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The MAX: A New Name for JTA's Bus Rapid Transit

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority's (JTA) long planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project has a new brand name. The MAX!

Published August 6, 2012 in Transit      27 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


"MAX" is an acronym for Metropolitan Area Express.  It's the same acronym that has successfully been branded for similar BRT projects in Kansas City, Missouri and Las Vegas, Nevada.


The Kansas City Max


The Las Vegas Max


The Jacksonville Max

Last week, the JTA recieved tenative approval from the Downtown Development Review Board (DDRB) for signage, bus shelter designs and 13 BRT stop locations throughout downtown Jacksonville.











However, the most important question about this downtown BRT project remains to be answered.  Will this project, which includes the complete reconstruction of Jefferson and Broad Streets, include bike facilities as recommended by the USDOT's complete streets policies?


Current plans indicate bicycle safety and connectivity will not be properly addressed.  The last thing you want in a vibrant urban area (let's hope that is the long term future of downtown Jacksonville) is bicyclists mixing with automobile traffic during rush hour or with pedestrians on sidewalks.

Since Metro Jacksonville highlighted this issue earlier this summer, there has been an effort by some to make this design issue of installing bicycle lanes verses parking lanes.  However, the reality is where there is a will there's a way.  If the innovative and creativity of this country's citizens can put a man on the moon, we can certainly find a way to include bicycle facilities on Broad and Jefferson Streets as a part of this project.  Here are two examples worth exploring:


1. Urban Multiuse Path on Jefferson


Downtown Deland's Alabama Avenue features an eight foot wide multi-use path on one side of the street and a sidewalk for pedestrians on the other, serving as a good example of a "complete street."

Current streetscape plans suggest that parallel parking spaces will not be added on Jefferson Street.  An option that has worked in other Florida downtowns is to convert one of the proposed Jefferson Street sidewalks into a multiuse path, completed separated from vehicular travel lanes.  Under this scenario, the curb and gutter modification of the proposed streetscape may not be necessary. For those who believe it can't be successfully done, take a look of the image of downtown Deland's Alabama Avenue above.


2. Sidewalk Width Reduction



Orlando is a city that in recent years has been accommodating the design of bicycle infrastructure into its downtown area.

In reality, there is enough room for both a parking lane, which the city apparently prefers, and a bicycle lane.  The best way to accommodate both is to reduce the proposed width of the sidewalks, which are currently 5' wide.  With the proposed streetscape design, the sidewalks will be widened to a maximum of 16 feet in width.  Anyone who spends a decent amount of time actually walking the streets, of the area formerly known as LaVilla, knows that this width is excessive.  The question with this solution simply falls on if an entity is willing to go through the trouble to modify a design on paper to save real lives from being lost in the future.



The reconstruction of Broad and Jefferson Streets for the MAX is anticipated to start in February 2013.  The inclusion of bicycle infrastructure with this project would provide safe direct connectivity for this critical mode of urban mobility between San Marco and Springfield.  Let's continue to encourage JTA project planners and city leaders to do the right thing.

Article by Ennis Davis







27 Comments

civil42806

August 06, 2012, 06:17:18 AM
How much did the consultant get paid to rebrand the bus system?

ChriswUfGator

August 06, 2012, 08:00:32 AM
How much did the consultant get paid to rebrand the bus system?

+1

jcjohnpaint

August 06, 2012, 09:11:38 AM
It drives me mad that this system parallels the skyway.  And what is the difference between this and the regular bus system?  Are we only gaining a dedicated lane that people will drive in anyways? 

Captain Zissou

August 06, 2012, 09:20:19 AM
Who thinks this will actually cover its cost??  Let's tear it down!!!

Jason

August 06, 2012, 09:35:52 AM
Please call it the Jax Max.

Doctor_K

August 06, 2012, 10:10:42 AM
Agree w/ jcjohnpaint.

Why the F*** does it parallel the Skyway????????

archiphreak

August 06, 2012, 10:33:28 AM
could we make the shelters more boring and antiseptic? How much did we, tax payers, pay for this is also what I'd like to know. Why wasn't there a city wide design competition issued? And what effect is this dedicated lane going to have on cyclists who already have a difficult enough time traveling downtown and surrounding?....What a cluster F$%^.

JFman00

August 06, 2012, 11:30:59 AM
BRT has stations. American bus systems for poor people have shelters. We really need to stop calling these kinds of plans BRT when they're not.

avonjax

August 06, 2012, 11:45:59 AM
No matter what the name it's still a crappy bus.

jcjohnpaint

August 06, 2012, 12:43:32 PM
So the new widening of Beach near Hodges added shelters that look like the stations shown.  These stations actually look the same/  What is the difference?  One is called BRT and stops at stations that look like shelters (hopefully frequented by the rich) and the other is call a 'city bus' and it stops at shelters that look like shelters.  We just pay much more to call one service BRT/ Again running parallel to the skyway.
We have so many people around here that bitch so much about paying taxes and wasteful spending... again, nobody is protesting this one!

Ocklawaha

August 06, 2012, 05:51:39 PM
MAX, the name of the Portland Light Rail project, here's the story of the 'original' MAX.

Quote
THINGS ARE DIFFERENT HERE

In 1974, residents of Southeast Portland rejected a proposed eight-lane freeway that would have destroyed many neighborhoods, and officials decided to put the money toward transit instead.

At a time when pavement and parking lots were measures of a city's growth, this was a pioneering decision that marked a new way of thinking about how transportation affects our quality of life.

By the late 1970s the Portland region was embracing the idea of linking land use and transportation to help manage growth and maintain livability:

1976: The city replaces a four-lane freeway downtown with what is now Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

1978: The Portland Transit Mall opens, with one-way streets intended specifically for transit. Among the first of its kind in the nation, the Mall became the focus for downtown redevelopment.

1981: Instead of a 10-floor parking garage, the city builds Pioneer Courthouse Square—now known as Portland's "living room."
1986: MAX Light Rail opens between downtown and Gresham, using money initially earmarked for new freeways. MAX was one of the first modern light rail systems in the country.

Today, Portland is frequently cited as one of the best places to live in the world, known for its thriving downtown, walkable neighborhoods, extensive bike paths and comprehensive transit system.

"BRT, it's just like rail only CHEAPER!" (National BRT Institute)

In JAX perhaps that means we can fool our citizens to buy into the BRT sales pitch that this 'IS' light rail, only without the rails. Let's name it after a light rail system.

archiphreak, not only are our bus stop plans ho-hum, our JRTC plans are ho-hum too, so they'll match nicely.

I'm in OKC right now, when I return, prepare to be blown out of the water Jacksonville. OMG! We've got to pull our heads out!

OCKLAWAHA

jcjohnpaint

August 06, 2012, 07:01:40 PM
Kind of like real beer, but just a little watered down and half the calories.  Oh we meant to say totally watered down and tastes like shit. 

KenFSU

August 07, 2012, 12:08:22 PM
All riders should be required to sit in their seats backwards, AC Slater style...



buckethead

August 07, 2012, 01:50:13 PM
IIRC, Kansas City has a BRT line by the exact same name... maybe even the exact same logo.

It's been since 2010, so I might be misremembering.

thelakelander

August 07, 2012, 02:17:43 PM
You're correct. I included a picture of it in the article.

BackinJax05

August 08, 2012, 02:08:56 AM
Once more the beloved JTA does something completely ass backwards, and pats themselves on the back about it.

Here's a BRT idea for JTA: Rather than build light rail along the S-line, drive buses & run over the pedestrians & cyclists ;)

(Sure hope no one from JTA sees this. They might actually try it)

wsansewjs

August 08, 2012, 08:18:58 AM
The incredible amount of stupidity coming from JTA makes me want to breathe less and less everyday.

All I really can do is just sit there and watch the JTA's stupidity drowning the city into a financial vacuum and countless sets of failures.

Really, what can I REALLY do? Literally, REALLY!?

-Josh

John P

August 08, 2012, 09:03:01 AM
The whole thing is awful and doesn't make much sense. Settling for mediocrity.

Adam W

August 08, 2012, 09:14:01 AM
MAX, the name of the Portland Light Rail project, here's the story of the 'original' MAX.

Quote
THINGS ARE DIFFERENT HERE

In 1974, residents of Southeast Portland rejected a proposed eight-lane freeway that would have destroyed many neighborhoods, and officials decided to put the money toward transit instead.

At a time when pavement and parking lots were measures of a city's growth, this was a pioneering decision that marked a new way of thinking about how transportation affects our quality of life.

By the late 1970s the Portland region was embracing the idea of linking land use and transportation to help manage growth and maintain livability:

1976: The city replaces a four-lane freeway downtown with what is now Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

1978: The Portland Transit Mall opens, with one-way streets intended specifically for transit. Among the first of its kind in the nation, the Mall became the focus for downtown redevelopment.

1981: Instead of a 10-floor parking garage, the city builds Pioneer Courthouse Square—now known as Portland's "living room."
1986: MAX Light Rail opens between downtown and Gresham, using money initially earmarked for new freeways. MAX was one of the first modern light rail systems in the country.

Today, Portland is frequently cited as one of the best places to live in the world, known for its thriving downtown, walkable neighborhoods, extensive bike paths and comprehensive transit system.

"BRT, it's just like rail only CHEAPER!" (National BRT Institute)

In JAX perhaps that means we can fool our citizens to buy into the BRT sales pitch that this 'IS' light rail, only without the rails. Let's name it after a light rail system.

archiphreak, not only are our bus stop plans ho-hum, our JRTC plans are ho-hum too, so they'll match nicely.

I'm in OKC right now, when I return, prepare to be blown out of the water Jacksonville. OMG! We've got to pull our heads out!

OCKLAWAHA

It's also worth pointing out that Portland adopted an urban growth boundary in 1979. I know a lot of people on this forum are opposed to zoning, but things like UGBs can help stop sprawl and spur infill. It clearly worked in Portland and doubtless was a factor which contributed to the success of MAX.

Debbie Thompson

August 08, 2012, 01:49:19 PM
Naming it the same as an actual transportation SYSTEM doesn't make it one.   

BrooklynSouth

August 08, 2012, 04:51:11 PM
While we're on the topic of buses, I'd like to say that I believe tinted windows disuade people from riding buses in Jacksonville. In New York, the MTA buses have clear windows, so you can see who is on the bus before you get on. It makes it clear that your fellow bus riders are just regular people like yourself, trying to get across town, not scary drunks. Would you venture into an unfamiliar store or restaurant that had blacked out windows? And clear windows works as advertising for public transit: when you're stuck in your car, you can look over to your right and notice that everyone in the bus is relaxing and reading a book while you are stuck behind the wheel, driving. It's like the Metrorail in DC that flies by everyone stuck in traffic on 66. The Orange Line's rails are right in the median, so you can see all the happy, comfortable people blowing by on their way to work while you sit and wait for another accident to be cleared off of the highway.

BackinJax05

August 09, 2012, 01:06:39 AM
MAX, the name of the Portland Light Rail project, here's the story of the 'original' MAX.

Quote
THINGS ARE DIFFERENT HERE

In 1974, residents of Southeast Portland rejected a proposed eight-lane freeway that would have destroyed many neighborhoods, and officials decided to put the money toward transit instead.

At a time when pavement and parking lots were measures of a city's growth, this was a pioneering decision that marked a new way of thinking about how transportation affects our quality of life.

By the late 1970s the Portland region was embracing the idea of linking land use and transportation to help manage growth and maintain livability:

1976: The city replaces a four-lane freeway downtown with what is now Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

1978: The Portland Transit Mall opens, with one-way streets intended specifically for transit. Among the first of its kind in the nation, the Mall became the focus for downtown redevelopment.

1981: Instead of a 10-floor parking garage, the city builds Pioneer Courthouse Square—now known as Portland's "living room."
1986: MAX Light Rail opens between downtown and Gresham, using money initially earmarked for new freeways. MAX was one of the first modern light rail systems in the country.

Today, Portland is frequently cited as one of the best places to live in the world, known for its thriving downtown, walkable neighborhoods, extensive bike paths and comprehensive transit system.

"BRT, it's just like rail only CHEAPER!" (National BRT Institute)

In JAX perhaps that means we can fool our citizens to buy into the BRT sales pitch that this 'IS' light rail, only without the rails. Let's name it after a light rail system.

archiphreak, not only are our bus stop plans ho-hum, our JRTC plans are ho-hum too, so they'll match nicely.

I'm in OKC right now, when I return, prepare to be blown out of the water Jacksonville. OMG! We've got to pull our heads out!

OCKLAWAHA

Portland also isnt so hot to trot to demolish their historic structures. Anyone remember when the original Acosta Bridge was thoughtlessly torn down? Portland's historic Steel Bridge, which opened in 1912, years before the Acosta, was chosen for MAX to cross the Willamette River.

Rather than tear down the historic bridge, Portland kept it and retrofitted it for MAX. But whats REALLY cool about the Steel Bridge is the railroad bridge on the lower deck.

urbaknight

August 09, 2012, 02:07:50 PM
I'm sorry Jacksonville, but this looks like the future. My optimism for DT was short lived. I no longer have faith in our leadership. That's why I've been working on my exit plan. I've been looking at Major cities all over the Northeast and West coast, Boston and Portland were my most recent points of interest. I really like Portland, can anyone tell me about the cost of living there? I'm legally blind and on SSI, are there services for the blind? Can I get a low rent apartment without living in a crime infested war zone, while also being close to mass transit?

BackinJax05

August 10, 2012, 01:12:03 AM
^^ Stay out of Boston. The winters are brutal, and Massachusetts taxes EVERYTHING. Cost of living is very high, too, even without all the taxes.

Portland is very nice. Oregon doesnt have a sales tax, but there is a state income tax. The cost of living is higher than Jax, but less than Boston. Tri-Met has excellent bus & light rail.  Like all big cities, Portland has its bad areas and clueless politicians.

Hate to see you leave.  :'(

urbaknight

August 10, 2012, 10:53:55 AM
It's not a done deal yet. I'm just in the "considering it" phase. And though i never intended to stay here forever, I did make some great friends and plan to visit now and then. I just don't see any real effort on the city's part. I am quite impressed with the individuals who take it upon themselves to do something about it, such as the bar and restaurant owners. 7-11 opened yesterday, it was a flashback from NYC. People were coming and going nonstop.  There were some handfulls of people just hanging out on the sidewalk. And they weren't bagging for money either! (but I'm sure that's just temporary) Now, we really need apartments close by.

BackinJax05

August 11, 2012, 10:19:58 PM
^^ When you do come back to visit, return in the fall or winter when the weather isnt so hot :-[

By then you can ride the BRT/MAX, and visit a downtown with no more remaining buildings, and plenty of parking/vacant lots.

urbaknight

August 13, 2012, 11:10:09 AM
Yeah I see that happening, I'd even bet money at this point . But maybe they'll at least be creative and call the MAX system, JAX MAX. Doesn't the rhyme just roll off your tongue?
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