Author Topic: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?  (Read 13378 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« on: September 16, 2015, 10:10:01 PM »

Sonic101

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2015, 08:52:09 AM »
I've always wanted to see the Skyway evolve into something like Vancouver's Skytrain. I know its fantasy, but I can dream.  ;D

coredumped

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2015, 10:15:49 AM »
Small correction, but on page 2 the "TCC" should be "TTC" it's abbreviated wrong.

But back on topic, Clevelands rail is very nice and it would be something we should model after. Going from downtown down phillips would be a great small start. I saw on the news that the arlington expressway has a proposal to have light rail in the middle, so that might be an option too.
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thelakelander

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2015, 01:54:47 PM »
Quote
Editorial: Figure out the purpose of the Skyway first

The Skyway People Mover has been a laughing stock for years. Now, as the system continues to deteriorate, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority is faced with the conundrum of what to do with it.

The easy answer would seem to be to simply get rid of the thing — tearing it down or turning it into a local version of New York’s elevated High Line Park. The sticking point is the federal money used to set up the system, which the city would have to repay. Sunk costs are always a tricky thing to deal with — but ponying up $25 million for literally nothing is a bit galling, and that’s on top of the $20 million to $25 million the JTA estimates a shutdown would cost.

Full article: http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2015/09/17/editorial-figure-out-the-purpose-of-the-skyway.html
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thelakelander

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2015, 02:10:53 PM »
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IN JACKSONVILLE, A SKYWAY? OR A MONEY PIT?

The Jacksonville Skyway. If you ever saw the classic Simpsons episode about the Springfield Monorail, you’ll know how most longtime locals feel about the almost 30-year old mass transit conveyance.

The complaints are myriad. It isn’t especially accessible for the vast majority of residents. Some say it goes from “nowhere to nowhere.” Its aesthetics? Like something out of the USSR, around the time of Konstantin Chernenko. However, especially during the One Spark festivals in recent years, the Skyway served a valuable function: getting people from the Southbank across the river to downtown

Well, the price is right. The Skyway is free to ride. And it has no shortage of supportive press advocating its case.

A recent example of such: an article in the Jacksonville Business Journal, which stated that getting the Skyway ready for its “next phase of life” would cost $64 million and $85 million dollars.

Not bad for a conveyance that brings in all of $0.00 to city coffers every year.

Full article: http://floridapolitics.com/archives/190413-in-jacksonville-a-skyway-or-a-money-pit#comment-3147
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brainstormer

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2015, 07:53:58 PM »
Retrofitting the current skyway to accommodate new vehicles which will allow "at grade" expansion into some of our growing neighborhoods just seems like a no-brainer to me. The TOD that resulted in the article examples can happen in Jacksonville if there is a focused long-term strategy.

spuwho

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2015, 08:34:58 PM »
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IN JACKSONVILLE, A SKYWAY? OR A MONEY PIT?

The Jacksonville Skyway. If you ever saw the classic Simpsons episode about the Springfield Monorail, you’ll know how most longtime locals feel about the almost 30-year old mass transit conveyance.

The complaints are myriad. It isn’t especially accessible for the vast majority of residents. Some say it goes from “nowhere to nowhere.” Its aesthetics? Like something out of the USSR, around the time of Konstantin Chernenko. However, especially during the One Spark festivals in recent years, the Skyway served a valuable function: getting people from the Southbank across the river to downtown

Well, the price is right. The Skyway is free to ride. And it has no shortage of supportive press advocating its case.

A recent example of such: an article in the Jacksonville Business Journal, which stated that getting the Skyway ready for its “next phase of life” would cost $64 million and $85 million dollars.

Not bad for a conveyance that brings in all of $0.00 to city coffers every year.

Full article: http://floridapolitics.com/archives/190413-in-jacksonville-a-skyway-or-a-money-pit#comment-3147

At least the facts are straight. It does bring zero dollars to city coffers. If they charged a fare it would go to JTA coffers.

Things are different now however.

JTA has transit oriented leadership now. Before it was strictly a bus & road outfit burdened with a stepchild monorail.




Tacachale

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2015, 10:55:04 PM »
Quote
IN JACKSONVILLE, A SKYWAY? OR A MONEY PIT?

The Jacksonville Skyway. If you ever saw the classic Simpsons episode about the Springfield Monorail, you’ll know how most longtime locals feel about the almost 30-year old mass transit conveyance.

The complaints are myriad. It isn’t especially accessible for the vast majority of residents. Some say it goes from “nowhere to nowhere.” Its aesthetics? Like something out of the USSR, around the time of Konstantin Chernenko. However, especially during the One Spark festivals in recent years, the Skyway served a valuable function: getting people from the Southbank across the river to downtown

Well, the price is right. The Skyway is free to ride. And it has no shortage of supportive press advocating its case.

A recent example of such: an article in the Jacksonville Business Journal, which stated that getting the Skyway ready for its “next phase of life” would cost $64 million and $85 million dollars.

Not bad for a conveyance that brings in all of $0.00 to city coffers every year.

Full article: http://floridapolitics.com/archives/190413-in-jacksonville-a-skyway-or-a-money-pit#comment-3147

At least the facts are straight. It does bring zero dollars to city coffers. If they charged a fare it would go to JTA coffers.

Things are different now however.

JTA has transit oriented leadership now. Before it was strictly a bus & road outfit burdened with a stepchild monorail.

Excellent comment.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Ocklawaha

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2015, 11:04:47 PM »
Small correction, but on page 2 the "TCC" should be "TTC" it's abbreviated wrong.

But back on topic, Clevelands rail is very nice and it would be something we should model after. Going from downtown down phillips would be a great small start. I saw on the news that the arlington expressway has a proposal to have light rail in the middle, so that might be an option too.

The possibility of JTA getting this right is something less then certain. JTA is a State "Authority" that considers multimodal as: gas powered bus, diesel powered bus and bus rapid transit with CNG buses. In a city built by and on rails, and even under new management the brilliant comments to the press continue; "Rail is not a good fit for Jacksonville." They have stayed the course on ramming BRT down our throats as the spine on which all future transit will be built, rather then as a compliment to future rail.

Had JTA proposed a bi-directional exclusive busway right down the middle of the Arlington Expressway with all of the whistles and bells of a bronze, silver or even gold BRT system, they would have no stronger supporter then me. Instead, they give us a weak knee'd, slightly higher level of regular bus service, label it as BRT, promise the moon and stars, right alongside the FEC railway all the way to The Avenues Mall. In a word; PATHETIC.

The Skyway could easily be converted to 'rapid streetcar' (a faster hybrid using the best practices of LRT at or near the cost of streetcar) or even the Vancouver like Sky Train. Sky Train DOES have at grade running as well as at grade street crossings. Another idea that hasn't been touched in the USA for a century is narrow gauge. 3' foot or meter gauge is common throughout the world and streetcars/trams can be built that are more Skyway width, and still have many times the passenger capacity of the current Skyway cars. Current buses are generally 102" inches or just under 8 1/2 feet wide, with narrow gauge we could pick something that wouldn't require rebuilding the current stations. Narrow gauge cars are slightly lighter and track expenses are about 25% lower then standard gauge and available off-the-shelf.

The railroad system in Colombia is slightly over 2000 miles long and with one short exception, it is all 3' narrow gauge with equipment built in the USA and South Africa. Typical train cars in Colombia are 8' feet wide and quite adequate for freight or passengers.

As Lake said; "it's time to think outside of the box."  And as I've always said; "it's time to pull your head out Jacksonville." Finally as Stephen in his Days of Plight series has said about JTA's thinking; "MEH!"
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 11:10:26 PM by Ocklawaha »

thelakelander

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2015, 06:59:46 AM »
Interesting. Ock, how does the Skytrain handle at-grade street crossings?
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Jax Friend

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2015, 07:16:32 AM »
Even if converted into something like New York's High Line, I still think a decommissioning of the system would be a negative for urban development in Jacksonville. Developers want to see a city that is willing, and able, to invest and expand its transit options. A retraction of that could prove devastating to the current momentum we see downtown.

I work downtown and I happen to be one of the few people who could utilize the Skyway, kind of. I park on Laura St. near FSCJ and work near Hemming. I've found that I usually can walk faster to work. Also, I've gone to use the system to find it has passed some threshold of crowdedness, so I leave and walk anyway.

The Business Journal did a great editorial on the purpose of the Skyway. I see its purpose as moving Jacksonville's workforce in and out of the most important center of commerce in a relatively large region. It also holds somekind of status symbol, but it's problems are systemic and require money and a clear vision of purpose.

Jacksonville seems to always frame this as a multimillion dollar bondagal instead of viewing the system as a multimillion dollar asset. I see it as an image problem. Think of Subway, the sandwich shop. We as city are still unlocking the Skyways usefulness, for example, One Spark. New cars, a new logo, new and expanded signage. Someone will have to breath life into it. No one has cared for too long.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2015, 07:19:51 AM by Jax Friend »

thelakelander

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2015, 07:26:20 AM »
I still don't see how converting the Skyway into a "High Line" is realistic or remotely desirable. Our sidewalks and parks at ground level aren't exactly swimming with pedestrians or well maintained. Why spend +$50 million to thin out the human level density even more? If we have that type of cash for parks, cycle tracks, etc., we have several existing public spaces where that type of money could be put to better use all over the urban core.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Jax Friend

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2015, 07:35:35 AM »
^agreed. Confederate Park could use some help, to the benefit of downtown.

Tacachale

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2015, 10:06:21 AM »
I still don't see how converting the Skyway into a "High Line" is realistic or remotely desirable. Our sidewalks and parks at ground level aren't exactly swimming with pedestrians or well maintained. Why spend +$50 million to thin out the human level density even more? If we have that type of cash for parks, cycle tracks, etc., we have several existing public spaces where that type of money could be put to better use all over the urban core.

That's my complaint with the "highline" idea as well. Why even expend the money and effort to dilute foot traffic?
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Captain Zissou

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Re: The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2015, 11:15:42 AM »
I still don't see how converting the Skyway into a "High Line" is realistic or remotely desirable. Our sidewalks and parks at ground level aren't exactly swimming with pedestrians or well maintained. Why spend +$50 million to thin out the human level density even more? If we have that type of cash for parks, cycle tracks, etc., we have several existing public spaces where that type of money could be put to better use all over the urban core.

I agree.  NYC is a densely populated island that needs open and green space for citizens to escape the harsh streetscape and relax.  Jacksonville has an overabundance of parks to the point where we can't maintain what we already have.  We don't need to add another high profile park that largely parallels an existing linear park system (the riverwalk).  I agree that if we have that kind of money to spend on a park, we need to immediately deploy it to the Hogan's creek greenway, extending the riverwalk to riverside, boone park, and enhancing/extending the western portion of the southbank riverwalk.  Or if the city is desperate to have a new signature park, lets spruce up exchange island and have something really iconic that can be shown off nationally every time we have a televised event at the stadium.