Author Topic: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report  (Read 9571 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« on: August 25, 2011, 03:17:46 AM »
Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report



Metro Jacksonville's Bob Mann (Ocklawaha) warned JTA in 1981 that the Skyway would be a failure and that our mass transit focus should instead be set on streetcars and light rail.  Thirty years later, San Diego, one of the cities that did what Mr. Mann suggested, has an urban core full of vibrancy and excitement.  However, in Jacksonville, the core remains in decline.  During this three part series, Metro Jacksonville will revisit Mr. Mann's 1981 editorial, check out urban San Diego today and close by looking at 30 years of that city's rail transit development, ending with recommendations on how Jacksonville can implement affordable rail service and utilize it as a method to bring back vitality to the entire urban core.

Thirty years later, as the gas tax subsidizing JTA gets closer to expiring, it appears little has changed. Jacksonville, welcome to 1981.



Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2011-aug-mass-transit-30-years-later-special-report
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 09:42:43 AM by Ocklawaha »

Noone

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 06:03:40 AM »
I'm wanting to get on board. Nice article.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2011, 07:54:24 AM »
Is thirty years too soon to say, "I told you so!"
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Jaxson

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2011, 08:19:11 AM »
I have to admit that, as a kid, I was drawn into the hype about the "People Mover."  I guess that it was a fixation with Disney and its vision of 'tomorrow,' but I even wrote a letter to the editor in Folio Weekly advocating for the then-called Skyway Express back when I was in college.  Today, in hindsight, I totally regret my support for the 'Riderless Express' and wish that there was a group like MetroJacksonville back then - even if it did predate the Internet.  Imagine how we would have progressed with the right kind of transit... 
John Louis Meeks, Jr.

thelakelander

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 08:52:22 AM »
For what it is, the skyway operates just fine.  Here are three critical areas where we've made it difficult to achieve success:

1. Capital Costs

The skyway costs $184 million for 2.5 miles ($73.6 million/mile).  San Diego's original no-frills 15.9 mile LRT line was built for $86 million ($5.4 million/mile).  The reasons for the skyway being significantly higher include it being completely elevated, elaborate stations, changing from a people mover to a monorail and a river crossing.  River crossing aside, if Jacksonville had gone with LRT or streetcar, we could have had a line stretching from downtown to the airport for a cheaper price than what it cost to build the skyway.  With that said, the reason the skyway mode was selected is because we competed and won a federal grant to construct a demonstration people mover system within an urban landscape.  San Diego used local dollars to purchase an existing freight railroad that was on its way to be abandoned.

2. Route Planning

For fixed transit to properly work, it has to connect people directly to various destinations and a mix of uses.  This means, somewhere along the line, your system (no matter how large or small) needs to hit a combination of residential, commercial and cultural uses.  The original layout for the skyway was intended to go from Shands to the Stadium.  Such a route would have given the skyway two major destinations at the end points with Springfield, Sugar Hill and Downtown in the middle.   Needless to say, we screwed the pooch on that one.  In San Diego's case, their initial 15 mile line connected their downtown with neighborhoods and suburbs south of it.


Quitting

Whoever still makes the claim that we're the "New Bold City of the South" should be pimp slapped repeatedly.  When leaders took the heat for investing in a mass transit system, they basically quit on it instead of incrementally developing it as originally proposed.  In addition, we never integrated the neutered 2.5 mile with supportive land use policies, the local bus system and have actively worked for two decades to leave it and downtown handing on a vine.  In short, Jacksonville has failed the skyway, not the other way around.  San Diego, on the other hand, did the complete opposite and over thirty years a city and transit system have grown up together creating an urban environment that we can only dream about here, despite both communities having similar natural and economic demographics.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

tufsu1

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2011, 09:28:09 AM »
Whoever still makes the claim that we're the "New Bold City of the South" should be pimp slapped repeatedly. 

please explain pimp slapping  :o

SarahTay

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 09:35:22 AM »
^^ wacked across the head/face and/or slapped to oblivion for being a trifling fool
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 09:37:12 AM by SarahTay »

thelakelander

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 09:36:06 AM »
Very simple, tufsu1.  Get this straight and you'll always have your money on time.

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

Doctor_K

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2011, 11:18:26 AM »
LOL, Lake.  Quite possibly the funniest post you've ever done.  I had no idea you had a ninja sense of humor like that!

And to the article, it's a damn shame that Jacksonville bent over backwards to screw the whole concept and prove Ock right. 

Pimp-slapped indeed.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create."  -- Albert Einstein

Ocklawaha

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2011, 12:34:31 PM »
Another Old, Slow, Shaky, Streetcar... at 97.9 mph out of Cleveland OH 1920's, The Streetcar (INTERURBAN) won the race. A sister car broke 100 mph near Dayton, just a few days later, and oh yeah, its NOT in a street and its NOT competeing with an automobile.


For me the most frustrating part of this quest has been the politics of Jacksonville. The Skyway was advertised widely as a 'free gift' and nobody could change the mind of the City or JTA. I was able to cobble together a group of supporters including the DDA and 3 city council members. We attended every meeting, spoke to anyone and everyone who would listen, wrote a brief study, obtained marketing data and held as many public events as we could support. To give you an idea, the mayor refused to see any of us, while Steve Arrington over at JTA filled the information gaps with erroneous reports about streetcars. Originally it was not meant to compete with the Skyway, JTA turned it into an us against them battle. When the JCCI completed it's 'study' they released a list of conclusions that could only have originated from one place.

Streetcars are old dying technology
Streetcars are tiny
Streetcars are 'bumpy' I think 'clunky' was the word they used
Streetcars are slow
and the best of show,
Streetcars MUST compete with automobiles in the street for traffic lanes.

Therefore knowing far more then any private citizens could possibly aspire to, the decision was made to reject and stonewall the streetcar project and its supporters. We had so many people coming out in support of streetcars, including the Jacksonville Journal that when we incorporated and tried to go with a private nonprofit route, we got visits from various friends within the government.  "Bob, if you ever want to work again, get out of Jacksonville." 

« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 11:09:38 AM by Ocklawaha »

Ocklawaha

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2011, 12:58:33 PM »
In light of this is it really any wonder that the same authority responsible for the Skyway 'victory', is also the ones who came up with elevated busways being cheaper then rail. Today they are doing the same routine with the same planner still entrenched for Bus Rapid Transit. This would be why they mysteriously pulled figures from a Buffalo SUBWAY, to compare the cost of 'light rail' to their dreamed of super bus. Nothing has changed over on Myrtle Avenue.  JTA is a rogue authority who's brightest idea has gone from futuristic monorails to buses that will cost even more. Look at the track record people, and lets demand some changes:

The inaccessible and empty south side parking garage.
A unfinished core of a short monorail system which has never achieved a single original destination.
An increase in operating income from sales tax and a dwindling number of routes and services.
Plans for a 5 building 'ranch' of stations they have mistakenly labeled as a transportation center.
Refusal to consider BRT frequencies and services without massive capital infrastructure improvement dollars.
Blame the city parking garages for the Skyways failure.
On the brink of launching BRT at several million dollars a mile, directly UNDER THE SKYWAY.

Do we even want to trust them with any part of a rail system?


« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 11:09:17 AM by Ocklawaha »

cline

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2011, 01:44:25 PM »
Here's a couple of bullet points that came out of the JCCI Mass Transit study that Ock mentioned.  It was done in 1983. Apologies in advance for the whack spacing.

-Trolleys  are  not   feasible as  a  part   of   the  mass transportation  system   for   jacksonville.

-High   capacity  mass   transit  modes   to   suburban areas   such  as  commuter rail  and commuter  ferry boats   are   not   feasible  and  will   not  be  feasible for   many  years , due  to  the  dispersed,  low  density residential   patterns  and   the    geographical characteristics  found   in  Jacksonville.

-Mass  transit  in  jacksonville   is  and  will  remain labor  intensive.

-jacksonville     doesn't  know    enough    about    the transit  needs   of    its  citizens  or    the   benefits accrued to the community to make an informed determination  concerning the   level  of   services  to provide.

You can read the whole thing here:
http://www.jcci.org/jcciwebsite/documents/83%20mass%20transit.pdf


Non-RedNeck Westsider

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2011, 02:09:49 PM »
The first Trolley paragraph sounds like Ock:

Quote
Trolley cars or a light, electrically operated rail
system could meet some mass transportation needs
in Jacksonville. In a proposal under cons
ide rat ion by the city officials, the use of
trolleys for mass transportation has been combined
with a proposal to develop a museum of
transportation with historic trolley era memorabilia
and restored cars. The low cost promised
by thi~ proposal appears to be derived primarily
f rom the use of oonated track, donated right of
way, second hand equipment, and \Olunteer labor
by railroad enthusiasts.

the second paragraph sounds like the anti-ock

Quote
Trolleys compete with automobiles for street
space, must stop at street lights and signs, rely
on overhead wires for a power source and require
individual drivers. Altrough trolley cars have
been recognized as an asset in many cities \\hich
have rebuilt or expanded their old trolley lines,
in I1'Ost cases a trolley is considered primarily a
promot ional tool and tourist attract ion. In
Jacksonville, the proposal for a transportation
museum and sro rt trolley link is advanced pr imarily
as a tourist attract ion.
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fsujax

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2011, 02:12:40 PM »
I wish JCCI would revisit that study!

tufsu1

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Re: Mass Transit 30 Years Later: Special Report
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2011, 02:31:50 PM »
I wish JCCI would revisit that study!

maybe we can encourage them to do so