Author Topic: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase  (Read 6091 times)

thelakelander

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #75 on: April 13, 2021, 06:33:38 PM »
It does also fit, but it's at odds with the culture and mentality that the AV suppliers and their own hubris have built over the last five years. The goal is having something they can build as soon as it's ready into Springfield and Riverside and San Marco, because the lesson they feel they've learned is that they have to build the full 10-mile system ASAP or it's not happening at all.

and then there's the smack of reality. Someone needs FDOT approval for mixed traffic operations on US 17 in Springfield. FDOT D2 is one of the more conservative and old school districts in the state. You'd have an easier task convincing them to do a road diet, even though that road has way more capacity than it needs. Good luck. Looking at Bay Street, that graphic calls for removing all the on-street parking. That will get you tar and feathered in downtown where struggling business owners have more to worry about for survival than also losing parking. Looking at San Marco, you want to cross the FEC at grade on San Marco Blvd or have a grade separated railroad crossing and parallel the FEC at-grade, south to Atlantic Blvd? There's a host of liability issues and approvals, ROW acquisition and/or easements you'll likely need from the railroad. Things drawn on sketches from four or five years ago, will change when the railroad attorneys really get involved.

So the world outside of exploring what gadgets will and won't work in the future, will still heavily play a role into the success or failure of said project or dream. I think that's starting to happen now, via community and council feedback on the price tag included in the gas tax list. At the end, there will have to be some compromise to keep it from sinking the entire proposal.


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It's not supposed to be an experiment anymore, it's almost ready, it's going to happen, right around the corner. The question is whether the coming storm of political and public pushback is enough to force a rethink of their plan, or if they circle the AVs and soldier on.

If it don't exist today in the form that it is proposed, it's an experiment. We can play with experiments but we just have to fine tune them into the world of reality. This gas tax discussion is good form of this.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2021, 06:37:01 PM by thelakelander »
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2021, 12:16:43 PM »
There's no reason why a Bay Street (or even Park Street between Brooklyn and Five Points) can't be revamped into a "complete street" with a dedicated transit lane where technologies like AVs can be piloted (or even used by regular buses and the Flyer)....without touching the Skyway.

In fact, it should be done before moving forward.  This tech is 100% UNPROVEN.   You need to prove it works before you scale.


JTA is not doing the U2C robot bus thing to move people in Jacksonville.  They're doing it for something fancy on their resume for their next, bigger job.





marcuscnelson

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #77 on: April 14, 2021, 12:59:42 PM »
JTA is not doing the U2C robot bus thing to move people in Jacksonville.  They're doing it for something fancy on their resume for their next, bigger job.

There is at least an ounce of truth to this. Brad Thoburn, who made many of the presentations on the U2C to JTA's board, went on to serve as a Vice President at Michael Baker and is now an Assistant Secretary at FDOT.

and then there's the smack of reality. Someone needs FDOT approval for mixed traffic operations on US 17 in Springfield. FDOT D2 is one of the more conservative and old school districts in the state. You'd have an easier task convincing them to do a road diet, even though that road has way more capacity than it needs. Good luck. Looking at Bay Street, that graphic calls for removing all the on-street parking. That will get you tar and feathered in downtown where struggling business owners have more to worry about for survival than also losing parking. Looking at San Marco, you want to cross the FEC at grade on San Marco Blvd or have a grade separated railroad crossing and parallel the FEC at-grade, south to Atlantic Blvd? There's a host of liability issues and approvals, ROW acquisition and/or easements you'll likely need from the railroad. Things drawn on sketches from four or five years ago, will change when the railroad attorneys really get involved.

So the world outside of exploring what gadgets will and won't work in the future, will still heavily play a role into the success or failure of said project or dream. I think that's starting to happen now, via community and council feedback on the price tag included in the gas tax list. At the end, there will have to be some compromise to keep it from sinking the entire proposal.

One of the very confusing things about the way JTA has planned the U2C over the past few years is the near-complete absence of obvious integration of their plans into other projects along the planned route. We're rebuilding a third of Bay Street because of the Hart ramp teardown, perfect opportunity to integrate lanes for the expansion. But no, they're apparently separate projects and FDOT's plans show no evidence of any consideration for the U2C. Mind you, the federal dollars going to the ramp teardown are the same dollars going to the Bay Street Innovation Corridor. Or there's the road diet on Park Street, which does integrate JTA's own BRT route, another great opportunity to integrate U2C expansion. But no, the plans show no evidence of that, even though the U2C is supposed to use part of Park Street.

They somehow had time to put together a very fancy set of renderings for TOD, but didn't bother to call FDOT or even other parts of their own building and try to include space for their plans on the roads already being rebuilt. It's like, Schrödinger's project or something.

I'd certainly hope that the collision of their dreams with the expectations of reality actually requires them to think critically about the practicality of their project, but it requires that they get out of their bubble, decline the praise-filled calls from Local Motors or Navya for a moment, and take a moment to be realistic. We'll see if City Council forces them to do that.
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thelakelander

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #78 on: April 14, 2021, 01:43:00 PM »
There's no reason why a Bay Street (or even Park Street between Brooklyn and Five Points) can't be revamped into a "complete street" with a dedicated transit lane where technologies like AVs can be piloted (or even used by regular buses and the Flyer)....without touching the Skyway.

In fact, it should be done before moving forward.  This tech is 100% UNPROVEN.   You need to prove it works before you scale.


JTA is not doing the U2C robot bus thing to move people in Jacksonville.  They're doing it for something fancy on their resume for their next, bigger job.

^This is worthy of discussion, regarding the amount of money being penciled in for a single project that won't have much impact on the greater community. There's the potential of new technology and there's a basic need to improve the local mass transit system. At the end of the day, both can be done without the other. So the question is should we be spending $379MM in local tax dollars on this solution, at the potential expense of several other things that may not be as sexy but more important to the community?
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #79 on: April 14, 2021, 02:25:56 PM »
Probably worth mentioning here too, TIGER/BUILD has been rebranded as RAISE, and grants are now available with a max of $25 million.

Now, supposedly the Bay Street Innovation Corridor is already funded, and the two competing firms are now in the design stage, but I think it's useful to emphasize the potential for federal funding that's out there, and going to be out there ($80 billion for transit funding in the American Jobs Plan).
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

thelakelander

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #80 on: April 14, 2021, 02:33:55 PM »
Is the Bay Street Innovation Corridor already funded? Would it not include the U2C extension to the stadium? If so, is the funding of that not included in the $379 million gas tax number......meaning the U2C is even more expensive than people are being led to believe?
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #81 on: April 14, 2021, 03:21:59 PM »
Uh… according to this it is.

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The fully-funded Bay Street Innovation Corridor includes a three-mile at-grade AV service in Downtown Jacksonville along East Bay Street, from Pearl Street to the Sports and Entertainment Complex and TIAA Bank Field.

That's… a deeply concerning point. I've been trying to find the Transit Concepts and Alternative Review, but for the life of me I haven't come across it anywhere.

What I did find was this Infrastructure Assessment projecting costs for the conversion.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

Charles Hunter

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #82 on: April 14, 2021, 03:27:30 PM »
Sounds like a question that needs to come during the City Council meetings on the gas tax.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #83 on: April 14, 2021, 03:41:38 PM »
I felt like I was bludgeoned to death with buzzwords reading this.

https://www.jtafla.com/media/1707/u2c-innovative-autonomous.pdf

I found this and the assessment on this page for the BUILD grant.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

thelakelander

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #84 on: April 14, 2021, 05:45:09 PM »
Uh… according to this it is.

Quote
The fully-funded Bay Street Innovation Corridor includes a three-mile at-grade AV service in Downtown Jacksonville along East Bay Street, from Pearl Street to the Sports and Entertainment Complex and TIAA Bank Field.

That's… a deeply concerning point. I've been trying to find the Transit Concepts and Alternative Review, but for the life of me I haven't come across it anywhere.

What I did find was this Infrastructure Assessment projecting costs for the conversion.



I get the impression that we don't really know how much capacity a system of this type of need, in order to adequately serve the urban core.....in say 2030 or 2040? We're basically limited to what we know about what's out there vehicle-wise today. It's pretty scary to think this will likely cost taxpayers over $400MM, still not really get anyone far outside of downtown and could be obsolete by the time the first vehicle rolls across elevated Skyway infrastructure.
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thelakelander

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #85 on: April 14, 2021, 06:39:51 PM »
According to that linked document, the Bay St corridor is $62 million. If funded already, we're up to $436 million for the project. It's also a few years behind. That build grant proposal has a schedule showing the Bay Street Innovation Corridor being completed by this fall.
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Charles Hunter

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #86 on: April 14, 2021, 07:41:24 PM »
Could the U2C Gas Tax amount include the absurd new river crossing between the Four Seasons Hotel and the Southbank? Or would that further balloon the budget?

Something I noted in the linked report was this when talking about the new bridge
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To enhance connectivity, the plan recommends a new crossing of the St. Johns River be constructed to join the developing areas on the eastern ends on the Northbank and Southbank of the river. This new bridge will be for public transportation, bicycles and pedestrians only, connecting the Northbank and Southbank Riverwalk would create an inner loop for the future U2C service and enhancing accessibility of the downtown circulator.

Are they considering running the U2C on the Riverwalks?  From the table above, most of the candidate vehicles are nearly 7 feet wide. How wide are the Riverwalks?

There is so much more to critique in this document - maybe later.

Oh, and the report refers to the FTA as the Federal Transit Authority (on page 16) ... the "A" is for "Administration" - that would have earned a big red "X" and request to proofread the document before resubmitting. They do get it right later in the doc.

I have the TCAR, it is 2 PDFs and a PowerPoint Summary - the Final Report is 46.5 MB, the Appendices 136.1 MB, and the PowerPoint 16.9 MB. Does The Jaxson have a place to upload such files?

marcuscnelson

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #87 on: April 14, 2021, 09:31:46 PM »
According to that linked document, the Bay St corridor is $62 million. If funded already, we're up to $436 million for the project. It's also a few years behind. That build grant proposal has a schedule showing the Bay Street Innovation Corridor being completed by this fall.

Is it time to start saying "half a billion dollars"?

The last Making Moves advertised "full commercial revenue service of autonomous vehicles on Bay Street is expected no later than 2025." That's a two year delay from the "2023" timeframe they used for a while, and of course even later than the "fall 2021" on the BUILD grant application.

Could the U2C Gas Tax amount include the absurd new river crossing between the Four Seasons Hotel and the Southbank? Or would that further balloon the budget?

Something I noted in the linked report was this when talking about the new bridge
Quote
To enhance connectivity, the plan recommends a new crossing of the St. Johns River be constructed to join the developing areas on the eastern ends on the Northbank and Southbank of the river. This new bridge will be for public transportation, bicycles and pedestrians only, connecting the Northbank and Southbank Riverwalk would create an inner loop for the future U2C service and enhancing accessibility of the downtown circulator.

Are they considering running the U2C on the Riverwalks?  From the table above, most of the candidate vehicles are nearly 7 feet wide. How wide are the Riverwalks?

By "connecting the Riverwalks" they just mean that you walk from the Riverwalk to a station, get in a pod, get taken to the other side of the river, and walk from the station to the other Riverwalk.

I'm pretty sure the river crossing isn't happening. That report is from a few years ago when they initially unveiled the concept. They've somewhat vaguely described what they're spending the money on. Side note, it appears they updated the file listing the projects, and now instead of "Skyway Rehabilitation & Downtown Service Expansion" they're listing it as "Skyway Conversion to the U2C (Ultimate Urban Circulator) and Service Expansion"

Listed in ascending cost:

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$6,875,000: Skyway Rehabilitation & Downtown Service Expansion ‐ Fleet
Vehicle Fleet to support Skyway rehabilitation, downtown service expansion, and neighborhood extensions.

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$131,890,000: Skyway Conversion to the U2C (Ultimate Urban Circulator) and Service Expansion ‐ Neighborhood Extensions
Downtown service expansion of Skyway providing neighborhood Circulators through use of autonomous vehicle network to five (5) key areas: (1) West Corridor ‐ access to the Riverside and Five Points neighborhoods, as well as the popular Riverside Arts Market and growing Brooklyn neighborhood; (2) East Corridor ‐ extending eastward along Bay Street, these stations will annex the burgeoning Shipyards district and the popular Sports Complex with the downtown core; (3) North Corridor ‐ serving the revitalizing historic Springfield area, UF Health Center and VA Outpatient Clinic, the North Corridor would provide more access to integral health‐related resources and services; (4) South/Medical Complex Corridor ‐ Historic San Marco, which has long been a destination for those seeking a live/work/play location; and (5) Southbank Corridor ‐ the Southbank Corridor which has some of the greatest growth potential and expanded service will meet the transportation needs of future employees, residents and visitors.

Quote
$240,075,000: Skyway Conversion to the U2C (Ultimate Urban Circulator) ‐ Capital (Infrastructure, Systems)
Includes rehabilitation of the Skyway infrastructure, systems and IT network and expansion of services to support transition to autonomous vehicles.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

Charles Hunter

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #88 on: April 14, 2021, 09:54:42 PM »
marcusnelson - thanks for your explanation, that makes more sense - especially since the routes for the U2C don't use the Riverwalk.  But ... words have meanings, and they should edit their words more carefully.  Also, I agree that the new bridge isn't happening. Hopefully, they will produce some new graphics that leave it out.

I would like to see cost breakdowns of the $132 million and $240 million line items. How much for AVs and how many of them? How much for "stations"? How much for recharging infrastructure? How much to (and how will they) get the AVs between the Skyway and ground level, and how many of those transitions will there be?  Unless they are just grabbing random numbers, they have to have some idea about these things - and more.

blizz01

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Re: Skyway expansion in Jacksonville at stake in proposed gas tax increase
« Reply #89 on: April 14, 2021, 10:22:59 PM »
At that point in the river it would HAVE to be another drawbridge, right?