Author Topic: Nat Ford: Why Jax should invest in the future of transportation, Downtown  (Read 12831 times)

vicupstate

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The fun thing about having an ideology that largely relies on obstructionism vs actual policymaking is that you don't actually have to offer alternatives.

And as I've said in other threads, there's been surprisingly little talk of the projects on the list. Instead the argument seems to be about whether to pass it at all.

100% agree on that first sentence. I never understand why the Left/Democrats don't press that point harder on literally everything.

As far as the list itself, are there any items OTHER than U2C, that would be considered controversial, or wasteful or 'has some baggage'?
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thelakelander

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^The Emerald Trail streets are becoming a big controversial item. None of these complete streets corridors are included in the list because OGC doesn't think they are eligible. Continued push back will be needed to show that many of the complete streets projects that have been marketed as The Emerald Trail are actually road projects, in the same vein as many of the isolated complete street and traffic calming projects on the list.

Other than that, many of the projects that are included may or may not be needed, depending on the design. At this point, there isn't a lot of information out there on many of them. However, they don't individually take up 40% of the LOGT revenue for the next 25 years, so the council really hasn't dived into the weeds. Unfortunately, most are more concerned with either passing the tax or killing it, what's on the project list be damned. It really is unfortunate how this city tends to squander these types of opportunities.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

jaxoNOLE

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Outside of the U2C, I'm personally interested in the extent of the University/Merrill Rd Complete Streets project on the list as it runs through my area of town. JTA hasn't responded to my inquiry on that.

Regarding the Emerald Trail: For council members who haven't read the Jaxson article, the presentation given by Groundwork Jax in the Transportation Committee meeting on 5/3 also made it pretty clear that at least some major segments of the design were road projects. Other segments, like daylighting Hogan's Creek at UF*, were identified as providing drainage improvements. For something that appeared to have unanimous support of the committee -- and where several CM questions focused on funding sources -- it's a little amazing we're not seeing more discussion at the Council level to at least consider the LOGT as one of those sources.

I've flat-out asked my CM to introduce an amendment redirecting funds from the U2C to the Emerald Trail. However, if OGC doesn't think the Trail projects are eligible, could such an amendment even be passed? 

*Fun fact, if you Google Hogan's Creek, the thumbnail Google provides is the Groundworks Jax rendering of the daylighted creek at UF.

thelakelander

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I think the issue with OGC's opinion is that it can be changed and smart councilmembers and people need to do their homework and push to change it. Part of the Groundwork Jax presentation to council this week is a part of the effort to explain what the Emerald Trail project actually is. It's a series of road, drainage and traffic calming and safety projects that are being promoted as the Emerald Trail. However, from a legal perspective, fixing a sidewalk, moving curb and gutter, installing bike lanes, milling and resurfacing pavement on Hogan Street, is no different than doing the same thing on University/Merrill Road. We're just calling one the Emerald Trail and the other a Complete Street.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

jaxoNOLE

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Back in 2013, Council sought the opinion of the state AG. It seems an easy answer to conflicting local legal opinions would be to go straight to the AG with a carefully-worded question about the Emerald Trail.

Jacksonville's 2013 request:
http://www.myfloridalegal.com/ago.nsf/Opinions/9A2EA4966EC8984285257C550050D86E


Ponce Inlet seeking guidance on bike paths:
http://www.myfloridalegal.com/ago.nsf/Opinions/07ABA79ACBC01B7E85256B3700560D95

The Ponce Inlet inquiry, while old (2002), is instructive because the opinion references 2 prior (and contrasting) examples reviewed by the AG. If we say, "Hey, can we use LOGT to build trails?", the answer is probably, "No." But if we ask, "Can LOGT funds be used to fund conversion of underutilized roadways into complete streets with updated patterns, traffic calming, signalization, striping, and integrated bike paths and sidewalks?" -- then it seems the answer is clearly "Yes," as articulated in the article here on the Jaxson.


tufsu1

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Regarding the Emerald Trail: For council members who haven't read the Jaxson article, the presentation given by Groundwork Jax in the Transportation Committee meeting on 5/3 also made it pretty clear that at least some major segments of the design were road projects. Other segments, like daylighting Hogan's Creek at UF*, were identified as providing drainage improvements. For something that appeared to have unanimous support of the committee -- and where several CM questions focused on funding sources -- it's a little amazing we're not seeing more discussion at the Council level to at least consider the LOGT as one of those sources.

I've flat-out asked my CM to introduce an amendment redirecting funds from the U2C to the Emerald Trail. However, if OGC doesn't think the Trail projects are eligible, could such an amendment even be passed? 

several of us have been working on this for over a month - and thankfully OGC now feels the trail system qualifies - so please continue reaching out to council members!

jaxoNOLE

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Regarding the Emerald Trail: For council members who haven't read the Jaxson article, the presentation given by Groundwork Jax in the Transportation Committee meeting on 5/3 also made it pretty clear that at least some major segments of the design were road projects. Other segments, like daylighting Hogan's Creek at UF*, were identified as providing drainage improvements. For something that appeared to have unanimous support of the committee -- and where several CM questions focused on funding sources -- it's a little amazing we're not seeing more discussion at the Council level to at least consider the LOGT as one of those sources.

I've flat-out asked my CM to introduce an amendment redirecting funds from the U2C to the Emerald Trail. However, if OGC doesn't think the Trail projects are eligible, could such an amendment even be passed? 

several of us have been working on this for over a month - and thankfully OGC now feels the trail system qualifies - so please continue reaching out to council members!

As a political outsider here in Jax, I sure am happy the smart folks here are working so hard behind the scenes 8) . Keep up the good fight!

marcuscnelson

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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

jaxlongtimer

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bl8jaxnative

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I wonder what the definition of quickly is?

"Imagine being able to quickly go from Riverside to a Jumbo Shrimp game..."

Imagine instead if we completed the Riverwalk from Berkman II to A Philip Randolph Blvd (the bulkhead work was done almost a decade ago).  One could ride their bike from 5 Points along the Riverwalk to the ballpark in about 20 minutes.


I think that's a great example of the opportunity cost of these lil robo clown cars JTA's infatuated with.   

What would extending the riverwalk from Berkman to Metro Park cost?  $5m?  $15m?

For those that have a vision for that Riverwalk, for it's size and set backs, putting it before things get redeveloped ( if they ever do ) may be an advantage for enforcing some of those things.

Charles Hunter

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Article from Jalopnik this week about "autonowashing" AVs.

https://jalopnik.com/lets-talk-autonowashing-the-greenwashing-of-autonomous-1846853227

Great article.
But can we add "autonowashing" to "U2C" as a stupid term?  :)

marcuscnelson

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I wonder what the definition of quickly is?

"Imagine being able to quickly go from Riverside to a Jumbo Shrimp game..."

Imagine instead if we completed the Riverwalk from Berkman II to A Philip Randolph Blvd (the bulkhead work was done almost a decade ago).  One could ride their bike from 5 Points along the Riverwalk to the ballpark in about 20 minutes.


I think that's a great example of the opportunity cost of these lil robo clown cars JTA's infatuated with.   

What would extending the riverwalk from Berkman to Metro Park cost?  $5m?  $15m?

For those that have a vision for that Riverwalk, for it's size and set backs, putting it before things get redeveloped ( if they ever do ) may be an advantage for enforcing some of those things.

Ideally, the best way to enforce it would be to actually "prepare" the area for development, by which I mean remediate the ground, build the access roads & infrastructure (including the riverwalk and whatever setback we want) and then sell or lease the parcels to whoever we'd like to get it on the tax rolls and recoup the public investment. This applies more to things like the District & Shipyards than buildings that already exist.
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

bl8jaxnative

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U2C would be a multi-generational mistake, and it’s pretty terrifying that this is a hill JTA wants to die on. 

If you're trying to make a career of being a mass transit exec in the US and you want to move up to bigger and better, you really want to be a part of a rail project.  It ain't an absolute but it's a big thing.

Jacksonville doesn't have the downtown office job population nor the population density, even in the core, to sustain rail-based mass transit.   

So what's someone to do?  Heck, let's say it, what does the head of an org like JTA do to better position themself for career advancement? 

The next best thing ---> build a swarm of robo buses!



That is to say, I don't think this is hill the people of JTA want to die.   I suspect though their leadership is okay with JTA jumping on this grenade.

To be fair, I doubt they see it as a grenade.   They likely see it as a if the plan fails, JTA goes on as it did before.  If it succeeds, big feather in their caps.

That feather's really needed to make that next move.

marcuscnelson

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What I find strange is that I'm not sure who exactly would be doing that. Nat Ford ran Marta and Muni, I'm sure he could find better work elsewhere. Bernard Schmidt came from Amazon, he could have kept moving up there. And Brad Thoburn already left for FDOT. Who exactly is going to get a bump from this project that they wouldn't have gotten doing anything else?

In other news, Hussein Cumber gave a major kick in the rear to the project today.

https://www.jacksonville.com/story/opinion/2021/05/11/guest-column-skyway-doesnt-have-place-downtown/5021831001/
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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Quote
I keep hearing about how a revitalized system will help move people to places like TIAA Bank Stadium. A system that will have up to eight people per automated vehicle would be able to move 5,000 people (less than 7% of the stadium’s capacity) in over 10 hours if the frequency is as little as one minute! No offense to the Jaguars pre-game activities, but no one wants to arrive 10 hours before game time.

The system is flawed from the start and designed not by users, but by engineers who charge by the hour and have no risk if the project is a complete failure. This is the same process that led to the Skyway to be built in the first place. JTA claims that there is a huge demand for the expanded system, yet only JTA employees stand at the podium to talk about how much the community needs the Skyway. Where are the ridership studies? Where are the focus groups that demonstrate people will use the system? Do we even know people travel between the destinations that have been chosen?

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