Author Topic: The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco  (Read 836 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco
« on: November 09, 2016, 09:25:02 AM »
The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco



Before there was a San Marco, there was a streetcar providing thirteen minute headways from Hendricks Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard to downtown Jacksonville. Here's a look at the forgotten piece of public infrastructure that stimulated the physical development pattern of a neighborhood that remains one of the city's most popular nine decades later.

Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2016-nov-the-lost-impact-of-streetcar-lines-on-san-marco

acme54321

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Re: The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2016, 09:52:31 AM »
Great article, never knew about the interurban.

Ocklawaha

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Jacksonville Streetcars Could Return!
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2016, 08:53:58 PM »
It probably should be mentioned that STREETcars didn't really reach 'perfection' in the street. In the early years in all but the largest cities, the so-called Street Railway's were simply railroad tracks laid somewhere in the street right-of-ways. For this reason they required charters from both the State Corporation or Railway Commissions and the Cities themselves for the use of these right-of-ways.

Usually along a median or alongside the traffic lanes of the streets, these railways were required to provide railroad crossings at each intersecting street, otherwise their track was no different then that of the CSX, NS or FEC and it was certainly not drivable. As the traffic volumes swelled and the cities began to pave all available space within these right-of-ways the Street Railways found themselves entrapped in brick, concrete and asphalt. Even as pavement slowly encroached on them, they were reluctant to mix it up with automobiles, trucks and buses, preferring to remain in medians (North Main and Pearl Streets) on the side of the road (San Jose, Ortega) or on exclusive right-of-way (Camp Johnston/NAS JAX). The mathematics of a 90,000 pound Streetcar against a 4,000 pound Chevy are impressive to say the least. 

For a short time, Jacksonville even attained world fame for it's green landscaped streetcar medians which became known as 'The Most Beautiful Streetcar Line In The World.'

However, the reader should keep in mind that a Street Railway is first and foremost a very efficient railway. They were so efficient in fact that the steam or major railroads often insisted that they be built to strange track gauges to prevent them from competing for interstate or intrastate freight, such was the case in Jacksonville which bowed to railroad pressures to establish a 5' 2" track gauge for the streetcar system.

Today, Cities with highly successful Light-Rail Systems and even a few with Modern Streetcar Systems, are revisiting the roots of this mode of rail transit and getting them out of the traffic lanes. Extensive elevated bridges, tunnels and former railroad grades are being converted into rapid transit using simple Streetcar Technologies in San Diego, Los Angeles, Dallas, Norfolk and many other locations. Jacksonville's Skyway System with its simple bridgework is increasingly posing an opportunity to take a lemon and create lemonade with a conversion to Streetcar Technology in the Sky, in short, Florida's first Streetcar EL. Maybe not quite perfection, but certainly our chance to recapture "Sic transit gloria mundi!"
« Last Edit: November 09, 2016, 08:56:30 PM by Ocklawaha »

Kerry

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Re: The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2016, 02:30:10 PM »
Are we talking about interurban or streetcars in relation to the historical mixing of cars and trains.  Every historical photo of street cars I have ever seen show the streetcar running in traffic, and in cases where the streetcar is in a median, the median came after the fact.  Interurbans on the other hand where not electric and ran in their own right-of-ways.
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thelakelander

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Re: The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2016, 03:10:08 PM »
Much of downtown Jacksonville's in-street network of tracks dated back to the era of the horsecar in 1880...well before cars were added to the existing street ROW:


A horsecar on Bay Street during the late 19th century. The last local horsecar ran in 1896.




Outside of downtown, streetcar lines generally ran in medians or on their own dedicated path within the public ROW. Here's a picture of a streetcar on the Riverside car line in 1915. On this particular stretch, the track appears to be on the side of the street.




The Kings Avenue car line on its own ROW.



Here's a picture of a horsecar on the side of Main Street near 1st Street in Springfield.



When the Main Street line was upgraded, it ran in a median.







It was double tracked to better accommodate the growth of Springfield and neighborhoods to the north.




Main and 8th during the early 1930s. Eventually cars took over everything, including the original streetcar ROW on Main





By the 1950s, we had made of mess of a streetscape that was as complete as one could be 20 years earlier.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

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Re: The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2016, 03:17:43 PM »
Oh, and interurbans certainly included electrical powered systems. Chicago's South Shore Line is one of the last interurbans still running:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Shore_Line




"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

acme54321

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Re: The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2016, 03:37:48 PM »

Main and 8th during the early 1930s. Eventually cars took over everything, including the original streetcar ROW on Main





By the 1950s, we had made of mess of a streetscape that was as complete as one could be 20 years earlier.

That's a sad scene right there.  I don't know what is with people's obsession of cutting down trees right when they are getting good.

Kerry

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Re: The lost impact of streetcar lines on San Marco
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 09:37:10 AM »
That is because the State DOT considers trees to be Fixed Hazardous Objects.  That should be a good indication of how far towards the automobile everything has moved.
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