The Jaxson

Community => Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure => Topic started by: bl8jaxnative on December 16, 2018, 11:39:13 AM

Title: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 16, 2018, 11:39:13 AM
A lover of transit,transit expert Christof Spieler has a new book out, "Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit,".  In it he calls JTA's Skyway the most useless rail-transit line in the US.  Any new word on JTA putting this thing out of it's misery?   I know about the talk about robobuses.  But they're not ready for prime time left and JTA literally only has a couple years before it's current fleet of trains needs to be scrapped.


https://kinder.rice.edu/2018/11/15/missing-transit-planning-transit-riders

After surveying 47 cities with light rail or bus rapid transit systems for his new book "Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit," Spieler said he saw lots of missed opportunities and missteps when it comes to transit planning. The book even includes lists like "Most Useless Rail-Transit Lines," which includes Nashville's Music City Star, Jacksonville's Skyway and Cleveland's Waterfront Line. And the book's beautiful maps that plot transit networks against density show just how often lines miss the major population centers they should be connecting.
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 16, 2018, 11:42:33 AM
(https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/posts/2018/11/13_ridership_corrected_01/9282a9736.jpg)
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: vicupstate on December 16, 2018, 01:35:31 PM
I was very surprised to see LA post numbers like that. Phoenix is a bit of a surprise as well. 
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: thelakelander on December 16, 2018, 01:59:36 PM
Any reason they don't show streetcar lines?
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: thelakelander on December 16, 2018, 02:06:44 PM
Quote
"A lot of our decision making has actually had baked-in inequity," he said, noting that many transit decisions tend to reflect the interests of white, male, higher-wage populations, from big to small choices.

This basically describes a major problem with both the current Skyway and proposed U2C routes. Still missing or avoiding the densest and most transit dependent areas of the urban core.
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: KenFSU on December 16, 2018, 02:17:21 PM
Don't love the sensationalistic wording. There's a huge difference between "least useful" and "most useless." 5,000 people daily depend on the Skyway for various uses. In theory, that number should increase as well with the largest First Coast Flyer line yet now open and dropping off at Rosa Parks.

I'd also argue that comparing the Skyway - an urban circulator - to commuter and light rail lines is apples to oranges. Not that it would necessarily fair any better, but a fairer comparison would be with other circulators, streetcare lines, trolleys, etc.

The Skyway doesn't need to be put out of its misery. It needs to be finished in one way or another. Extend the system in some form into Brooklyn, Five Points, Riverside, Springfield, further into San Marco, and down to the stadium, and you've suddenly got a very useful system.
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: thelakelander on December 16, 2018, 02:41:01 PM
^That's why I asked about streetcar lines. The Skyway isn't rapid transit or LRT. It's an urban circulator. It serves the same role a streetcar would. It also carries a lot more people than many streetcar lines do. So the comparison with heavy rail and LRT may be highly inaccurate.
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: bl8jaxnative on December 18, 2018, 08:43:53 AM
Check out the article and the book.  The author is clearly calling the Skyway the most useless in the context of comparing it to other people movers.
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: Tacachale on December 18, 2018, 10:31:19 AM
I have a copy of the book. It includes the Skyway in a list of "most useless rail-transit lines". It doesn't call it the most useless. In fact, most of the others in the list are far worse:

Quote

Most Useless Rail-Transit Lines

Nashville's Music City Star cost only $41 million, but it carries only 1,200 people, which is less than a typical bus route.

The Cincinnati Bell Connector should have connected four major activity centers, but got cut back to only one.

Civic leaders love the ideas of circulators within major activity centers, but riders don't. Jacksonville spent two decades building its elevated Skyway, which carries only 5,000 people day.

The St. Clair County MetroLink line running east from St. Louis literally serves corn fields.

In the 1990s, Cleveland concluded the key to revitalization was stadiums, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Waterfront Line. Only 400 people a day ride the light-rail extension.

eBart was designed as a lower cost version of a 10-mile BART extension to Antioch, but still cost $525 million for two suburban park-and-ride stations, and every one of the 5,600 riders will have to transfer. An express bus could have done the same thing for less.


Spieler, Christof, Trains, Buses, People (https://www.amazon.com/Trains-Buses-People-Opinionated-Transit/dp/1610919033), 2018, p. 43.

The book also features other bad rail systems that for some reason aren't in the list. He's blistering about Tampa-St. Pete, in particular Tampa's TECO streetcar, which he says is only appealing to tourists, and only then when a cruise ship is in town (on a typical weekday, it only serves 400 people; on a high day, it can reach 2000, which is less than the Skyway on a bad (http://bad) day).

The Jacksonville section explains more about why the Skyway is on the "most useless" list: "Jacksonville spent the 1980s and 1990s building a 1970s vision of urban transit" (p. 210). He notes that the increase in riders to about 5k a day after the Skyway was made free: "In some ways, that is not bad. Similar-size streetcars built for the same purposes in Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Tacoma, and Seattle are carrying fewer people." However, the failure to match projections and the all-in bid on failed technology make it a low performer. He even gets a dig in on JTA's U2C plans: "With the trains aging, and the technology discontinued, JTA is now considering turning the elevated guideway into a path for automated vehicles, replacing 1970s technology of the future with 2010s technology of the future."

He does include Jax in the "Best Frequent Bus Networks" due to the rescheduling of the bus system and the creation of the First Coast Flyer (which he doesn't call BRT). "Unlike the Skyway, the Route Optimization Initiative became a model for cities elsewhere."
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: thelakelander on December 18, 2018, 10:37:47 AM
Quote
He even gets a dig in on JTA's U2C plans: "With the trains aging, and the technology discontinued, JTA is now considering turning the elevated guideway into a path for automated vehicles, replacing 1970s technology of the future with 2010s technology of the future.

I've always wondered why everyone can see this......except JTA?!
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: Tacachale on December 18, 2018, 11:48:28 AM
Quote
He even gets a dig in on JTA's U2C plans: "With the trains aging, and the technology discontinued, JTA is now considering turning the elevated guideway into a path for automated vehicles, replacing 1970s technology of the future with 2010s technology of the future.

I've always wondered why everyone can see this......except JTA?!

Who knows. They've definitely got a big blind spot with this.
Title: Re: Skyway - "The Most Useless Rail-Transit Line"
Post by: marcuscnelson on December 18, 2018, 09:28:09 PM
Quote
He even gets a dig in on JTA's U2C plans: "With the trains aging, and the technology discontinued, JTA is now considering turning the elevated guideway into a path for automated vehicles, replacing 1970s technology of the future with 2010s technology of the future.

I've always wondered why everyone can see this......except JTA?!

Becauseā€¦

FUTURE!

(https://media1.tenor.com/images/243c9a35edec8c05d441178ccbbf74e4/tenor.gif)