The Jaxson

Community => Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure => Topic started by: thelakelander on January 23, 2019, 08:53:55 AM

Title: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 23, 2019, 08:53:55 AM
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The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) recently announced that former Amazon® executive Bernard Schmidt has been hired to serve as Vice President of Automation. In this new position, Schmidt will manage and oversee all elements of the Ultimate Urban Circulator Program (U2C), including the Bay Street Innovation Corridor project.

(https://photos.moderncities.com/Transportation/JTA-Skyway-U2C/i-NxHR7Mm/0/204cbd65/L/bay-st-innovation-corridor-concept-plans-build-grant_Page_2-L.jpg)

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The U2C program is not like any other domestic capital program that has been undertaken. Fixed guideway automated vehicle technology is currently operating in the United States, but the transition to driverless vehicles and other mixed traffic and pedestrian integrated mobility is unique and new to the United States. Comparable programs include those in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Switzerland.

(https://photos.moderncities.com/Transportation/JTA-Skyway-U2C/i-CBHcWGN/0/c0adf41a/L/bay-st-innovation-corridor-concept-plans-build-grant_Page_3-L.jpg)

Read More: https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/jta-hires-former-amazon-exec-to-oversee-u2c-program/
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: Captain Zissou on January 23, 2019, 09:27:59 AM
I would consider this throwing good money after bad.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: CityLife on January 23, 2019, 09:50:32 AM
Think the headline is a bit deceiving. He was a general manager of a fulfillment center, not an executive for Amazon Corporate.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 23, 2019, 09:57:08 AM
The headline hooked me as well. However, I decided to run the press release as is.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: CityLife on January 23, 2019, 10:05:48 AM
The headline hooked me as well. However, I decided to run the press release as is.

Yeah, I figured that’s where it came from. Not only is he not an Amazon Corporate guy, he managed one of the Amazon fulfillment centers in Jax. There are tons of fulfillment centers around the country....Nice try JTA.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/amazon-plans-to-create-5-000-jacksonville-jobs

Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 23, 2019, 10:29:46 AM
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Bernard has a wide breadth of experience in strategy, management, oversight and implementation. At United Technologies Corporation, General Dynamics, Inc. and Dominion Nuclear Energy Co., he instituted overall process improvements and performed systems and design engineering for aerospace systems; maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities, and nuclear submarines. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester and earned his master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Lean Studies and has a Six Sigma Master Black Belt.[/font][/size]


At least besides that he seems like a pretty smart guy. Not sure how that leads into running an untested program being forced like a round peg into a square hole and likely doomed to failure, but he is smart.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: JBTripper on January 23, 2019, 10:31:27 AM
U2C doesn't cross the river? I thought this thing was supposed to extend into San Marco.

Also, The District is under construction?
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 23, 2019, 10:43:33 AM
I'm not aware of the District being under construction. Also, I believe the Bay Street thing shown is supposed to be phase 1 of the U2C.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: Jagsdrew on January 23, 2019, 01:34:08 PM
This looks so wasteful. 

So many home run ideas but the base hits are the ones that make the most impact.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: Captain Zissou on January 23, 2019, 02:09:43 PM
Think the headline is a bit deceiving. He was a general manager of a fulfillment center, not an executive for Amazon Corporate.

This makes me feel better.  I thought they were shelling out millions for this guy.  Luckily that's not the case.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: Kerry on January 24, 2019, 08:40:38 AM
I'm just wondering what it is on this guy's resume that qualifies him above all other applicants to be placed in charge of a mass transit implementation.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 24, 2019, 10:26:39 AM
I'm just wondering what it is on this guy's resume that qualifies him above all other applicants to be placed in charge of a mass transit implementation.


I'm wondering who else applied.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 24, 2019, 10:44:22 AM
1. Autonomous vehicles
2. Innovation corridor
3. Hart Bridge ramps
4. Convention center
5. JEA Tower
6. Opportunity zone selection
7. Shipyards
8. Metro Park
9. Stadium upgrades

... all roads lead to Shad Khan.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: JBTripper on January 24, 2019, 12:19:53 PM
If the self-driving cars are as good as advertised, vehicles will no longer require bumpers. That's not great for Shad. /s
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: Kerry on January 24, 2019, 01:14:52 PM
1. Autonomous vehicles
2. Innovation corridor
3. Hart Bridge ramps
4. Convention center
5. JEA Tower
6. Opportunity zone selection
7. Shipyards
8. Metro Park
9. Stadium upgrades

... all roads lead to Shad Khan.

...and people think I'm crazy for thinking the Jags aren't good for Jax.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: ProjectMaximus on January 24, 2019, 10:19:36 PM
If the self-driving cars are as good as advertised, vehicles will no longer require bumpers. That's not great for Shad. /s

 ;D ;D
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: bl8jaxnative on January 26, 2019, 02:05:05 PM
I'm not sure what the point of quibbling over whether or not the running a 24/7 facility with 1,500 employees constitutes "amazon exec" or not.   JTA has 1/2 that many employees.   

The 1,500 employee facility had more robots working in it than humans.   

The important piece here is maybe lost on the journalists.  He's had day in, day out real life experience working with robots.   At the end of the day U2C is about having robots carry people around.   

Schmidt has great experience working with these robots and setting up systems and processes to maximize the use of the robots and maximizing their safe interactions with people.   

I'm incredibly skeptical of JTA's plan  to use robobuses.   IMHO their current Skyway fleet will crap out long before robobuses are safe enough to be unleashed on the general public.   I'd love to poo-poo this move by them.  But, at least from here, it seems like a solid move forward.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/technology/amazon-robots-workers.html
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 26, 2019, 05:01:29 PM
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He's had day in, day out real life experience working with robots.   At the end of the day U2C is about having robots carry people around.   

Schmidt has great experience working with these robots and setting up systems and processes to maximize the use of the robots and maximizing their safe interactions with people. 


There are all kinds of robots doing very different things.  Just because someone has managed humans in one profession doesn't automatically make them proficient to manage humans in another.  Likewise, a robot on an auto assembly line that is fixed in place and repetitively and predictably repeats the same motions making cars isn't the same as robotic vehicles that interact and transport people in a complex environment that is ever changing.  In that spirit, supporting robotic material handling in an Amazon warehouse is far less sophisticated than autonomous vehicles and is not really comparable to the task at hand.

That said, regardless of who takes charge, I think this project is going to be a failure on par with the Skyway for much of the same reasons.  Terrible cost-benefit ratio, won't be widely accepted or desired by the consuming public (after a potential "novelty" period) and will, given it is attempting to be an "early adopter", both face lots of unanticipated/unsolved technical issues and be quickly superseded by far better solutions quickly rendering it a dinosaur like the Skyway it is replacing.

Common sense says, like the Skyway, how much impact can slow moving cars carrying 5 to 12 (?) people make on traffic or mobility for the masses?  And, in Downtown, you still have the elevated stations which have proven to be more out-of-sight, out-of-mind and too out-of-the-way for most.  If they pull this off, I give it no more than 5 years before its declared the next black eye for Jax transit.  We should just await the arrival of self driving Ubers with no taxpayer support.  Better yet, the arrival of autonomous buses, trolleys and trains that can carry far more people to far more places.

With all the other far better and more necessary transit options we could and should be pursuing, it is disappointing to see this side show being pushed forward, diverting limited resources and distracting us from what we should really be focused on.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 26, 2019, 05:58:57 PM
I'm all for transit that can have the side economic benefit of helping change the built environment into a place that's more walkable and dense. It really doesn't matter what the technology or innovative idea is, if a project doesn't provide the basics that set it up to appeal to the average end user, it's screwed. The biggest issues I see with the U2C aren't necessary what's running under the hood. They're some of the same basics the Skyway suffers from:

1. The Route - High frequency, high profile, premium, fixed transit needs to seamlessly connect where potential riders live and where they want to go. No matter how much Curry, Khan, Rummell, etc. are selling, downtown WITH their developments fully built out, still lacks the necessary residential population density to support a significant mass transit investment alone. These guys need to tie this thing deep into the heart of where transit dependent riders live. That's not Five Points, Brooklyn or San Marco.....it's neighborhoods and destinations in the Northwest Quadrant like Durkeeville, Edward Waters, New Town, Farmers Market, etc.

2. Lack of Dedicated ROW or lanes - Just because an emerging transit technology may be able to mix in traffic with doesn't make it a good idea to do so. Give your transit investment a real possibility of competing with personal vehicle travel through travel time savings and on-time arrival reliability. The purest way to accomplish this is with dedicated lanes or ROW, regardless of if the mode is an AV, streetcar, LRT, bus or bicycle.

3. Coordinated Land Use - I'm highly surprised that people in this town don't talk much about the importance of coordinating land use policies with transportation infrastructure investments here. The Skyway was built over 30 years ago. A city like Charlotte or Portland would have made sure major urban investments like TIAA Bank Field, the Jacksonville Landing, Hyatt Riverfront, Veterans Memorial Arena, the Baseball Grounds, the Duval County Courthouse, the Main Public Library, etc. would have been situated within walking distance of its existing stations, thus giving people a reason to use the $200 million investment. They also would have made sure to tie the thing into real destinations with parking and expansion constraints like Baptist Health on the Southbank or UF Health Jacksonville in Springfield. Land between these perfectly situated destinations would have been zoned and pushed as locations for high density infill development to take place. If that were done over the past 30 years, the Skyway would have much higher ridership, even if it never expanded past 2.5 to 5 miles in total system length. Today, we still don't put much thought into coordinating land use. As a result, it's more realistic to expect a similar outcome than one that will be totally different.

4. Changing demographics - There's nothing wrong with technology or innovation, but make sure we know and understand our local demographic make-up and trends in comparison with whatever is being planned to serve it. At least since 1970, we've been trending more black, hispanic and asian, while our white population moves further away from the core, inner ring suburbs, etc. and into our exburbs and adjacent counties. The press release states the U2C will be the first of its kind in the US and the only similar systems in operation exist in the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands! That should raise a big red flag as an issue that needs more attention and detailed analysis and focus, IMO. It's sort of like serving only Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. That may fly over in Mandarin or Avondale but you'll get ran out of Grand Park or Moncrief. There, you better show up with an entirely different set of sides, desserts and preparation of meat. We got to know and understand our demographics and how that relates to acceptance of different public investments and mobility solutions.

5 . Capacity - In a world of where you want higher density, more walkability, etc., it's logical to provide transit solutions that can move a higher capacity of people. If all we're talking about is vehicles moving at 25mph and carrying a max of 12 to 15 people (still not sure what happens if a bike user wants to jump on with bikes) and sharing lanes with cars, we can get away with doing nothing. The private sector (lyft, uber, jitneys, etc.) can serve that market better than the public sector can.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: jaxnyc79 on January 27, 2019, 10:44:48 AM
I'm all for transit that can have the side economic benefit of helping change the built environment into a place that's more walkable and dense. It really doesn't matter what the technology or innovative idea is, if a project doesn't provide the basics that set it up to appeal to the average end user, it's screwed. The biggest issues I see with the U2C aren't necessary what's running under the hood. They're some of the same basics the Skyway suffers from:

1. The Route - High frequency, high profile, premium, fixed transit needs to seamlessly connect where potential riders live and where they want to go. No matter how much Curry, Khan, Rummell, etc. are selling, downtown WITH their developments fully built out, still lacks the necessary residential population density to support a significant mass transit investment alone. These guys need to tie this thing deep into the heart of where transit dependent riders live. That's not Five Points, Brooklyn or San Marco.....it's neighborhoods and destinations in the Northwest Quadrant like Durkeeville, Edward Waters, New Town, Farmers Market, etc.

2. Lack of Dedicated ROW or lanes - Just because an emerging transit technology may be able to mix in traffic with doesn't make it a good idea to do so. Give your transit investment a real possibility of competing with personal vehicle travel through travel time savings and on-time arrival reliability. The purest way to accomplish this is with dedicated lanes or ROW, regardless of if the mode is an AV, streetcar, LRT, bus or bicycle.

3. Coordinated Land Use - I'm highly surprised that people in this town don't talk much about the importance of coordinating land use policies with transportation infrastructure investments here. The Skyway was built over 30 years ago. A city like Charlotte or Portland would have made sure major urban investments like TIAA Bank Field, the Jacksonville Landing, Hyatt Riverfront, Veterans Memorial Arena, the Baseball Grounds, the Duval County Courthouse, the Main Public Library, etc. would have been situated within walking distance of its existing stations, thus giving people a reason to use the $200 million investment. They also would have made sure to tie the thing into real destinations with parking and expansion constraints like Baptist Health on the Southbank or UF Health Jacksonville in Springfield. Land between these perfectly situated destinations would have been zoned and pushed as locations for high density infill development to take place. If that were done over the past 30 years, the Skyway would have much higher ridership, even if it never expanded past 2.5 to 5 miles in total system length. Today, we still don't put much thought into coordinating land use. As a result, it's more realistic to expect a similar outcome than one that will be totally different.

4. Changing demographics - There's nothing wrong with technology or innovation, but make sure we know and understand our local demographic make-up and trends in comparison with whatever is being planned to serve it. At least since 1970, we've been trending more black, hispanic and asian, while our white population moves further away from the core, inner ring suburbs, etc. and into our exburbs and adjacent counties. The press release states the U2C will be the first of its kind in the US and the only similar systems in operation exist in the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands! That should raise a big red flag as an issue that needs more attention and detailed analysis and focus, IMO. It's sort of like serving only Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. That may fly over in Mandarin or Avondale but you'll get ran out of Grand Park or Moncrief. There, you better show up with an entirely different set of sides, desserts and preparation of meat. We got to know and understand our demographics and how that relates to acceptance of different public investments and mobility solutions.

5 . Capacity - In a world of where you want higher density, more walkability, etc., it's logical to provide transit solutions that can move a higher capacity of people. If all we're talking about is vehicles moving at 25mph and carrying a max of 12 to 15 people (still not sure what happens if a bike user wants to jump on with bikes) and sharing lanes with cars, we can get away with doing nothing. The private sector (lyft, uber, jitneys, etc.) can serve that market better than the public sector can.

I'm supportive of the self-driving car transit program.  The average car today is only used 4% of the time, meaning it must be parked somewhere 96% of the time.  Once self-driving cars are mainstream, the adoption will have far-reaching implications to land use of vast stretches of city land now covered with parking lots and other widespread accommodations for the range of inefficiencies in car use.  If JTA wants to get out in front of this trend on behalf of Jax, then so be it.  People with means will likely use rideshare apps.  The less fortunate will start to use JTA self-driving vehicles that are hopefully inter-linked with traffic signals so that they can operate somewhat like light-rail.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 27, 2019, 01:58:28 PM
I'm supportive of the self-driving car transit program.  The average car today is only used 4% of the time, meaning it must be parked somewhere 96% of the time.  Once self-driving cars are mainstream, the adoption will have far-reaching implications to land use of vast stretches of city land now covered with parking lots and other widespread accommodations for the range of inefficiencies in car use.  If JTA wants to get out in front of this trend on behalf of Jax, then so be it.

I get less caught up on the type of vehicle and more on making sure a system is designed to specifically fight the needs of the population it will be serving. From my understanding, this (the trend you described above) isn't what JTA is doing or specifically responding too. From my daily work in the field, I'd also say we're at least a generation away from a day when self-driving personal vehicles are mainstream. It's not so much about the technology. It's more related to everything else....politics, equity issues, funding roadway infrastructure upgrades, etc. We're still on the path for having a critical shortage of truck drivers by 2026. From a technology standpoint, one would think professions like truck driving would be on an endangered species list. Also, nothing we're doing now would be considered "getting ahead of the trend" in regards to AV technology. Other cities in the country have already tested AV transit vehicles in real life conditions. Gainesville and Tampa are likely to beat us to the punch as well. When you think about it, what's stopping us from putting these things out on Bay Street today? We don't need to touch the Skyway to do that. Our getting ahead would be tearing up our fixed transit system and replacing it with AVs. However, there's no national trend. It's basically us......which is pretty scary.


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People with means will likely use rideshare apps.  The less fortunate will start to use JTA self-driving vehicles that are hopefully inter-linked with traffic signals so that they can operate somewhat like light-rail.

Currently, the U2C's path avoids the less fortunate and transit dependent and targets areas with potential users that already have the means to use rideshare apps. Also, to operate like LRT, a system would need dedicated lanes or ROW. Otherwise, the time reliability, efficiency and overall safety of said system dramatically decreases, regardless of the technology (AVs, bus, streetcar, LRT, etc.) selected.

One thing I'm still highly interested in hearing about is the type of capacity we'd need in the event the urban core was a vibrant one? Right now, the AVs being looked at have less capacity than the existing Skyway. Depending on what that real max capacity number is, we'd need larger transit vehicles and dedicated lanes/ROW to keep them from clogging up the streets with regular vehicular traffic.

Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: ProjectMaximus on January 27, 2019, 02:00:01 PM
I'm supportive of the self-driving car transit program.  The average car today is only used 4% of the time, meaning it must be parked somewhere 96% of the time.  Once self-driving cars are mainstream, the adoption will have far-reaching implications to land use of vast stretches of city land now covered with parking lots and other widespread accommodations for the range of inefficiencies in car use.  If JTA wants to get out in front of this trend on behalf of Jax, then so be it.  People with means will likely use rideshare apps.  The less fortunate will start to use JTA self-driving vehicles that are hopefully inter-linked with traffic signals so that they can operate somewhat like light-rail.

I totally agree with you on the future transformation of transportation. And I am taking much more of a wait-and-see approach with the "clown" cars than most of the folks on this forum. However, I do agree that sticking to tried-and-true transit would be the far safer move and it in no way would be deficient or diminish whatever technology disruptions we see on the roadways. Fixed rail will always be a solid, complementary method of transportation and it seems like such an obvious and simple next step. For some reason JTA is just all about the new technology and autonomous vehicles...first the Skyway and now U2C.  :-\

Here in Miami the mayors of Miami Beach and Miami are seriously pushing for the same thing to link their cities.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 27, 2019, 02:14:08 PM
I totally agree with you on the future transformation of transportation. And I am taking much more of a wait-and-see approach with the "clown" cars than most of the folks on this forum. However, I do agree that sticking to tried-and-true transit would be the far safer move and it in no way would be deficient or diminish whatever technology disruptions we see on the roadways.

Good points. I think most of the push back the JTA gets locally deals with this. Getting the basics right for people who need better mobility options today won't necessarily mean we won't be behind the eight ball in accommodating disruptions that future technologies may bring.

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Here in Miami the mayors of Miami Beach and Miami are seriously pushing for the same thing to link their cities.

Good example. They're exploring the use of a different technology for a connection that doesn't exist today. They aren't talking about ripping up the Metromover, Metrorail, Brightline or Tri-Rail. The Miami/Miami Beach connection would simply be one more tool in the mobility tool box.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: jaxnyc79 on January 27, 2019, 07:02:11 PM
I totally agree with you on the future transformation of transportation. And I am taking much more of a wait-and-see approach with the "clown" cars than most of the folks on this forum. However, I do agree that sticking to tried-and-true transit would be the far safer move and it in no way would be deficient or diminish whatever technology disruptions we see on the roadways.

Good points. I think most of the push back the JTA gets locally deals with this. Getting the basics right for people who need better mobility options today won't necessarily mean we won't be behind the eight ball in accommodating disruptions that future technologies may bring.

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Here in Miami the mayors of Miami Beach and Miami are seriously pushing for the same thing to link their cities.

Good example. They're exploring the use of a different technology for a connection that doesn't exist today. They aren't talking about ripping up the Metromover, Metrorail, Brightline or Tri-Rail. The Miami/Miami Beach connection would simply be one more tool in the mobility tool box.

Isn't the U2C just the least painful choice within a variety of binding constraints for the purpose of replacing the failed skyway?  It's what JTA determined to be the best of a bunch of bad options concerning the future of the skyway.  I don't expect the first round of this thing to be anywhere near perfect, but smart transit makes sense, and if robo-vehicles can react to real-time communications they're getting from smart phones regarding location and demand trends and almost anywhere people are gathered can be a node in the network as opposed to a fixed station, then great.

I don't really know what a "Tried-and-true" option would be as it concerns replacing Skyway's existing line given the Skyway has never proven itself to "Tried-and-True" anything.  So the experimentation in transit continues.  Only thing tried and true is dense TOD proximal to nodes in any urban transit network, and ease of access to whatever transit vehicles you want to purchase, including robo-vehicles.  If they happen to be cheaper and more flexible and smarter than the Skyway route, then fine.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 27, 2019, 07:25:25 PM
Isn't the U2C just the least painful choice within a variety of binding constraints for the purpose of replacing the failed skyway?

I would suggest at least two other options:
(1) Convert the track to something like the Highline in NYC
(2) Put it (and all of us) out of its misery and tear it down

JTA will tell you if they don't keep it running for something like 50 years, they have to pay back the Feds millions.  But, hey, this was always considered a demonstration project.  Who would expect that to be maintained once it demonstrated it is a miserable solution for urban public transit?  The silver lining of the Skyway is it clearly proved what not to do!

Also, it is not JTA's fault that the technology is no longer supported.  A perfect excuse for a free walk-away.  I don't think it is fair to expect them to salvage the track alone for the sake of not paying back the Feds.  The AV's are clearly a whole different project.  I am surprised they even qualify, within the spirit of the original funding, as maintaining the Skyway.

Consider, too, from an economic standpoint, subsidies for operating and maintaining whatever remains of the Skyway may now exceed the potential "penalty" the Feds might claim.

Lastly, from a political point, I doubt the Feds would enforce (at least, full penalty) collection after over 30 years of failure.  Haven't we already suffered enough?  Since Curry is great friends with Trump, he should be able to leverage that and assure JTA is off the hook.  He owes that to JTA for all the bones they have thrown to his pal, Shad Khan  8).
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 27, 2019, 07:30:51 PM
Isn't the U2C just the least painful choice within a variety of binding constraints for the purpose of replacing the failed skyway?

I do know it's what JTA prefers to explore but I don't know if it is the least painful choice. That's sort of a loaded answer depending on several factors.


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Tried-and-true transit is why we have the First Coast Flyer no?

Although we call it BRT locally, in reality the First Coast Flyer is regular bus service one would expect in any city of significant size. Nothing special but certainly needed as a part of a multimodal mix of transportation options within the region.

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But the U2C is altogether something different I thought.  It's what they determined to be the best of a bunch of bad options concerning the future of the skyway.

It's what they want to sell to the community. However, none of the options are truly bad. Replacing old rolling stock with new rolling stock isn't a bad option. It's one that every mass transit line of age must do at some point.  It just happened with Metromover and Metrorail in Miami a few years back. Replacing old rolling stock with new rolling stock that can operate on the existing Skyway infrastructure and operate at grade so the routes can be extended isn't a bad option either. The RTA's Blue and Green Lines in Cleveland are old early 20th century streetcar routes that were replaced with LRT vehicles. The type of rolling stock isn't necessarily the issue. The challenges are the routes, penetrating areas where decent population density exists, having dedicated ROW for timing, reliability, efficiency, understanding needed capacity, coordinating land use policies for TOD, etc....basically the traditional things that you must hit on for your operation to be viable and successful long term.


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I don't expect the first round of this thing to be anywhere near perfect, but smart transit makes sense, and if robo-vehicles can react to real-time communications it's getting from smart phones regarding location and demand trends, without the nasty attitudes and laziness of drivers, then I'm intrigued to give it a shot.

I haven't heard anything about this being the reason for the U2C. What you're intrigued by is not exactly what we may get.

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I don't really know what a "Tried-and-true" option would be as it concerns what to do next with the Skyway, given the Skyway has never been quite tried and true.

Tried-and-true elements would include going where the highest population densities are, having supportive land use policies to encourage high density development around stops, tying into existing major destinations (especially those with parking or development constraints), dedicated ROW to make transit a competitive option via speed, time, safety and reliability, vehicles with the necessary capacity for the environment served, etc. These are things you really want to hit on regardless of the technology.

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My point about the less fortunate isn't going to happen tomorrow, but I'm assuming JTA is trying out the tech for now, and would have the flexibility to expand routes involving the Robo-Vehicles to less fortunate communities.

Responding to equity isn't about testing tech now and dealing with the most transit dependent last. That's more of a cope out that can be avoided altogether with good planning.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: Charles Hunter on January 27, 2019, 07:35:31 PM
I have forgotten, did JTA's analysis that yielded the U2C recommendation consider converting the elevated structure to accommodate typical light-rail vehicles?  They could then be ramped down to street level to provide LRT (or streetcar, etc.) into the first ring neighborhoods, and beyond.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 27, 2019, 08:01:02 PM
I would suggest at least two other options:
(1) Convert the track to something like the Highline in NYC
(2) Put it (and all of us) out of its misery and tear it down

I'd go another route:

(1) It ain't the Highline and our context isn't NYC's. The infrastructure isn't wide enough for a Highline type application and our environment is more demanding of an "Underline" to protect users from the elements of our tropical climate.

(2) Some of us actually use it and don't consider it a misery. From personal experience, if you work in downtown, you can save $1000 to $1200 annually by parking just north of Rosa Parks or south of Kings Avenue Station and using it for your last mile to avoid paying for parking.

On the other hand, the real misery is our inability to coordinate our transit infrastructure investments with supportive land use policies. That thing is 30 years old now. Any city with brain would have coordinated the construction of nearly all of its significant urban core public investments and major infill adjacent or within walking distance of the transit line. Take a look across the country....Houston, Portland, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Dallas, etc. have all been doing this. We still haven't figured it out.

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JTA will tell you if they don't keep it running for something like 50 years, they have to pay back the Feds millions.  But, hey, this was always considered a demonstration project.  Who would expect that to be maintained once it demonstrated it is a miserable solution for urban public transit?  The silver lining of the Skyway is it clearly proved what not to do!

The Skyway, like the Landing, the Shipyards, City Hall Annex, etc. all simply prove that we have no idea of how to revitalize downtown. Yet, they all are salvageable.

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Also, it is not JTA's fault that the technology is no longer supported.  A perfect excuse for a free walk-away.  I don't think it is fair to expect them to salvage the track alone for the sake of not paying back the Feds.  The AV's are clearly a whole different project.  I am surprised they even qualify, within the spirit of the original funding, as maintaining the Skyway.

Consider, too, from an economic standpoint, subsidies for operating and maintaining whatever remains of the Skyway may now exceed the potential "penalty" the Feds might claim.

Lastly, from a political point, I doubt the Feds would enforce (at least, full penalty) collection after over 30 years of failure.  Haven't we already suffered enough?  Since Curry is great friends with Trump, he should be able to leverage that and assure JTA is off the hook.  He owes that to JTA for all the bones they have thrown to his pal, Shad Khan  8).

As for what to do with the Skyway, I'm in the camp of being perfectly fine with keeping the elevated infrastructure (great asset, IMO) and replacing the existing rolling stock with new rolling stock that can operate at ground level and be further extended into areas of the urban core where people live. However, to accomplish this, I'm also in the camp that believes all of the infrastructure (grade separated or not) needs to be Skyway, U2C, or whatever we want to call it-only and that we should have land use policies and strategies that fuel significantly higher density development around its routes. From past research, I believe this can be accomplished via streetcar, AVs or some ultra light version of LRT. Doing such does not hamper us from any technological disruptions that may occur in the future.

(https://media.eurekalert.org/multimedia_prod/pub/web/168112_web.jpg)
https://www.2getthere.eu/grt-vehicle-automated-minibus/

With that said, 2getthere’s 3rd generation GRT autonomous shuttle is about the largest comparable AV transit vehicle out there to what JTA appears to be shooting for. It can get a max of about 24 people per vehicle. Two challenges that I do see with these things is getting bikes on them and being about to run them in train sets to move large crowds during sporting events, festivals and such. However, I'm sure these are things that will be resolved by the industry in due time. Anyway, with dedicated lanes or ROW, you give yourself a ton of options to play with that attempting to mix in with regular traffic will not allow.



Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 27, 2019, 08:06:30 PM
I have forgotten, did JTA's analysis that yielded the U2C recommendation consider converting the elevated structure to accommodate typical light-rail vehicles?  They could then be ramped down to street level to provide LRT (or streetcar, etc.) into the first ring neighborhoods, and beyond.

From what I remember, the elevated structure can't support the weight of typical light-rail or modern streetcar vehicles. You'd need something much lighter.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 27, 2019, 08:31:47 PM
Here's the latest vehicle being tested. It holds up to 15.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/WCJT-Changing-Demographics/i-rB8tMK6/0/2021ebea/L/20190124_174616-L.jpg)
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: bl8jaxnative on January 29, 2019, 02:45:54 PM
I would suggest at least two other options:
(1) Convert the track to something like the Highline in NYC
(2) Put it (and all of us) out of its misery and tear it down

I'd go another route:

(1) It ain't the Highline and our context isn't NYC's. The infrastructure isn't wide enough for a Highline type application and our environment is more demanding of an "Underline" to protect users from the elements of our tropical climate.

I can see that.  In NYC you're in a sea of skyscrapers, cherishing any chance to see more than a few feet ahead of oneself.  Getting up 20' in the air would be great.


(2) Some of us actually use it and don't consider it a misery. From personal experience, if you work in downtown, you can save $1000 to $1200 annually by parking just north of Rosa Parks or south of Kings Avenue Station and using it for your last mile to avoid paying for parking.

Sure, a few folks do.  A single drop of water worth in an Olympic pool.   Get an eBike, eScotter or some fresh air and walk.  With the build out of BRT, find a good spot and grab that straight in.   

When resources are squeezed, you can't do everything for everyone.  Tear it down and focus scarce resources on what gets used the most.


Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: Tacachale on January 29, 2019, 02:49:14 PM
^Or, be proactive and devote resources to smart planning to build the kind of city we want to see.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 29, 2019, 04:40:03 PM
Lol the Skyway is a drop in the bucket compared to most public investments. It's the least of Jax's financial worries.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 29, 2019, 10:19:10 PM
Here's the latest vehicle being tested. It holds up to 15.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/WCJT-Changing-Demographics/i-rB8tMK6/0/2021ebea/L/20190124_174616-L.jpg)

Stood around in there at the panel event. At least the wheels look cool.

Sure, a few folks do.  A single drop of water worth in an Olympic pool.   Get an eBike, eScotter or some fresh air and walk.  With the build out of BRT, find a good spot and grab that straight in.   

When resources are squeezed, you can't do everything for everyone.  Tear it down and focus scarce resources on what gets used the most.

I don't understand this desperate need of yours for us to throw our hands up and try to forget urban transit solutions. A bus with fancy stops isn't going to solve our problems either.

While I'm still not convinced of the U2C's ability to properly deliver on its promises, I certainly don't think we should give up. We're definitely spending as much or more on things like serving Khan's every whim and randomly demolishing buildings. It's silly to act like the Skyway is somehow the thing holding us back from making Jax a better city. With a $1 billion budget, resources certainly aren't squeezed or scarce here.

Plenty of people like Lake and many others have had the right mindset. We can make the Skyway or U2C, whatever it ends up being, work. We just have to do it intelligently, and make the right decisions to get the most value out of it.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 29, 2019, 11:33:05 PM

I don't understand this desperate need of yours for us to throw our hands up and try to forget urban transit solutions. A bus with fancy stops isn't going to solve our problems either.

Agreed, no one solution will solve every possible scenario.  We need a mix of urban core short distance and suburban long distance solutions.  It's not about abandoning urban transit solutions (although that is pretty much what Jax has effectively done for the last 50 years as the Skyway is a failure and we really haven't made any effort to implement other options), it's about what solution does the most for the urban core while giving the most bang for the buck.  Short of fixed rail solutions, implementing more bus routes in the urban core seems to me to be the best option at present as it provides a quick, cost effective and flexible solution that can most ably serve needs of transit-deprived urban core residential neighborhoods.

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While I'm still not convinced of the U2C's ability to properly deliver on its promises, I certainly don't think we should give up. We're definitely spending as much or more on things like serving Khan's every whim and randomly demolishing buildings. It's silly to act like the Skyway is somehow the thing holding us back from making Jax a better city. With a $1 billion budget, resources certainly aren't squeezed or scarce here.

The issue here is, first, transit is paid by JTA, not the COJ.  That aside, don't think the COJ is rolling in the dough between the pension (not really solved, just kicked down the road), a 36% allocation to the sheriff's office, a backlog of deferred maintenance on local roads and parks and a steadfast refusal by elected officials to raise taxes.  I won't even mention the upcoming big overhang about to hit us when City officials finally wake up and realize we have to deal with resilience to rising seas. 

Second, there are very few discretionary dollars available for new transit options given the funding formulas that lock in much of what is available for other things like roads and maintenance.  As a result, the drain of dollars for the Skyway takes on greater significance.  How many more miles of bus routes could be funded by the cost of the Skyway?  Compare how many people those buses could serve with the number served by the Skyway.

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Plenty of people like Lake and many others have had the right mindset. We can make the Skyway or U2C, whatever it ends up being, work. We just have to do it intelligently, and make the right decisions to get the most value out of it.

Big assumptions here!  "Intelligently," "right decisions," "get the most value."  To date, those are all foreign concepts in planning Jax transit for the last 50 years.  That's why this conversation is taking place today  8).  Most anyone visiting comparable cities would have to conclude we are way behind in the world of public transit.

Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 30, 2019, 06:07:55 AM
I don't necessarily disagree with your post but it isolates public transit from the concept of coordinating transportation investments with supportive land use policies. This city has no answers for stimulating true economic mobility and access to transit deprived and dependent areas older areas of the core like the NW Quadrant because we still have not understood the link between fixed transit, land use and long term economic mobility. A bus is only good for moving people from point A to B. Changing communities involves a different level of infrastructure investment, vision, equitable access to education, jobs and services for users and coordinated land use to assist in transforming the built environment into one that exists locally in very limited nodes today. That built environment is the source of extra revenue into the tax base and local economy we continue to overlook in local mobility discussions. A retrofit of the Skyway infrastructure bathed in equity can have achieve this but it does require the type of holistic vision and follow through Jax has historically struggled with.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 30, 2019, 07:43:42 AM

Second, there are very few discretionary dollars available for new transit options given the funding formulas that lock in much of what is available for other things like roads and maintenance.  As a result, the drain of dollars for the Skyway takes on greater significance.  How many more miles of bus routes could be funded by the cost of the Skyway?  Compare how many people those buses could serve with the number served by the Skyway.

Statistically speaking, the Skyway is one of Jax's busiest transit routes. It definitely carries a larger volume of riders per mile, than regular bus routes so killing high frequency transit in the core to have longer, less used routes outside of it isn't an improvement. One could argue it would be more cost effective to reduce overall transit coverage to provide better services in the densest and most transit dependent and supportive ares of the region.

Also, funding doesn't have to be a challenge. Coordination of resources between various agencies is an excellent way to maximize funds we already have. Right sizing streets through existing local and state resurfacing budgets is one of several ways transit can be improved that we don't really take advantage of.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: bl8jaxnative on January 30, 2019, 08:59:17 AM
Lol the Skyway is a drop in the bucket compared to most public investments. It's the least of Jax's financial worries.

The Skyway costs more to operate than any one of the new and proposed bus rapid transit routes and carries less despite having the advantage of having no fares and being downtown.     

The Skyway is the poster child for chasing bad money with good.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 30, 2019, 09:46:37 AM
What BRT? You mean the regular bus routes transit users expect in any decent sized city that we call the First Coast Flyer (FCF)? They're great to have but let's get real, that type of transit investment isn't going to have any impact on the built environment. So the first thing that is necessary is to determine what type of future and built environment you want for various areas of the city. Once that's figured out, you can then have an honest discussion about what type of mode is best suited to facilitate that vision.

At this point, simply saying raze an urban transit circulator for more arterial bus routes, suggests little thought has been put into the context of what each mode is intended to serve or the needs of the typical end user within these areas. This, which has been done in the past, generally leads to failure, regardless of the technology selected.

Honestly, the most efficient transit systems aren't one-size-fits all mobility solutions. FCF is a good option for the what it is intended to serve but the Skyway serves a different transit market and is a different service altogether.  In the same, manner Amtrak, Brightline, future commuter rail, ride share, express buses, community shuttles, bike share, etc. all play different roles but should be included, coordinated and maxed out (potential-wise) as a part of a future connected Jacksonville. It's the 21st century. It's time to stop pitting the use of one technology against another without first understanding what we're trying to actually serve and build for.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: Kerry on January 30, 2019, 12:22:23 PM
The City needs to decide what kind of city it wants to be.  A City is just a means to a way of life.  Right now Jax thinks it can simultaneously sprawl AND urbanize.  Well, it can't.  It has to pick one or the other.  Sadly, I think I the City has chosen and they picked auto-centric sprawl because that is basically all anyone in Jax knows - from politicans, to developers, to the average man on the street.  The problem is that sprawl is financially unsustainable and will eventually collapse under its own expenses.  Many places have already figured that out and started transitioning, but not Jax.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 30, 2019, 12:48:01 PM
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The City needs to decide what kind of city it wants to be.  A City is just a means to a way of life.  Right now Jax thinks it can simultaneously sprawl AND urbanize.  Well, it can't.  It has to pick one or the other.

Like all metropolitan areas, it will be both. Jax can't determine the market. However (only within its city limits), it can guide growth, the development form, and be flexible enough to facilitate all aspects of the market in a way that maximizes the quality-of-life and various lifestyle choices of its residents.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 30, 2019, 07:50:45 PM
Jax can't determine the market. However (only within its city limits), it can guide growth, the development form, and be flexible enough to facilitate all aspects of the market in a way that maximizes the quality-of-life and various lifestyle choices of its residents.

I agree.  But, perhaps, I would say this more forcefully.  The City may not "determine" the market, but it can set the rules for the market to play by and, therefore, pretty much control/greatly influence the general direction of the market.  This can be accomplished by (1) where and how the City invests in infrastructure such as roads, transit systems, parks, schools, sewers etc. and, (2) more importantly, by zoning and building codes. 

If we refuse to effectively support/encourage urban sprawl developers with civic improvements, incentives and inefficient land use policies while redirecting more such efforts toward the urban core, developers will have no choice but to turn to more urban style developments.  By example, I have seen communities implement sprawl-limiting infrastructure moratoriums, such as on sewer systems, resulting in an increased focus on infill and existing developed areas.

One exception, perversely, is if Jax continues to fail at providing effective mass transit to the burbs and beyond, effectively encouraging outlying development.  In this scenario, I would expect the demand to live in the urban core to modestly rise to compensate for long commutes and  I believe we are actually seeing this to some degree in Jax now in spite of our failures to further encourage such living with a holistic plan.  It is why I am reluctant to give too much credit to City leaders for the growth of downtown housing, lest they think they actually did all the right things to make it happen.

In the end, developers will play by whatever constraints are laid down, and, as long as they all play on an equal playing field, they are not competitively disadvantaged.  I think a bigger driver of sprawl is the false belief by elected officials that the only way to deliver affordable housing to an ever-growing populace is to build outward instead of upward.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 30, 2019, 09:35:29 PM
If we refuse to effectively support/encourage urban sprawl developers with civic improvements, incentives and inefficient land use policies while redirecting more such efforts toward the urban core, developers will have no choice but to turn to more urban style developments.  By example, I have seen communities implement sprawl-limiting infrastructure moratoriums, such as on sewer systems, resulting in an increased focus on infill and existing developed areas.

This can certainly be done to a degree and should be encourage but realistically this strategy would include our suburban areas, many of which are old enough to be considered "history" in their own right and have infrastructure to support additional development. However, I doubt we or any of the other examples totally eliminated all forms of autocentric development. Find a US example and find where that municipality's city limited ended. Across that border you'll likely discover the autocentric development still taking place.


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One exception, perversely, is if Jax continues to fail at providing effective mass transit to the burbs and beyond, effectively encouraging outlying development.  In this scenario, I would expect the demand to live in the urban core to modestly rise to compensate for long commutes and  I believe we are actually seeing this to some degree in Jax now in spite of our failures to further encourage such living with a holistic plan.  It is why I am reluctant to give too much credit to City leaders for the growth of downtown housing, lest they think they actually did all the right things to make it happen.

Jax is still failing at urban transit. I'm in the camp that believes Jax would be better served getting a good core five miles of something that's reliable with supportive land uses in place and incrementally expanding after that. Covering 800 square miles with something typically ends up with you stretching your resources too thin and having 800 miles of bad service as a result.

I wouldn't give local leaders too much credit with downtown housing. That's a national trend. If anything, we should have twice as much of it by now.....we're actually pretty late to the party and it still isn't concentrated infill and adaptive reuse.

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In the end, developers will play by whatever constraints are laid down, and, as long as they all play on an equal playing field, they are not competitively disadvantaged.  I think a bigger driver of sprawl is the false belief by elected officials that the only way to deliver affordable housing to an ever-growing populace is to build outward instead of upward.

The biggest driver of sprawl in zoning policies and transportation infrastructure investment. You invest billions in 9Bs and First Coast Beltways in the middle of cow pastures owned by politically connected landowners....expect sprawl.  If you want a different result, invest in the things that stimulate the type of development pattern you desire. As for developers, they'll develop as long as the proforma works. If it does not, they'll go to where it does.....even if it's outside of Jax.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 31, 2019, 12:29:43 AM
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Find a US example and find where that municipality's city limited ended. Across that border you'll likely discover the autocentric development still taking place.

LOL.  Can you say "Where the western edge of South Florida cities meets the Everglades?"  The ultimate stop to development.  We should surround every city with a national park - problem solved!

https://www.google.com/maps/@25.773279,-80.5917245,53014m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en (https://www.google.com/maps/@25.773279,-80.5917245,53014m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en)
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on January 31, 2019, 01:24:44 AM
^But nearly everything west of I-95 is autocentric sprawl and they're still sprawling into the Everglades in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. All those "western" cities are their version of St. Johns and Nassau Counties. Other than six million people already being down there, that boundary is no different than something like the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. When we hit six million in another century or two, we'll have similar environmental constraints like that as well.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: bl8jaxnative on February 02, 2019, 03:40:33 PM
The biggest driver of sprawl in zoning policies and transportation infrastructure investment. You invest billions in 9Bs and First Coast Beltways in the middle of cow pastures owned by politically connected landowners....expect sprawl. 

You're being silly.   It cost 1/4 of a billion, not billions.   The development on Race Trac, Durbin Park, et al. was there long before FL 9B was finalized.   The freeway followed the development, not vice versa.



More so it ignores the hundreds of billions spent in the city core over the last generation.   If spending money on infrastructure then people would be building there.  But they're not.

If you want to reduce sprawl start with 2 things:

a) Address violent crime - People want to feel safe
b) Approach Public Schools like Sweden - Money for students follows the student, no matter what school they _choose_.

If you can do that, you'll get more people who will put up with mediocre closet space, poorly built structures, tiny yards, stray cats, panhandling, etc, etc, etc.   

Schools are especially important for young and soon to be parents.  Current paradigm is that there is school choice based on where you want to live.  More recently we've added the twist of "or where you're willing to haul them" which isn't much better.     Northern St. John's County has the best schools in the region.   Until there are meaningful improvements to public education, people will continue to move their seeking those great schools.
Title: Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
Post by: thelakelander on February 02, 2019, 07:49:44 PM
The biggest driver of sprawl in zoning policies and transportation infrastructure investment. You invest billions in 9Bs and First Coast Beltways in the middle of cow pastures owned by politically connected landowners....expect sprawl. 

You're being silly.   It cost 1/4 of a billion, not billions.   The development on Race Trac, Durbin Park, et al. was there long before FL 9B was finalized.   The freeway followed the development, not vice versa.

You're wrong in your first couple of statements, which screws over the foundation of the rest of your response. So I'll address each topic separately. First, 9B has been proposed since the 1970s:

https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2010-may-getting-to-know-state-road-9b-i-795

Heck, I even have a 1990s Dolphs map of Florida that shows proposed highways like the Central Florida Greeneway, Wekiva Parkway, and 9B years before funding was obtained to construct them. I actually do this stuff for a living. These things just don't pop up out of the blue due to recent development. Highways like 9B and the First Coast Expressway take decades of lobbying and planning to get built.

Here's two major developments that would not have been possible without 9B:

Durbin Park ( http://gatlindevelopmentcompany.propertycapsule.com/properties/DurbinPark/#overview )
(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Jacksonville/Development/Durbin-Park/i-25VbpXr/0/56d7f23d/XL/Durbin_Brochure%2011x17_2017-0130_Page_20-XL.jpg)

Durbin Park is still largely undeveloped. There's no Durbin Park without the access provided to it with the $80 million extension of SR 9B from I-95 to CR 2209 and the interchange that came with it. Without 9B, that long delayed Bass Pro Sports would never happen as well.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Jacksonville/Development/Durbin-Park/i-RK58p7q/0/7d69349a/XL/Durbin%20Park%20-%20Development%20Phase%20Map-XL.jpg)



E-Town ( https://www.etownjax.com/ )

(https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/sites/default/files/191167_standard.jpeg)

E-Town, which is now under construction, would be virtually impossible to develop without SR 9B. Well before the road was built, the land in the middle of the cow pasture was rezoned for commercial development. When the first phase of SR 9B finally came along, it included a ghost interchange for what would become E-Town. I'd have to dig to find it, but there's a forum thread here about this that predates 9B's construction. Anyway, now with 9B open, the land owner is moving forward with developing their once isolated property that now has prime highway access paid for by $75 million in public funds, that will also be maintained with public dollars going forward.

(https://www.aaroads.com/fl/009/fl-009b-n-exit-001-5.jpg)



For extra credit, here's one more than wouldn't get off the ground without the construction of the First Coast Expressway. The road isn't anywhere close to having all the funding to be extended to I-95 any time soon and plans have long been in the works to develop land around it whenever it comes on-line:

Silverleaf
(http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/wjct/files/styles/x_large/public/201810/201472_standard.png)





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More so it ignores the hundreds of billions spent in the city core over the last generation.   If spending money on infrastructure then people would be building there.  But they're not.

You're on the wrong path if you're viewing my input as core vs suburban debates. IMO, people should be allowed to live anywhere they want. I focus more on making sure we make more fiscally sustainable public investments and land use decisions. We can do a better job of how we invest in all types of contextual environments.

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If you want to reduce sprawl start with 2 things:

a) Address violent crime - People want to feel safe

Violent crime is a result....not the cause.  Some of the best ways to permanently address violent crime is through economic development, access to jobs, education opportunities tailored to the context and incremental development of built environments designed to promote safety. Until the cause is addressed, it doesn't matter how much money is thrown at the result. With that said, violent crime has little to nothing to do with sprawl.  There's examples of sprawl development in Jax that also happen to be pockets of violent crime activities.


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b) Approach Public Schools like Sweden - Money for students follows the student, no matter what school they _choose_.

Stanton is one of the top public high schools in the country. Yet, the neighborhood around it struggles economically. Are you saying its curriculum should be changed to something Sweden does?

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Stanton College Preparatory School is among seven Florida high schools ranked in the top 50 public high schools in the country, according to a new ranking.

U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday placed schools stretching from Miami to Sarasota to Jacksonville on its list of the nation’s best public high schools.

Stanton finished as Florida’s sixth-ranked public high school and the 36th-ranked public high school in the country.

Florida’s top ranked public high school was Pine View School near Sarasota, which was ranked No. 13 nationwide. It was followed by Design and Architecture Senior High School in Miami, International Studies Charter High School in Miami and International Studies Preparatory in nearby Coral Gables.

Rounding out the list were Westshore Junior/Senior High School along the Space Coast, Stanton in Jacksonville and Edgewood Junior/Senior High School, also along the Space Coast.

Full article: https://www.jacksonville.com/news/education/2017-04-25/us-news-world-report-stanton-among-50-best-public-high-schools-country


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If you can do that, you'll get more people who will put up with mediocre closet space, poorly built structures, tiny yards, stray cats, panhandling, etc, etc, etc.

To have a serious discussion about development, you have to put personal biases aside. This statement pretty much discredits your solutions. It's fine to not like a certain type of development pattern or building style. However, the things you describe here are present in all types of built environments. Half the tract home subdivisions off Race Track Road are poorly built, have tiny yards and mediocre closet space. 

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Schools are especially important for young and soon to be parents.  Current paradigm is that there is school choice based on where you want to live.  More recently we've added the twist of "or where you're willing to haul them" which isn't much better.     Northern St. John's County has the best schools in the region.   Until there are meaningful improvements to public education, people will continue to move their seeking those great schools.

Not true. Although public education could definitely be improved and is a significant issue within the inner city, Northern St. Johns County's public schools are no better academically than those in Southern Duval County and Duval has some of the best high schools in the state.