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JTA Skyway's TIGER Grant Application

Metro Jacksonville shares the Jacksonville Transportation Authority's Brooklyn Skyway Extension and Station Development's application for a 2013 TIGER Discretionary Grant.

Published August 15, 2013 in Transit      37 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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37 Comments

Captain Zissou

August 15, 2013, 09:02:29 AM
$20M for this?? Those better be some gold plated elevators. What was the MJ estimate for the no-frills station? $3-5M?

thelakelander

August 15, 2013, 09:23:21 AM
There's some major differences though. The MJ concept was envisioned as a "no-frills" temporary at grade platform.  Future expansion down Riverside Avenue would not have been feasible without completely redoing it.  Nevertheless, the Skyway is an automated guideway transit system and intended to only be a downtown circulator, not a citywide transit spine. When you start thinking about penetrating other neighborhoods like Springfield and Riverside, there's cheaper options out there than can be just as effective in moving people and encouraging TOD. The next time someone talks about extending the Skyway to the stadium or under I-95, just keep those numbers in your head and you'll become a fan of considering a streetcar for some of those corridors real quick.

tufsu1

August 15, 2013, 09:25:16 AM
As lakelander noted, the MJ proposal was more stripped down.  JTA added many extras to the application as the minimum federal share to be eligible for TIGER is $10 million...and JTA wanted to show it as 50/50 split

acme54321

August 15, 2013, 09:32:06 AM
I wonder why they didnt bring it down another block to have it on the west end of the Fuqua development?  Seems like it would be more centalized at not that much more cost.  I'm assuming the bulk of this 20M is the station? 

Captain Zissou

August 15, 2013, 09:34:29 AM
Thanks guys. That helps to make sense of that huge price tag. I wasn't aware that the MJ sation wouldn't allow for continuation down riverside ave. I didn't have time to read all 30 pages, but will some of that $20M go towards groud floor retail?? I know it's an oft repeated question on this site, but I think the skyway stations are some of the best candidates for it. News stands and coffee shops would be a great way to enhance the activity at the stations and improve the riders' experience during their commute.

JeffreyS

August 15, 2013, 09:34:59 AM
If it isn't going to just be a cheap run some stairs up to the existing platform project why not spend five million more to put the station at unity park?

cline

August 15, 2013, 09:36:07 AM
When do they announce the recipients of the awards?

tufsu1

August 15, 2013, 09:48:51 AM
^ I believe in late September or early October

thelakelander

August 15, 2013, 10:06:20 AM
I've always found it interesting to see what other cities submit for these things. Providence, Rhode Island wants $39 million in TIGER grant money for a modern streetcar:

http://www.gcpvd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/pvd-streetcar-tiger-application.pdf

thelakelander

August 15, 2013, 10:15:02 AM
Last year, Raleigh was awarded $21 million in TIGER IV grant money for their $60 million Union Station project. They're back this year, asking for $22 million more.





http://www.raleighnc.gov/projects/content/PlanUrbanDesign/Articles/UnionStation.html

JeffreyS

August 15, 2013, 11:00:28 AM
So if you can build that for 60 million you ought to be able to build our new station at unity park or behind BCBS for 20.

Jason

August 15, 2013, 11:56:38 AM
I think the application looks great!

IMO, this is phase one of a two-phase expansion into Brooklyn.  The next station would likely be somewhere around Forest St., like Ock proposed.

simms3

August 15, 2013, 12:09:33 PM
The next time someone talks about extending the Skyway to the stadium or under I-95, just keep those numbers in your head and you'll become a fan of considering a streetcar for some of those corridors real quick.

We totally agree here.  This to me seems like not only a waste of taxpayer dollars, but either a way to ensure we lose the grant or never receive a grant again.  The use that the Skyway will get out of this $20M incremental spike (which seems like it's all in the name of building another $20M thing just a quarter mile down the road) is negligible at best.  This could politically kill public transit in Jacksonville.

They are projecting a net increase of 1,250 new daily riders and a net decrease of 208,321 daily vehicle miles in the urban core.  Assuming these 1,250 new riders are riding in and riding out, that 625 new people.  Are we to seriously believe that these 625 new people are driving 333 miles each in the core each day???  How do they calculate these numbers?  See bottom of page 1 of the proposal.

simms3

August 15, 2013, 12:13:55 PM
The biggest cost, $5M, is command control systems.  Perhaps integrating this additional spur into the already odd "circulator" route of the system is simply cost prohibitive.  If it costs that much to get the controls and configurations right for this tiny little spur to work into the already built system, perhaps it's time to abandon Skyway and move on to a different system that can be more efficiently and cheaply expanded to serve outlying neighborhoods!

People...what are we thinking about this?  I can't find much logic in the numbers, but what do I know?  I only crunch numbers for real estate transactions...not public transit.

simms3

August 15, 2013, 12:16:31 PM
The track itself to extend the Skyway the proposed length (a block?) is $3.6M.  Period.  I'm out.

JeffreyS

August 15, 2013, 02:08:15 PM
Not Necessarily it's just a monorail now it's not people mover any longer so we could just run a monorail beam and substantially lower the cost.

JFman00

August 15, 2013, 02:16:27 PM
The track itself to extend the Skyway the proposed length (a block?) is $3.6M.  Period.  I'm out.

If I remember right the single-track, 1.4 mile streetcar extension to the Amtrak/Greyhound terminal cost significantly more than that.

thelakelander

August 15, 2013, 03:24:39 PM
A modern streetcar line would run you around $20 million/mile or so.....for everything. You could cut that cost in half by going with a no-frills replica trolley system.  I'd have to look the numbers up and verify, but I'm 100% Little Rock's streetcar cost them under $10 million/mile to construct.  Tampa's was around $12 million/mile.  Extend the skyway over a similar distance and it will easily cost you double or more than that of a streetcar.

jcjohnpaint

August 15, 2013, 05:19:40 PM
Maybe the fail to win the grant will make JTA look to the option of streetcar

tufsu1

August 15, 2013, 09:47:11 PM
^ are you rooting for the grant app to fail?

jcjohnpaint

August 15, 2013, 09:54:45 PM
No, I just don't think it will fly.  I think Simms has it correct.

thelakelander

August 15, 2013, 10:22:53 PM
Maybe the fail to win the grant will make JTA look to the option of streetcar

Doubt it.  A Skyway station in Brooklyn and a streetcar line aren't an either/or situation.

mbstout

August 16, 2013, 10:52:09 AM
GoogleMaps tells me that if I'm a Fuqua resident or Times-Union/Haskell employee it would take me 8 minutes to bike to lunch or dinner at Charthouse or bb's, and 27 minutes to walk (free).  So for $20 million I'd get a station I'd walk to, wait for skyway to Central, get off, wait for south bank train transfer skyway, ride across river to Riverplace or Kings station, then walk (maybe ~30 minutes??)
I just don't get it.  This spur could maybe extend to Forrest/Everbank/Arts Market but not any further and provide for not much connectivity options. Plus we have a beautiful Riverwalk already in place!!
I could see a wiser use of $$ invested in acquiring rights of way and beginning to think about the larger scale of Jacksonville & the S-Line: a system that runs from Osborne/future Intermodal Center through underserved communities, & up to the massive transportation link that is the JIA. Then we're really beginning to think beyond the scale of serving a handful of people and shortsighted realities of distances traveled to a network that works wholistically for the community/travelers/tourists, encourages real investments in TOD's, interconnectivity, and pushes Jax out of '3rd Tier' city status to be considered a real option against markets like Orlando, Austin, Atlanta, etc..

JeffreyS

August 16, 2013, 10:58:40 AM
^Yeah you know everyone in Jax is more likely to bike or walk places......um no sorry not sure what I was thinking.

I believe jax already owns and pulled up the tracks on the S line.

I can get on board with your thinking that it too much to pay for a small skyway expansion when it could be used towards a streetcar starter line in Riverside, Springfield or the beach.

jcjohnpaint

August 16, 2013, 11:31:30 AM
Sorry, I just have a bad feeling about this.  If we fail to achieve this grant, we could be in for a long road ahead. 

JTAFLA

August 16, 2013, 04:39:12 PM
We're pleased to see that Metro Jacksonville has posted our TIGER Grant application to extend the Skyway to Brooklyn.  Your post has generated a good discussion and some excellent questions.  JTA would like to join the conversation with some additional information in the hope that we can positively advance the discussion.
JTA chose to pursue this grant as proposed for several reasons:

•   Improves the effectiveness of the Skyway
   This is a great opportunity to connect the Skyway to existing commercial and residential development (600 residential units and a grocery store) on Riverside Avenue.
   The Skyway has traditionally connected peripheral parking to downtown employers.  This new development along with residential development on the Southbank means the Skyway would now have critical connections between residential, commercial and employment centers.

•   Utilizes Existing Infrastructure
   There is already a one-third mile guideway in place from Central Station to the Operations and Maintenance center that is not being used for passenger service. 
   A stub out was previously constructed to support this extension.

•   Enables future extension
   By building an elevated station this would allow us to get over Leila Street and extend further down Riverside in the future. (From an engineering standpoint there is some question as to whether we could even get to grade before Leila Street although we could still consider this in the design.)
   The proposal includes $5 million for an upgraded system controls.  This would support the proposed extension and further extensions.  We have a pretty wide estimate on the cost for this so we included the high-end estimate to ensure the project is properly budgeted.

•   Meets project readiness requirements
   The TIGER Grant requires construction funds to be obligated by June of 2014.  This means the environmental and design work must be done before that.
   The preliminary planning for the extension was done in 2009 so we have a head start to meeting project readiness requirements.
   JTA owns the land where the extension is planned.  That means there is no right of way and environmental reviews can be completed quickly.
   While JTA has air rights along Riverside Avenue, the potential impacts on property owners would require a more extensive environmental process that may not be feasible in the grant timeline. It should be noted that we considered the further extension but based on grant requirements, cost and potential complications along that segment it should be considered as a future phase.

•   We believe application is most competitive as proposed
   Based on previous TIGER Grants we believe smaller requests with overmatch will be most competitive. 

 We have requested the minimum amount ($10 million) and provided a 50/50 match.
   Projects that support urban infill, redevelopment and alternative transportation have been very competitive in past rounds.

Again, we appreciate MJ’s strong interest in promoting a healthy discussion regarding downtown development and public transit. We hope this information is useful as you debate the merits of our proposal.

Charles Hunter

August 16, 2013, 05:13:49 PM
Welcome JTAFLA!  Hope you will become a regular participant - you are often a topic of discussion, will be good to have you take part.

thelakelander

August 16, 2013, 05:19:38 PM
Welcome to the site, JTA!

thelakelander

August 16, 2013, 05:34:40 PM
GoogleMaps tells me that if I'm a Fuqua resident or Times-Union/Haskell employee it would take me 8 minutes to bike to lunch or dinner at Charthouse or bb's, and 27 minutes to walk (free).  So for $20 million I'd get a station I'd walk to, wait for skyway to Central, get off, wait for south bank train transfer skyway, ride across river to Riverplace or Kings station, then walk (maybe ~30 minutes??)

If you bike or walk, you'll need a shower by the time you reach Charthouse, BB's or anything else.  Most likely, you'll drive, given our climate and the Acosta Bridge's slope.

Quote
I just don't get it.  This spur could maybe extend to Forrest/Everbank/Arts Market but not any further and provide for not much connectivity options. Plus we have a beautiful Riverwalk already in place!!

In the grand scheme of things, it would potentially be tied into a streetcar stretching into Riverside and complemented by bus service into Westside neighborhoods.  So, you can't really isolate the proposal without considering the role of other mobility options and how they tie into this long term.


Quote
I could see a wiser use of $$ invested in acquiring rights of way and beginning to think about the larger scale of Jacksonville & the S-Line: a system that runs from Osborne/future Intermodal Center through underserved communities, & up to the massive transportation link that is the JIA.

COJ already owns most of the S-Line and you probably don't want to invest in commuter rail ROW (I assume buying CSX's tracks to the port) until we're sure on the feasibility of such a project.  At this point in time, it appears proposed commuter rail lines to St. Augustine and Clay County would generate more ridership, thus they appear to be higher priority.  With that said, the mobility plan/fee is currently structured to generate funds for the S-Line corridor through the Northside.  We just need to collect the fee instead of continuously waiving it and make sure council doesn't attempt to take the money and pave roads with it. ;)


Quote
Then we're really beginning to think beyond the scale of serving a handful of people and shortsighted realities of distances traveled to a network that works wholistically for the community/travelers/tourists, encourages real investments in TOD's, interconnectivity, and pushes Jax out of '3rd Tier' city status to be considered a real option against markets like Orlando, Austin, Atlanta, etc..

I believe planning efforts are currently being done holistically.  However, commuter rail on the North Corridor would not be an ideal candidate for a TIGER grant at this stage.  Plus, we'll need more than a commuter rail line with only 4 to 6 train trips a day to become a real option against some other markets.

To reach such a lofty goal, some of the first things we'll have to do is revamp/restructure the existing bus system and modify land uses to better facilitate and encourage higher densities along existing and future high frequency transit corridors.

jcjohnpaint

August 16, 2013, 06:39:56 PM
Thanks for listening JTAFLA.

exnewsman

August 16, 2013, 06:44:40 PM
Well said Lake

JeffreyS

August 16, 2013, 09:49:50 PM
Thanks for the info JTAFLA.

SightseerLounge

August 17, 2013, 05:48:59 PM
$20M for this?? Those better be some gold plated elevators. What was the MJ estimate for the no-frills station? $3-5M?

Sorry, I just have a bad feeling about this.  If we fail to achieve this grant, we could be in for a long road ahead. 

Maybe the fail to win the grant will make JTA look to the option of streetcar

I think that the JTA is not thinking about the long term scenario when it comes to this extension to Brooklyn! With the new developments going up in that area, the JTA is trying to save face by building this extension by saying this will get the Skyway a few extra riders! Once again, they are trying to prove that the Skyway will work! This is a waste of money! The money could be used to start on the Amtrak station at Union Terminal! New buses could be purchased with the $10 million that the JTA already has! I just need to know if there are any stipulations on how the money has to be spent! $10 million is a lot of money to waste on one little area! That money could be spread throughout the city! I guess that Jacksonville didn't learn it's lesson from the first leg of the Skyway!

I've been saying this about the Skyway for some time now: Take the monorail out and put some regular rail on the el to salvage this system! It would be similar to some sections of LA's Light Rail. At the ends of the original Skyway sections, the system could drop to grade level!

SightseerLounge

August 17, 2013, 08:04:57 PM
If the Skyway Structure doesn't support the Light Rail/Streetcar vehicles, then the elevated structures should be taken down and rebuilt. The stations could stay and be modified for the new trains! That would actually make the Skyway useful! Of course, in Jacksonville, that would make too much sense.

Ocklawaha

August 18, 2013, 01:11:52 AM
FIRST: WELCOME ABOARD JTA - LONG OVERDUE - TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE FACE OF JACKSONVILLE!


If you bike or walk, you'll need a shower by the time you reach Charthouse, BB's or anything else.  Most likely, you'll drive, given our climate and the Acosta Bridge's slope.

In the grand scheme of things, it would potentially be tied into a streetcar stretching into Riverside and complemented by bus service into Westside neighborhoods.  So, you can't really isolate the proposal without considering the role of other mobility options and how they tie into this long term.

I absolutely agree with Lakes statements.

Quote
COJ already owns most of the S-Line and you probably don't want to invest in commuter rail ROW (I assume buying CSX's tracks to the port) until we're sure on the feasibility of such a project.  At this point in time, it appears proposed commuter rail lines to St. Augustine and Clay County would generate more ridership, thus they appear to be higher priority.  With that said, the mobility plan/fee is currently structured to generate funds for the S-Line corridor through the Northside.  We just need to collect the fee instead of continuously waiving it and make sure council doesn't attempt to take the money and pave roads with it.

Quote
Then we're really beginning to think beyond the scale of serving a handful of people and shortsighted realities of distances traveled to a network that works wholistically for the community/travelers/tourists, encourages real investments in TOD's, interconnectivity, and pushes Jax out of '3rd Tier' city status to be considered a real option against markets like Orlando, Austin, Atlanta, etc..

I believe planning efforts are currently being done holistically.  However, commuter rail on the North Corridor would not be an ideal candidate for a TIGER grant at this stage.  Plus, we'll need more than a commuter rail line with only 4 to 6 train trips a day to become a real option against some other markets.

To reach such a lofty goal, some of the first things we'll have to do is revamp/restructure the existing bus system and modify land uses to better facilitate and encourage higher densities along existing and future high frequency transit corridors.

The 'S' Line is much better suited to Light-Rail or Rapid Streetcar and new rules are coming down to lessen restrictions on weight, mixed traffic etc. based on the European model. Light-Rail to Gateway via the 'S' could easily be the start of Light Rail to the Airport. Meanwhile JPA needs to get in gear and get serious about a belt railway from Blount Island through Dinsmore to Westlake and Cecil. This would totally remove all but the Talleyrand traffic from the rails and it could be routed over the Norfolk Southern to interchange in Grand Crossing.

If the Skyway Structure doesn't support the Light Rail/Streetcar vehicles, then the elevated structures should be taken down and rebuilt. The stations could stay and be modified for the new trains! That would actually make the Skyway useful! Of course, in Jacksonville, that would make too much sense.

The Skyway structure WILL support light rail vehicles or the automated rail vehicles such as Vancouver's Skytrain. The conversion would mean removing the monorail beams and widening the right-of-way but cutting a couple of feet off of the track sides of the station platforms. We would then have a true 'mini' metro, able to run on the ground or elevated and able to cross streets. It would also get us closer or beyond  the transit industry goal of 30,000 passengers-per-direction-per-hour  CAPACITY. This would be ideal to serve the stadium district as an EL, and serve UF hospital, NAS or other locales on the ground.


Skytrain, photos Wiki Commons

simms3

August 18, 2013, 05:27:27 AM
Had in wrong thread.

JTA came on and didn't answer the tough questions.

1) $20M to serve just a few residential units?  600 is not a large number for that scope, and less than half are actually under construction with the remainder (as well as the other proposals like new Y building and the strip mall, which will be for people driving home to R-A/Ortega) still approved/proposed.  Given the size of these projects, there is little room in Brooklyn for more, so once complete Brooklyn will be effectively built out for Jacksonville with a few hundred resi units and maybe a few thousand drive in employees over a square mile.

2) So there is a spur already there, so why is it $3.6M just to extend the track to the station?  Concrete?

3) Why is there a $5M budget for command/control?  What is this?  Is this to integrate the new spur into the already complex and inefficient route mechanism of the system?

4) You mention extension - so will it be $20M every time we want to extend the system a block?


Sure big cities spend a billion dollars to put a new mile of subway in, and people have a fit over it, but projected ridership on SF's new spur and NYC's new line are very high.

SF Central Subway - light rail spur - $1.6B - 1.7 miles - 43,700 projected daily riders upon opening - $36,613/rider - $941M/mile

NYC Second Ave line - heavy rail line to be extended - $4.9B - 2 miles - 200,000 projected daily riders upon opening - $24,500/rider - $2.45B/mile

JTA Skyway extension - people mover - $20M - 0.25 miles - 1,250 projected daily riders upon opening - $16,000/rider - $80M/mile

So the numbers work this way, but remaining questions:

1) Why submit a grant to move just 1,250 people?  We all know that other agencies submit more robust grants for plans to move more people.

2) Where do you get 1,250 people?  Is it 600 proposed/UC units times average family size in area?  Do you think all those units are going to have 1-2 people, single or married, who work downtown and so will hop on the Skyway?

3) If you're building $20M spur/station for those 600 units, why not build a light rail line for the thousands of units UC or recently built on the SS and connect SJTC?

4) Why are all of your numbers pretty round numbers?  ($5M for this, $1M for that, etc).  Do we have this stuff bidded out already?

5) Why not submit a grant application for something a little more meaty?  The Skyway has so many limitations and for so long has been a transit joke and still is highly unpopular with taxpayers!

6) Lastly how do you calculate the reduction of over 400,000 vehicle miles driven in the urban core daily from increasing ridership by just 1,250 people?  That doesn't make any sense to a civilian like me.

Charles Hunter

August 18, 2013, 08:02:49 AM
(side track)
Quote
Meanwhile JPA needs to get in gear and get serious about a belt railway from Blount Island through Dinsmore to Westlake and Cecil. This would totally remove all but the Talleyrand traffic from the rails and it could be routed over the Norfolk Southern to interchange in Grand Crossing.
The North Florida TPO is conducting a study of just that.  They (and their consultant RS&H) are about to narrow down the number of alternatives going around JIA.  As I understand the process, this alternative will then be analyzed against the Grosse Connection, the JEA power line alignment, and the existing through north Springfield (you always have to look at the existing or 'no build').

We now return you to your original TIGER thread.
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