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"The Electric 7" A Streetcar Proposal On A Shoestring

Metro Jacksonville's Robert Mann takes time to explain his proposal for taking advantage of former city-owned rail lines to connect Gateway Town Center with Brentwood, Springfield, East Jacksonville, the Stadium District and Downtown Jacksonville, stimulating needed economic development through all of these communities in the process.

Published August 17, 2012 in Transit      38 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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In the rough shape of the number "7", from Gateway Town Center southeast, skirting the line between Springfield and Eastside, all the way to the stadiums and/or downtown, the "7 Line" offers the struggling city's most historic and economically depressed neighborhoods and businesses an opportunity not found in Riverside-Avondale or San Marco. Affordable, and doable even by volunteers, no matter how you cut it, not many cities have ever had the opportunity for quality business spawning transit at pennies on the dollar like Jacksonville is now presented with. So how do we do it? Get a shovel and let's roll.  









Jacksonville may be oblivious to it's greatest transportation opportunity, a chance for redevelopment, streetcar track, parks and trails, sidewalks and stations and of course concessions and small business development.

The purpose of this article is to introduce a concept of a lineal park running from the St. Johns River to Gateway Plaza, 50' to 200' across and several miles long, this could become the centerpiece for further Springfield, Brentwood, New Springfield or Eastside restoration and development. Following a typical pattern the residents of the areas served would see their property values rise.

We already have the largest park system in the United States, why not toss in a transit line, park, trail system, historic and tourist attraction? America loves its trains, and our cities love our streetcars, otherwise why else would transit bus builders be buying truck chassies and building vague trolley like bodies on them? Why aren't Amtrak or New Orleans, Ft. Smith, or Kennosh's streetcars painted to look like buses?

As proof of this ideas merit, when it was discussed in a JTA citizens meeting a couple of years ago, it was immediately attacked, in fact your writer and one of their own planners were called "A pack of flying monkeys."  So sold out to the highway lobby the same planner then went on to tell the audience that rebuilding this railroad over Long Branch Creek would be paramount to bridging the Nile.

The beauty is, with a citizens streetcar plan this parkway could be developed with or without JTA participation. The only thing we are missing right now is you.










Building a heritage streetcar system would unleash great synergy and economic development of the urban core. In a recent HDR study, a streetcar line in Cincinnati costing $102 million dollars to build would increase property values along the route by $379 million, in fact the current total economic cost benefit ratio is now $3 - 5 dollars in new economic activity for every dollar spent.  

Leaving their cars behind, people often fall in love with their streetcars. Case in point is simply mention the words San Francisco and what image appears in your mind? That's a brand that no amount of money could buy.  In 1984 the downtown development authority study in Jacksonville found that a heritage streetcar system with a complimenting museum was estimated to attract 500,000 riders per year, the reason? Who else has a world class streetcar museum that does double duty as a transit link strung between Disney and New York City.

The streetcar can help save the wonderful structures and houses that remain in Springfield, New Springfield, Brentwood and Gateway by cutting down parking ratios, encouraging renovations of old buildings, and increasing home ownership levels. By lessening the importance of the automobile renovations and rehabilitation's are encouraged.

Developers are proven to make long term investment decisions based on a streetcar line, decisions that won't happen with any amount of PCT trolleys (Potato-Chip-Trucks-Painted-Like-Trolleys) that they wouldn't make on a bus line.  The streetcar is a permanent improvement that can’t be easily changed. Changing a bus route only requires a can of orange paint.

Young professionals have embraced urban living nationally but are often priced out of downtown condo's. With fixed rail transit, the city would be free to encourage development in the central business district by reducing parking space requirements. With an condominium costing $1 million dollars, a parking structure might account for $50,000 dollars for every two spaces or 5% of the cost. But with a Jacksonville realistic $200,000 condominium those parking spaces are 25% of the cost. In this scenario the streetcar is capable of reducing the price of that downtown unit by $25,000 dollars.






Photo Courtesy of Adam Maroney via Flickr
Did someone say "railroad?" Railroad as in Amtrak? The gates are down in Memphis and you were expecting maybe The City of New Orleans to charge past? As I've pointed out streetcars are in fact trains, oh and Amtrak's "City of New Orleans" will pass this same spot tonight on the near track.

"Once I built a railroad, made it run, made it run on time. Once I built a railroad, buddy can you spare a dime."  The words to this old song from the Great Depression seem to speak to our situation.  1.4 million people and growing rapidly, if we are to get ahead of the curve, now is the time to build the foundation of our future transit system.

People electing to use transit do so because the cost and inconvenience of their next best
alternative is greater. They use heritage streetcars for this and as a tourist attraction meaning that the trolley can do both, save money and develop more tourism dollars.

The principal categories of benefit associated with streetcar development are:
1. Travel cost savings (including vehicle operating costs, safety and environmental factors);
2. Mobility-related benefits;
3. Community economic development;
4. Increased Tourism;
5. Revitalizing the urban core;

Minimizing Cost by Using Inexpensive mechanism

Building a streetcar line on a shoestring isn't as hard as it might sound. The first hurdle in streetcar 101 is to understand that streetcars are in fact "trains." Streetcars are a form of light-rail and even the newest light rail vehicles can operate on the track, moreover a streetcar or light rail vehicle can operate on regular train track. Of course in the name of safety you probably wouldn't want to mix a CSX freight train with a streetcar, and there would be a need for overhead wires, something not found on CSX.

Waterfront streetcar lines have been built using old freight railroad track in Seattle, New Orleans and Memphis, and Jacksonville offers a golden opportunity for the same. investigating the presence of abandoned track or right-of-way is a worthwhile activity when planning a heritage line in the city. From the Matthews Bridge Expressway at the Union Street Warehouses and just north of Maxwell House there is an abandoned railroad that runs all the way to gateway plaza. A railroad that is already owned, or the majority of it owned, by the City of Jacksonville. With the 5Th busiest Arena in the nation, the Jaguars, Suns, and Sharks, parking on game day for residents from throughout the Northside could take place at or near Gateway Plaza. Add that traffic to the Gateway district and watch it bloom once again into a premier shopping area.

One Track or Two?

Like any railroad, a streetcar line can be built with a single track or with double track. Double track in usually single directional, per track, and single track is usually bi-directional. Single track with passing sidings where two cars meet from opposing directions can get around each other. Neither is superior to the other in function unless of course, you are dealing with track in a two way street or extremely heavy traffic. Thus a single track with calculated meeting points for passing is quite economical and can always be upgraded to double track in the future. When the wildly successful Portland MAX Light Rail System was built long stretches were single track.  

Material Economy

Reuse of paving bricks where the streetcar line enters a road such as Beaver or Duval Streets is one way to save money. Reuse of paving brick or stones brings with it a double benefit. Auto Traffic will avoid driving in the "brick lane," and thus the path of the trolley has a passive deterrent to collisions, and maintenance is cheaper because the brick is removable and re-reusable.

Rail and ties in good condition are often available used for little more then scrap value, sometimes just for removing them. Several hundred miles of trolley and railroad museum track have been built using exactly these methods. Switches from freight railroads are also reusable most anyplace where there is no auto traffic. Likewise, used utility poles are usually available and are suitable for use in constructing an overhead wire system. When streetcar track is in the street city light poles are sometimes the exact same poles that held the wires of  the Jacksonville Traction Company. Further, in more congested urban settings span wires that support the trolley wire can be attached to buildings, (with permission).

Rolling Stock

The cars that will operate on the tracks are available on the used market, and car bodies may be in your neighbors backyard. A fully restored, original Jacksonville Streetcar would be a local symbol and treasure. 100+ cars were in the original Traction fleet and odds are that at least a handful survive as parts of houses, chicken coops, sheds, barns etc. As I write this there are 4 operational historic cars that can be tailored to our local needs, rebuilt, shipped and delivered to JAXPORT, for under $500,000 each (compare to $500,000 - $900,000 for a new bus, and generally the buses tend to be smaller). Another sits by the side of the road in a rural Ohio community with a "FOR SALE" sign hanging on it, and yet another is waiting a new home "FREE" in Baltimore. All are collectible with as different from one another as a Corvette is to a step side pickup truck.  

Car Barn or Buildings

A number of heritage lines have reused existing buildings for car storage and maintenance facilities saving the cost of building from scratch. Sometimes metal or prefabricated warehouse type buildings can obtained for the cost of disassembling them and then rebuilt into suitable car barn structures.









Photo Courtesy of Maine Trolleys via Flickr
With the benefit of both museum and transit junior members of the orginazation actually have a chance to touch the controller (under adult supervision), ever see JTA do that? In this case a Maine Library Celebration aboard a 1905 vintage open-air car.



Volunteer's for Everything

Starting with the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport Maine, in 1939 relayed 2 miles of former interurban railroad track entirely with volunteers. Fort Smith, Dallas, Tucson, Fort Collins etc. all operate with volunteer labor. In fact in the entire McKinney Avenue Streetcar transit line in Dallas, a line which restores cars and operates on a regular transit schedule there is only one paid employee, a master mechanic. Even on San Francisco's highly vaunted MUNI, volunteers play a significant role.

Labor

Along with volunteer railroaders and railroad buffs there is a huge pool of possible assistance right here in the city. Work release programs often offer a chance learn a skill and get out into the fresh air. Electrical Union Local's can often supply a list of volunteers with expert abilities, and often the use of bucket trucks and other specialty vehicles and equipment. The Navy's Sea bee's construction battalions, the Florida National Guard or the Reserves, can often work projects into their schedules with sufficient lead time.

Operations

Streetcars can operate on private rights of way or in reserved medians or along the side of streets or railroads. While buses were originally sold as more "flexible" one is hard pressed to find a bus that can operate on railroad track, highway, elevated, subway, median or side of the road. Since streetcars can operate in the street, duplicating bus service, and off the street on the railroad, the city doubles its options.  The cars are capable of negotiating very sharp turns and passing through very narrow areas, meaning they are easily adapted to existing conditions in the older sections of cities where they are normally used. Because streetcars are on a fixed track, it is possible to run them between buildings with only a couple of inches on each side no matter what the operators skill level, something definitely not suitable for a bus with a rookie driver.






Photo courtesy of Mc Kinney Avenue Streetcar

Heritage Trolleys are electrically powered, drawing 600 volts of direct current via a trolley pole from an overhead wire (modern cars are typically 750 volts) though both can and do operate on the same tracks.

Quote
The current returns to the power station via the rails. Today many people new to the electric transit field inappropriately use the term "catenary" to refer to any type of overhead wire construction. However, planners developing heritage trolley systems should specify carefully the type of wire construction to be used as the system chosen can have a significant effect on both the cost of construction.

Both trolleys (original as well as heritage) and light rail systems are powered by electricity, normally drawn from wire suspended above the track. However, the choice of overhead wire construction style can have a major impact on the appearance of the system. Two principal types of overhead wire construction exist:  Direct suspension trolley wire and catenary construction:

Direct suspension trolley wire is typical of urban streetcar systems and consists of a single wire running parallel to the center of the track, suspended at a height of about 18 feet. The wire is suspended either by span wires which connect to poles or buildings at the side of the street or by bracket arms that are attached to poles next to the track. Both bracket arms and poles can be decorated with creative designs to enhance the appearance of the streetscape. Carefully designed direct suspension overhead can be quite simple and thus be minimally intrusive to the appearance of the urban area served by the line.

Quote
People have always objected to overhead wires for electric streetcars. Good design minimizes visual impact. Overhead wire system is proven, operates reliably with zero emissions, and has reasonable maintenance cost.

Electrification with d-c and overhead contact is suitable for both Urban Circulators and Light Rail Trains. Streetcar systems use smaller components than light rail. Electrification must deliver needed power; be attractive and maintainable. Streetcar vs. light rail - how does
electrification differ? What questions should be answered before final design begins? How do the parts work together?

Current Collection Pantograph Accommodates high currents. Guided by the vehicle. At curves: OCS is positioned to the outside of the track center line. Trolley Pole Used on legacy and heritage streetcars. Contact shoe is guided by the OCS. Slants upward in the trailing direction; double-end car has two poles. At curves: OCS is positioned to the inside of the track center line. Voltage drop depends on current and resistance Volts equal Amperes times Ohms. E = I * R (Ohm’s Law). Resistance is proportional to length, inversely to cross sectional area. Shaped to fit trolley clamps. Hard-drawn copper or bronze alloy.  Size 4/0 AWG: for 1000 feet weight = 642 lbs. resistance = .0507 ohms.Wire expands & contracts with temperature. Weights keep tension constant, or frequent support mitigates sag. Nominal wire height above rail 18 feet. Height may vary from 13 to 23 feet. The OCS is double-insulated. Hangers can provide one level, additional levels from strain insulators. Poles
• Round steel, direct-burial, with epoxy paint.
• Round steel, with foundation & bolt circle.
• Less Common: Wood – Concrete – Glue laminated wood – Steel H - beam.
Substations convert a-c utility power to d-c, at 600 or 750 Volts. Power ratings together must provide the power used by all the cars on the line. Can be supplied prewired in weatherproof housings. Rated 400-800 kilowatts. Nominal voltage is at 100% load. Feeder wires connect substations to OCS. Feeders can parallel the OCS to reduce voltage drop.
• Buried – May be expensive.
• Aerial – Has visual impact.
Traction current returns through the rails. Insulate, bond, and cross-connect tracks. Keep rails at ground potential. The type and number of streetcars affect the electrification. Heritage cars have trolley poles, draw 60 to 300A at 600V. Modern cars have pantographs, draw500A at 750V.

Trolleys are electrically powered, drawing 600 volts of direct current via a trolley pole from an overhead wire. The current returns to the power station via the rails. Today many people new to the electric transit field inappropriately use the term "catenary" to refer to any type of overhead wire construction. However, planners developing heritage trolley systems should specify carefully the type of wire construction to be used as the system chosen can have a significant effect on both the cost of construction.  Both trolleys (original as well as heritage) and light rail systems are powered by electricity, normally drawn from wire suspended above the track. However, the choice of overhead wire construction style can have a major impact on the appearance of the system. Two principal types of overhead wire construction exist:  Direct suspension trolley wire and catenary construction:  Direct suspension trolley wire is typical of urban streetcar systems and consists of a single wire running parallel to the center of the track, suspended at a height of about 18 feet. The wire is suspended either by span wires which connect to poles or buildings at the side of the street or by bracket arms that are attached to poles next to the track. Both bracket arms and poles can be decorated with creative designs to enhance the appearance of the streetscape. Carefully designed direct suspension overhead can be quite simple and thus be minimally intrusive to the appearance of the urban area served by the line.






Putting the power of streetcar to spur transit oriented development, an repurposing and rebirth of the Gateway Plaza area may become possible.


Finally, Why Vintage or Heritage Reproduction Streetcars? Even with all of the whistles and bells,  with Heat/Air, a vintage or "heritage" streetcar is going to cost us about 1/2 of what Charlotte or Houston have paid for their electric rail vehicles. Not a thing is lost in ride quality, or creature comforts, in fact for the romantics among us, it would be very hard to beat the warmth of polished brass and exotic hardwoods, cane, velvet and hemp These are elements of a long forgotten excellence in craftsmanship, enjoyable enough, just to ride.

IMAGINE!  A green and cream colored, two toned car pulls away from the terminus at Gateway. It's a restored Jacksonville Car that was found serving as part of a house in the northside. It is recreated as a streetcar - lounge just as some of the original Jacksonville cars were. You'll recall that during Mayor Sebring's term in office the city had worked with the traction company and the movie industry to provide a limited number of nearly unique lounge cars. The 100 year old craftsmanship is everywhere, we are immersed in history and the glory of the industrial age. Plush velvet seats mix with some wicker furnishings, carpet lines the floor, curtains, shades and lamps round out the settings that could just as easily have been found in the Epping Forest mansion or Machine Gun Kelley's palatal Ortega Point home.

Click clacking along at 35 mph the trolley seems for all the world like a time capsule hurtling along a railroad track. A muffled Interurban horn blows for the crossing, gates down and lights flashing. Rolling across Main Street a startled trucker from the Midwest stares in disbelief as this relic of the past makes its way southward.

At the Arena station the car stops and the fresh scent of ozone is heavy in the air, enjoy it, it only follows thunder storms and trolleys. No damage done, this is a natural occurrence that has a very short shelf life and is gone in an instant. Leaving the station the car is now going down Duval Street just like any other city bus might have, we stand and watch as it bounds up and over the viaduct and disappears heading west into downtown. Blinking back to reality, the here and the now, and invigorated by vision the citizen activist is left but with one choice... Get a shovel and go to work - lets build a streetcar system.


The highly acclaimed 'Atlanta Belt Line' which includes a plan for streetcar has seen record volunteerism.



This is a conceptual image of what a parkway dividing Springfield and the East Side could look like.


Note the trail following the track, this same concept has been used on the new Denton, Texas 'A TRAIN' route, and could be used in Jacksonville both on this 'electric 7' and the 'S' line.


Where are the original Jacksonville streetcars today? Amazingly they might still be among us. When the Jacksonville Traction Company was dismantled the cars, stripped of their trucks and electric gear were sold for a token amount. They became sheds, restaurants, chicken coops, Florida rooms, and any manner of other purposed structure. Perhaps we just haven't looked hard enough.


Anyone who worries that Jacksonville having a historic streetcar as both transit and attraction might kill the chance at modern light-rail, relax, they are both trains, and as you can see, they can both operate on the same tracks. One should simply ask, which type of street railway is cheaper to build and after it is built, what can we do with it in the future? Heritage streetcar offers us a back door to rail transit.

Article by Robert Mann







38 Comments

JaxJag

August 17, 2012, 03:40:11 AM
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Noone

August 17, 2012, 06:50:07 AM
Super idea.
All aboard!
Another 501-C
We've got the IBM'ers with the Smarter Cities Challenge in town for 3 weeks. Grant money just waiting to be passed around.
Volunteerism? I'd sign up.
better yet get the homeless involved. In a positive work opportunity program.
50' of track today the FTT (Food Trolley Truck)
50' of track tomorrow the FTT(Food Trolley Truck)
How big will the new Authority Zone be? At least to Gateway north along that corridor.
On another thread I asked you about CSX and any help if any from them.
What has been there response? Public, Private, Partnership
2011-364
What type of legislation are you looking for and need beside volunteers (free labor)?
Bring back the streetcar.
I'm All In.

Charles Hunter

August 17, 2012, 07:22:22 AM
Great article!  What needs to happen to make it happen?


(and an editing note - the text about people misusing the term catenary appears twice, and you never explain what one is, just what it isn't)

dougskiles

August 17, 2012, 07:52:12 AM
Love it!  We need to start mapping out the potential development opportunities along the way that can fund the system through TIFs.

mtraininjax

August 17, 2012, 08:30:15 AM
What can I do to help?

If_I_Loved_you

August 17, 2012, 08:46:12 AM
Great idea this is the best plan I have seen this would work in Jacksonville . Look what Savannah Ga has done http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Street_Streetcar and Astoria Oregon http://www.railwaypreservation.com/vintagetrolley/astoria.htm if both of these towns can do this so can we!

gedo3

August 17, 2012, 09:07:58 AM
I'm in awe of the whole idea--and particularly of all the research that went into this article!!!!

wsansewjs

August 17, 2012, 09:12:06 AM
I would personally devote my design and website resources to this project, pro-bono! Count me in!

-Josh

JeffreyS

August 17, 2012, 09:12:39 AM
Could we take it on down to Bay street? Could we package this as part of a public-private partnership with a real estate developer?

thelakelander

August 17, 2012, 09:20:47 AM
The old rail right of way runs to Maxwell House at East Adams Street.  To get to Bay/Shipyards, you'll have to create a new block long link down the center of Marsh Street.

billy

August 17, 2012, 09:33:33 AM
Can we get an emlargement of the route diagram?
Great idea!

Doctor_K

August 17, 2012, 10:08:16 AM
The old rail right of way runs to Maxwell House at East Adams Street.  To get to Bay/Shipyards, you'll have to create a new block long link down the center of Marsh Street.

In a pipe-dream sort of world, if this rail line went to the Maxwell House vicinity, would that not also be in the vicinity of a potential Skyway stop?  Y'know - the Skyway that's extended down Bay Street to the Sports District?

On that note, could we not do some sort of multi-modal station right there?  Skyway/streetcar stop?  Skyway extends to the Stadium/Randolph while the streetcar track heads north?

Like I said - pipe dream.  But a guy can imagine, can't he? :)

mtraininjax

August 17, 2012, 10:14:52 AM
The bridge over Hogan's Creek would need to be rebuilt, I would imagine, as it rises above the level of the street, unless the entire level of the street were raised from the JSO past the Channel 12/25 studios. It can happen, for sure. Would eliminate the ability of eastbound traffic being able to turn onto Phillip Randolph, but it is a small price to pay for this service.

Why not incorporate the old Fire Station museum as part of the shed for the rail cars? They need to go somewhere, and Bay street is as good a place to start as any. I'd ride the rails to the Jags games!

duvaldude08

August 17, 2012, 10:22:39 AM
Hey this was a tease. I wanna volunteer. I hate manual (only because my joints are in bad shape at the age of 30 LOL), however I would take some pain pills, put on my knee braces and pick up a shovel!! Im "all in"

urbanlibertarian

August 17, 2012, 10:41:32 AM
The old rail right of way runs to Maxwell House at East Adams Street.  To get to Bay/Shipyards, you'll have to create a new block long link down the center of Marsh Street.

Who currently owns this ROW?

thelakelander

August 17, 2012, 10:49:40 AM
City of Jacksonville. COJ just built a curving multi use path on half it.

Doctor_K

August 17, 2012, 10:53:36 AM
City of Jacksonville. COJ just built a curving multi use path on half it.

S-Line?

thelakelander

August 17, 2012, 10:59:25 AM
Yes.

BrooklynSouth

August 17, 2012, 11:09:01 AM
Is this the south end of the abandoned railway you are talking about? Right next to Robert F. Kennedy Park?

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=30.335954,-81.645734&aq=&sll=30.34499,-81.683107&sspn=0.836715,1.067047&vpsrc=6&ie=UTF8&ll=30.335982,-81.645643&spn=0.003269,0.004168&t=m&z=18&iwloc=A

thelakelander

August 17, 2012, 11:19:00 AM
The right of way is the parallel rail corridor that runs down Palmetto on that map.  Here are a few interesting images along these abandoned rail corridors:

















thelakelander

August 17, 2012, 11:22:20 AM


For the life of me, I can't figure out why this new multiuse path curves all over the right-of-way at intersections.  I guess this is a way to slow bike riders down instead of putting up signage?

venture

August 17, 2012, 11:29:42 AM
Like many others that have commented, I would gladly volunteer on such a project. The only hurdles would be the land itself. I think if that was accomplished that someone would find the money for any rail to be laid and the car itself

thelakelander

August 17, 2012, 11:39:01 AM
The land is owned by the City of Jacksonville.  Where it's not, you can use the right-of-way of nearby local streets. In this case, there shouldn't be a cost for land.  I think the major hurdle would be getting across Norfolk Southern's active Springfield line and getting a city leader to publicly push the concept.  Significant grading changes and the modification of the bike trail currently being constructed would have to be addressed as well.

kellypope

August 17, 2012, 04:58:14 PM
Let me know when it's shovel-ready.

Ocklawaha

August 17, 2012, 08:10:10 PM
The old rail right of way runs to Maxwell House at East Adams Street.  To get to Bay/Shipyards, you'll have to create a new block long link down the center of Marsh Street.

In a pipe-dream sort of world, if this rail line went to the Maxwell House vicinity, would that not also be in the vicinity of a potential Skyway stop?  Y'know - the Skyway that's extended down Bay Street to the Sports District?

On that note, could we not do some sort of multi-modal station right there?  Skyway/streetcar stop?  Skyway extends to the Stadium/Randolph while the streetcar track heads north?

Like I said - pipe dream.  But a guy can imagine, can't he? :)

Actually the best way to access the '7 Line' would be from Independence to Newnan to Beaver and hence east over Hogans creek and under the FREEway. A streetcar loop from Newnan to Beaver to AP Randolph to Duval and back to Newnan would access the northern part of the sports district and tie the whole thing in with the '7 Line'. With that in mind, the Skyway would be free to occupy Bay Street at some future date.

By taking the streetcar down Bay Street, we rob the Skyway of one of the few logical extensions that would make it even more viable then it has become since it went fare free.

Access from Bay to the '7 Line' is circuitous if not difficult.

Duplication of Skyway and Streetcar routes would make no more sense then the JTA scheme to build BRT under the Skyway and next to their 'professed interest' in commuter rail.

At the very least, the Skyway should connect with the streetcar at a multi-modal station at Bay and Newnan Street.


But of course the thought has crossed my mind too as you can see.

thelakelander

August 17, 2012, 08:53:34 PM
It's virtually a straight shot to get to Bay Street going south of the Mathews Bridge Expressway.  The ROW is still there.  However, you're right in that running something down to Bay would virtually eliminate the argument of trying to extend the skyway down there.  However, I'm still not on board that not extending the skyway is a bad thing, if a streecar can do the trick for a fraction of the cost. It's not duplicating if it isn't there.

Can you draw and post a map, so we can have a better idea of what you envisioning happening south of the Mathews Bridge Expressway? 

Timkin

August 17, 2012, 09:52:28 PM
Brilliant , as always, Ock!    How do we get the City on board with this?

Ocklawaha

August 17, 2012, 10:19:05 PM

GATEWAY MALL TERMINUS - BUS/BRT/STREETCAR




21ST STREET STATION AREA - BUS/STREETCAR/COMMUTER RAIL




8TH STREET STATION AREA - BUS/STREETCAR




EASTSIDE-ARENA STATION AREA BUS/PCT SHUTTLE/STREETCAR




EASTSIDE FIXED TRANSIT, INCLUDING SKYWAY ON BAY, NEWNAN MULTIMODAL STATION, BUS/BRT/STREETCAR/SKYWAY, (concept image in my post 8430)

Likewise the streetcar line on Duval would continue on to LEE ST, where it would turn south, linking up with the Water Street Line in front of Jacksonville Terminal, both lines proceed to Riverside/Avondale/King Street, either via a new Lee Street Viaduct, or via West Bay to the Myrtle Avenue streetcar subway (which is still in place since since around 1912+/-). A future Skyway route to Shand's/VA/FSCJ south to Blue Cross and south to San Marco at Atlantic Avenue along with the new BRT/MAX line would give us a dense infrastructure investment downtown with transit options for a vast majority of our citizens.

Ocklawaha

August 17, 2012, 10:32:42 PM

Just another photo to demonstrate the absolute simplicity of such a system.

To my knowledge no city anywhere has married the idea of museum and volunteerism with actual mass transit. I suspect IF the city (Mayor Brown/Council) approached CSX/NS/FEC we might get the donation of track machines or materials, as well as sponsorships.

Ocklawaha

August 17, 2012, 11:17:33 PM
The land is owned by the City of Jacksonville.  Where it's not, you can use the right-of-way of nearby local streets. In this case, there shouldn't be a cost for land. I think the major hurdle would be getting across Norfolk Southern's active Springfield line and getting a city leader to publicly push the concept.  Significant grading changes and the modification of the bike trail currently being constructed would have to be addressed as well.

Shouldn't be a big problem, it is done all of the time considering the streetcar is just another 'bus' crossing the tracks, albeit a much more attractive 'bus'. The fact that none of the railroad trackage in that area of the city is in any way a main line. The Norfolk Southern Railway line is only used by a mid-day switch job. If future 'commuter rail' became a reality on the 'S' then doing as most other light-rail cities and building a streetcar overpass becomes a possibility at some distant date.


Louisville and Nashville railroad / streetcar crossing Memphis



Saint Louis-San Francisco Railroad/streetcar crossing Memphis



CSX railroad / streetcar crossing in Tampa



Another view of the Tampa streetcar / railroad crossing

thelakelander

August 17, 2012, 11:48:40 PM
I know if can be done but there were significant liability issues with this in Tampa.  It almost blew up the entire proposal a decade ago.  Do you suspect that dealing with NS won't be as difficult as dealing with CSX?

Ocklawaha

August 18, 2012, 12:06:55 AM
Correct, NS is usually far more open to civic or public projects, they operate a steam locomotive program with excursions that serve as ambassadors for the company. NS President also recently said that future passenger train operations over the NS will be owned and operated by NS! The Norfolk Southern people have also just turned out 27 new diesel locomotives in the paint schemes of all of the different railroads in their 'family tree'. Something done to the delight of railroad buff's around the world (IE: If you are too young to have ever seen a 'Lackawanna Railroad' engine pulling a train NS has you covered). So yes, NS like the FEC, is a completely different animal. That said, consider to that CSX is the home team so we might get a bit more consideration from them if it's ever needed.


Courtesy of Norfolk Southern

BackinJax05

August 18, 2012, 12:10:28 AM
^^ I hope not, but NS can be pretty pig-headed at times.

mtraininjax

August 18, 2012, 09:48:11 AM
Ock - I was at the NRHS steam event in 1994 and had the delight of seeing the 611 and 1218 pull us with a GP40 in Southern livery green, and it was an awesome trip, the run-bys, I love seeing the Southern Green and seeing Southern Boxcars still roll by to this day. I wish CSX would put out an AC44W in Monon livery.

Ocklawaha

August 18, 2012, 11:12:34 AM
Agreed, I'd love to see a CSX job in Tavares and Gulf, Charleston and Western Carolina, Georgia, Atlanta and West Point, Clinchfield and most of all, ATLANTIC COAST LINE and SEABOARD AIR LINE, colors. Talk about a rainbow train!

BUT MEANWHILE BACK IN JACKSONVILLE, WE NEED THIS STREETCAR!

Kiva

August 18, 2012, 05:35:34 PM
I think the main problem will be the City Council. It looks like we have plenty of volunteers, we can probably raise money, but without politicians on board not much will happen.

shel777

October 10, 2012, 08:53:33 PM
I'd LOVE to see this happen!  Some nice, old yet reliable PCC cars would bring quaintness, along with quality. Just my opinion, though. I would love to find someone with whom to rediscover the old Jax trolley tracks!

Ocklawaha

October 10, 2012, 10:03:19 PM
I'm your huckleberry shel777, glad to give you or anyone else a guided tour of some of the highlights. These are seen in the little quaint business districts scattered around town. With the exception of some scars on the Grand Avenue Bridge, and Aberdeen Street, and a couple of abandoned tracks in the Tallyrand area, there is nothing to see of the old tracks. As for streetcars themselves, all we know for sure is that two calls have come into the JTA switchboard over the last 10 years or so. One identified some old streetcars apparently built into a house or out building somewhere in San Marco, the other around Beaver Street. We had 5 beautiful cars remaining that we visited as of 1984, all of which were destroyed in what might have been some misguided attempt by the JTA 'Skyway bug executives,' who thought that the presence of streetcars would kill chances of Skyway funding. Meanwhile the streetcar barns in Brooklyn were razed because "They got in the way of the Acosta Bridge Ramp's." Then JTA had an epiphany, they wouldn't have been in the way after all (giggle - giggle) so they built a Skyway maintenance barn on the same site. AMAZING!
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