Author Topic: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan  (Read 2808 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« on: July 20, 2007, 03:39:36 AM »
Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan



Imagine, a light rail train in Downtown Jacksonville travels down Newnan Street, passes by the Florida Theater, just before heading down Water Street to the Prime Osborn Transportation Center. Could this be the future of Jacksonville Transportation? Read about this ambitious plan now.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/content/view/508

Jason

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2007, 08:38:18 AM »
Quote
This urban creek could be channeled and built into a tour boat route with a Oklahoma City or San Antonio like River (or Creek) Walk. The abandoned warehouses could be recycled as condos and shopping centers, a Hogan’s Creek walk could put a whole new dimension in Jacksonville’s popular Riverwalk system.

At the empty wooded lot at the Beaver Street gap, is an opportunity for a return of Jacksonville’s once famous “Dixieland Amusement Park”. This park once located in the City’s South-bank featured a sort of permanent combination Carnival-Worlds Fair-Tropical Expo, complete with midway and themed rides. Being the North Anchor to a Creek-Walk with two streetcar crossings, a Skyway crossing and sandwiched between the urban core and sports district should bode well for any recreational development.


This is a fantastic idea.  Hogan's Creek is ready and waiting for its potential to be tapped.  San Antonio's similar system is the perfect example of how a narrow channel could be utilized and celebrated.


thelakelander

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2007, 09:12:43 AM »
Definately an interesting plan.  Something like that down Water Street would help begin to tie in the Prime Osborn and the central core of the Northbank, by making all of those surface parking lots and garages viable development sites.  Three questions though?

1. How does JTA's BRT plans play into this?

2. How much do you anticipate the costs for such a system (just the starter line) to run?

3. Where would the money for construction come from?
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 09:19:29 AM by thelakelander »
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Jason

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2007, 10:08:14 AM »
My understanding is that the monies saved by implementing the commuter rail system versus city wide BRT could be applied to a start-up trolly line.  The red figure 8 would likely be the best one to begin with.  Next, as dollars became available, the core neighborhoods could be added and then expansions to the core trolly and skyway systems.





Next multimodal transfer stations (Prime Osborne Central station, San Marco, Sports Complex, and Shands) would provide secondary connection points to the central core and offer park 'n' ride lots to remove bus traffic from the core.  BRT lines would then pick up the areas not served by the commuter rail line (Beaches, Arlington).

Ock should be able to share estimated start-up costs of a trolly line.  Note that these articles are intended to show everyone what a comprehensive transportation system could look like in Jacksonville.

Ocklawaha

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Cost's, Connection's and BRT?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2007, 05:46:26 PM »
Hello All: So sorry for the late start, I was out in the "Everglades?" until about 5 pm today! Lunican and Jason, you did an excellent job on this piece. My hope is we have "awakened a sleeping GIANT and filled it with an incredible desire." Your illustrations, maps and the photo images are wonderful, thank you.

HOW DOES THIS FIT INTO BRT?

Put in simple terms, LRT downtown and in the historic districts moves or reduces the diesel buses in the downtown core. As loud as I have been about BRT, please understand, I don't think the idea is completely without merit. While I don't see BRT running above the FEC or CSX on some elevated bus freeway as JTA envisions, a use of REAL HOV lanes (3-4 persons + or buses only), reflective lane dividers, tight enforcment and limited busways, in area's unsuited to rail would make BRT a good thing. Lem Turner, MLK, New Kings, JT Butler, Blanding, Arlington Expy all come to mind as possible limited investment BRT routes. Every inch of the proposed Streetcar or "TRACTION COMPANY" line as well as the proposed extension of the Skyway, is tied to the BRT and to future Commuter Rail. Note Jasons, illustration of a "Red Box" near the stadium at Randolph, Arlington Expressway, The Skyway AND the Streetcar, this is pure connectivity.

HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST?

Current Heritage Trolleys and Modern Streetcar lines are coming in between $3 million a mile (Heritage) and as much as $15 million a mile (modern streetcar or pre-LRT). At the end of this I will post some numbers that include these costs along with our own Skyway.

HOW WOULD WE FUND IT?

Much funding for "heritage trolleys" can be buried in the urban funding programs, such as the latest incarnation of "Ice-Tea" or "Tea-21". The FTA also has programs that allow for LRT or Modern Streetcar development, but that process with it's 80/20 match, would put the Traction Company on about the same schedule as JTA's BRT.
Special incentive financial districts, museum, public-private partnerships and the Hogan's Creek district could all be tied to a massive redevelopment funding program such as Oklahoma Citys "MAPS" funds. Frankly, there are many options open to us.

Look at a tiny City and what they found, and yes WE made their study too!
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Kenosha, Wisconsin:

Quote
Affordable, workable light rail transit (LRT) in an American city of less than one million population? How about less than 100,000 population?

That seems to be precisely the case with the new streetcar system in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a small city of about 90,000 population. Located along the shore of Lake Michigan, Kenosha lies a short distance north of the Illinois-Wisconsin border, and about 70 miles (113 km) northwest of Chicago. Since 2000, Kenosha Transit has operated a 1.7-mile (2.7-km) streetcar loop designed to connect the local Metra regional passenger rail ("commuter rail") station to downtown attractions, a transit center, and the new 64-acre Harborpark residential development situated on the Lake Michigan shore.
[APTA Heritage Trolley website, March 2005; Vintage Trolley website, March 2005]

The route of the Kenosha Transit Electric Streetcar – a heritage-type system using renovated, Art Deco-era PCC (Presidents' Conference Committee) rolling stock – begins at Kenosha's Metra rail station and extends south on 11th Ave. to 56th Street.

The line is routed in a grassy median for about half its length, alongside the street for about a quarter of its length, and in the street for the remaining distance. While the single tracks are one-way, bidirectional service is rendered since the two parallel tracks are situated just two blocks apart, and there are 17 simple car stops. A double-ended siding is installed about midway through the route, adjacent to the city museum, allowing extra cars to be queued to accommodate special events, when needed, at the museum and the lakefront park. For electric power distribution, the street railway uses a 600 VDC OCS (overhead contact system) with simple trolley wire, with current being drawn by trolley poles on the cars.
[APTA Heritage Trolley website, March 2005; Vintage Trolley website, March 2005

As the Vintage Trolley website notes, "One of the most outstanding features of the operation is its attractive right-of-way through the city." Much of this consists of a relatively new track design embedded in turf (grass) developed by Stone Consulting & Design, Inc. that hides the track in grass-seeded areas on median strips and throughout the landscaped Harborpark segment. The track sections are surrounded by geotextile filter fabric, and contain a layer of topsoil over the crossties and up to the rail to facilitate vegetation growth. The net effect is nearly invisible trackage embedded in attractive verdant landscaping.
[APTA Heritage Trolley website, March 2005; Stone Consulting & Design website, March 2005]

Service is provided by one of five refurbished Toronto PCC cars, each painted in a different color scheme. The PCCs also received general repairs, wheelchair lifts, plus repainting, with work performed by Miner Railcar in Iowa.

[APTA Heritage Trolley website, March 2005; Vintage Trolley website, March 2005]

According to information from APTA's Heritage Trolley and Streetcar website, the entire project, including a new maintenance building, was completed for the astonishingly low cost of about $5 million - amounting to $3 million per mile (2000), or about $3.5 million per mile ($2.2 million/km) in year-2005 dollars. The cost of in-street track was reduced by using steel ties where track is embedded in pavement. OCS costs were reduced by standardizing four typical pole designs. Federal funding was obtained for most of the cost of the system.

During the summer season, up to 30% of the streetcar's operating costs have been covered from the farebox; the remainder of ongoing costs is borne by Kenosha Transit. However, sharp differences in function and trip-length produces a stark disparity in comparative operating and maintenance (O&M) costs, which are currently quite high for the streetcar – as a general rule, modes carrying passengers longer distances tend to show higher cost-effectiveness than modes functioning in a short-haul, stop-and-go, circulator mode over short route lengths. O&M cost data for all three Kenosha modes are shown in the following comparison (again, from the 2003 NTDB Agency Profile):

Cost per... Bus and Streetcar
Bus Passenger-trip $3.23
Bus Passenger-mile $0.87
Kenosha Streetcar passenger-trip $4.56
Kenosha Streetcar passenger-mile $4.04

While costs of over $4.50 per passenger-mile and over $4.00 per passenger-boarding are inordinately high for typical LRT, they may not be quite so egregious for a short, slow, central-area shuttle or circulator service. Would a rubber-tired faux-"trolley" minibus really have dramatically different costs – and still offer the same attraction for the public, and interest for adjacent businesses and developers?

It's worth noting that the O&M cost per passenger-mile of Kenosha's streetcar circulator service is actually not out of the range of other major short-distance central-city circulation-distribution rail or "fixed-guideway" transit systems, and in fact is less costly than some, in far more transit-favorable conditions. These systems use a variety of modes, including streetcar, automated guideway transit (AGT), and monorail (automated and manual). The following table provides comparative per-passenger-mile cost data for a number of such systems (FTA, NTDB, 2003):

City,  Urbanized Area Population,  Mode,  Cost per Passenger-Mile

Memphis,  972,100,  Streetcar,  $2.26
Tampa,  2,062,300,  Streetcar,  $2.19
Seattle,  2.712,200,  Streetcar,  $3.47
Detroit,  3,903,400,  Rail AGT,  $6.75
Miami,  4,919,000, AGT,  $3.02
Seattle,  2.712,200,  *Monorail,  $1.10
Jacksonville, 1,200,000, Monorail AGT, $17.85

Streetcar (see our article), Rail AGT = a automated guideway people mover on train track, AGT= a automated guideway people mover on rubber tires, *Monorail = a traditional "Disney style" monorail running point to point with only two stations, Monorail AGT = a hybrid automated guideway people mover on rubber tires using guideways and center beam running rails.

In any case, Kenosha's short streetcar service appears to be achieving the objectives for which it was originally installed, with the major benefits of the system being increasingly realized as the Harborfront development approaches complete build-out. The streetcar provides an increasingly useful circulation system which enables both residents and visitors to the recreation facilities to access the Metra regional rail station, the municipal buildings, and the downtown retail area. As the NYC Subway website notes, the colorful PCC streetcars are esthetically pleasing and provide conspicuous, high-quality circulator service for people living, shopping and working in the area. "The presence of the streetcars enhances the character of the area while providing needed mobility, reliably, with zero emissions."
[NYCSubway website, March 2005]

The apparent success of Kenosha's system in fulfilling its mobility and urban development goals seems to suggest that quite attractive and workable LRT systems can be installed with a minimalist design approach and strict cost containment – making a heritage type of LRT perhaps an affordable option even for smaller cities and towns.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Let's get Jacksonville back on Track(s)

Watch for a new WEBSITE, lightrailjacksonville, coming soon!


Ocklawaha

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2007, 06:39:32 PM »
Ocklawaha,
Why not just start a new Jacksonville Traction Company yourself.  I'd rather invest by buying stock than as a taxpayer.
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Ocklawaha

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Do it Myself?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2007, 12:06:11 PM »
WELL that is an option... believe it or not. Heritage Trolleys are so popular that there are already a couple that are on the drawing boards as private systems. Time will tell if they get built and what success they will have. I believe (with out digging through a mountian of paper) one is in Omaha.

The museum route is another that has taken hold, in fact Dallas McKinney Avenue, and Memphis are operated with, built with and restored with all volunteer labor. Another, perhaps one of these lines is "selling" the streetcars much like stadium naming. The cars retain their original look, but the number can be replaced with an ornate name ("Omni Jacksonville" for example). The purchaser gets certain free passes, party dates, and placard advertising. Currently there are 3 or 4 American clone cars available in Australia, fully restored, with tech support and parts, delivered to JaxPort for about $450,000 each.

Let's see how the City moves on this. Meanwhile keep watching the site:
http://www.freewebs.com/lightrailjacksonville
It's still under-construction, but things will improve when it is ready for the masses and I'll drop the "freeweb" portion.

Your Friend

Ocklawaha...."clang....clang....clang....clang...."

thelakelander

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2007, 01:51:04 PM »
There's a private one that was constructed to move shoppers around in a SJTC-type mall in Shreveport, as well.
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Jason

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2007, 09:18:09 AM »
Would the JTA or city be willing to work with a private investor though?

thelakelander

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2007, 10:34:20 AM »
Would the JTA or city be interested in doing such a thing (an actual streetcar system) would be the first thing to overcome.  After we figure that out, then we can dive into financing scenerios.
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urbanlibertarian

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2007, 02:18:27 PM »
I'm not old enough to remember the Jacksonville Traction Company but I barely remember the Jacksonville Coach Company that ran the bus service.  I believe they were about to go under when the city took over.  I wonder what the bus fare now would have to be for the system to operate without subsidy.  I also wonder what the fare would be on a private streetcar system would be in order for it to be somewhat profitable.
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Ocklawaha

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Re: Bring Back Jacksonville Traction: The Plan
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2007, 02:40:07 PM »
Just a quick sample of costs per passenger mile (one passenger carried one mile) the streetcar would be about $2.64.  So a $3.00 fare would leave about .36 cents per passenger - per mile profit. But this assumes a lot of things about load factors, schedules and such. Still it stands tall next to the Skyway, which would have to charge $18.00+ per passenger - per mile, to pull off the same profit!

I realize libertarian doctrine is less government and private services. Unless this idea could be broadly applied to every mode, INCLUDING highways, mass transit wouldn't work. A reverse concept is fare free transit, an idea who's time is quickly gaining ground. Several cities have tried it and transit services were almost buried by the response. So is the JTA fare increase the right direction? Consider a bus that travels 300 miles per day, with an average load of only 5-15 passengers each paying $1.00... Now what about the same bus charging a quarter? All seat's full? Higher overall income? less wear on the highways? More quality riders? Enter corporate sponsorship and student "free passes," or dedicated 1 or 2 cent local gas tax, and we fill every bus, trolley and rail car in the city... Yes it's just a theory, but it was tried in the depression with great results, why not again?



A lowly Piedmont and Northern employee realized the line was being killed by the automobile interests and mentioned to an official his idea to fill the seats. "Those cars are running empty so we keep charging more... why not reverse our fares and fill all of the seats?" The idea struck like a 600 Volt DC lightning strike and the rest is history, IT WORKED!

Ocklawaha
« Last Edit: July 24, 2007, 02:45:25 PM by Ocklawaha »