesses can participate in electronically better and for cheaper in other places???  I hope to put something together soon that highlights this.  

fsujax

January 25, 2011, 11:40:36 AM
If this happens Jacksonville can kiss any Federal money goodbye for any other mode of transit, commuter rail, streetcar, whatever! I dont think he fully understands the implications of doing this. Who are his transportation advisors? maybe the message needs to be better articulated.

Doctor_K

January 25, 2011, 11:45:53 AM
Its all about perception,
Amen. 

And, to stjr's point, it's also about awareness and education.  The "overall non-MJ community" is uninformed - either by choice (stubbornness) or by ignorance.

The overall non-MJ community doesn't know any better and probably doesn't care, past the "tear it down!" bumper sticker slogans.

Jimmy

January 25, 2011, 11:48:24 AM
The overall non-MJ community doesn't know any better and probably doesn't care, past the "tear it down!" bumper sticker slogans.
Listen to the doctor.  He speaks the truth.  This kind of document counts on the uninformed being motivated by fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  Instead of playing to people's fears and misperceptions, I wish candidates would educate and elevate. 

fsujax

January 25, 2011, 11:48:50 AM
The Skyway had 545,709 riders in FY2010. This ranks as JTA's 6th highest route in terms of ridership.

Doctor_K

January 25, 2011, 11:54:53 AM
The Skyway had 545,709 riders in FY2010. This ranks as JTA's 6th highest route in terms of ridership.

I wonder how many additional riders/ridership numbers weren't captured due to those lovely oft-broken turnstiles?

Captain Zissou

January 25, 2011, 11:58:58 AM
^ You can add about 10 rides from me.  I've been forced to jump the turnstiles more times than I've gone through correctly due to my quarters not being recognized. 10+ for my roommate as well.  I'm sure there are tens of thousands of them.

fsujax

January 25, 2011, 12:01:26 PM
well, no doubt some rides are not captured, so the numbers could be higher.

Doctor_K

January 25, 2011, 12:01:53 PM
^ You can add about 10 rides from me.  I've been forced to jump the turnstiles more times than I've gone through correctly due to my quarters not being recognized. 10+ for my roommate as well.  I'm sure there are tens of thousands of them.

--nod--   Plus at least 4 from me for the exact same reason - that's the reason I brought it up.

Actionville

January 25, 2011, 12:05:35 PM
So the original route would run right down Bay Street apparently. I'm trying to envision how that would interact with those historic buildings like Dyal Upchurch and Baywater Square. Into Riverside, San Marco springfield would mesh nicely though

Garden guy

January 25, 2011, 12:10:08 PM
Again..deregulation and no taxes...you can't get blood out of a turnip...I'll not be voting for Mr. Muallaney.....I'd like to hear from him that noone he know would ever get a contract with this city...i'm sick of deals being made behind closed doors and under the table. Watch out for the good ole boys..they eat locals for lunch...

heights unknown

January 25, 2011, 12:11:55 PM
I like his stated agenda and plan. He talks a good game and game plan; however, we will see, once he is in office, whether he is willing to really throw the bomb for a touchdown. Not much mention of downtown and the urban core, or of recruitment and acquisition of mass transit for the city (as Lake or someone pointed out). At least he has laid out HIS firm plan and agenda.

HU

Ocklawaha

January 25, 2011, 12:20:38 PM
The Skyway had 545,709 riders in FY2010. This ranks as JTA's 6th highest route in terms of ridership.

In terms of PPM its probably the highest?

OCKLAWAHA

simms3

January 25, 2011, 12:21:31 PM
And the most interesting and worthwhile debate once again comes from MJ posters, not from our mayoral candidates.  Literally everyone has valid points.

Putting them together: Perception is reality.  We need to change perception to move the city forward.  Once accomplished, we need an actual solution to our transportation issues.

And then on Mullaney himself: Nice guy, but COO style.  No "vision" for the future or mention of critical areas like education, land use, transportation.  Presenting his Achilles Heel.  Will be exploited soon.

This is one of those MJ conversations that should be showcased to the city or to someone, because it is one of the most informed (on everyone's part) and well thought out and expertly executed discussions I have seen, even on here.

stjr

January 25, 2011, 12:42:31 PM
My dear MJ Skyway proponent friends, you are missing the elephant in the room.  Cost vs. benefit for the Skyway vs. OTHER options.  Plenty of businesses walk away from major sunk investments, either conceding to better mousetraps and/or admitting they bet on the wrong horse.  Any business that doesn't change with circumstances and the times will go out of business.  

The cell phone companies have billions invested in 3G and earlier, but they must move on to 4G.  GM scrapped 4 major car brands, some going back close to a century, rather than continue to keep them on life support.  Banks must write off billions to process bad loans and move on.  Coke walked away from "New Coke" despite hundreds of millions in investment.  IBM had to change its emphasis on mainframes, it's primary business, to pc's/servers to survive.

My point is there are times and places where it is appropriate to kill a project, take your licks, and move on.  Sadly, government is so inflexible that it stays wedded to projects such as the Skyway long beyond what is rational because politicians have trouble admitting failure and mistakes.  When they finally do, it's a sign that something has truly failed, as they are the last to admit it.

As to repaying the Feds, I again ask where is the agreement posted for all of us read.  And, if true, how long would such an obligation endure because nothing like that would last forever.  Lastly, this was a Federal "demonstration" project, so, politically, if we chose to call it a failure and move on, I would expect the Fed's to back off of enforcing such a provision.  Bottom line, this "reason" is just baiting by proponents and is a poor and very desperate reason to justify keeping the Skyway operating.

As to ridership numbers, its not the number of rides but the cost per ride vs. other options.  Whatever riders there are on the Skyway, it is far and away the most expensive ride in Jax.  On par or more than a taxi or a limo for that short distance.  ;D

simms3

January 25, 2011, 12:58:25 PM
^^So true.  Major sunk costs are part of reality in the private sector, yet somehow the private sector still stays more efficient than government...

I think MJ posters are legitimately worried that if we "quit" running the Skyway, we'll be admitting to the public that public transit does not work, at least in Jax.  That is definitely an issue.

I think the next mayor needs to get on TV more and start educating the public about why the Skyway failed and why it should not be a reflection on public transit overall.  He or she should also discuss why we should still invest in public transit.

Something missing during Peyton's reign (and correct me if I'm wrong...just didn't notice it as much as during Delaney's reign) were press conferences to the public.  We need an in your face in a good way mayor who will pitch a vision and show their enthusiasm to where we should be as a city in a certain, manageable timeline.

thelakelander

January 25, 2011, 01:04:54 PM
Skyway is not the elephant in the mass transit room.  Its peanuts, compared to the real problem.  A moratorium on it is just like closing the libraries an hour earlier instead of dealing with the pension issue.  If we want to really tackle and solve the mass transit issue to save money, I'm game.  However, its going to mean stepping on a bunch of toes and wholesale changes in the way this city operates.

jcjohnpaint

January 25, 2011, 01:05:48 PM
When a government suggests to privatize everything, then I ask what are we voting for these politicians for?  Why don't we start voting for ceos from the private sector.  When government is telling me that getting government out of the way is the solution they are also telling me we do not need to fix our broken government.  We need to fix the problems and not just run away.  I don't believe that cites with success stories just have governments that pull out.  The government works very well with the private sector. 

stjr

January 25, 2011, 01:13:35 PM
Skyway is not the elephant in the mass transit room. 

Lake, re-read what I wrote.  I didn't say the Skyway is an elephant in the room, though, in some venues it might.  I said cost/benefit arguments vs. other options where the elephant in the room.

thelakelander

January 25, 2011, 01:16:15 PM
Well let's find out where the bodies lie for existing and potential alternatives.  That's the only true way to conduct a viable cost/benefit analysis.

Ocklawaha

January 25, 2011, 01:17:57 PM
Just another case...

OCKLAWAHA

Quote
The Federal Transit Administration on Monday sent a $271 million bill to NJ Transit for the money it spent on a Hudson River commuter rail tunnel project killed by Governor Christie last month.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaking on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, in Trenton, N.J., as he announces that he's standing by his decision to kill the nation's biggest public works project, a train tunnel connecting New Jersey to New York City.

AP
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaking on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, in Trenton, N.J., as he announces that he's standing by his decision to kill the nation's biggest public works project, a train tunnel connecting New Jersey to New York City.

“NJT must immediately repay all the Federal financial assistance expended for ARC under the [work agreement] which is currently estimated to be $271.091 million, plus reasonable interest and penalty charges that will be determined by FTA,” a regional administrator wrote in the letter Monday to James Weinstein, executive director of NJ Transit.

The letter also notified NJ Transit — the sponsor of the “Access to the Region’s Core” project — that it is launching “a complete audit of the project” to determine the final amount of funds the federal agency obligated to the project that have not yet been spent.

“FTA expects immediate reimbursement of the amounts listed above even while the audit is ongoing,” FTA Regional Administrator Brigid Hynes-Cherin said in the letter.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/110710_FTA_sends_NJ_bill_for_271_million_over_cancelled_tunnel_.html

wsansewjs

January 25, 2011, 01:44:45 PM
After reading three pages of this thread, I am not going to point out to any specific threads, but some of you have strayed off the topic on the thread.

After skimming through the 34 points plan by Rick Mullaney, I have to be blunt and say that he does not impress me at all. I am a moderate with leanish toward lefty left, but I am very open-minded about all sides and what their platform is about. Rick has struck me as a business-management oriented politician who would want to run the ship like it was a business.

Some of you are so heavily into Metro-Jacksonville community, and there are much more who are not. I have been a lurker in this awesome community, but I feel like I am a mix of both area. I would be slightly informed, but there are few areas are beyond my comprehension.

All I want for Christmas is Jacksonville being reborn like a phoenix, rising from the ashes, push transportation beyond its reputation, respawn the amazing downtown life, support small business foundation, and free the isolation of all the sub-divisions, under a bold direction maintained by a leader with visions, common sense, and COMPASSION.


A common citizen
-Josh

Ocklawaha

January 25, 2011, 01:59:01 PM
+1,000 Josh

OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

January 25, 2011, 02:01:24 PM
As to repaying the Feds, I again ask where is the agreement posted for all of us read.  And, if true, how long would such an obligation endure because nothing like that would last forever.  Lastly, this was a Federal "demonstration" project, so, politically, if we chose to call it a failure and move on, I would expect the Fed's to back off of enforcing such a provision.  Bottom line, this "reason" is just baiting by proponents and is a poor and very desperate reason to justify keeping the Skyway operating.

Quote
FTA Circular 5010.1D, “Grant Management Requirements,” October 1, 2008, http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/C_5010_1D_Finalpub.pdf, provides guidance on property disposition requirements.  Upon sale of FTA assisted property, especially if the useful life of that property has not expired, the grantee will need to return to FTA’s proportionate share of the remaining Federal interest in that property.  Also, even if the “useful life” of the property has expired, if a unit of that property has sold for $5,000 or more, FTA would be entitled to its proportionate share of the proceeds of that sale.

OCKLAWAHA

fieldafm

January 25, 2011, 02:07:49 PM
Quote
My dear MJ Skyway proponent friends, you are missing the elephant in the room.  Cost vs. benefit for the Skyway vs. OTHER options.  Plenty of businesses walk away from major sunk investments, either conceding to better mousetraps and/or admitting they bet on the wrong horse.  Any business that doesn't change with circumstances and the times will go out of business. 

The cell phone companies have billions invested in 3G and earlier, but they must move on to 4G.  GM scrapped 4 major car brands, some going back close to a century, rather than continue to keep them on life support.  Banks must write off billions to process bad loans and move on.  Coke walked away from "New Coke" despite hundreds of millions in investment.  IBM had to change its emphasis on mainframes, it's primary business, to pc's/servers to survive.

So instead of working with what you have and integrating our physical assets with complementing uses in order to derive maximum utility... tear it down instead?

Did you perhaps work with Dynamite Diamond twenty years ago?

ChriswUfGator

January 25, 2011, 02:13:33 PM
Well in this case, I think the best use for the Skyway IS in fact expanding it. If the system extended to multiple stops in populated areas, like Riverside, Avondale, San Marco (not BFE San Marco, either, I mean actual San Marco), and a couple in Springfield, it would be a huge success. Field is right, what's the point in knocking it down, the solution (though this sounds asinine I know) is expanding it. Its problem is lack of reach.

thelakelander

January 25, 2011, 02:20:02 PM
Sounds like the Poppy Loves Smoke dilemma a couple of years ago on Adams Street.  The bar's original space was pretty small and the economy was in the middle of a free fall.  However, for the bar to succeed, the owner knew he would have to put more money into to it to expand its offerings.  Instead of quitting and cutting his losses, he did just the opposite and now he's in the midst of another expansion, due to the bar's popularity.

fieldafm

January 25, 2011, 02:22:42 PM
Quote
So instead of working with what you have and integrating our physical assets with complementing uses in order to derive maximum utility

BTW, I learned that in business school...
The companies that always throw away ideas b/c they didnt EXECUTE them properly are the ones that go bankrupt.  Far more products are regurgitated from previously failed attempts, than successful companies that have completely new product ideas.  Its called 'building a better mousetrap'.  Bill Gates didn't invent the computer.

Comparing GM's brand reduction(which were literally all the same cars with different badging) to JTA's redundant bus lines and refusal to better integrate the skyway as part of a fully functional multi-modal system is like comparing Paula Dean with Tony Blair.

screamingtrees

January 25, 2011, 02:30:54 PM
Skyway...BIG deal...not going to fix the budget....BUT, didn't employees (sans Mayor and Staff) just get a 2% paycut?  And, their medical contributions just went up 5% as well.  Didn't we outsource ITD dept last year???  Didn't they TRY to outsource the building department but find that the private sector bids were more expensive?  Privatizing is NOT always the cheaper alternative....think Risk Management Dept.  It is clearly not the full answer.  And, cutting city employee salaries again is not either. 

Better....fine tune city govt...OVERHAUL JTA, eliminate some COJ departments, STOP useless pet project spending and REDUCE non-profit handouts!

Doctor_K

January 25, 2011, 02:40:29 PM
Rick Mullaney, and all other mayoral candidates - are you listening yet?

stephendare

January 25, 2011, 02:42:06 PM
Rick Mullaney, and all other mayoral candidates - are you listening yet?

I believe Rick will be joining us a little later on in the afternoon!

jcjohnpaint

January 25, 2011, 02:42:42 PM
and what private sector companies would want to invest in our downtown?  Obviously the Southside is more profitable. 

Doctor_K

January 25, 2011, 02:46:38 PM
Rick Mullaney, and all other mayoral candidates - are you listening yet?

I believe Rick will be joining us a little later on in the afternoon!

Phenomenal!  Kudos to MetroJacksonville for being so on the ball and providing the avenue in which the candidates can e-mingle with the constituency.

The real measure of the candidates - all of them - will be whether they take anything away from these conversations and use them.

Ocklawaha

January 25, 2011, 03:55:14 PM
From a man on the street point of view, THINK about the segments and ask yourself why...

Segment 1 -
Convention Center (Used only on occasion with no surrounding ANYTHING)
TO
Jefferson Street (More of nothing, vacant dirt)
TO
Central Station (ATT, Omni, Wachovia and a good hike to the Landing)

Now we're done with segment one, WTF? Who in their right mind would build or call THAT anything like a completed transit route? Who in their right mind would think there is ANY reason for ANYBODY to ride the stupid thing except for a few who park their cars near the Convention Center, or the occasional "Home and Garden Show?"

Segment 2 -
Central Station (ATT, Omni, Wachovia and a good hike to the Landing)
TO
Hemming Plaza (City Hall, Federal Bldg, Park, Ed Ball Bldg, Library, Museum & various other attractors.
TO
Rosa Parks (FBC, Homeless Shelters, Missions, and a transit plaza)

Here we have a little bit of use, someone could ride a bus to Rosa Parks and IF IT IS RUNNING, catch the Skyway into downtown, but why bother? We'll just schedule the buses to run right on through downtown anyway, and why not, since the Skyway only touches the area west of Main Street?

At this point stop and look at the interaction between the stations, Hemming Plaza to Rosa Parks? Maybe if your looking for a homeless shelter, otherwise it's cheaper and probably faster to walk. IT IS CERTAINLY MORE DEPENDABLE. Otherwise imagine all of those people going from the shelters to the ATT, Omni, Wachovia buildings, freaking amazing planning.

Segment 3 -

More amazing work y'all, let's cross the river and offset the crossing from the original plans to save a buck, but also at the risk of making the system circuitous. Let's aim right in between a major medical center and two insurance HQ's, then cut off one HQ and the hospital by putting the station east of a FREEway.

San Marco - Build an elaborate 3 level station with ZERO connection to any surrounding infrastructure, but close
                  to Prudential, MOSH

Riverplace - (2 HQ buildings, and 3 hotels, plus apartments and condo, and it actually connects to a building).

Kings Avenue - (Small businesses, and a couple of office buildings) Build station in an alley, out of sight from
                  visitors, but a huge garage but stop 1,000 feet short of connecting it to the system. Add a small
                  transit plaza but don't schedule any buses through, or if you do, don't schedule the Skyway to
                  operate. Lease out a huge parcel for a TOD HOTEL but don't provide the "T".

I defy anyone else in the city stjr or otherwise to think up a more ridiculous plan for a "transit system." Try drawing 2.4 miles of lines in downtown with LESS APPEAL, can't be done.

So where are the mess-ups besides not finishing the thing according to plan?

Segment 1 - This should NOT have been built at all and rightfully should have been in the plan for the JRTC and
                  not a micro convention center.  Jefferson Street? REALLY? Why not the Klatu Nebula?

Segment 2 - It's a shame that they missed the main north-south spine, Laura would have been a bit better
                  but this segment isn't all that bad. The north end on the south side of a speedway is rather
                  brain dead, or is mowing down young college students an area sport?

Segment 3 - Please, someone tell me how you curve the hell out of the line and STILL miss the largest
                  employment center in the core? A three level station but no connection to the Prudential? How
                  do we get over the freeway? How about the 7am - 3 pm hospital shift getting off work in a
                  tropical storm all summer long? How do you get to the Skyway if you had a reason to go? 
                  Riverplace, where's the roof? Can I get to the apartments, hotel or HQ without getting wet?
                  Kings Avenue? WTF? WHY? WHAT IS HERE? This one manages to miss everything in proximity.
                  How do you build a transit transfer point without providing transfers?

Now think of all of the reasons why if you somehow ended up in one of these desert islands, why you would need to go to another? Look at the list of above destinations and decide if we put this where it would do the
most good or did we stop short?


How about
                  The other 1/2 of downtown? What about Laura? Main? Ocean? Newnan? Market? Liberty? and
                  Washington Streets? At the time it was built, what about the government center? Today? What
                  about BOA, Barnett, Law Offices, Pubs, Police Station, Jail, Berkman? Hyatt? At least going on to
                  Randolph would ensure a crowd at each venue at a stadium, park or arena, which is better odds
                  then the empty Convention Center.

How about   The north side? Why not cross the highway and pick up those students where they attend school
                  in a safe-sane manner? Let's angle NW behind the school and pick up the Bethel Baptist crowd,
                  Health Department, City Housing, VA Clinic, Shand's Tower, and Shand's itself

How about    The Hilton, and the Kings Avenue Garage? Why not continue south INTO San Marco and actually
                  connect two parts of the town where people live-work-play.
                  Why not end a line at Atlantic and at Baptist Hospital? Hey we might even serve those insurance
                  companies along the way...if we could remember their names.

How about   Going the extra step and putting a station where the Skyway garage is located? Ever think there
                  might be 2 or 3 people at the TU, JTA or the other riverfront places that want to ride and the track
                  is already there! Hell's bells, how about a concrete platform and a dead end track on the ground
                  with a bus shelter next to it?  Forest Street? We already have the right-of-way, we could have the
                  station if we moved the old fire house across the road, but then does ANYBODY work at Fidelity or
                  BCBS? ...And lets not forget the original study had the Skyway turn west on Roselle, hum a station
                  for an all week long arts market? Then head down to Annie Lytle? Riverside Park and an easy walk
                  College put you right in the heart of 5-Points... There must be someone here that travels
                  downtown on occasion.



OCKLAWAHA

dougskiles

January 25, 2011, 04:53:36 PM
Wow! A great discussion on my favorite topic and I was busy working all day.  Everything has been pretty much covered already, but let me add a few thoughts:

  • The need for a skyway extension in San Marco has been received very well by everyone I have talked to.  In fact, I haven't personally talked to anyone yet who is opposed to it.
  • If we do this properly, the cost for extending it could be paid for by the Mobility Plan, the developers who would benefit from TODs at the proposed stations and savings we get by eliminating the BRT that is proposed to duplicate the existing system.  By going to a single track and dropping it to grade level after crossing the railroad tracks, the cost would be significantly reduced.  The benefit back to JTA would be increased ridership.
  • I don't understand why we keep viewing it as a stand-alone system.  The Skyway should be part of an entire network and viewed as just one of the routes.  I don't know that it makes sense to extend it any further in the north, east or west directions.  The same could be accomplished by a streetcar system at much lower cost.  However, because of the railroad tracks and the river, the only way to connect the southbank area and San Marco/St Nicholas is by an elevated system - most of which is already in place.

Dashing Dan

January 25, 2011, 05:15:55 PM
The skyway isn't going to be extended anytime soon, but why not make better use of the parts that are already there?  Fix the turnstiles, build stuff around the stations, and then start running the bus routes to the nearest skyway stations, instead of all the way downtown.

Having said all that I'm not about to use the skyway myself, because I work well to the east of Hogan Street downtown.

thelakelander

January 25, 2011, 05:23:15 PM
Does anyone find it funny that we're even talking about fixing turnstiles and eliminating duplicate bus service as a way to improve our transit sytem?  Shouldn't we expect this type of stuff from those in charge?  When we will start holding people accountable?

peestandingup

January 25, 2011, 06:15:28 PM
Does anyone find it funny that we're even talking about fixing turnstiles and eliminating duplicate bus service as a way to improve our transit sytem?  Shouldn't we expect this type of stuff from those in charge?  When we will start holding people accountable?

If this were some other system in some other town, then maybe it would be. Or maybe if our entire country's public transportation infrastructure didn't have a rich history chalked full of shenanigans like this, then perhaps.

Don't think for a minute that they don't know about these things. Somebody somewhere up the chain of command is telling the troops not to bother fixing stuff like this. After all, a dysfunctional turnstile that only works half the time means only half of the riders get counted. And after all, a bus system (and a horribly ran one at that) is a great way to make sure that it's only utilized by the poorest of the poor (read: the people that have no other choice but to use it. And besides, wouldn't be buying a car anyway & get to play in our little game).

stjr

January 25, 2011, 06:47:14 PM
Ock, your analysis of the existing Skyway, I believe, highlights one of my points about expanding it.  To "fix" the terribly flawed existing system would require so much additional investment that it would be much more cost effective to wipe the slate clean and start anew with a system plying the types of common sense routes you suggest.  And, if expansion was implemented, when said and done, much of the Skyway's flaws still won't be fixed.  You realistically aren't going to move the tracks, replace the cars, or rebuild the stations.

Expanding the Skyway will just continue to expand those "lines" that don't fall where they need to.  And, the extensions will merely serve more of the same types of areas currently served.  A stadium district full of its own empty lots and devoid of any weekday activity and only occasionally used otherwise.  A trip to Brooklyn that looks to be still another version of LaVilla's empty lots.  A self contained college campus designed to be apart from the surrounding area and essentially self sufficient for the commuter students arriving from far beyond the reaches of even an expanded Skyway.  A line that ends at Atlantic Blvd. and a railroad crossing surrounded by what?  It's at the far edge of San Marco and St. Nicholas and neither/nor.  Expand the thing to Shands and pass through more acres of underdeveloped land to end at a hospital that, like the college campus, consists of occupants in a self contained commuter campus.

The only way the Skyway could possibly work is if it was fully integrated into a very high density environment that features the many mixed uses that create trips.  The Skyway has shown that not only can it not create such an environment (even though this was another one of those pie-in-the-sky promises made by its proponents) but it may actually serve to deconstruct it.  It's no accident, to me, that some of the most barren streets in Jax run along the Skyway system.

For those who claim they can find "users" for these routes, that will not be enough.  There has to such a volume of users that these routes justify their investment versus, once again, spending the money on other mass transit modes that may serve far more "users" for the money.

dougskiles

January 25, 2011, 06:48:53 PM
Does anyone find it funny that we're even talking about fixing turnstiles and eliminating duplicate bus service as a way to improve our transit sytem?  Shouldn't we expect this type of stuff from those in charge?  When we will start holding people accountable?

We need to start making more noise.  Is there a way to get this message to a broader audience?  Speaking of which, exactly how broad is our audience?

stjr

January 25, 2011, 06:58:13 PM
Quote
FTA Circular 5010.1D, “Grant Management Requirements,” October 1, 2008, http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/C_5010_1D_Finalpub.pdf, provides guidance on property disposition requirements.  Upon sale of FTA assisted property, especially if the useful life of that property has not expired, the grantee will need to return to FTA’s proportionate share of the remaining Federal interest in that property.  Also, even if the “useful life” of the property has expired, if a unit of that property has sold for $5,000 or more, FTA would be entitled to its proportionate share of the proceeds of that sale.

Nice try, Ock.  This isn't a wholesale refund of the cost of the system. Rather, it treats the Feds as co-partners.

First, there is recognition of remaining "useful life".  Translated, as the system is depreciated, there would be less and less "value" to "share" with our "partners", the Feds.  I can't imagine the Skyway being depreciated over longer than 30 years, maybe much less for its controls and cars.  On this basis, we are approaching a zero value every day that goes by if we aren't already there for much of its components after 20 plus years.

Second, if the useful life has expired, the Feds want a share of the sale proceeds.  Fair enough, since they are our "partners".  But, we only pay out of what we get.  No net cost to the local taxpayers as you and others have claimed.

As I suspected, the Feds do not appear to be an issue in abandoning the Skyway.  This issue has been way overblown by proponents.

dougskiles

January 25, 2011, 07:39:29 PM
stjr, what you are saying makes sense.  It is hard for me to believe that the FTA would expect us to pay back the money for the skyway.  However, I also believe that by removing it we would put the nail in the coffin for ever receiving federal money for anything anytime soon.

My motivation for better utilization of the skyway isn't so much because I love riding in a monorail across the river (although it does provide some excellent scenery).  My motivation is that I really like fixed transit systems and the quality of life that it provides.  I can spend that time catching up on emails, returning phone calls or getting to know some other people in our city.  Just in the past few weeks, I have had a chance to meet people working on the courthouse - talk about some crazy stories there!  A guy who works for the IRS - which admittedly made me a little uneasy... and a nice couple from Mississippi who had come to town for the Gator Bowl to watch their son perform in the band.  Had I been in my car, I would have experienced none of that.

Currently, the skyway is all we have.  Should we have gone with a different system from the beginning?  I don't think anyone would argue with that.  Should we look for more sensible ways to expand our public transit system?  Absolutely.  But until we have those systems in place, why would we dismantle what we have now?  And those other systems don't work as well for crossing the river and don't work at all crossing railroad tracks on grade - so we would still need something similar to the skyway to reach the neighborhoods further south.  In addition, the extension to Atlantic Blvd would make a great connection point to a commuter rail system.

fieldafm

January 25, 2011, 07:43:30 PM
Quote
On this basis, we are approaching a zero value every day that goes by if we aren't already there for much of its components after 20 plus years

You're not accounting for the expansion in 2000, the parking garage, the land aquisition, and the new cars and control room that have been upgraded since the system was introduced.

There is a lot of value left in the physical assets.

What you're proposing is to spend money to rip it up, give money to the Feds for ripping it up and then spend even more money to build something else.  On the surface, that appears to be more expensive than the cost of actually using what we already have in a more efficient manner by connecting it to a well-planned multimodal transpotation network.  Neither of which we have done so far.

stjr

January 25, 2011, 09:27:43 PM
What you're proposing is to spend money to rip it up, give money to the Feds for ripping it up and then spend even more money to build something else.  On the surface, that appears to be more expensive than the cost of actually using what we already have in a more efficient manner by connecting it to a well-planned multimodal transpotation network.  Neither of which we have done so far.

Field, don't forget the millions and millions in "opportunity costs" every year spent on operations and replacement (i.e. capital expenditures but cash flow for those bent that way) of obsolete components.  Those millions, year after year, could easily pay for the abandonment (or maybe conversion to something more useful, say a "Highline" a la New York) and provide seed money and/or operational funding for street cars.  I don't see that aspect, Field, reflected in your "calculations".  One can not solely look at the one time "transition costs".

By the way, the money we spend on that "something else" (street cars?) is already something we have agreed we wish to spend regardless of the Skyway.  So, you can't call that an incremental cost of abandonment.  But, abandonment does perhaps enable the acceleration of funding of that "something else" which is not a bad thing at all.  ;D
 

stephendare

January 25, 2011, 09:49:54 PM
What you're proposing is to spend money to rip it up, give money to the Feds for ripping it up and then spend even more money to build something else.  On the surface, that appears to be more expensive than the cost of actually using what we already have in a more efficient manner by connecting it to a well-planned multimodal transpotation network.  Neither of which we have done so far.

Field, don't forget the millions and millions in "opportunity costs" every year spent on operations and replacement (i.e. capital expenditures but cash flow for those bent that way) of obsolete components.  Those millions, year after year, could easily pay for the abandonment (or maybe conversion to something more useful, say a "Highline" a la New York) and provide seed money and/or operational funding for street cars.  I don't see that aspect, Field, reflected in your "calculations".  One can not solely look at the one time "transition costs".

By the way, the money we spend on that "something else" (street cars?) is already something we have agreed we wish to spend regardless of the Skyway.  So, you can't call that an incremental cost of abandonment.  But, abandonment does perhaps enable the acceleration of funding of that "something else" which is not a bad thing at all.  ;D
 

meh.  still peddling this phony accounting where you count the depreciation value while still claiming the capital investment?  nice.

fieldafm

January 25, 2011, 10:02:57 PM
The Highline(which I will be visiting next week) took about 10 years from conception to reality and $50million to build.

So, lets say we do it more reasonably at $30 million.  You'll then have a park that cost $30 million that takes no one to nowhere... which is exactly the problem with the skyway now.  Add in the cost thrown at the Feds and loss of potential additional TOD in the San Marco area spurred from the Skyway(a possibility more real than you think) and you still wont have a way to move streetcars across the river.  And by doing so, you will have eliminated a transportation option that has the most riders per mile than any in the city.  You can gut the proposed BRT lines downtown(Northbank and Southbank) that mirror the exact routes of the Skyway, gut the proposed BRT lines downtown that mirror the popular PCT Trolleys, and consolidate existing bus lines along Hendricks/San Jose and Park Street with PCT trolleys that connect major shopping/employment centers to get all the operational savings you want with more riders.

JTA does a pretty poor job at eliminating operational costs with all the redundant services they use.  Why tear down what could be a better utilized asset as part of a functional transportation system just to buy more fancy BRT busses and all the fancy bells and whistles(que jumpers, ROW aquisition costs, etc) that go along with them?

Give me 30 million and I'll give you the Bay Street Pier Park and a Hogans Creek/Klutho/Confederate Park Greenbelt that will be the envy of the world.

stjr

January 25, 2011, 10:51:06 PM
Quote
Field, don't forget the millions and millions in "opportunity costs" every year spent on operations and replacement (i.e. capital expenditures but cash flow for those bent that way) of obsolete components.  Those millions, year after year, could easily pay for the abandonment (or maybe conversion to something more useful, say a "Highline" a la New York) and provide seed money and/or operational funding for street cars.  I don't see that aspect, Field, reflected in your "calculations".  One can not solely look at the one time "transition costs".

By the way, the money we spend on that "something else" (street cars?) is already something we have agreed we wish to spend regardless of the Skyway.  So, you can't call that an incremental cost of abandonment.  But, abandonment does perhaps enable the acceleration of funding of that "something else" which is not a bad thing at all.  ;D
 

meh.  still peddling this phony accounting where you count the depreciation value while still claiming the capital investment?  nice.

Make up your mind, Stephen.  You don't want to expense capital expenditures via depreciation and now you don't want to count them in cash flow.  In other words, you don't want to account for capital expenditures at all.  Did you graduate from the Enron school of accounting?  ;)

mfc

January 25, 2011, 11:13:55 PM
Recently I visited Charlotte a city that Jacksonville should take notes from. I met with one of their downtown planners and the exec director of their tourist development group. They all love our skyway but say the problem is we must connect it to our surrounding areas. It is not that it doesn't go anywhere, it just needs a farther reach. Interestingly enough the downtown planner said that although they hear very little about Jacksonville in competitive business circles he would do anything for Charlotte to have our river, historic district possibilities and retail spaces we have. He also said our people mover should be stretched down to the stadium as well as surrounding areas. While I was there I rode their rail system. It is a tremendous asset to the development of their downtown or as they call it their uptown district. The property taxes generated from this district is huge and those dollars are responsible for enhancing their education system and other quality of life factors. I say all this to say that we can not retreat our way to prosperity. Audrey Moran is the one candidate who understands this and has the courage to move our city forward. The no new tax crowd will hold us back. Just my opinion.   

stjr

January 25, 2011, 11:18:30 PM
The Highline(which I will be visiting next week) took about 10 years from conception to reality and $50million to build.
Enjoy your visit.  I walked it last summer.  We discussed it previously on MJ.  It seems to me the entire project will run closer to $150 million when completed.  Unlike Jax, NYC has public/private partnerships for projects like this as well as many of their parks.  I have advocated elsewhere for our City to embrace more of this here.

Quote
So, lets say we do it more reasonably at $30 million.  You'll then have a park that cost $30 million that takes no one to nowhere... which is exactly the problem with the skyway now.  
Field, when you visit the Highline, you will find that the appeal is in the journey, not the destination.  If the Skyway were so converted, it would be the same.  Maybe you could relate it locally to the rails-to-trails to Baldwin.

Quote
Add in the cost thrown at the Feds and loss of potential additional TOD in the San Marco area spurred from the Skyway(a possibility more real than you think) ...
In 20+ years,  the Skyway has been responsible for zero, and maybe negative, TOD.  This claim rings hollow.  And, I think San Marco has done much better than those areas served by the Skyway.  Maybe we should be careful not to mess it up by introducing the Skyway.  LOL.  Do you actually have a specific project you can name awaiting the Skyway?

Quote
...and you still wont have a way to move streetcars across the river.  
Field, we have discussed this issue several times here on MJ.  Even Ock, I think you will find, has agreed that street cars could navigate one or more of the bridges.  Based on the Skyway's traffic, it doesn't look like there is that much demand for this route anyway.

Quote
And by doing so, you will have eliminated a transportation option that has the most riders per mile than any in the city.  
You neglect to count the revenue miles of the route and that the rides still cost more than any other mode of public transit we have, on par with private transit such as a taxi or limo.  What a deal for the taxpayers.

Quote
You can gut the proposed BRT lines downtown(Northbank and Southbank) that mirror the exact routes of the Skyway, gut the proposed BRT lines downtown that mirror the popular PCT Trolleys, and consolidate existing bus lines along Hendricks/San Jose and Park Street with PCT trolleys that connect major shopping/employment centers to get all the operational savings you want with more riders.
Using your mirror analogy, street cars could mirror the Skyway in this regard and, in my opinion, do it far better.  That's part of my point.  The Skyway is a second rate solution.

Quote
JTA does a pretty poor job at eliminating operational costs with all the redundant services they use.  Why tear down what could be a better utilized asset as part of a functional transportation system just to buy more fancy BRT busses and all the fancy bells and whistles(que jumpers, ROW aquisition costs, etc) that go along with them?
I never suggested Skyway monies be redirected toward BRT.  Not sure where you got this idea.  I do think they should go initially toward street cars.  We do agree on JTA doing a poor job!

Quote
Give me 30 million and I'll give you the Bay Street Pier Park and a Hogans Creek/Klutho/Confederate Park Greenbelt that will be the envy of the world.
I am always willing to support more parks in Jax.  But I think it would be prudent to use any Skyway savings toward other rail mass transit.

stjr

January 25, 2011, 11:55:16 PM
I noted this quote from Jax architect Ted Pappas on the Courthouse Asphalt or Green Space thread (post #113, http://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,10900.105.html ) and am adding it here for your viewing pleasure:

By the way, the Skyway Express cost $100,000,000 per mile back then. Not really a good investment for the ridership they have.  The Skyway is the biggest urban mistake made in Jacksonville.  Most of the businesses  that are along it (Hogan Street and Bay Street have been shut down.

We had a great opportunity to have a wonderful street (Hogan) all the way from Union Street to the river.  Now we have an elevated concrete monstrosity. We now have Laura Street, but you cannot see to the river because guess what: they closed the street for the Jacksonville Landing. How much money has the City of Jacksonville pumped into that project for the last decades.

stephendare

January 26, 2011, 12:02:36 AM
I noted this quote from Jax architect Ted Pappas on the Courthouse Asphalt or Green Space thread (post #113, http://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,10900.105.html ) and am adding it here for your viewing pleasure:

By the way, the Skyway Express cost $100,000,000 per mile back then. Not really a good investment for the ridership they have.  The Skyway is the biggest urban mistake made in Jacksonville.  Most of the businesses  that are along it (Hogan Street and Bay Street have been shut down.

We had a great opportunity to have a wonderful street (Hogan) all the way from Union Street to the river.  Now we have an elevated concrete monstrosity. We now have Laura Street, but you cannot see to the river because guess what: they closed the street for the Jacksonville Landing. How much money has the City of Jacksonville pumped into that project for the last decades.

yeah, its pretty crazy to realize that this is coming from a guy who proposes destroying blocks more of the buildings remaining downtown so that cars have a more pleasant view, while building a one block long six lane highway directly in front of the courthouse steps.

I have a lot of respect for Ted, and give him proper credit for his intentions......but there have been some pretty bad ideas as well as the good ones.

stjr

January 26, 2011, 12:20:25 AM
I have a lot of respect for Ted, and give him proper credit for his intentions......but there have been some pretty bad ideas as well as the good ones.
Stephen, as opposed to you who only has good ideas, right? LOL.  Let me correct myself.  You only have GREAT ideas.   The rest of us can only have ideas on par with yours and if we differ, our ideas clearly suck.  More LOL.

stephendare

January 26, 2011, 01:19:45 AM
meh.  I have no problem admitting when I am wrong, and have done so on many occasion on these forums.  Try it sometime.  Its very liberating.

peestandingup

January 26, 2011, 05:43:38 AM
Just woke up & expected to see some posts from the candidate. What happened to him? Did he chicken out??

Also, I'm really sorta in the middle with all of this, so I'm not really knocking it either way, but could some of the stronger proponents tell me how they think we can properly build out this system (to serve not just the core, but most of Jacksonville as well) when it costs close to $80 Million per mile, has such an obtrusive track, etc? How can we continue with something like this & really "future proof it", especially when compared to some light rail systems like Charlotte (9 miles for $460 Million, or $51 Million per mile)??

I mean, connecting the core is nice & all, but we have to do what's best for Jacksonville (a very dispersed, sprawling city). So connecting to places like Westside, Southside, hell all the way out to St John's TC & on to the Beaches, etc is something you simply have to do here to get the true connectivity you're seeking. You can't build it just for core riders because frankly, there's not enough people down there to justify the costs. Speaking of which, tax payers outside the core will NOT want to pony up the cash for since it doesn't consider them.

And before anyone says it, no. I don't think using the Skyway as an "extension" to another system (like light rail) is a good idea. No one wants to have to jump between a bunch of different systems to get where they wanna go. No one will bother, so its always best to have a solid, singular system that has a decent secondary system (like a solid bus system) to pick up the remaining slack. You dont want to have to jump between a bus, a Light Rail & then a Skyway just to get somewhere, guys. Think about it. Thats would completely suck.

So I think a lot of us here are just thinking with our "core brains" & not our "Jacksonville brains", which you absolutely must do here. I know we all love big dense urban metropolises, but we just aren't that town.

thelakelander

January 26, 2011, 06:07:56 AM
I noted this quote from Jax architect Ted Pappas on the Courthouse Asphalt or Green Space thread (post #113, http://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,10900.105.html ) and am adding it here for your viewing pleasure:

By the way, the Skyway Express cost $100,000,000 per mile back then. Not really a good investment for the ridership they have.  The Skyway is the biggest urban mistake made in Jacksonville.  Most of the businesses  that are along it (Hogan Street and Bay Street have been shut down.

We had a great opportunity to have a wonderful street (Hogan) all the way from Union Street to the river.  Now we have an elevated concrete monstrosity. We now have Laura Street, but you cannot see to the river because guess what: they closed the street for the Jacksonville Landing. How much money has the City of Jacksonville pumped into that project for the last decades.

I noticed this when it was written but I let it slide since I had already hit him over the head enough about the plan to put another road between the courthouse and courthouse parking garage, along with wanting to destroy more blocks of DT for greenspace.

1. The skyway's overall capital cost was $184 million for 2.5 miles.  That breaks down to $73.6 million of which the feds (not Jax) paid as a demonstration project.

2. Within that number, we paid for two systems.  First a peoplemover and then the what you see today.

3. We made the necessary expensive investments for an extensive system first (river crossing, O&M center) and then quit.  The result is similar to building the Dames Point Bridge but stopping 9A at Fort Caroline and New Berlin Road and then wondering why the beltway is not effective.

4. The stores (Sears, JCPenney, Levy-Wolf, Furchgott's, Rosenblum's, May-Cohens) on along the Hogan Street corridor closed between 1981 and 1986.  The skyway along Hogan opened in 2000.

You don't have to like the system and that's understandable.  However, if you're going to toss something out on a public discussion board for all to see for as long as we keep paying the server bills, make sure to verify your sources.

RiversideLoki

January 26, 2011, 07:47:46 AM
With all due respect to Mr. Pappas, the tone of his comment makes it seem as though the single cause of business failure downtown along that corridor was the skyway itself.

Stjr, you hit the nail on the head... the problem was that (for whatever reason) we just quit. It doesn't go anywhere useful. That's a problem. The skyway deserves to be finished, not scrapped.

How much would it cost to demolish it versus how much would it cost to add a few more miles of track to go to Riverside, or to the stadium, or to anywhere else that would make the system actually usable?

tufsu1

January 26, 2011, 08:12:43 AM
Recently I visited Charlotte a city that Jacksonville should take notes from. I met with one of their downtown planners and the exec director of their tourist development group. They all love our skyway but say the problem is we must connect it to our surrounding areas. It is not that it doesn't go anywhere, it just needs a farther reach. Interestingly enough the downtown planner said that although they hear very little about Jacksonville in competitive business circles he would do anything for Charlotte to have our river, historic district possibilities and retail spaces we have. He also said our people mover should be stretched down to the stadium as well as surrounding areas. While I was there I rode their rail system. It is a tremendous asset to the development of their downtown or as they call it their uptown district. The property taxes generated from this district is huge and those dollars are responsible for enhancing their education system and other quality of life factors. I say all this to say that we can not retreat our way to prosperity. Audrey Moran is the one candidate who understands this and has the courage to move our city forward. The no new tax crowd will hold us back. Just my opinion.   

Exactly!

+100

Ocklawaha

January 26, 2011, 10:06:32 AM
What you're proposing is to spend money to rip it up, give money to the Feds for ripping it up and then spend even more money to build something else.  On the surface, that appears to be more expensive than the cost of actually using what we already have in a more efficient manner by connecting it to a well-planned multimodal transpotation network.  Neither of which we have done so far.

Not only that, but streetcars, buses, commuter rail, or pogo sticks will be more expensive to operate then the Skyway, motormen, drivers and engineers don't work for free. I seriously doubt that Jacksonville is smart enough to figure out how to get free labor or have people pay for the privilege.

You are also correct that they will never fund anything else as has been pointed out over and over to stjr, who apparently doesn't realize he is arguing with some of the officers over at  JTA and not just a retired railroad guy on these threads.


OCKLAWAHA

Ocklawaha

January 26, 2011, 10:30:05 AM
Quote
Add in the cost thrown at the Feds and loss of potential additional TOD in the San Marco area spurred from the Skyway(a possibility more real than you think) ...
In 20+ years,  the Skyway has been responsible for zero, and maybe negative, TOD.  This claim rings hollow.  And, I think San Marco has done much better than those areas served by the Skyway.  Maybe we should be careful not to mess it up by introducing the Skyway.  LOL.  Do you actually have a specific project you can name awaiting the Skyway?

You are wrong here stjr, and I think you know it.... The Skyway IS RESPONSIBLE for both the Omni and the Wachovia buildings being located downtown.

If it actually connected to something outside the urban core, it would probably have tripled that amount, and had JTA had any imagination or will to design it to ENTER some buildings, and connect skywalks to others, it would do better yet.


OCKLAWAHA

billy

January 26, 2011, 10:43:55 AM
what about the hotels(s) at the parking deck/station near San Marco?

fieldafm

January 26, 2011, 10:54:40 AM
Quote
In 20+ years,  the Skyway has been responsible for zero, and maybe negative, TOD.  This claim rings hollow.

Busy day for me, so I can't necessarily answer your points line by line just now...
but the Omni was in large part spurred by the Skyway/link to the convention center, and the only TRUE TOD we have in Jax is a result of a partnership with JTA, the dual hotel project at Kings Ave Station.  That area could very well experience another TOD project within the next few years.

dougskiles

January 26, 2011, 10:58:51 AM
what about the hotels(s) at the parking deck/station near San Marco?

Those hotels (yes there are two -operating in one building) may see some benefit from the existing system, but it is a pretty long walk from there to the Kings Avenue Skyway Station - and it cuts through a big parking lot.  Extending it under I-95 (and yes there is clearance) in between the hotels and the garage would be a much greater benefit to the hotels and would spur development where the ponds are currently located.  I was the civil engineer for both the garage (in 1999) and the hotels (in 2006).  We were required to leave 50 feet between the two specifically for a mass transit connection.  This came from JTA.  I'm not sure what they are saying about it now.  They seem to be focused only on BRT - which by the way - they concluded will not fit between the hotels and garage.  An elevated skyway would have no problems.  Imagine the station integrated into the hotel lobby...

Ocklawaha

January 26, 2011, 11:04:44 AM
what about the hotels(s) at the parking deck/station near San Marco?

Your right Billy, the Hilton Garden Inn is ALSO there because of the Skyway.


OCKLAWAHA

stjr

January 26, 2011, 12:14:19 PM
Ock and Field, please post one article from the press that states that the Wachovia Tower or Omni and Hilton Garden Hotels were primarily built due to the presence of the Skyway.  Seems if this was true, they would be out of business given the ridiculously low level of Skyway ridership.  Funny, but both developments are adjacent to large parking garages! That's a vote of confidence in your mass transit.  :D

tufsu1

January 26, 2011, 01:17:01 PM
well the Hilton Garden Inn was a TOD project initiated by JTA....without the Skyway, JTA would not have owned the land...nor would they have provided it to the hotel developers.

stjr

January 26, 2011, 01:35:47 PM
well the Hilton Garden Inn was a TOD project initiated by JTA....without the Skyway, JTA would not have owned the land...nor would they have provided it to the hotel developers.

Tufsu, that's not the same as saying the hotel was built due mainly for the reason that the Skyway was "nearby".  Who cares who the land seller was or how they acquired the land.  The question is, did they build the hotel there because of the Skyway?  Still waiting to see evidence of that.  I actually suspect that the little used JTA parking garage (fiasco?) was a far bigger part of this equation.

Actionville

January 26, 2011, 01:36:00 PM
I kind of agree with sjtr that the skyway made a hogan street a gloomy grey mess. Better care needs to taken in placement if the skyway is to be expanded. Blotting out the beautiful Jacksonville sun is depressing and scary to pedestrians, except in June-September

Jimmy

January 26, 2011, 01:45:02 PM
Wow, this thread has absolutely nothing to do with Rick Mullaney.

tufsu1

January 26, 2011, 01:51:24 PM
well the Hilton Garden Inn was a TOD project initiated by JTA....without the Skyway, JTA would not have owned the land...nor would they have provided it to the hotel developers.

Tufsu, that's not the same as saying the hotel was built due mainly for the reason that the Skyway was "nearby".  Who cares who the land seller was or how they acquired the land.  The question is, did they build the hotel there because of the Skyway?  Still waiting to see evidence of that.  I actually suspect that the little used JTA parking garage (fiasco?) was a far bigger part of this equation.

bottom line...the hotel would not have been built there if the Skyway wasn't there...so in answer to your question, yes

I-10east

January 26, 2011, 01:58:43 PM
Wow, this thread has absolutely nothing to do with Rick Mullaney.

Rick does not wanna have anything to do with the Skyway, that's why many are taking about the Skyway; It's a hot button topic.

blandman

January 26, 2011, 02:01:33 PM
No one wants to have to jump between a bunch of different systems to get where they wanna go. No one will bother, so its always best to have a solid, singular system that has a decent secondary system (like a solid bus system) to pick up the remaining slack. You dont want to have to jump between a bus, a Light Rail & then a Skyway just to get somewhere, guys. Think about it. Thats would completely suck.

Pee,  Not sure why you think having to switch between systems is so bad.  If the connections are reasonable, it's not the hassle you're presuming.  People do it in cities around the world everyday, including me.  I haven't driven a car to work in six years (except for the three weeks I worked in JAX this summer!).  I had to switch between two systems in Tokyo for a year, two (three if you count 20 mins on foot) in London for three years, and two in Philadelphia currently.  Just saying, it's not that bad...nor out of the ordinary...at least in cities that don't begin with the letter "J."

Jimmy

January 26, 2011, 02:02:33 PM
Rick does not wanna have anything to do with the Skyway, that's why many are taking about the Skyway; It's a hot button topic.
I guess so.  Unless this is being used as a catch-all for his views on mass (non-car) transit as a whole, it's generating an awful lot of heat for just the ASE.

peestandingup

January 26, 2011, 02:37:26 PM
well the Hilton Garden Inn was a TOD project initiated by JTA....without the Skyway, JTA would not have owned the land...nor would they have provided it to the hotel developers.

Tufsu, that's not the same as saying the hotel was built due mainly for the reason that the Skyway was "nearby".  Who cares who the land seller was or how they acquired the land.  The question is, did they build the hotel there because of the Skyway?  Still waiting to see evidence of that.  I actually suspect that the little used JTA parking garage (fiasco?) was a far bigger part of this equation.

bottom line...the hotel would not have been built there if the Skyway wasn't there...so in answer to your question, yes

Lol. Wow. Did you stick out your tongue in real life when you typed that. C mon, now. This is kind of grasping for straws a bit to prove a point, isn't it? We all know what was being implied.

peestandingup

January 26, 2011, 02:44:12 PM
No one wants to have to jump between a bunch of different systems to get where they wanna go. No one will bother, so its always best to have a solid, singular system that has a decent secondary system (like a solid bus system) to pick up the remaining slack. You dont want to have to jump between a bus, a Light Rail & then a Skyway just to get somewhere, guys. Think about it. Thats would completely suck.

Pee,  Not sure why you think having to switch between systems is so bad.  If the connections are reasonable, it's not the hassle you're presuming.  People do it in cities around the world everyday, including me.  I haven't driven a car to work in six years (except for the three weeks I worked in JAX this summer!).  I had to switch between two systems in Tokyo for a year, two (three if you count 20 mins on foot) in London for three years, and two in Philadelphia currently.  Just saying, it's not that bad...nor out of the ordinary...at least in cities that don't begin with the letter "J."

Well, sure. But are any of those towns sprawling erratic messes? No. Are they more condensed & probably a hell of a lot better at public transportation than we are? I'd say so, yes. Could you imagine the fuck ups at JTA trying to juggle 3 systems? They can't even run a proper bus system, and that's Transportation 101.

And I did say 2 systems was fine, but 3 is really pushing it. If you think the average suburban dweller is gonna bother hopping between 3 different systems just to get to the core, you're dreaming. They'll do what's easier...drive. Or just not go at all & stay in the 'burbs. Could you blame them?

thelakelander

January 26, 2011, 02:47:46 PM
Rick does not wanna have anything to do with the Skyway, that's why many are taking about the Skyway; It's a hot button topic.
I guess so.  Unless this is being used as a catch-all for his views on mass (non-car) transit as a whole, it's generating an awful lot of heat for just the ASE.
The ASE may only be 2.5 miles but how this issue is handled will have a much greater impact on the future development of Jax's overall mass transit system.

fieldafm

January 26, 2011, 02:52:13 PM
Quote
No one wants to have to jump between a bunch of different systems to get where they wanna go.

That’s what you do when you rely on mass transit.  You transfer, sometimes two/three/four times.  If we built commuter rail today(I could potentially walk from my front door to a platform onto a train if a commuter rail system existed along US-17) I would still have to transfer on a bus to get to my office. 

Quote
Enjoy your visit.  I walked it last summer.  We discussed it previously on MJ.  It seems to me the entire project will run closer to $150 million when completed.  Unlike Jax, NYC has public/private partnerships for projects like this as well as many of their parks.  I have advocated elsewhere for our City to embrace more of this here.
Field, when you visit the Highline, you will find that the appeal is in the journey, not the destination.  If the Skyway were so converted, it would be the same.  Maybe you could relate it locally to the rails-to-trails to Baldwin.

Thanks man!  I don’t like snow if I can’t ski on it, so this will be a very cold trip.  I plan on spending a lot of time also checking out the Nike runner park and the Brooklyn Pier Park.  Believe me, you will be seeing a ton of pictures posted up afterward :)

I absolutely agree that more public/private partnerships should be explored within our park system.  It is not without precedent in Jacksonville and the Parks Dept had at one point began exploring a corporate sponsorship plan for individual parks across the city.  Go walk on the Northbank Riverwalk.  Fidelity and Swisher Cigars contributed in that endeavor.  Bay Street Pier Park is very attractive for such a sponsorship opportunity. 
However, what you are proposing costs money.  So you want to spend a lot of money to rip up the rail along the skyway, install a park along the elevated railways, and then build another expensive fixed mass transit system right below it.  Sounds like a lot of money.

You brought up a great point about the Baldwin trail.  I rode it a few weekends ago and the group I rode with(all strangers to me) all talked(correctly I might add) about the need to connect this route as part of a broader bike path/trail throughout the city.  Currently it goes nowhere to nowhere.  Sounds a lot like the conundrum JTA finds itself in now doesn’t it?  It’s all about connectivity whether you’re talking about a sidewalk, bicycle, bus or train.

Quote
Even Ock, I think you will find, has agreed that street cars could navigate one or more of the bridges.  Based on the Skyway's traffic, it doesn't look like there is that much demand for this route anyway.


You neglect to count the revenue miles of the route and that the rides still cost more than any other mode of public transit we have, on par with private transit such as a taxi or limo.  What a deal for the taxpayers.

Using your mirror analogy, street cars could mirror the Skyway in this regard and, in my opinion, do it far better.  That's part of my point.  The Skyway is a second rate solution.

Well streetcars are more expensive than busses… so your idea is to rip up one transit mode more expensive than busses and replace it with another mode of transit more expensive than busses.  That costs a lot of money.  A better option would be to use what we have and tie it in to a multimodal system that includes streetcars in areas presently not served by the Skyway.  That’s what functional transit systems do.  Using what you have is far less expensive to the taxpayer than ripping it up and starting from scratch.

Quote
I am always willing to support more parks in Jax.  But I think it would be prudent to use any Skyway savings toward other rail mass transit
.

But what you’re proposing is to spend quite a bit of money on an elevated park that takes no one to nowhere.  Keep the skyway and give me that same money you want to spend on an elevated park(don’t know where that money’s coming from… I’d sure like to know so Bay Street Pier Park and/or the Hogan Greenbelt could become a reality) and I’ll use it to connect three urban neighborhoods to the river and downtown that would represent a huge step in the revitalization of four areas.

And once you rip everything up you propose to do(which is far from free) and replace those routes with another expensive fixed mass transit option(also not free)... how long do you think it will take to recoup those costs?  Certainly not in my lifetime, and I'm younger than you.

Jimmy

January 26, 2011, 02:56:19 PM
The ASE may only be 2.5 miles but how this issue is handled will have a much greater impact on the future development of Jax's overall mass transit system.
In that case, I can understand the heat and the fire.  It's hard to criticize a piece of our transportation infrastructure that's been crippled from the outset.  At this point, even as a demonstration project, the ASE appears to have been designed to fail.  But it doesn't have to be that way.

dougskiles

January 26, 2011, 03:02:05 PM
Tufsu, that's not the same as saying the hotel was built due mainly for the reason that the Skyway was "nearby".  Who cares who the land seller was or how they acquired the land.  The question is, did they build the hotel there because of the Skyway?  Still waiting to see evidence of that.  I actually suspect that the little used JTA parking garage (fiasco?) was a far bigger part of this equation.

I just sent an email to the developer of the hotel (my client).  Here is his response:

Quote
Doug:
The decision to locate the hotel at the site was a combination of the existing parking garage and the access to the Skyway.  However, the access to the Skyway really should be closer to the hotel for best results.

I will be meeting with him in the near future to talk about it in more detail.  I'll keep you posted.

peestandingup

January 26, 2011, 03:07:14 PM
The ASE may only be 2.5 miles but how this issue is handled will have a much greater impact on the future development of Jax's overall mass transit system.
In that case, I can understand the heat and the fire.  It's hard to criticize a piece of our transportation infrastructure that's been crippled from the outset.  At this point, even as a demonstration project, the ASE appears to have been designed to fail.  But it doesn't have to be that way.

I don't really have a dog in this fight (we're probably moving outta Jax this summer), but if I were betting, I think it's gonna become clear as time goes on that the Skyway was setup to do just that. Fail. They basically built the smallest, most expensive and overly complicated/overdone system that they possibly could (not with their own money mind you, basically for free) & sent it from nowhere to nowhere.

Bottom line: I wouldn't hold my breathe on them ever extending this thing. Why, that might actually make it useful!

thelakelander

January 26, 2011, 03:18:20 PM
There will have to be a massive change in the leadership level for a skyway extension to happen anytime soon. It's the red headed stepchild of JTA and is treated as such. Right now, BRT is the kid that was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Ocklawaha

January 26, 2011, 03:49:10 PM
Maybe if JTA didn't have a history of being run by, scoundrels and camouflage artists- bastard scum of the earth and spawn of the devil who would not scruple to take unfair opportunities with their neighbors, glib and slippery creatures together with a homogeneous smear of other cons,... scum suckers, and human debris in every stage of shipwrecked penury, maybe we could trust them to do the right thing.

OCKLAWAHA

dougskiles

January 26, 2011, 05:02:35 PM
There will have to be a massive change in the leadership level for a skyway extension to happen anytime soon. It's the red headed stepchild of JTA and is treated as such. Right now, BRT is the kid that was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Not saying it will happen for sure - but I wouldn't rule out the possibility either.

Captain Zissou

January 26, 2011, 05:27:55 PM
There will have to be a massive change in the leadership level for a skyway extension to happen anytime soon. It's the red headed stepchild of JTA and is treated as such. Right now, BRT is the kid that was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Not saying it will happen for sure - but I wouldn't rule out the possibility either.

Doug, you allude to a lot of vague, but very interesting things.  I wish I was on the inside track to know of all these potentially great things going on.

Rick Mullaney

January 26, 2011, 05:41:28 PM
Metrojacksonville readers:

Sorry I was not able to join you yesterday. The schedule is really busy, as you might suspect. And I have to leave in just a few minutes for an evening event. I look forward to discussing this plan, and much more, with you in the near future. Thanks for your patience. Rick.

Ocklawaha

January 26, 2011, 07:02:13 PM
Rick, your Skyway position bothers me. The Skyway (and remember I was it's original opponent) has never followed the original route plan, never been finished, never operated as promised, and can be expanded for about the same cost as modern Light Rail, but you want to shut it down? Why? Lets talk about getting into responsible hands, developing kiosks and vendors at every station, connecting stations to nearby buildings, running the darn thing 19-20 hours each day, with on call service after a certain time, cutting the parallel bus routes, eliminating BRT under the Skyway, terminating other bus routes at the Skyway stations... and that just for starters. With the mobility plan in place, we should push that San Marco line south to the hotels and on to Landon Street (library/park) and Atlantic where we'd establish a cross platform connection to commuter rail and bus services... and it won't cost the taxpayers a dime.

OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

January 26, 2011, 07:12:08 PM
There's no telling how much money we could save if we eliminated duplicate services on our bus routes.  Eliminate all bus routes within the CBD (funnel them into the skyway's end points...make sure the turnstiles are working) and let the skyway and the PCTs serve that market.  You'll cut O&M costs, increase skyway ridership and fares at the same time.  Also work with the Southbank office complexes.  Most pay for their own transit services instead of relying on JTA. Perhaps some deal could be worked out that saves them money and puts more butts on the public transit services already being provided.

dougskiles

January 26, 2011, 08:03:43 PM
Doug, you allude to a lot of vague, but very interesting things.  I wish I was on the inside track to know of all these potentially great things going on.

I apologize for coming across vague - and now re-reading what I wrote, I can see your point.  I also wish I was on the inside at JTA and could better understand why they do the seemingly crazy things they do.  I'm just an average guy like you poking around trying to find out what is going on.  I have been laying a few tracks of my own through San Marco by Design (see previous topics on MJ) and trying to get community support for an extension.  So far the reception has been very favorable.  In fact, I have yet to come face-to-face with the 'skyway haters' that are supposedly all over the city.  Most share the same view that we do - and would love to ride it if actually came closer to where we live and was connected to a few of the places we want to go.

As far as an overhaul goes - remember that we are dealing with a board who have been appointed by the current administration (well - at least half and presumably they had a pretty strong influence in the other half appointed by the governor).  It is pretty clear where the priorities have been.  Overpasses are so much more fun to build than replacing broken turnstiles.  The right mayor could turn that around within a matter of a few years, if not sooner.

tufsu1

January 26, 2011, 09:11:28 PM
So far the reception has been very favorable.  In fact, I have yet to come face-to-face with the 'skyway haters' that are supposedly all over the city. 

just talk to a few City Council members

dougskiles

January 26, 2011, 09:27:06 PM
just talk to a few City Council members

Any names in particular?  I actually would like to talk to them.  I have a meeting with Art Shad on Monday - but his term is almost over.  I'm hoping that he can give me some insight as to what I'm up against with the City Council.

stjr

January 26, 2011, 09:54:43 PM
Doug, just tell the taxpayers your ideas and the costs associated with them versus the "benefits" (hey, after you drag your butt all the way in from the distant burbs, you get to ride a cramped, pokey, wait-a-while Skyway the last few blocks to a stop still blocks from your destination - and when you could walk it faster) and watch the "haters" as you call us (I guess that makes proponents "lovers") come out of the woodwork like ants crawling from a stirred up mound.  Especially in today's environment.  Politicians may not be good at many things, but they often are in office because they have superior "political instincts".  They know an issue land mine when they see one.

Why don't you, Ock, Stephen and Lake write an Op-Ed piece for the Florida Times Union pages espousing your "love" for the Skyway and see what feedback you get (assuming anyone reads past the headline, "Skyway Failure Can Be Fixed By Doubling Down").   ;D

By the way, Doug, if you can have only one, Skyway or street cars, which is it?  Expand the Skyway and I think you can kiss street cars goodbye for one or more generations.  Its been 60, 70, 80 years since we ripped them up - what's a few more decades?

stjr

January 26, 2011, 10:02:50 PM
Rick, your Skyway position bothers me.

Rick, your Skyway position dazzles me.   ;)

Make sure you read the many Skyway threads on MJ and go back and read the T-U's archives over the last 25 years or so on the subject to glean both sides of the story and put it in context with its succession of failed promises that eerily sound like those still being made here.  Then decide.  And, as I posed in my previous post, consider street cars instead of the Skyway if you have the good (this I agree with Ock on) inclination to introduce rail transit to downtown in the most efficient, user friendly, beneficial, flexible, cost effective, aesthetically pleasing,  and sustainable way possible.

stjr

January 26, 2011, 10:18:59 PM
There's no telling how much money we could save if we eliminated duplicate services on our bus routes.  Eliminate all bus routes within the CBD (funnel them into the skyway's end points...make sure the turnstiles are working) and let the skyway and the PCTs serve that market.  You'll cut O&M costs, increase skyway ridership and fares at the same time.  Also work with the Southbank office complexes.  Most pay for their own transit services instead of relying on JTA. Perhaps some deal could be worked out that saves them money and puts more butts on the public transit services already being provided.

Or, perhaps, force all the bus riders onto the Skyway and spread its cancer to the bus system which then joins the Skyway in suffering a slow death.

I am all for saving costs, but the "duplication" that needs to be removed is the much more expensive Skyway (that may not be able to compete with buses because buses do a better job?).

In your plan, I don't think bus riders will take the Skyway (firstly, because of the added trip time it creates) in the numbers you suggest and the resulting decrease in bus ridership will just had to JTA's woes and give mass transit a bigger black eye in this community than it already has.  Besides, it seems most buses serving downtown already run to Rosa Parks for transfers.  And, if bus riders still want to take the Skyway, they can transfer to it there.  In your plan, would you have an inbound bus rider transfer at a Skyway terminus to go to another Skyway terminus to transfer to another outbound bus?  That doesn't sound like a winner to me.

By the way, how many bus riders actually go downtown to work at an office near a Skyway station?  You know, all those TOD Skyway office towers Tufsu was trying to imagine?

tufsu1

January 26, 2011, 10:19:45 PM
well here's my question...the only thing about transit in the 34 points is anti-Skyway...so is Mr. Mullaney in favor of any form of transit...and if so, what?

Ocklawaha

January 26, 2011, 10:39:34 PM
Bottom line Rick?

New hybrid/Electric bus  @ $800,000 a copy,
uses city streets, or busway

New Light Rail System @ $30,000,000 per mile
includes all track, cars, equipment,
cars can run in trains with a single motorman

New Commuter Rail System @ $5,000,000 per mile
includes stations, trains, and operating agreement-lease on private track
contract operator

New HERITAGE Streetcar System @ $10,000,000 per mile (JTA figures)
includes all track, cars, equipment (modern streetcar will cost close to Light Rail)
cars usually need a motorman per car, however historically a second car is possible with a single operator

New Skyway Extension @ $15,000,000 per mile if it is scaled back to basic monorail and stations
and as JTA built the original about double that amount.
includes all track, trains, and stations to expand the line.

Advantages:
Hybrid Bus/Electric Bus - no pollution, quiet
Disadvantages:
Still deals with traffic, and busway-exclusive lane BRT costs as much as rail

Advantages:
Light Rail - no pollution, quiet, large capacity-expandable, low operating costs, high speed. huge development magnet
Disadvantages:
Surface lines may be in street or private right of way, street lines at the mercy of traffic

Advantages:
Commuter Rail - Uses railroad routes already in place, could open new port route, lowest start up cost
Disadvantages:
Must deal with private railroads and Amtrak, JRTC would need to be complete on rail side

Advantages:
Heritage Streetcar - no pollution, quiet, medium capacity, development magnet
Disadvantages:
Urban Core Routes all in-street at mercy of traffic,

Advantages:
Skyway - no pollution, quiet, expandable trains, capable of higher speeds, above all traffic, no crossings
Disadvantages:
Perceived high costs of construction

You get out of each according to what you put into it - as JTA has so nobly demonstrated.



OCKLAWAHA

thelakelander

January 27, 2011, 06:16:16 AM
If we're talking money, the 2030 Mobility Plan and Mobility Fee generates "traffic concurrency" money for a few fixed mass transit corridors discussed in this thread so far.  If utilized properly, these starter lines could be up and running by/or in the next mayor's second term and directly tie together every major existing medical facility in DT and the surrounding urban core.  Land use regulations have already been modified to facilitate the future the development of denser infill around them, so it presents a perfect opportunity to market rate DT/Northside revitalization and job creation without having to raise taxes or spend huge sums of money that we don't have.  Just something to keep in mind.  Since a major goal of Mullaney's vision involves building opportunities in our healthcare industry and a possible urban medical district in the Shands area, here is an example of what can happen when you tie fixed mass transit, supportive land use, education and healthcare together.

Washington University Medical Center (Central West End neighborhood) - St. Louis, MO



The Shands and Baptist area can quickly begin to resemble this type of scene (St. Louis' Central West End) with the right planning and implementation.  A fixed mass transit connection with DT and other neighborhoods has been a significant element in this district's ability to densify with walkable healthcare sector related infill and complementing development.  Its a prime example of integrating medical facilities and fixed mass transit to create a vibrant employment center that has fueled the redevelopment of the neighborhoods surrounding it.


The Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine was recently completed on the large construction site adjacent to the rail station in this image.  As a part of this project, Euclid Avenue was converted into a pedestrian promenade and public plaza between the rail line, hospital and school.

Quote
Washington University Medical Center comprises 135 acres spread over approximately 12 city blocks, located along the eastern edge of Forest Park within the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis. The campus is home to the Washington University School of Medicine and its associated teaching hospitals, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children's Hospital. Many of the buildings are connected via a series of skyways and corridors.

The School's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty Physicians & Nurse Practitioners also serve as the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, which are part of BJC HealthCare. Washington University and BJC have taken on many joint venture projects, such as the Center for Advanced Medicine, completed in December 2001.

Olin Residence Hall, named for Spencer T. Olin, provides residential services for 200 medical and graduate students.

The Medical Campus is accessible via the Central West End MetroLink station, which provides a quick link to the Danforth, North, and West Campuses.

Medical Campus Includes:

Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Central Institute for the Deaf
St. Louis Children's Hospital
Rehabilitation Institute of Saint Louis
Siteman Cancer Center
Center for Advanced Medicine
Eric P. Newman Education Center (conference and convention center)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_University#Medical_Campus




Looking at the School of Medicine from Metrolink's Central West End LRT station.  For the last decade, medical and educational facilities have been developed around a neighborhood LRT station.


As soon as you exit the passenger platform you are in the heart of the medical complex.  Here, a major street was closed to auto traffic and reopened as a central pedestrian walk and green space in 2010.


A recent addition (St. Louis College School of Pharmacy) to the medical district can be seen from the rail stop.


Opportunities for supporting infrastructure.  With the cluster of medical and educational facilities built within compact walking distance of the rail stop, it was feasible for a Barnes & Nobles bookstore to open.  This serves as an asset for a neighborhood that would not have been able to support this type of retail without the clustering of medical, educational and transportation uses.


Infill supportive residential recently developed across the street from medical center and transit station.  Residents are within walking distance of this employment center and several other neighborhoods and DT (via reliable mass transit). Could this become 8th Street or San Marco Blvd?


More infill to support the surrounding uses.  This infill equates to a healthy economic environment for the surrounding neighborhoods, additional job creation opportunities and tax revenue for the city.


By having access to the rest of the city and a major employment cluster, opportunities for small businesses begin to open up as well.  Springfield, San Marco, Brooklyn, DT and Durkeeville are examples of communities where opportunities like this would become feasible without public subsidizing.

You'll find similar examples of this in many of our more progressive peer cities across the country. Here are two more:

http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-sep-is-jacksonville-ready-for-an-urban-medical-district

Just something to keep in mind.  How we handle the mass transit issue in this city has less to do with transportation and a lot more to do with community building, neighborhood revitalization, enhancing educational opportunities, job creation and economic development.

thelakelander

January 27, 2011, 06:34:01 AM
Just for comparison's sake, here are a few scaled aerials of Washington University Medical Center, Shands, Baptist Health and St. Vincent's.  Like most major medical facilities, parking is a critical issue so they naturally become viable anchors for fixed mass transit systems. 

Washington University Medical Center


Shands Jacksonville

Green = Bus Rapid Transit (proposed), Red = urban commuter rail (proposed, an initial 10-year CIE funded priority project in 2030 Mobility Plan), Purple = streetcar (proposed)

Baptist Health

Blue = skyway (existing), Green = Bus Rapid Transit (proposed), Red = commuter rail (proposed)

St. Vincent's

Purple = streetcar (proposed, an initial 10-year CIE funded priority project in 2030 Mobility Plan)

St. Louis found a way to take advantage of this, cluster complementing local assets together and transform the area around the medical complex into a vibrant walkable district and economic powerhouse.  We can do the same.

dougskiles

January 27, 2011, 06:35:51 AM
Doug, just tell the taxpayers your ideas and the costs associated with them versus the "benefits" (hey, after you drag your butt all the way in from the distant burbs, you get to ride a cramped, pokey, wait-a-while Skyway the last few blocks to a stop still blocks from your destination - and when you could walk it faster) and watch the "haters" as you call us (I guess that makes proponents "lovers") come out of the woodwork like ants crawling from a stirred up mound.

stjr, I am trying to do exactly that and I welcome dissenting views.  I'm not afraid of opposition, and I'm not going to get bitterly angry about it when people don't share my view.  I completely respect your opinions and I find them to be well-researched and thought out.  I just don't agree with all of them.  From what I have investigated so far, the best way to connect the neighborhoods south of the railroad tracks to downtown by transit appears to be extending the Skyway.  If someone proposes a better solution, I am all for it.  And I will be the biggest cheerleader.  I want Jacksonville to have a functional transit system.  I believe we can do better than the current bus system or any system proposed that uses buses.  From my perspective, those systems are not working any better than the Skyway in terms of capturing increased ridership or promoting high quality urban living.

I am not suggesting that we increase taxes or take money from services that are already strapped to pay for this.  But let's face it, we won't be in this budget mess forever.  With the right mayor (one who can bring people together - and not divide them) it won't take long to get things back in order.  So why not plan now for that day?

As to your question, which would I prefer if I could only have an extension to the Skyway or a streetcar system, you need to be more specific.  It depends on where that streetcar system would be and what it would connect to.  If you are talking about a streetcar system in San Marco, I would vote for the Skyway extension because of the issues with the railroad tracks.  If we are talking about Riverside or Springfield, I would vote for the streetcar.  I don't see why it has to be only one?  A functional transit system consists of many types - hence the name 'multi-modal' that we keep talking about.  As we get farther from the core, the system has to change to be effective.

dougskiles

January 27, 2011, 06:50:34 AM
How we handle the mass transit issue in this city has less to do with transportation and a lot more to do with community building, neighborhood revitalization, enhancing educational opportunities, job creation and economic development.

Exactly.  And yet, by having a separate transportation authority that is in no way connected to these other elements of our community, we have gotten where we are today.  Can we pull the transit element of JTA's operation away from them and start over with a more integrated approach.  Something so critical to the fabric of our community should not be operating as independently as they seem to be doing.

stephendare

January 27, 2011, 08:06:41 AM
Doug, dont mind STJR.

Although he is one of our most prolific, intelligent, and informed posters, the subject of the skyway is still hardwired into the political notions of a couple of decades ago.

He doesnt use mass transit of any form and you are simply not going to change his mind.  His sole raison d'etre on this subject is to see the skyway torn down, and he is going to conduct his one man crusade on this until we can get it properly extended and better utilized.

I asked him a year ago, how me fancies that we can provide a new transit bridge over the river at less cost (which is the soul of his argument----the cost) and he has yet to be able to explain that.

I suspect that he is simply anti transit, given the fact that he doesnt use any form of it, but I wouldnt actually place money on it.

But if arguing over the skyway with STJR is the wages of having his input in all the other areas of this site, then it is truly a small price to pay in light of all the knowledge and insight that he otherwise brings.

My grandfather stayed pissed at Jane Fonda his entire life.

peestandingup

January 27, 2011, 08:25:16 AM

He doesnt use mass transit of any form and you are simply not going to change his mind.  His sole raison d'etre on this subject is to see the skyway torn down, and he is going to conduct his one man crusade on this until we can get it properly extended and better utilized.

I suspect that he is simply anti transit, given the fact that he doesnt use any form of it, but I wouldnt actually place money on it.

Tell me you're not suggesting that if someone living in Jacksonville FL doesn't use the city's crappy mass transit system that they're automatically against all mass transit.

acme54321

January 27, 2011, 08:28:38 AM
Saying that someone is totally anti-transit just becasue they don't use the skyway or busses is ridiculous.

stephendare

January 27, 2011, 08:38:29 AM

He doesnt use mass transit of any form and you are simply not going to change his mind.  His sole raison d'etre on this subject is to see the skyway torn down, and he is going to conduct his one man crusade on this until we can get it properly extended and better utilized.

I suspect that he is simply anti transit, given the fact that he doesnt use any form of it, but I wouldnt actually place money on it.

Tell me you're not suggesting that if someone living in Jacksonville FL doesn't use the city's crappy mass transit system that they're automatically against all mass transit.

Certainly not, most people choose (rightly) not to use our transit system unless they absolutely have to.  But they don't follow it up with 200 essays on demolition and dynamite fantasies on a public forum well known for its discourse on transit either.

dougskiles

January 27, 2011, 12:40:38 PM
Doug, dont mind STJR.

I don't mind.  I find him both challenging and entertaining.  I also agree that his participation is an asset to this forum in many ways.

Keep it coming, STJR!

And, thanks for the encouragement, Stephen.

Ocklawaha

January 27, 2011, 01:18:10 PM
Saying that someone is totally anti-transit just becasue they don't use the skyway or busses is ridiculous.

It's kind of funny if you think about it, for all practical purposes - WE ALL DRIVE CARS, yet many of us hate them and the road they came in on. On the other hand, many people ride mass transit, and though they may bitch about a wait, or bumpy ride, they'll go to the polls and support mass transit initiatives every time.

Sort of makes you wonder doesn't it?


OCKLAWAHA

simms3

January 27, 2011, 01:23:46 PM
^^^Hmmm, I know there are plenty of supporters, but I wouldn't say that in most places there isn't a struggle at the ballot for people to approve any sort of local funding measures or tax increases for a transit system.  Even in Charlotte right now there are probably more people against expanding LYNX than for expanding it.

That, and we don't all hate our cars.  I love good public transit, but I also love my car.  It has a great sound system, leather seats, and privacy :).

thelakelander

January 27, 2011, 01:49:27 PM
I'm a fiscal conservative.  I don't hate my truck or roads.  I hate not having a choice of viable mobility options while being forced to subsidize the most expensive form of mobility, knowing it means taking more money out of my pockets to keep it afloat.  

Non-RedNeck Westsider

January 27, 2011, 02:06:31 PM
I personally use both frequently.  I don't have the major problems that others seem to have with JTA, but I do see major need for fixes.

Example - I can catch the bus in for work WS-2 or WS-52(express) and it takes about 10-15 minutes to get from my stop to DT (about the same as driving, it's a pretty straight shot), but the problem arises when it has to make so many stops, Water St, AT&T Bldg, Landing, etc.... so my 15 minute trip downtown now takes an additional 25 minutes to get to my transfer at Rosa Park - all of these stops are withing 1/8 mile of a Skyway station (less than the 1/4 mile that seems to be the RoT)  Why, JTA, why?  Especially the express bus - it should be a point to point service.  If even just one of these buses would go straight to the Rosa Park Terminal and let everyone feed from there to their destinations, I'm talking to you Skyway, then I can say without a doubt that you just increased the SW ridership by about 25 ppl/day.  Not very much, but how many instances does this happen?  Not only would you increase that ridership, you also just subtracted 30 minutes from the route by bypassing all of the DT stops - so you can run those busses effectively every 30 minutes instead of every hour without adding any expense other than gas.

thelakelander

January 27, 2011, 02:20:55 PM
^Great point about streamlining the duplication of services to make for a better all around system.

dougskiles

January 27, 2011, 02:51:03 PM
Non-Redneck Westsider, thank you for that real-world example.  Have you expressed this concern to JTA?  I've sent them emails before to customer service, but have never received a response specific to my question.  I get an automated response thanking me for contacting them - but nothing more.

The last email I sent was on January 3rd and received this response immediately - but then never anything  since.

Quote
Thank you for submitting your comments to JTA. We appreciate your patronage and feedback.

Please be advised your remarks have been forwarded to the
appropriate department and we anticipate a response to your inquiry
within  3-5 business days.

For immediate assistance, please feel free to contact
Customer Service at (904) 630-3100 during normal business hours.

Thank you,

We hope your future travels with JTA are pleasant.

We are JTA, an independent state agency committed to providing effective and efficient transportation solutions for our growing region through roads and public transit options.

Part of your day. Part of your community. Part of your life.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

January 27, 2011, 03:07:04 PM
No I haven't because it is not a enough of an issue in my life to pursue it and get all worked up - it's a nuisance, nothing more.  I share this story and others like it here, because I think it will gain more traction here with people that are in-the-fold- I've already gotten feedback, which is more than JTA gave you on your issue.

(I can already hear the rhetoric coming from that last statement.)

fieldafm

January 27, 2011, 03:56:05 PM
Although its not always the answer I want to hear... Kent Stover at JTA has always responded to my communications in a professional and timely manner.

I give him a thumbs up for that.  Thats better than I can say for most other city agencies(and I know JTA is a state agency).

If you have five free minutes(thats really all it takes), its pretty easy to tell by looking at the route maps how much duplication is wasted on some of these routes.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

January 27, 2011, 03:58:30 PM
If you want to forward him that excerpt from my last post about the WS-2 & WS-52, feel free.   I'm PMing you contact info if he decides to follow up.

Kay

January 27, 2011, 04:05:17 PM
How we handle the mass transit issue in this city has less to do with transportation and a lot more to do with community building, neighborhood revitalization, enhancing educational opportunities, job creation and economic development.

Exactly.  And yet, by having a separate transportation authority that is in no way connected to these other elements of our community, we have gotten where we are today.  Can we pull the transit element of JTA's operation away from them and start over with a more integrated approach.  Something so critical to the fabric of our community should not be operating as independently as they seem to be doing.

Fabulous idea!!!

jcjohnpaint

January 27, 2011, 07:24:36 PM
I mean maybe there is not enough traffic here for people to really get behind mass transit.  Most mass transit cities have absolutely horrific traffic problems.  Not to say I don't support mass transit (which I do), but in this country will not support something unless it is a total problem. 

dougskiles

January 27, 2011, 08:01:45 PM
Funny how these threads take on a life of their own.  Our last several pages of posts have had very little to do with Rick Mullaney.  And I don't want to break the momentum, since I am really much more interested in JTA and the Skyway than Rick (no offense dude).

I was at the FDOT Overland Bridge meeting and had the opportunity to talk to Steve Arrington (Director of Resource Management at JTA) for about an hour.  I had never spoken with him before in this way and it was very informative for me.  His explanation of what the Skyway was intended to be, what it turned out to be and possibly why it didn't turn out the way it was intended, was something I needed to hear.  We also talked about the multi-modal center, BRT, street cars and of course my favorite topic, extending the Skyway into San Marco.  The man is a wealth of knowledge and history and couldn't have been nicer to me and sincerely offered an opportunity for me to get more involved.

I am grateful for the conversation and plan to take him up on the offer.  Not sure exactly how that will be yet, but for starters he offered to be a part of the upcoming San Marco by Design workshop and hear what the neighborhood has to say.

I did find out that they are working with FDOT to make sure the Skyway can be extended beneath I-95 once the Overland Bridge project is complete.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

January 27, 2011, 08:55:13 PM
Maybe you could catch the skyway from San Marco to Central Station and count the amount of busses that pass by.  ;)

Ocklawaha

January 27, 2011, 09:36:42 PM
I mean maybe there is not enough traffic here for people to really get behind mass transit.  Most mass transit cities have absolutely horrific traffic problems.  Not to say I don't support mass transit (which I do), but in this country will not support something unless it is a total problem. 

It's a commonly held FALSE  belief that mass transit is operated to relieve highway congestion. Nothing could be farther from the truth, mass transit is mobility for those without mobility, and for the rest of us it is a wonderful choice, IE: Do I sit behind the wheel for 45 minutes and swear, or sit on the bus and read a good novel?  Nobody has a valid complaint about traffic when a train or light rail vehicle flashes past them at 60 mph, while they sit in interminable grid lock.

OCKLAWAHA

tufsu1

January 27, 2011, 10:40:07 PM
I did find out that they are working with FDOT to make sure the Skyway can be extended beneath I-95 once the Overland Bridge project is complete.

correct....JTA (and others) lobbied FDOT to build a structure in the area instead of just using fill...that way the skyway could be extended.

mtraininjax

January 28, 2011, 07:13:50 AM
Who needs 34 points for a plan? Why not 56 or 73 or 92?

Ocklawaha

January 28, 2011, 08:08:32 AM
I did find out that they are working with FDOT to make sure the Skyway can be extended beneath I-95 once the Overland Bridge project is complete.

correct....JTA (and others) lobbied FDOT to build a structure in the area instead of just using fill...that way the skyway could be extended.

It might be the best we could get from FDOT, but the city would have benefited more if the road went lower and the Skyway went OVER it. Every executive vacationer and his/her family that speeds past on the interstate and saw "a futuristic monorail" pass over the freeway would be sold on JACKSONVILLE as a place to live and do business forever.

OCKLAWAHA

lewyn

January 28, 2011, 11:44:18 AM
If we just stop service on the Skyway, won't we wind up with a big, pointless eyesore in the middle of downtown?  And won't it be used, as abandoned properties are used, as a homeless shelter/drug den/house of prostitution/general center for crime and vice?

thelakelander

January 28, 2011, 12:08:09 PM
Most likely, which will make the fight for downtown revitalization worse.

Ocklawaha

January 28, 2011, 02:55:57 PM
If we just stop service on the Skyway, won't we wind up with a big, pointless eyesore in the middle of downtown?  And won't it be used, as abandoned properties are used, as a homeless shelter/drug den/house of prostitution/general center for crime and vice?

Of course not, some people on here think we can take that 8' wide guideway, remove the beam and turn it into a jogging trail...

"By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Warvan, Oh What A Bargin...RAH!



OCKLAWAHA

dougskiles

January 28, 2011, 05:13:08 PM
It might be the best we could get from FDOT, but the city would have benefited more if the road went lower and the Skyway went OVER it. Every executive vacationer and his/her family that speeds past on the interstate and saw "a futuristic monorail" pass over the freeway would be sold on JACKSONVILLE as a place to live and do business forever.

Speaking of vacationers - on my way to and from downtown this afternoon, the trains were packed with people here for the pastor's convention.  The Skyway will be running all weekend to support the event.  It was fun talking to people as we crossed the Acosta.  They all loved the view and couldn't say enough about how much they like Jacksonville.  I was tempted to tell them to savor the moment because there are some who want to dismantle this system.  I held my tongue - didn't want to spoil the mood.

Wacca Pilatka

January 28, 2011, 05:25:59 PM
However limited the Skyway is given the route system, tourists do like using it and enjoy the views.  When I have guests with me on visits to Jacksonville, I always take them on the Skyway.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

January 28, 2011, 05:49:13 PM
However limited the Skyway is given the route system, tourists do like using it and enjoy the views.  When I have guests with me on visits to Jacksonville, I always take them on the Skyway.

but to you it's a novelty.  The skyway needs to be reality for a lot of different peopel for it to be viable.  I use it fairly regularly, but I would use it more if it went where I needed it to. 

We need to take the novelty out of it and make it a viable form of transportation for it to succeed.

stjr

January 28, 2011, 07:10:03 PM
However limited the Skyway is given the route system, tourists do like using it and enjoy the views.  When I have guests with me on visits to Jacksonville, I always take them on the Skyway.

So, is it supposed to be a mass transit system or a theme park ride?  LOL.

As a theme park ride, we could pretend to be riding through the "House of Horrors" as we bump along in cramped Skyway cars past weeded lots, asphalt parking lots, blah parking garages, a woeful convention center, Crue-LaVilla DeVille, and our $350+ million courthouse calamity of columns.  The final test will be making it out of the Skyway station, dodging broken gates, turnstiles, and escalators.  "Survivors" will then be finished off with the "horror" of reading about the Skyway's actual performance versus that promised (as it is now!) by the experts and promoters when it was built.  I suspect Ock may be the only one "hardened" enough to make it out in one piece.  :D

Maybe as a joy ride, we could charge the many dollars a ride it actually costs to run it.  Then, as a break even operation, we could move on to address our mass transit needs with the real thing, not some fantasy toy.  ;D

Awaiting emotional backlash by humorless proponents. 8)

tufsu1

January 28, 2011, 08:55:06 PM
well lots of places have built transit systems that cater to visitors...Tampa streetcar, Memphis streetcar, Little Rock streetcar, Las Vegas monrail.

But please don't tell folks like Chris that visitors like Jax.

Ocklawaha

January 28, 2011, 10:14:11 PM
However limited the Skyway is given the route system, tourists do like using it and enjoy the views.  When I have guests with me on visits to Jacksonville, I always take them on the Skyway.
As a theme park ride, we could pretend to be riding through the "House of Horrors" as we bump along in cramped Skyway cars past weeded lots, asphalt parking lots, blah parking garages, a woeful convention center, Crue-LaVilla DeVille, and our $350+ million courthouse calamity of columns.  The final test will be making it out of the Skyway station, dodging broken gates, turnstiles, and escalators.  "Survivors" will then be finished off with the "horror" of reading about the Skyway's actual performance versus that promised (as it is now!) by the experts and promoters when it was built.  I suspect Ock may be the only one "hardened" enough to make it out in one piece.  :D

Awaiting emotional backlash by humorless proponents. 8)


TUFSU is correct, in fact a lot more then he listed and many of those have slowly became TRUE transit routes or urban revival tools, witness EL RENO, OK, or FT SMITH, AR, or YAKIMA, WA, or FT COLLINS, CO, all of which started as a just for fun and are now very serious business.

NEVER THE LESS...

Here you go stjr. I challenge anyone to look at the highlighted portion of your quote and tell me how this is the SKYWAY'S fault? Poor choices=JTA, Bad planner=JTA, Believing their own hype=JTA, Poor city planning=COJ, Garages that steal transit customers=COJ, Broken EVERYTHING=JTA, Performance=JTA-COJ, Courthouse "Explosion in a pillar factory"=JOHNNY BOY PEYTON, and WTF, let's toss in ELEVATORS SMELL LIKE PISS=JTA!

Just leave it the hell alone and let the new mayor give Ennis and Myself 6 months and a few thousand to work with and watch us more then DOUBLE the ridership... making it the busiest transit route in the city. If we pull that off, you join our team.

See you at Hogans Creek SATURDAY MORNING.


OCKLAWAHA

stjr

January 29, 2011, 06:59:33 PM
^^ Ock lighten up.  I didn't say all that was the Skyway's fault but since you bring it up, one of the deliverables per original Skyway proponents was the success of downtown development.  So, by all rights, all that blight and other development horrors should be nonexistent after 20 plus years of downtown's promised savior, the ASE.  I don't think you put all of this particular failure on JTA.  Rather, I think most of it has to do with the failure of the Skyway as a transit mode.  That's my opinion just like you have yours.

jcjohnpaint

January 29, 2011, 10:19:39 PM
but how could something be judged that was never finished?

stjr

January 29, 2011, 10:39:10 PM
Quote
Quote from: jcjohnpaint on Yesterday at 10:19:39 PM
but how could something be judged that was never finished?

jc, read the many posts I have added to MJ threads on this subject, including this thread.  TWO phases have been FINISHED and there were "EXPERT" projections and expectations associated with these finished sections.  The Skyway has fallen, after 20 plus years, 90+% short of THOSE expert numbers.  Not building any remaining expansions has no impact on the original projections.

Also, you should know that the rationale offered for building Phase II is essentially the same as that being offered for the current round of requested expansions.  Yet, Phase II did nothing to improve the Skyway's performance.  I say "doubling down" again is a losing bet.

For the money, we should bet on street cars, buses, etc., not a repeat of history.  No expansion is going to take the Skyway to the midst of an actual residential neighborhood or intensely developed area.  And, the Skyway has proven it's not a catalyst for such improvements.  So, with another expansion, I just see more of the same (not a preferable mode of transit vs. other options combined with no improvement upon those trips to nowhere as currently proclaimed by proponents as the main failing feature adding up to no substantial and sustainable demand), except the waste of money will just be a magnitude greater.

jcjohnpaint

January 30, 2011, 04:18:53 PM
yeah I have read all your threads and I would like to see streetcars.  I will admit the skyway is a bit uninviting, but I am afraid if it gets scraped we will never see light rail here again.  Thanks for those pics 

dougskiles

January 30, 2011, 04:26:44 PM
I didn't say all that was the Skyway's fault but since you bring it up, one of the deliverables per original Skyway proponents was the success of downtown development.  So, by all rights, all that blight and other development horrors should be nonexistent after 20 plus years of downtown's promised savior, the ASE.  I don't think you put all of this particular failure on JTA.  Rather, I think most of it has to do with the failure of the Skyway as a transit mode.  That's my opinion just like you have yours.

I'm not sure it would have mattered what the system was, when the city started tearing down buildings for surface parking lots and parking garages, they doomed any of them to failure.  My understanding is that at the very beginning, the agreement between JTA and the city was that this would not happen.  Then very quickly, the wrecking ball started swinging.

stjr

January 30, 2011, 08:04:41 PM
Quote
Ock, something unusual happened in your last post (aside from you agreeing with me on several basic aspects of the Skyway  ;) ).  My original post was transformed into your post under my name?!?.  Can you reconstitute my original post and re-post yours separately so it makes sense to the casual reader?  Thanks.

Ock, I see you have now fixed and your post follows below.  Thanks for clearing up.

Ocklawaha

January 30, 2011, 09:49:34 PM

MONORAIL OVER RAILROAD - AN INVESTMENT SAN MARCO-SAN JOSE COULD USE.


but how could something be judged that was never finished?
Quote
jc, read the many posts I have added to MJ threads on this subject, including this thread.  TWO phases have been FINISHED and there were "EXPERT" projections and expectations associated with these finished sections.  The Skyway has fallen, after 20 plus years, 90+% short of THOSE expert numbers.  Not building any remaining expansions has no impact on the original projections.

This is true, the "geniuses of JTA" decided in 1982 that the Skyway was "cutting edge space age technology,"
and streetcars we're labeled "old and slow and they MUST go in streets and compete with automobile traffic," this according to their own report. However a streetcar system with the exact same route would only see more traffic then the Skyway due to nostalgic tourism. Nothing that runs between the Rosa Parks and Kings Avenue via the Acosta is going to carry much more, regardless of investment.

Quote
Also, you should know that the rationale offered for building Phase II is essentially the same as that being offered for the current round of requested expansions.  Yet, Phase II did nothing to improve the Skyway's performance.  I say "doubling down" again is a losing bet.

Same rationale true enough, but the same bone-heads doing the planning. Kings Avenue is no closer to a "Contributor station" then Jefferson Street is. In short the Skyway has NEVER reached any residential or retail pocket that has a natural organic and walkable demand. I'm sure JTA would argue that the Kings Avenue Garage would/should provide that contribution factor for loads, but it too fails completely as they built an inaccessible garage. In fact the planning on the Garage was so poor with regards to the Skyway, that one must drive about 1/2 way into the Skyway's route, turn back at Riverplace or San Marco Station, then park and ride BACK to Riverplace or San Marco Station. It is idiotic to expect more of the system, no matter JTA's propaganda said, when it fails to connect a single contributing station to collector stations
.
 
Quote
For the money, we should bet on street cars, buses, etc., not a repeat of history.  No expansion is going to take the Skyway to the midst of an actual residential neighborhood or intensely developed area.  And, the Skyway has proven it's not a catalyst for such improvements.  So, with another expansion, I just see more of the same (not a preferable mode of transit vs. other options combined with no improvement upon those trips to nowhere as currently proclaimed by proponents as the main failing feature adding up to no substantial and sustainable demand), except the waste of money will just be a magnitude greater.

I agree with stjr on this point too, as far as I'm concerned the Skyway is a downtown connector only. This is exactly why we need to push it to at least 3 dense residential districts.

This is also why extending it into San Marco is doubly important. The Skyway is the only reasonable mass transit mode that can reach the neighborhood without delays caused by the FEC RY which cuts off that section from the rest of the city. For less then a mile, about 1/6 of the cost of a roadway-streetcar overpass, the Skyway can reach Atlantic Avenue.

One more benefit we could reap from a San Marco-Atlantic Station is the cross-platform connection possibility presented by Commuter Rail on the Florida East Coast. Rail passengers to or from the Southside or CBD could easily change at Atlantic rather then ride into the JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL and change to BRT, Skyway or Streetcar there.


stjr

January 30, 2011, 09:57:48 PM
Quote
I agree with stjr on this point too, as far as I'm concerned the Skyway is a downtown connector only. This is exactly why we need to push it to at least 3 dense residential districts.

This is also why extending it into San Marco is doubly important. The Skyway is the only reasonable mass transit mode that can reach the neighborhood without delays caused by the FEC RY which cuts off that section from the rest of the city. For less then a mile, about 1/6 of the cost of a roadway-streetcar overpass, the Skyway can reach Atlantic Avenue.

Ock, we agree on the need for mass transit to service "dense residential districts".  But, where we differ is I don't see a single proposed Skyway expansion here actually doing this.  Terminating the Skyway at I-95 in Riverside, intersecting Atlantic Blvd. at the FEC RR, running to the Arena/Stadium, and/or stretching toward Shands hardly constitute penetrating service into residential neighborhoods. 

And, I don't think any dense residential district, particularly the various historic style districts (San Marco, Riverside/Avondale, and Springield) the Skyway would encounter should this ever be attempted, would actually want this concrete elephantine monstrosity thumping down on their neighborhoods.  On the other hand, streetcars would not only be welcome but would be far more effective at providing a flexible and user-friendly service in a residential setting.

All of this returns us to some fatal flaws I feel the Skyway mode of transit and any proposed expansions have.  Even expanded, it's just more of the same problems it has now.  And, if expansion can't fix it, as I believe, AND it's a failure as it is now, let's give up and move on to something that can really make a difference!

Ocklawaha

January 30, 2011, 10:48:51 PM
Quote
I agree with stjr on this point too, as far as I'm concerned the Skyway is a downtown connector only. This is exactly why we need to push it to at least 3 dense residential districts.

This is also why extending it into San Marco is doubly important. The Skyway is the only reasonable mass transit mode that can reach the neighborhood without delays caused by the FEC RY which cuts off that section from the rest of the city. For less then a mile, about 1/6 of the cost of a roadway-streetcar overpass, the Skyway can reach Atlantic Avenue.

Ock, we agree on the need for mass transit to service "dense residential districts".  But, where we differ is I don't see a single proposed Skyway expansion here actually doing this.  Terminating the Skyway at I-95 in Riverside, intersecting Atlantic Blvd. at the FEC RR, running to the Arena/Stadium, and/or stretching toward Shands hardly constitute penetrating service into residential neighborhoods.

It does not have to actually penetrate the residential area, simply reach one. Of course we've never seen it carry these people because they quit building it before they ever reached those final phases of construction.
Thus so far, we are the only North American City that understands "the sound of one hand clapping..."


Quote
And, I don't think any dense residential district, particularly the various historic style districts (San Marco, Riverside/Avondale, and Springield) the Skyway would encounter should this ever be attempted, would actually want this concrete elephantine monstrosity thumping down on their neighborhoods.  On the other hand, streetcars would not only be welcome but would be far more effective at providing a flexible and user-friendly service in a residential setting.

Riverside/Avondale, and Springfield are not good candidates for the Skyway to pass through. Riverside/Avondale because of the layout of both the I-95 freeway, and the dense 5-Points area presents too many road blocks besides the historic integrity of the area. The Skyway currently has right-of-way through Brooklyn to the empty lot just south of Forest which would at least put it in front of two major employers and the TU. If that was a success and there was any chance of saving Annie Lytle school by making an inter-modal Skyway-bus facility out of it, then and only then would I go past that line. Springfield offers several major medical destinations with another major one in the works, the Skyway as originally planned would skirt the park system to the west and would not interfere with the historic fabric of the neighborhood. As for San Marco, streetcars would not be any more successful then the bus or cars are today, and thus would not be welcome as the railroad presents a huge wall and there is no cheaper solution to bridging it with transit then the Skyway.

As we write these posts two major forces are pushing for the Skyway to reach, 1. San Marco at Atlantic, 2. Stadium. This is over and above the mobility plan marking the San Marco line as an early build. Would it ever go beyond San Marco, Shand's, Stadium or anywhere else? I don't think there's a chance in hell.


Quote
All of this returns us to some fatal flaws I feel the Skyway mode of transit and any proposed expansions have.  Even expanded, it's just more of the same problems it has now.  And, if expansion can't fix it, as I believe, AND it's a failure as it is now, let's give up and move on to something that can really make a difference!

The only problems the Skyway has right now, is a lack of reaching anything meaningful in the downtown core, and the resulting lack of passengers. Just look at what JTA ignored... Built to San Marco Station, but there is no easy access to ANY of the surrounding buildings, and if you work at Baptist or Aetna your just SOL. Cross the river and is that a station for either the TU or CSX? They did manage to reach BELL SOUTH (ATT) and are cited as the reason the Omni and Wachovia located where they did, but again, there is no connection to any of those buildings. BOA? again a complete miss, ditto the Modis Building, Hyatt, CofC, Landing, State Office Building. The nearest thing they have to a connected station is that its possible to walk from Hemming Plaza to City Hall under the track without getting wet... But then they missed FBC. All of these were simply STUPID MISTAKES, hell they managed to miss city hall and the entire county complex when it was built, and they've only recently got the city people within a block of a station.

Your problems with the Skyway as a mode seem mostly a matter of personal preference. Believe me that vast majority of America still believe that "someday monorails will criss-cross the country..." (FACT: modern monorails are nearly as old as the modern railroad - if they had so many advantages over traditional rail as the true believers suggest then we wouldn't have had a golden spike, rather it would have been the golden beam). Never the less, monorail dazzles the crowds, it gives Jacksonville visitors a "WOW FACTOR", and I've yet to hear one suggest anything but, "why don't they expand this!" Spend some time looking at this site, you can even apply for free membership but it does take approval - http://www.monorails.org/ or http://www.flickr.com/groups/monorails/ or http://www.monorailex.com/band.html/index.html or http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/ As you can see, there are many who come JUST TO RIDE THE MONORAIL, and I bet JTA doesn't have a clue how many. Of course you don't invest 30 million on WOW factors, but the fact remains either as transit, tourist attraction, or utility, many people prefer monorails.


OCKLAWAHA

stjr

January 30, 2011, 10:59:45 PM
Quote
Of course you don't invest 30 million on WOW factors, but the fact remains either as transit, tourist attraction, or utility, many people prefer monorails.

What people "prefer" or are "wowed" by and what they are willing pay for are often very different.  I am sure if you ask, the masses will tell you they prefer a Mercedes "S" or BMW 750 and would be wowed by a Maserati or whatever.  But, I don't see the masses paying for them.

Also, many may prefer MULTIPLE options.  Until you EDUCATE them to the costs/benefits of those options and then ask WHICH of those options they prefer RELATIVE to the other options, you really can't rank the solutions.  I would suggest that when this process is followed properly, the Skyway doesn't come out on top.

tufsu1

January 31, 2011, 08:09:19 AM
well here's an idea...what if the Skyway were extended to the edge of a neighborhood like Riverside and then one could transfer to a streetcar....or better yet, maybe there's a way to transition the Skyway infrastructure to accomodate streetcars.

See Mr. Mullaney (and stjr)...trying to make the skyway more successful is good policy....giving up on it is not!

Miss Fixit

January 31, 2011, 08:56:12 AM
well here's an idea...what if the Skyway were extended to the edge of a neighborhood like Riverside and then one could transfer to a streetcar....or better yet, maybe there's a way to transition the Skyway infrastructure to accomodate streetcars.

See Mr. Mullaney (and stjr)...trying to make the skyway more successful is good policy....giving up on it is not!

I think that's what Ock is suggesting for San Marco - extend the skyway to just past the FEC crossing and then transfer to street cars at that point.  Skyway to BCBS or Fidelity with transfer to streetcar might work for Riverside.

thelakelander

January 31, 2011, 09:12:04 AM
Miss Fixit, streetcars in San Marco will be an issue because of the St. Johns River and FEC crossing.  Ock is suggesting extending the skyway over the FEC (in San Marco's case, this is the cheapest option to deal with the FEC issue) and then having a bus/commuter rail transfer facility at its terminal point.

Btw Stjr, extending the skyway to Atlantic would be an example of hitting a core neighborhood near its heart.  An short extension crossing the FEC would be the skyway within walking distance of San Marco Square, Hendricks Avenue and the densest section of the neighborhood via Lasalle Street and Landon Avenue.

As far as the skyway to BCBS, unless privately funded, why bother?  It would seem that we can pick up Brooklyn with the same streetcar line that would serve Riverside.  Extending the skyway to Forest looks like an expensive  duplication of transit services to me.  Extending the skyway that distance is roughly about the same length as extending it to Landon in San Marco.  If we have money to toss around and a streetcar to Riverside is going to be constructed anyway, forget about extending the skyway to I-95 and use that money to get it over the FEC and into San Marco.

Ocklawaha

January 31, 2011, 09:51:22 AM
Quote
Of course you don't invest 30 million on WOW factors, but the fact remains either as transit, tourist attraction, or utility, many people prefer monorails.

What people "prefer" or are "wowed" by and what they are willing pay for are often very different.  I am sure if you ask, the masses will tell you they prefer a Mercedes "S" or BMW 750 and would be wowed by a Maserati or whatever.  But, I don't see the masses paying for them.

Also, many may prefer MULTIPLE options.  Until you EDUCATE them to the costs/benefits of those options and then ask WHICH of those options they prefer RELATIVE to the other options, you really can't rank the solutions.  I would suggest that when this process is followed properly, the Skyway doesn't come out on top.


Remember I said they are wowed by the Skyway but, "of course you don't invest 30 million on WOW factors, but the fact remains either as transit, tourist attraction, or utility, many people prefer monorails."

We won't know until we try it with at least one line into a contributor neighborhood, San Marco should provide us with a firm answer.

I am proposing Skyway for Riverside Avenue, but with a few strings...

1. NOTHING happens until we see what happens in San Marco.

2. Even with extreme acceptance by San Marco, I still wouldn't move down Riverside until we see a "Brooklyn   
    Park," like development of the area.

3. As TUFSU said, I would want a transfer TOD at the corner of Riverside and Forest.

4. Reuse of fire station 5 as a preservation-transfer-TOD project - something we should be doing now.

5. I would allow for a new Skyway Station at the Riverside Maintenance facility as soon as any development
    shows a sign of life in the area. That is probably the lowest budget improvement to the system, but it would 
    be useless unless more residential-office-retail opened in the area. shows a sign of life in the area. That is
    probably the lowest budget improvement to the system, but it would be useless unless more residential-
    office-retail opened in the area.

This section of Riverside Avenue is not a good choice for streetcar as the viaduct would be a no-build. Park-Lee Street viaduct is coming down (and might not be replaced - as I hear it now), leaving the Myrtle Avenue Subway tunnel as the best AND HISTORIC route between Bay and Riverside-Avondale. Forest already has what could be transit lanes near the center of the road.



 

thelakelander

January 31, 2011, 10:18:27 AM

I am proposing Skyway for Riverside Avenue, but with a few strings...

1. NOTHING happens until we see what happens in San Marco.

So a streetcar line to Riverside from DT would already be in place.

Quote
2. Even with extreme acceptance by San Marco, I still wouldn't move down Riverside until we see a "Brooklyn  
    Park," like development of the area.

3. As TUFSU said, I would want a transfer TOD at the corner of Riverside and Forest.

4. Reuse of fire station 5 as a preservation-transfer-TOD project - something we should be doing now.

Unfortunately, by the time dirt is turned on any of these mass transit projects, that fire station will most likely be long gone.  

Quote
5. I would allow for a new Skyway Station at the Riverside Maintenance facility as soon as any development
    shows a sign of life in the area. That is probably the lowest budget improvement to the system, but it would be useless unless more residential-office-retail opened in the area.

Agree 100%.

Quote
This section of Riverside Avenue is not a good choice for streetcar as the viaduct would be a no-build. Park-Lee Street viaduct is coming down (and might not be replaced - as I hear it now), leaving the Myrtle Avenue Subway tunnel as the best AND HISTORIC route between Bay and Riverside-Avondale. Forest already has what could be transit lanes near the center of the road.

This is where the debate enters the picture.  I believe the viaduct isn't a major issue in the grand scheme of things.  This is a city that puts up $100 million interchanges and $40 million overpasses with no problem.  Getting a 60' wide bridge over a couple of railroad tracks is peanuts when it comes to road and highway construction in this town.  Park is a major collector that directly ties DT with Blanding.  If the current bridge is demolished because of trains needing clearance below it, it will be replaced, streetcars or not.  If so, that replacement can have streetcar tracks built into it.  Also, while the Myrtle Avenue route is historic, you're limiting TOD because the stetch between Forsyth and Forest is dominated by non-developable property (I-95 ramps, McCoys Creek, etc.).  On the other hand, Park splits the entire neighborhood in half, meaning every square inch of Brooklyn is within a 1/4 radius of the corridor.  Cut it down Price or Dora to access Riverside Avenue and you'll hit all of Brooklyn and everything along Riverside Avenue.  In the meantime, if Brooklyn Park is eventually developed, they can pay for their own at grade skyway station along Leila Street or tie in directly to a streetcar line down Park (a more pedestrian friendly corridor) since the property has two blocks of Park Street frontage.

peestandingup

January 31, 2011, 10:35:03 AM
Quote
Of course you don't invest 30 million on WOW factors, but the fact remains either as transit, tourist attraction, or utility, many people prefer monorails.

What people "prefer" or are "wowed" by and what they are willing pay for are often very different.  I am sure if you ask, the masses will tell you they prefer a Mercedes "S" or BMW 750 and would be wowed by a Maserati or whatever.  But, I don't see the masses paying for them.

Also, many may prefer MULTIPLE options.  Until you EDUCATE them to the costs/benefits of those options and then ask WHICH of those options they prefer RELATIVE to the other options, you really can't rank the solutions.  I would suggest that when this process is followed properly, the Skyway doesn't come out on top.


Remember I said they are wowed by the Skyway but, "of course you don't invest 30 million on WOW factors, but the fact remains either as transit, tourist attraction, or utility, many people prefer monorails."

We won't know until we try it with at least one line into a contributor neighborhood, San Marco should provide us with a firm answer.

I am proposing Skyway for Riverside Avenue, but with a few strings...

1. NOTHING happens until we see what happens in San Marco.

2. Even with extreme acceptance by San Marco, I still wouldn't move down Riverside until we see a "Brooklyn   
    Park," like development of the area.

I could probably make a pretty good guess what would happen in San Marco: Nothing. What reason would anyone in San Marco want to take the Skyway into downtown that doesn't go anywhere else?

You'd have a much better chance of success if you connected the parts of the core that people actually wanted to go. And that probably wouldn't include the Skyway simply because it's too expensive to build out. You could probably build a proper light rail system to connect the entire core (that could later be further extended into the 'burbs) for what you could just to extend the Skyway to a couple places. Am I wrong??

thelakelander

January 31, 2011, 10:43:56 AM
Yes, you're wrong.  The significant expenses for the skyway have already been paid by the federal government.  With any other system, you're going to have to figure out how to cross the river, invest in new vehicles to carry passengers and construct an expensive O&M facility.  Plus, if we're talking about a 1/2 mile extension into San Marco, the majority of that half mile could be built at ground level since there aren't any streets to cross between Kings Avenue and Atlantic Blvd.  Out of all potential skyway extensions discussed in this thread, one into San Marco would be the cheapest because of the option to run significant sections at grade.  It would also make the most sense, since there is no other viable affordable option for a grade separated crossing between San Marco and DT.  However, I will say that an extension into San Marco makes more sense with additional transit tying in other areas of the system.  At that point, you'll have a well integrated mass transit system where people in the core can take advantage of the skyway to access destinations throughout the city.

stephendare

January 31, 2011, 10:46:02 AM

I could probably make a pretty good guess what would happen in San Marco: Nothing. What reason would anyone in San Marco want to take the Skyway into downtown that doesn't go anywhere else?

You'd have a much better chance of success if you connected the parts of the core that people actually wanted to go. And that probably wouldn't include the Skyway simply because it's too expensive to build out. You could probably build a proper light rail system to connect the entire core (that could later be further extended into the 'burbs) for what you could just to extend the Skyway to a couple places. Am I wrong??

Actually the skyway connects with some Downtown Only institutions.  The Symphony, the Library, JMoca, FSCJ, City Hall, the Courthouses.  All of those things suffer because of the parking enforcement during the daytime, and would benefit from a transit connection to an actual population center.

And dont forget the number of people on the other side of that equation, like the people in Springfield and downtown already who would be more than glad to not deal with parking and go to San Marco Square.

thelakelander

January 31, 2011, 10:53:53 AM
Great point on the Springfield/San Marco Square connection.  Whenever we have this discussion about transit or downtown in general, the converstation tends to focus too much on DT, as if it were an isolated gated community in Baker County.  When we talk transit and connectivity, the benefit applies to every community along the corridor.  So when you have connectivity between your urban neighborhoods, the entire inner city starts to become a walkable environment.  You might not be able to afford something in DT or Riverside but you can get a cool loft in the Springfield Warehouse District or renovate a bungalow in Durkeeville and still access Five Points, San Marco Square, DT and other destinations without the use of a car.

Ocklawaha

January 31, 2011, 10:57:22 AM

I am proposing Skyway for Riverside Avenue, but with a few strings...

1. NOTHING happens until we see what happens in San Marco.

So a streetcar line to Riverside from DT would already be in place.

Likely so, the Skyway would provide a shortcut up and over as well as serve Riverside Avenue which could see the most major development frontage.

Quote
Quote
2. Even with extreme acceptance by San Marco, I still wouldn't move down Riverside until we see a "Brooklyn  
    Park," like development of the area.

3. As TUFSU said, I would want a transfer TOD at the corner of Riverside and Forest.

4. Reuse of fire station 5 as a preservation-transfer-TOD project - something we should be doing now.

Unfortunately, by the time dirt is turned on any of these mass transit projects, that fire station will most likely be long gone.

That is why I bring this up, Fire Station 5 could be saved, the city owns the land, we just need the okay of JTA to create a station... streetcar-bus or streetcar-Skyway or bus-Skyway or all of the above, wouldn't matter to me, it is possible.


Quote
Quote
5. I would allow for a new Skyway Station at the Riverside Maintenance facility as soon as any development
    shows a sign of life in the area. That is probably the lowest budget improvement to the system, but it would be useless unless more residential-office-retail opened in the area.

Quote
Agree 100%.


JTA is currently camping out on the blueprints, which is probably a good idea.

Quote
Quote
This section of Riverside Avenue is not a good choice for streetcar as the viaduct would be a no-build. Park-Lee Street viaduct is coming down (and might not be replaced - as I hear it now), leaving the Myrtle Avenue Subway tunnel as the best AND HISTORIC route between Bay and Riverside-Avondale. Forest already has what could be transit lanes near the center of the road.

This is where the debate enters the picture.  I believe the viaduct isn't a major issue in the grand scheme of things.  This is a city that puts up $100 million interchanges and $40 million overpasses with no problem.  Getting a 60' wide bridge over a couple of railroad tracks is peanuts when it comes to road and highway construction in this town.  Park is a major collector that directly ties DT with Blanding.  If the current bridge is demolished because of trains needing clearance below it, it will be replaced, streetcars or not.  If so, that replacement can have streetcar tracks built into it.  Also, while the Myrtle Avenue route is historic, you're limiting TOD because the stetch between Forsyth and Forest is dominated by non-developable property (I-95 ramps, McCoys Creek, etc.).  On the other hand, Park splits the entire neighborhood in half, meaning every square inch of Brooklyn is within a 1/4 radius of the corridor.  Cut it down Price or Dora to access Riverside Avenue and you'll hit all of Brooklyn and everything along Riverside Avenue.  In the meantime, if Brooklyn Park is eventually developed, they can pay for their own at grade skyway station along Leila Street or tie in directly to a streetcar line down Park (a more pedestrian friendly corridor) since the property has two blocks of Park Street frontage.

I agree that the route would be shorter and that Park-Lee would be a decent choice, more so if we ONLY get streetcar in Brooklyn, because it would be centered with arterial's on both sides. If we are going to build a Skyway into Brooklyn then the Myrtle Avenue route becomes more attractive as it puts transit on both sides of Park. I do know that for some reason JTA is investigating taking down the viaduct and not replacing it at all.

I disagree that Myrtle isn't developable. Stephendare and I walked all over the section from the subway to Forest, not only doable, but actually has a supply of historic building fabric that would make a great entertainment district.




thelakelander

January 31, 2011, 11:01:58 AM
You can walk it (I've walked and biked both) but take a look at an aerial.  The difference in the amount of developable land and impact isn't even close.  I'll try and throw a graphic together illustrating where I'm coming from a little later.  Btw, I don't think JTA can at will alter the urban streetscape without consulting with other agencies like public works.  While JTA builds roads, they don't maintain them.  Severing Park Street would really damage Brooklyn, imo.

fieldafm

January 31, 2011, 11:16:38 AM
Quote
Yes, you're wrong.  The significant expenses for the skyway have already been paid by the federal government.  With any other system, you're going to have to figure out how to cross the river, invest in new vehicles to carry passengers and construct an expensive O&M facility.  Plus, if we're talking about a 1/2 mile extension into San Marco, the majority of that half mile could be built at ground level since there aren't any streets to cross between Kings Avenue and Atlantic Blvd.  Out of all potential skyway extensions discussed in this thread, one into San Marco would be the cheapest because of the option to run significant sections at grade.  It would also make the most sense, since there is no other viable affordable option for a grade separated crossing between San Marco and DT.  However, I will say that an extension into San Marco makes more sense with additional transit tying in other areas of the system.  At that point, you'll have a well integrated mass transit system where people in the core can take advantage of the skyway to access destinations throughout the city

An inexpensive extension into San Marco would spur TOD along JTA owned land near Kings Ave garage, would tie into the commuter rail, would link downtown with a grocery store(Publix at San Marco, which is delayed not dead), spur additional TOD along Atlantic and tie in a vibrant urban neighborhood with the downtown core under very challenging circumstances for any other mode of fixed transit systems(river and railroad crossing).  This extension would finally make the skyway go somewhere to somewhere.

peestandingup

January 31, 2011, 02:00:03 PM
Yes, you're wrong.  The significant expenses for the skyway have already been paid by the federal government.  With any other system, you're going to have to figure out how to cross the river, invest in new vehicles to carry passengers and construct an expensive O&M facility.  Plus, if we're talking about a 1/2 mile extension into San Marco, the majority of that half mile could be built at ground level since there aren't any streets to cross between Kings Avenue and Atlantic Blvd.  Out of all potential skyway extensions discussed in this thread, one into San Marco would be the cheapest because of the option to run significant sections at grade.  It would also make the most sense, since there is no other viable affordable option for a grade separated crossing between San Marco and DT.  However, I will say that an extension into San Marco makes more sense with additional transit tying in other areas of the system.  At that point, you'll have a well integrated mass transit system where people in the core can take advantage of the skyway to access destinations throughout the city.

Yes, but we're not just talking about San Marco are we. Wouldn't the ultimate goal be total connectivity (in the core first, then to the 'burbs)? For $74 Million per mile for the Skyway (or $184 Million for the current 2.5 miles), versus say an original light rail system similar to Charlotte's that was built for $50 Million per mile (or $460 Million for their 9 mile system with room to expand), how do even make those numbers work?? The cost per mile ratio for the Skyway totally sucks & there's really no getting around that no matter how we all sit here & try to spin it.

Look, I'm all for public transportation, but the kind that's actually gonna work for now AND in the future. To me, the Skyway has no future & was a huge mistake because there's no way it can properly be built out. And in a sprawling city like Jax, you're going to need something that works for the core as well as the 'burbs or you've got nothing.

Anyways, I think we're all wasting time with this anyway. We all know deep down that none of this stuff is actually gonna happen (at least not in the coming decade). The Skyway will likely either keep chugging along as is, or be shut down. If I'm wrong, I'll gladly come back here & eat my hat on live webcam.

thelakelander

January 31, 2011, 02:11:50 PM
You can walk it (I've walked and biked both) but take a look at an aerial.  The difference in the amount of developable land and impact isn't even close.  I'll try and throw a graphic together illustrating where I'm coming from a little later.  Btw, I don't think JTA can at will alter the urban streetscape without consulting with other agencies like public works.  While JTA builds roads, they don't maintain them. Severing Park Street would really damage Brooklyn, imo.


Here is a quick sketch of those two routes.



Yellow is the TPO LRTP route, using Park Street, while red is the alignment using the historical Myrtle Avenue Subway under the I-95 viaduct.

Under typical circumstances, the majority of transit riders aren't willing to walk over a 1/4 mile to use a streetcar, especially within our climate. Thus, the red overlay represents a 1/4 mile radius around the Myrtle Avenue route, while blue represents the 1/4 mile radius around the Park Street alignment.

With that in mind, we then have to factor in natural and physical barriers that prohibit that 1/4 walkshed.  

1. FEC Tracks

Everything north of the FEC tracks falls within a 1/4 radius of the proposed JTC, downtown streetcar and existing skyway. Because of this, I'm not counting their impact north of the FEC.

2. McCoys Creek/St. Johns River

McCoys Creek is a natural barrier for the Park Street route, so it forms the northern border of this area.  The St. Johns River forms the border for both, where the meet up at Forest & Riverside.

3. Fuller Warren Bridge

I-95 forms the southern barrier for both.


Remaining Property

At this point, when you look at the developable land around the two alignments, I-95 is a significant barrier between Myrtle Avenue and the west side of that alignment's 1/4 radius.  In addition, you have a former incinerator site and low lying wetlands to deal with.  Thus, TOD potential west of Myrtle is limited to the thin strip of land between Myrtle and I-95.  To the east, most of Brooklyn falls within the 1/4 mile walkable radius but a significant chuck is left out to the northeast.  You can pick that up with a skyway extension but that will cost more money.

While it looks like you'll pick up some land south of the I-95/Forest interchange, you really don't because that area has been cut off by the new interchange.  

On the other hand, the Park Street corridor splits the neighborhood almost evenly.  Park Street also has three or four times as much historic (older than 50 years old) building fabric already in place.  This provides both ample infill and redvelopment potential throughout the entire district, even without a skyway complement through the area.  If the viaduct near the Prime Osborn needs to be replaced for better clearance below, then when its built, just make sure streetcar infrastructure is included in it.  If it remains for a while, take out a lane and use it for the streetcar, similar to the Arkansas River crossing in Little Rock.


A potential solution for the Park Street Viaduct, regardless of whether the existing structure is used or a new bridge is constructed.


The First Block

One thing that should be considered is the context of an actual alignment itself, when discussing the possibility of introducing fixed transit and the ability to stimulate development.  Make no doubt about it, Park is the heart of Brooklyn and the remaining abandoned building stock clearly illustrates this.  Directly strengthening the neighborhood's heart will have a much greater impact on the entire area than missing it by a few blocks.  This is also why I say, closing the Park Street viaduct would be bad business, as far as urban development and Brooklyn is concerned.  Turning it's major centralized corridor into a cul-de-sac is good way to snuff out the remaining life left.


Park Street today is lined with existing building fabric on every block through the heart of Brooklyn (3 block in either direction covers neighborhood).


The first block of Park on either side also has small buildings and opportunities for small scale infill.


The combination of new and old allow redevelopment to happen while maintaining the neighborhood's historic vibe.



When speaking in redevelopment/revitalization terms and small business and urban pioneer feasibility, an abundance of existing building stock is critical.




Except for the intersection shown above, the 7 block stretch of Myrtle is either wetland or undeveloped property. When the majority of the corridor is open land, you're forced to rely only on risky new large scale development, which is what we've been doing with DT the last few decades.

With all of this said, I'm just explaining the TOD potential for this stretch of Myrtle and Park, based on the constraints of the surrounding environment.  If the historical component of reusing the Myrtle Avenue Subway is more important, then the corridor should be designed to use it.  If economic development is more important, then Park Street makes better sense.  Other than Park Street being a shorter run, there's really no wrong or right with either option.  Before anything can be done, more studies will have to take place.  Those studies would indicate potential concerns of using the viaduct and subway in greater detail.  Depending on those issues, the remainder really boils down to what the community feels is best (reusing a historic structure or ultimate economic development potential).

thelakelander

January 31, 2011, 02:20:35 PM
Yes, you're wrong.  The significant expenses for the skyway have already been paid by the federal government.  With any other system, you're going to have to figure out how to cross the river, invest in new vehicles to carry passengers and construct an expensive O&M facility.  Plus, if we're talking about a 1/2 mile extension into San Marco, the majority of that half mile could be built at ground level since there aren't any streets to cross between Kings Avenue and Atlantic Blvd.  Out of all potential skyway extensions discussed in this thread, one into San Marco would be the cheapest because of the option to run significant sections at grade.  It would also make the most sense, since there is no other viable affordable option for a grade separated crossing between San Marco and DT.  However, I will say that an extension into San Marco makes more sense with additional transit tying in other areas of the system.  At that point, you'll have a well integrated mass transit system where people in the core can take advantage of the skyway to access destinations throughout the city.

Yes, but we're not just talking about San Marco are we.

I was.  The skyway should only be extended where it would be cheaper than constructing another mode, imo.  In San Marco's case, a skyway extension is logical.  Into Riverside and Springfield, a streetcar makes more sense.

Quote
Wouldn't the ultimate goal be total connectivity (in the core first, then to the 'burbs)? For $74 Million per mile for the Skyway (or $184 Million for the current 2.5 miles), versus say an original light rail system similar to Charlotte's that was built for $50 Million per mile (or $460 Million for their 9 mile system with room to expand), how do even make those numbers work?? The cost per mile ratio for the Skyway totally sucks & there's really no getting around that no matter how we all sit here & try to spin it.

The skyway really doesn't cost $74 mill/mile.  That number covered two systems, a major river crossing and a modern O&M facility.  Quite a pretty penny for a 2.5 mile system.  Those big ticket expenses are things an extension would not involve.  Thus, a short skyway extension could probably be built for well under $20 mill/mile.  So when we talk connectivity, we should include the skyway as a part of an overall network.

Quote
Look, I'm all for public transportation, but the kind that's actually gonna work for now AND in the future. To me, the Skyway has no future & was a huge mistake because there's no way it can properly be built out. And in a sprawling city like Jax, you're going to need something that works for the core as well as the 'burbs or you've got nothing.

The skyway was intended and is a downtown circulator.  For it to be effective, you have to have regional modes feed it with riders.  Until that happens, it will struggle.  Miami's Metromover is a great example of what the skyway can become when feed with other modes of transit.  In Miami's case, you have heavy rail, commuter rail and BRT feeding it.  In Jax, we continue to starve ours.

Quote
Anyways, I think we're all wasting time with this anyway. We all know deep down that none of this stuff is actually gonna happen (at least not in the coming decade). The Skyway will likely either keep chugging along as is, or be shut down. If I'm wrong, I'll gladly come back here & eat my hat on live webcam.

Call me optimistic but I believe we can have a streetcar into Riverside up and running in five years.

Wacca Pilatka

January 31, 2011, 02:22:50 PM


Call me optimistic but I believe we can have a streetcar into Riverside up and running in five years.

That sure is an encouraging thought.

RockStar

January 31, 2011, 04:16:24 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF_yLodI1CQ

Enough said. LOL

peestandingup

January 31, 2011, 08:13:55 PM
Yes, you're wrong.  The significant expenses for the skyway have already been paid by the federal government.  With any other system, you're going to have to figure out how to cross the river, invest in new vehicles to carry passengers and construct an expensive O&M facility.  Plus, if we're talking about a 1/2 mile extension into San Marco, the majority of that half mile could be built at ground level since there aren't any streets to cross between Kings Avenue and Atlantic Blvd.  Out of all potential skyway extensions discussed in this thread, one into San Marco would be the cheapest because of the option to run significant sections at grade.  It would also make the most sense, since there is no other viable affordable option for a grade separated crossing between San Marco and DT.  However, I will say that an extension into San Marco makes more sense with additional transit tying in other areas of the system.  At that point, you'll have a well integrated mass transit system where people in the core can take advantage of the skyway to access destinations throughout the city.

Yes, but we're not just talking about San Marco are we.

I was.  The skyway should only be extended where it would be cheaper than constructing another mode, imo.  In San Marco's case, a skyway extension is logical.  Into Riverside and Springfield, a streetcar makes more sense.


Yeah, but do you really expect people to hop between a mishmash of transit solutions for such a small area (like not even 2 miles)?? That would basically mean people riding a streetcar in Riverside couldn't get over to San Marco without going up to downtown first, then catching the Skyway down into San Marco. Is that what you're saying??

Sorry, I don't see how that's helping anyone. These core areas aren't exactly a hotbed of huge urban activity by themselves. They're basically downtown adjacent bedroom communities with a lot of housing stock with historic fabric. Your best bet would be to tie them all together so that whole area feels bigger. And you don't need a couple different systems to do that either. Why??

You need solutions for a singular system (streetcar, light rail, whatever) that can be extended properly. Now, if the Skyway can't do that (and it obviously can't), then I don't think it needs to continue. But I don't think it should be killed without a better plan in place (which is why I pointed that out in the very first post of this thread).

So you've got two problems. You can't keep it going because they won't/can't extend it to make it useful. But you also can't kill it either because that would be a big blow to public transit for the city (because you just know they don't have a better solution). So I dunno. It's kinda screwed either way. Which is why I stated that that thing's done more harm than good (maybe by design?). Who knows.

But like I said, its probably pointless to talk about (lets not forget where we are). And obviously the candidate who made the comment is too chicken shit to get on a public forum & talk about it, so he'd rather throw us a canned response that was probably written by some staffer he gave his login credentials to. He can't take 5 minutes to post on an internet site?? C mon. My point is, they're going to do whatever they wanna do. And us sitting here arguing about it like our opinions mean anything to them is probably just a waste of bandwidth.

tufsu1

January 31, 2011, 09:48:36 PM
You need solutions for a singular system (streetcar, light rail, whatever) that can be extended properly. Now, if the Skyway can't do that (and it obviously can't), then I don't think it needs to continue. But I don't think it should be killed without a better plan in place (which is why I pointed that out in the very first post of this thread).

why does one need a singular system?

lots of successful transit systems include two-seat and three-seat trips (transit speak for transfers)....for example, DC is now building a streetcar system to complement its Metro and MetroBus lines.....and Miami uses the Metromover to connect MetroRail riders with destinations in downtown and Brickell.

thelakelander

January 31, 2011, 10:08:29 PM
Yeah, but do you really expect people to hop between a mishmash of transit solutions for such a small area (like not even 2 miles)?? That would basically mean people riding a streetcar in Riverside couldn't get over to San Marco without going up to downtown first, then catching the Skyway down into San Marco. Is that what you're saying??

Yes.  That's how transit works in most cities.  With transit, one mode fits all does not work.  The most successful system have modes that best fit the particular neighborhood or environment they serve.  As long as times are properly coordinated, transferring is not a big issue.

Quote
Sorry, I don't see how that's helping anyone. These core areas aren't exactly a hotbed of huge urban activity by themselves. They're basically downtown adjacent bedroom communities with a lot of housing stock with historic fabric. Your best bet would be to tie them all together so that whole area feels bigger. And you don't need a couple different systems to do that either. Why??

The best bet is to tie them together in the most logical sense.  If it means using different modes, so be it.  In our case, there are significant complications with constructing a single LRT or streetcar system to connect Riverside to San Marco, mainly the FEC and St. Johns River.  We already have a DT circulator, paid by the feds, so we might as well take advantage of it.  Plus, even in the event that it was a single mode, you'll most likely still end up having to transfer.  Nevertheless, when you look at the city as a whole, the plan is to have BRT, streetcar, commuter rail, the skyway and local bus all working together to form a reliable integrated mass transit network that provides decent service for the entire region.

Quote
You need solutions for a singular system (streetcar, light rail, whatever) that can be extended properly. Now, if the Skyway can't do that (and it obviously can't), then I don't think it needs to continue. But I don't think it should be killed without a better plan in place (which is why I pointed that out in the very first post of this thread).

The skyway is and was only intended to be a downtown circulator.  That's its role.  What we lack is the other modes originally planned to feed it.  With that said, I'd challenge you to name one major American city with reliable transit that accomplishes it with one single mode.  I've tried and I can't think of one.

Quote
So you've got two problems. You can't keep it going because they won't/can't extend it to make it useful. But you also can't kill it either because that would be a big blow to public transit for the city (because you just know they don't have a better solution). So I dunno. It's kinda screwed either way. Which is why I stated that that thing's done more harm than good (maybe by design?). Who knows.

It sort of like investing in a bike that's dirty and missing a tire.  Instead of throwing the entire bike away because you can't ride it, give it a wash and buy a new tire.

So here is a solution for the skyway.  You eliminate duplicate bus service through downtown and force those headed downtown to transfer to the skyway or PCT trolleys.  That cuts down on O&M costs and immediately increases ridership.  At the same time, push for infill development immediately adjacent to stations.  On publicly owned land, this adds to the city's revenue while also increasing built in ridership over time.  In the meantime, you work on getting complementing commuter rail and streetcar corridors up and running.  In the end, they'll all feed riders into one another.  If these things were done 10 to 15 years ago, we wouldn't be having this discussion right now.

Quote
But like I said, its probably pointless to talk about (lets not forget where we are). And obviously the candidate who made the comment is too chicken shit to get on a public forum & talk about it, so he'd rather throw us a canned response that was probably written by some staffer he gave his login credentials to. He can't take 5 minutes to post on an internet site?? C mon. My point is, they're going to do whatever they wanna do. And us sitting here arguing about it like our opinions mean anything to them is probably just a waste of bandwidth.

Its our city.  We can do a lot more than debate online (many participating here already do).  If we want change, we'll have to drag those who don't, kicking and screaming.  I'm involved with a lot of things that are happening behind the scene.  I'm actually shocked at how much progress has been made since MJ went live in 2006.

dougskiles

February 01, 2011, 06:02:31 AM
At the same time, push for infill development immediately adjacent to stations.  On publicly owned land, this adds to the city's revenue while also increasing built in ridership over time. 

Speaking of which, have any studies been done about incorporating ground floor retail inside the San Marco Skyway station?  The structure has a large amount of unused volume and is immediately adjacent to San Marco Boulevard.  The turnstiles could be placed at the upper level and the interior could be filled with rentable space.  You could also have small offices on a second level.  The last time I was there, I counted 50 steps between the ground floor and the intermediate level - which should be about 30-35 feet - easily enough for 2 stories.

I will take some pictures and do some sketches the next time I am there to better illustrate what I am talking about.

thelakelander

February 01, 2011, 06:18:24 AM
Yes, the large floor area of those stations give the impression that they could also be potential revenue generators.  I don't believe any studies have been done. 

peestandingup

February 01, 2011, 10:03:52 AM
You need solutions for a singular system (streetcar, light rail, whatever) that can be extended properly. Now, if the Skyway can't do that (and it obviously can't), then I don't think it needs to continue. But I don't think it should be killed without a better plan in place (which is why I pointed that out in the very first post of this thread).

why does one need a singular system?

lots of successful transit systems include two-seat and three-seat trips (transit speak for transfers)....for example, DC is now building a streetcar system to complement its Metro and MetroBus lines.....and Miami uses the Metromover to connect MetroRail riders with destinations in downtown and Brickell.

I'm aware. I daily used DC's system for a long time & I know it probably better than anyone on this forum. But the Metro IS their singular main system & the buses (and upcoming streetcars) are only there as secondary systems to pick up the slack to feed you to the Metro. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

And their Metro goes to every major destination in the city (and in the outer city), not stop in downtown then ask people to change to a completely separate system to get to another major destination. Yeah sure, you have to switch lines sometimes. But switching lines is not the same as switching systems, which is basically what you guys are advocating.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I'll never think this is a wise move. I'm pretty sure we could find a way to get a streetcar or light rail across a river so we wouldn't have to force passengers through a bunch of different systems to do it.

stephendare

February 01, 2011, 10:07:30 AM
You need solutions for a singular system (streetcar, light rail, whatever) that can be extended properly. Now, if the Skyway can't do that (and it obviously can't), then I don't think it needs to continue. But I don't think it should be killed without a better plan in place (which is why I pointed that out in the very first post of this thread).

why does one need a singular system?

lots of successful transit systems include two-seat and three-seat trips (transit speak for transfers)....for example, DC is now building a streetcar system to complement its Metro and MetroBus lines.....and Miami uses the Metromover to connect MetroRail riders with destinations in downtown and Brickell.

I'm aware. I daily used DC's system for a long time & I know it probably better than anyone on this forum. But the Metro IS their singular main system & the buses (and upcoming streetcars) are only there as secondary systems to pick up the slack to feed you to the Metro. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

And their Metro goes to every major destination in the city (and in the outer city), not stop in downtown then ask people to change to a completely separate system to get to another major destination. Yeah sure, you have to switch lines sometimes. But switching lines is not the same as switching systems, which is basically what you guys are advocating.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I'll never think this is a wise move. I'm pretty sure we could find a way to get a streetcar or light rail across a river so we wouldn't have to force passengers through a bunch of different systems to do it.

Well I lived in both San Francisco and Atlanta, and I switched systems multiple times every day.  Somehow I didnt notice what a pain in the ass it was that the spectre of 'system switching' had the possibility of shutting down DC.

I would ride BART or METRO in SF to the stations and if I didnt feel like walking 10 blocks down Market, I would hop on one of the buses that came by every 7 minutes.

In Atlanta, I jumped on MARTA, and caught a bus to Virginia Highlands every day.  So did thousands of other people.

I look back now, and realize how stupid and brave we all must have been.

thelakelander

February 01, 2011, 10:33:45 AM
You need solutions for a singular system (streetcar, light rail, whatever) that can be extended properly. Now, if the Skyway can't do that (and it obviously can't), then I don't think it needs to continue. But I don't think it should be killed without a better plan in place (which is why I pointed that out in the very first post of this thread).

why does one need a singular system?

lots of successful transit systems include two-seat and three-seat trips (transit speak for transfers)....for example, DC is now building a streetcar system to complement its Metro and MetroBus lines.....and Miami uses the Metromover to connect MetroRail riders with destinations in downtown and Brickell.

I'm aware. I daily used DC's system for a long time & I know it probably better than anyone on this forum. But the Metro IS their singular main system & the buses (and upcoming streetcars) are only there as secondary systems to pick up the slack to feed you to the Metro. Don't let anyone tell you any different.

And their Metro goes to every major destination in the city (and in the outer city), not stop in downtown then ask people to change to a completely separate system to get to another major destination. Yeah sure, you have to switch lines sometimes. But switching lines is not the same as switching systems, which is basically what you guys are advocating.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I'll never think this is a wise move. I'm pretty sure we could find a way to get a streetcar or light rail across a river so we wouldn't have to force passengers through a bunch of different systems to do it.

No single system takes you to anywhere in any of America's cities and especially not in DC.  Speaking of DC, how can you only use the Metro if one of your destinations involves Dulles, Tysons Corner, Old Town Alexandria, Howard U or Georgetown?  All of these places will involve either walking a good distance (more than a 1/4 mile from nearest metro station), catching a bus, cab or ride, in addition to the Metro (assuming it takes you to another destination you desire).

Stay in some particular burbs and work in the city and you could find yourself using MARC or VRE on a regular basis as well.  In addition, even if you can consolidate your lifstyle only to places within walking distance of the Metro, you'll still have to transfer at Metro Center, L'Enfant or Gallery Place/Chinatown, due to the layout of the rail corridors. However, the transfer isn't a big deal due to the frequency of the service.

With that said, you can set up your life and lifestyle in a manner to where you (personally) can use one mode only.  Assuming a multimodal system is developed in Jax, you'll be able to do the same, if willing to conform your travel patterns to that particular system. However, that can't be applied for all of a metropolitan area's residents across the board.  

tufsu1

February 01, 2011, 11:07:08 AM
And their Metro goes to every major destination in the city (and in the outer city)

yes...like Georgetown  ;)

as Stephen pointed out, cities like San Fran rely on multiple systems....BART mainly ferries commuters in from the outlying areas...the MUNI system is what folks in SF proper use to get around the city.

And DC isn't much different...while Metro has better coverage in DC than BART does in SF, the idea is still the same...the system is a hybrid of urban subways (think Philly, NY) and commuter rail...the distance between stations is sometimes faiurly significant (even in town) and there is no cross city service (everything goes through downtown)....that is where the bus and future streetcars come in.

peestandingup

February 01, 2011, 12:32:13 PM
And their Metro goes to every major destination in the city (and in the outer city)

yes...like Georgetown  ;)



Yeah, and that's by design.  ;) You can thank the snooty Georgetown elite for that one.

avonjax

February 01, 2011, 12:48:27 PM
several points to make....
The skyway
First let's just leave a massive structure to decay and rot in our core, like so many of the empty buildings that remain.
Connectivity and luring business back to the core could be a good step in the right direction.
Ignore the anti skyway people who come here. THEY ARE WRONG!! It's too late to change this now so please stop.....
Find a solution to make it work...It can work...look south to Miami.
Stop being so dumb a@# conservative those of you who run this backward city and try to at least stay in the race. We look like a dump compared the the rest of the cities in Florida.. (I'm talking about downtown, so all you people who live in great neighborhoods who are happy as pigs in poop, zip it.) We need the tax base and a better reputation. Whether you believe it or not, people judge Jacksonville by it's downtown. MOST NEVER SEE OUR GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS>
Now to the fun stuff.
Has anyone seen the Mullaney ads? He looks like he just stepped in dog poop and right as the camera rolled he smelled it.
I don't know if I could watch that for 4 years.
I know that's not nice, but needed to inject some humor.
(But I mean it.)

fsujax

February 01, 2011, 02:47:50 PM
true. just because less than half of the AT&T tower is utlilized, should we just close it and tear it down? I mean come on. what a stupid platform to have as a mayoral candidate. Obviously, he knows nothing about FTA, FHWA or FRA for that matter. Do what he is saying and kiss anymore federal money for transportation projects good-bye.
View forum thread
Welcome Guest. You must be logged in to comment on this story.

What are the benefits of having a MetroJacksonville.com account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on stories that interest you.
  • Stay up to date on all of the latest issues affecting your neighborhood.
  • Create a network of friends working towards a better Jacksonville.
Register now
Already have an account? Login now to comment.