The Jaxson

Community => Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure => Topic started by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 08:17:25 AM

Title: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 08:17:25 AM
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(https://photos.moderncities.com/Cities/Denver-2019/i-zFPdN6M/0/99e59b3b/L/20191213_141127-L.jpg)

With JTA having dreams of stimulating transit oriented development around the JRTC, we take a look at a highly successful example of a mixed-use transportation hub: Denver's Union Station

Read More: https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/denver-union-station-a-successful-example-for-the-jrtc/
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: avonjax on January 07, 2020, 11:17:31 AM
The tragedy is we learn nothing. We just keep stumbling over our own two feet. Jacksonville keeps blinders on and sees nothing outside. Our train station could be just as beautiful as theirs but will it reach it's potential? It is Jacksonville after all. The city that only knows how to demolish.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 01:28:30 PM
How about this:

Move the Convention Center events to other venues like the Hyatt and VyStar Arena,
Move MOSH and their $80 million expansion to Jacksonville Terminals,
Move Friendship Fountain and it's multimillion upgrade to the former Landing site,
Sell all the park land of the current MOSH and Friendship Fountain at market price to private parties,
Use the funds from that sale to do a streetscape make-over of the CBD to include 2-way streets, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, street furniture, parking upgrade, and lighting,
and finally do a realistic RFP for a moderate convention center in the 200,000 sq ft range.

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia
(https://www.uwishunu.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/franklin-institute-exterior-1500uw.jpg)
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: vicupstate on January 07, 2020, 01:31:58 PM
How about this:

Move the Convention Center events to other venues like the Hyatt and VyStar Arena,
Move MOSH and their $80 million expansion to Jacksonville Terminals,
Move Friendship Fountain and it's multimillion upgrade to the former Landing site,
Sell all the park land of the current MOSH and Friendship Fountain at market price to private parties,
Use the funds from that sale to do a streetscape make-over of the CBD to include 2-way streets, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, street furniture, parking upgrade, and lighting,
and finally do a realistic RFP for a moderate convention center in the 200,000 sq ft range.

Not a bad plan but what's in it for Curry?
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 01:33:01 PM
How about this:

Move the Convention Center events to other venues like the Hyatt and VyStar Arena,
Move MOSH and their $80 million expansion to Jacksonville Terminals,
Move Friendship Fountain and it's multimillion upgrade to the former Landing site,
Sell all the park land of the current MOSH and Friendship Fountain at market price to private parties,
Use the funds from that sale to do a streetscape make-over of the CBD to include 2-way streets, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, street furniture, parking upgrade, and lighting,
and finally do a realistic RFP for a moderate convention center in the 200,000 sq ft range.

Not a bad plan but what's in it for Curry?

A kick in the nuts.  Which is good, because that is exactly what he needs.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Ocklawaha on January 07, 2020, 01:50:39 PM
Denver Union Station is EXACTLY what Jacksonville needs to do with THE JACKSONVILLE TERMINAL STATION.  Fix the viaduct and get all tracks and new high-level (train floor level) platforms above the flood plane.

We have one other rail possibility that no one is mentioning. Sunrail which operates over the CSX/FDOT A-Line is very likely to morph into a Orlando-Lakeland-Tampa-St. Petersburg Florida versión of CAL TRAIN. How much more logical would it be to toss a few morning runs terminating and evening runs originating in downtown Jacksonville? Development of the A-Line corridor would save the state billions on parallel highway costs.
North Carolina is already doing this.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 01:57:43 PM
At Curry's pace, he'll end up in jail the way news keeps coming out of city hall these days. As for the old terminal, there's a transportation center opening up next door in March and railroad tracks that will never move. It would be quite foolish to not include a passenger rail component in a space built exactly for that.

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Move the Convention Center events to other venues like the Hyatt and VyStar Arena,

Build an exhibition hall (essentially a Walmart box) on the former city hall annex site, attach it to the Hyatt's second floor meeting spaces and call it a day. That solves a lot of problems for a fraction of the expense of that silly convention center RFP.

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Use the funds from that sale to do a streetscape make-over of the CBD to include 2-way streets, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, street furniture, parking upgrade, and lighting,

Not sure MOSH needs $80 million but cut $100 million out of Lot J's $233 million in requested incentives and you can fund just about everything else listed with it.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 02:09:58 PM
Virgin Rail and SunRail coming to Jax are so far into the future planning for them now at the expense of other uses is useless.  Might as well say we shouldn't build anything in LaVilla so we have room for the SpacePort.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 02:30:58 PM
We have one other rail possibility that no one is mentioning. Sunrail which operates over the CSX/FDOT A-Line is very likely to morph into a Orlando-Lakeland-Tampa-St. Petersburg Florida versión of CAL TRAIN. How much more logical would it be to toss a few morning runs terminating and evening runs originating in downtown Jacksonville? Development of the A-Line corridor would save the state billions on parallel highway costs.
North Carolina is already doing this.

No matter what Virgin does down south, it will have impact on Amtrak's existing operations in Florida. If Virgin does make it to Tampa, outside of Winter Haven (really not that far from Virgin's proposed station between Lakeland and Auburndale), Sebring and Okeechobee, everything Amtrak currently serves south of Orlando would be served by Virgin. I seriously doubt Sebring and Okeechobee will save that route long term south of Orlando without significant changes in how it operates. It sort of sets Jax up as a potential transfer point between Amtrak and Virgin or a place where Amtrak trains either go down the FEC or CSX A Line. In either event, bringing back passenger rail operations back to the downtown terminal makes a lot of sense from a connectivity, access and economic development perspective.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 02:34:33 PM
Virgin Rail and SunRail coming to Jax are so far into the future planning for them now at the expense of other uses is useless.  Might as well say we shouldn't build anything in LaVilla so we have room for the SpacePort.

While I don't see SunRail coming to Jax (especially when locals are going to have to foot the bill soon), a new convention center or MOSH getting $80 million are both pipe dreams. Virgin will totally be dependent on what happens after Orlando opens in two years. We already have Amtrak. If we want it back downtown, that's something that can happen much easier than spending $80 on MOSH or +$100 million on a convention center.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 03:03:46 PM
How many people board/unboard in Jacksonville now on Amtrak?  The internet says +70,000 but that seems a bit high since that would be 193 people/day average. That is about how many people are on an entire train.  I guess maybe you have 4 trains a day with people getting on and off plus the connect bus it gets down to about 19 people per operation (5 boarding and 5 alighting).
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Tacachale on January 07, 2020, 03:10:26 PM
How many people board/unboard in Jacksonville now on Amtrak?

66k a year in 2018.

https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/corporate/statefactsheets/FLORIDA18.pdf
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 03:16:20 PM
I believe slightly under 20k use the Lakeland Amtrak station. That number didn't stop them from relocating Amtrak to their downtown. Now that new station has a food hall, 400 apartment units and an 8-story Class A office building sprouting up or proposed next to it.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 03:19:03 PM
Well, I would be all for Amtrak returning to the station but at current passenger rates, that would leave about 95% of the building for other uses.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 03:25:20 PM
Of course....just like Denver. In their case, the old terminal was retrofitted into a mix of uses.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 03:38:36 PM
Well Jax is never going to build anything like Denver's so I suggest finding something a little more realistic - like Chattanooga, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, or Omaha.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 03:44:12 PM
I've only been in Chattanooga's (no rail component anymore) and Kansas City's (good example for museum adaptive reuse like Cincinnati's). Nevertheless, if they have things like a rail component, retail, dining, etc. inside of a large space formerly 100% occupied by rail, them then they all are like Denver's, regardless of scale or cost.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 04:01:54 PM
Maybe I misinterpreted the meaning of this topic.  I thought you looked out over the national landscape of renovated train stations and picked Denver out of that list and said THIS is what Jax needs to emulate.  When I look at Denver's station I see about half the stuff would be over-kill or useless in Jax (i.e. a bus station since a new one is being built across the street or a lightrail station since Jax doesn't even have lightrail).  There are dozens of other examples around the country that actually would be a near perfect 'lift and shift' to Jacksonville.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 04:34:44 PM
Yes, a misinterpretation. I'm not a big believer in emluating anything from other places if one is simply talking about copying the finished project from a visual design, scale perspective or cost perspective. Those are things that will always vary depending on size of community, budget, market, climate and a host of other factors. My focus is generally on implementing tried and true applications from other places, in terms of planning people oriented spaces and implementation processes.

Throw budget and the size of the city aside and then take a look at the railroad stations in Denver, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Jax, etc. What they all have in common is that they were grand early 20th century railroad hubs that have survived demolition, yet overbuilt for the amount of rail traffic they receive today. Excluding Jax, the other three are good examples of still active railroad stations where remaining space has been filled with a mix of new uses that still complement the original use. As such, they have remained destinations that are active seven days a week. On the other hand, the Prime Osborn has not, making it an existing downtown anchor asset (one Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando, Birmingham, etc. could not create even if they wanted too) not properly being utilized.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 04:57:25 PM
Thanks for clarifying.  I think the scenario I put together earlier would be Jax's biggest bang for the buck and solves multiple problems simultaneously.  Now, is there any way to actually make this happen?
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 05:19:24 PM
This is how I'd speed up the scenario.

How about this:

Move the Convention Center events to other venues like the Hyatt and VyStar Arena,

Just build a new exhibition hall box next to the Hyatt, not a full brand new convention center. Don't even worry about building another parking garage. Instead maximize the amount of existing parking already located within a one-to-four block radius. This solves a major problem by turning the Hyatt into a hotel/convention center complex in the heart of the city for a fraction of the cost. It also eliminates a black hole in the heart of the city, since city hall annex has been destroyed.

(https://photos.moderncities.com/Urban-Issues/Civic-Council-Hyatt-Convention/i-WwDWvTt/0/d183882d/L/Proposed%20Hyatt%20-%20Exhibition%20Hall%20Aerial-L.jpg)

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Move MOSH and their $80 million expansion to Jacksonville Terminals,
Move Friendship Fountain and it's multimillion upgrade to the former Landing site,

TBD - Not sold totally on the expense of moving either but get the point.


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Sell all the park land of the current MOSH and Friendship Fountain at market price to private parties,

Skip the MOSH/Friendship Fountain moves (don't spend millions on the fountain either....that's a waste). Take the 2015 publicly vetted Sleiman plan for the Landing site that taxpayers already paid for. Instead of doing a study, RFP the pads, sell them for private development, take the money and construct the public component of the Landing site that was drawn conceptually in 2015.

(https://news.wjct.org/sites/wjct/files/styles/medium/public/201905/2212perspviews_sm_.jgp_.jpeg)

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Use the funds from that sale to do a streetscape make-over of the CBD to include 2-way streets, wider sidewalks, bike lanes, street furniture, parking upgrade, and lighting,

Two-way streets aren't a major expense in the grand scheme of things. We don't need to wait on these other things to accomplish this. Get it done by instructing public works to do so. Also coordinate implementation with on-going street resurfacing budgets.

Quote
and finally do a realistic RFP for a moderate convention center in the 200,000 sq ft range.


This would already be resolved by building an new modern exhibition hall next to the Hyatt.

Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 06:15:23 PM
The plan you outlined leaves the train station empty.  Selling the Friendship Fountain land is the revenue stream for everything else (assuming MOSH continues with their fundraising efforts).

Project 180 in OKC cost nearly $200 million to return streets to two-way.  Now granted a lot of that cost included putting down all new concrete streets but it turns out a lot of cost also involved utility movement to make the sidewalks wider and add bike lanes.

https://www.okc.gov/departments/public-works/project-updates
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 07, 2020, 06:40:46 PM
The plan you outlined leaves the train station empty.  Selling the Friendship Fountain land is the revenue stream for everything else (assuming MOSH continues with their fundraising efforts).

The station doesn't have to be empty. Get Amtrak back in the terminal, focus on clustering some TOD nearby in Lavilla, and honestly, I'd be willing to wait and see if Virgin looks enticed enough by the size of that land next to the terminal to make any moves. I would be surprised if they wouldn't be interested at that point. By the time you spend the money demolishing and reconstructing Friendship Fountain and paying MOSH to move, there's no way you're going to net a quarter billion dollars to play around with anyway. Might as well find the most affordable way to reactivate things that still works while setting up some long-term planning. Virgin is no Lot J, there's no need to think of it like pie in the sky.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 06:43:53 PM
Has anyone a VT ever said anything about coming to Jacksonville?
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 07:39:53 PM
The plan you outlined leaves the train station empty.

I'd recommend turning it back into what it was built for in the first place.....a train station (see Denver Union Station article) or this one ( https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/news/21119987/fl-virgin-trains-expands-in-florida-will-it-ever-reach-jacksonville?fbclid=IwAR0nOdEfkHP9fKCYTlxgigjeMzyYOPO2GVkukbn5zAmFs-Fv3i7abXH1bqQ ).

It's a rail station, it's next to a $60 million local intermodal center, next to FEC's railroad tracks that Virgin already has the rights to operate passenger rail on and we just won a grant to fix the rail infrastructure problem there that has delayed the return on Amtrak.

Like Denver and the Kansas City model you mentioned earlier, the old terminal's grand lobby and concourse would be filled with either rail support uses or retail, dining, office, etc. The outdoor entrance area along Lee and Bay would become an outdoor public area, similar to Denver's. Overall, that railroad terminal and former rail platform area (the Prime Osborn exhibition hall and big surface parking lot in the back) would be a big TOD carrot for the likes of Virgin Trains. Last thing I'd recommend is quickly piecemealing it off for the low density stuff that Vestcor has been putting up in the vicinity.

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Selling the Friendship Fountain land is the revenue stream for everything else (assuming MOSH continues with their fundraising efforts).

How much do we really expect selling Friendship Fountain to bring in? One thing COJ has in abundance is land and buildings in downtown that it doesn't need and totally underutilizes. I'm betting the house that whatever Friendship Fountain's property is worth can be made 10 to 20 times over by RFPing and selling other downtown properties owned by COJ, including the building pads eventually planned for a portion of the Landing site. The other benefit of this is that these underutilized Northbank properties are then put back into use, helping to activate additional areas of the actual downtown core. Friendship Fountain and that park can stay. But we definitely don't need to spend the type of money Boyer wants to on that fountain because it's still not going to attract people on a consistent basis and will most likely break again due to poor maintenance.

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Project 180 in OKC cost nearly $200 million to return streets to two-way.  Now granted a lot of that cost included putting down all new concrete streets but it turns out a lot of cost also involved utility movement to make the sidewalks wider and add bike lanes.

https://www.okc.gov/departments/public-works/project-updates

The majority of those costs aren't due to bike lanes and wider sidewalks. A concrete road is one of the most expensive types of transportation infrastructure out there. As a transportation planner, these are the types of projects I'm involved with on a daily basis in more progressive areas of the state. I can promise you that two-waying, lane elimination, adding cycle tracks, etc. can be done pretty easy and without breaking the bank. In addition, if coordinated with other agencies, they can be implemented incrementally through existing federal, state, local and private funding sources that don't take away from other DT projects. The key I've noticed in the field is not to work in silos when it comes to implementation and funding. For example, a great resource in getting ahead of resurfacing projects, where things like this can be included, is to start reading pavement condition surveys and requesting candidate resurfacing lists. For Central Florida, I'm expecting to get the FY24 (construction takes place in 2024) candidate list for resurfacing projects on Friday. That gives us the next few months to possibly get various multimodal improvements across several counties and cities into the technical scoping packages for future funded resurfacing projects before they get too far down the road.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 07:54:07 PM
Has anyone a VT ever said anything about coming to Jacksonville?

Yes, here is a link the easement agreement allowing for eventual expansion up the FEC to Jax:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1737516/000114036118043289/s002218x4_ex10-48.htm

However, the system will need to be successful with its Orlando link before any other expansion possibilities throughout the state. As for Jax, it should be getting its transportation house in order with the Prime Osborn regardless of it Virgin makes it here or it its simply moving Amtrak back to a site where transferring between different mass transit modes becomes more end user friendly. From a ridership perspective that benefits all modes. From a downtown perspective, the core becomes easily accessible to the outside world without the reliance on the car.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 09:32:26 PM
That was one boring read but didn't it say that the Cocoa- Jacksonville segment would only be used for freight?  I'm not an attorney and I don't play one on the internet but I didn't read anything where AAF said they were planning to run passenger traffic north of Cocoa.  In fact, they said their northern terminus was Orlando.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Ocklawaha on January 07, 2020, 09:49:35 PM
Virgin Rail and SunRail coming to Jax are so far into the future planning for them now at the expense of other uses is useless.  Might as well say we shouldn't build anything in LaVilla so we have room for the SpacePort.

While I don't see SunRail coming to Jax (especially when locals are going to have to foot the bill soon), a new convention center or MOSH getting $80 million are both pipe dreams. Virgin will totally be dependent on what happens after Orlando opens in two years. We already have Amtrak. If we want it back downtown, that's something that can happen much easier than spending $80 on MOSH or +$100 million on a convention center.

I expect the traffic on I-4, coupled with the States rabid growth rate will adjust the ‘who pay’s’ game. Florida cannot sustain the unlimited growth of Lane-Miles and already the Bay Area is asking for Sunrail service. It doesn’t that much imagination to figure that Florida will follow North Carolina/California into extending commuter rail into regional rail. I’d guess by 2030 M/L. We could probably buy the A-Line from DeLand to Jacksonville Terminal for less than the startup cost of an independent JTA RAIL SERVICE. Consider 8 trains a day connect Raleigh and Charlotte on a route just 80 or so miles shorter than JAX-ORL-TPA, and with ½ of our JAX-TAMPA corridor population.

The worst case for our Station and downtown would be Amtrak access to Orlando International Airport Multimodal Station. Imagine Amtrak ties to Virgin at MCO and curtails it’s Florida trains beyond there. Passengers are handed off to Virgin for Cocoa, West Palm, Ft Lauderdale, Miami, Lakeland and Tampa. Virgin no longer feels it needs Jacksonville in the mix and St Augustine as well as Daytona go down with us. By doing something soon, we’d avoid such an apocalyptic vision.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 09:52:05 PM
Sorry wrong link. Here you go!

Quote
Court documents filed last week by All Aboard Florida and a newly formed related company point to the passenger rail’s possible extension of its service on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks north to Jacksonville.

The new company, AAF Jacksonville Segment, LLC, which was registered May 29 in Delaware, penned a June 11 agreement with All Aboard Florida that gives it the easement rights to shuttle passengers on the lines from Cocoa to Jacksonville. The agreement was filed June 18 in St. Johns County.

Attention on All Aboard Florida’s express passenger service has so far focused on its 235-mile Miami to Orlando segment, which will include stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, but has seen opposition from some residents who are concerned about the impact of an additional 32 trains per day.

Richard Radcliffe, executive director of the Palm Beach County League of Cities, said he’s heard no official public discussion about extending All Aboard Florida express rail service to Jacksonville.

But Kim DeLaney, strategic development coordinator of the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, said it was mentioned in 2012 as a future option when All Aboard Florida first began to advertise the $2.5 billion Miami to Orlando project. Also, company officials, as recently as October, were gently lobbied during a Florida Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism to extend the passenger service to Jacksonville.

“For some reason my presentation doesn’t include Jacksonville. Where do I get an updated version or is that phase 2?” asked an enthusiastic Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, during the Oct. 7 meeting.

Rusty Roberts, vice president for All Aboard Florida’s parent company, Florida East Coast Industries, told the committee that Jacksonville and Tampa are possible connections once the Miami to Orlando route, which he called the “moneymaker system,” is successful.

https://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/jacksonville-next-stop-for-all-aboard-florida/1jC7awnU2klhjurDOBzu2J/
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 07, 2020, 09:58:02 PM
Here was one of the early maps showing the Miami-Orlando segment and potential extensions to Tampa and Jax. Jax has always been a part of the plan but it isn't the highest priority. Linking Miami with Orlando is. Once that's up and running (2022), depending on how things go, additional expansion could be possible.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-7JbSgKH/0/XL/i-7JbSgKH-XL.jpg)
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 07, 2020, 11:45:18 PM
Honestly, I'm not buying it that Jax is included any further than vague references to politicans that might have to vote on funding.  I'm a consultant and one of our basic rules is, if it isn't on paper being in scope, it isn't in scope no matter what the sales guy said.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 08, 2020, 07:18:51 AM
I seriously doubt you're a transportation consultant. Based on your comment history, it's an unfamiliar world. In 2012, many thought the Miami segment would never happen. Then they said Orlando segment would never break ground. Despite delays from lawsuits to stop it, it continues to move forward and TOD continues to pop up around its stations. Maybe it reaches Tampa and Jax or maybe it doesn't. No one truly knows the future. Yet the reality is that it's progressing faster than nearly everything dreamed and discussed here. Shipyards, The District, Berkman 2, two waying streets, a convention center, Landing revitalization, Skyway extension, activating the City Hall Annex site? All talk predating AAF/Brightline/Virgin Trains by years, but no closer to happening as they were in 2010. No one is being asked to buy it. That's sort of like moving the goalpost to the question that was raised.

Has anyone a VT ever said anything about coming to Jacksonville?

I was simply answering this question by giving an example of the vice president of the parent company mentioning possible extension to Jax after the Miami/Orlando segment is successfully running. The same article highlights the court documents regarding the rights to operate passenger rail services on FEC tracks up to Jax. Whether it happens two years from now or 10 years down the road, securing the rights to operate on a freight railroad is more than anything else done locally after years of talk and press releases. Even with JTA's AV dreams, there's a reason they have a "test facility" in a parking lot instead of running them on the street as a pilot. At this point, I'd bet the Virgin Orlando segment will be up and running before a Lot J or District completes one building on their properties. If anyone really is interested in more, the information, legal filings, etc. and even the AAF Jacksonville Segment, LLC. documents are out there and fairly easy to find.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 08, 2020, 09:26:28 AM
No I'm not a transportation consultant.  However, I can read.  The document you provided did not include passenger traffic on the Cocoa-Jax segment as noted by the representative from Fernandina Beach.  In response, AAF said that is something we would need to look at later.  So I'm going to stand by my belief that VT has no plans, real or imaginary, to come to Jacksonville.  Now if someone produces something that indicates otherwise I'll be happy to change my mind.

So anyhow....now that we have this great idea to rehab Jax Terminals what do we do with it, if anything?
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 08, 2020, 09:58:15 AM
No I'm not a transportation consultant.  However, I can read.  The 2016 document you provided did not include passenger traffic on the Cocoa-Jax segment as noted by the representative from Fernandina Beach.  The 2016 agreement also voided the 2014 agreement that did provide access to Jax.   So I'm going to stand by my belief that VT has no plans, real or imaginary, to come to Jacksonville.  Now if someone produces something that indicates otherwise I'll be happy to change my mind.

So anyhow....now that we have this great idea to rehab Jax Terminals what do we do with it, if anything?
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 08, 2020, 10:09:26 AM
If you want you can dig up the AAF Jacksonville Segment LLC documents and read through that legal paperwork. There should be a link in one of these forum threads from a few years back, but I don't have the time to look it up for you and its not my burden to change anyone's mind. So I'll move on.

As far as the Prime Osborn goes, the thought of bringing intercity rail (i.e. Virgin, Amtrak, etc.) back and making the terminal mixed use remains the same. The tracks with Virgin's rights aren't moving, Amtrak is still interested in expanding corridor services, most of the CSX A line is now owned by the state and the Palatka coal plant likely has a timeline as we shift from fossil fuels (which is why Ock keeps mentioning SunRail), the terminal is still designed to be a train station, there's still tons of land for TOD surrounding it and a local intermodal center lies immediately adjacent to it.

Here's some of JTA's old plans for bringing Amtrak. At the time, the thought was that the site would still serve as a convention center:

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-xBbqCNG/0/X2/i-xBbqCNG-X2.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-RF8RFB8/0/X2/i-RF8RFB8-X2.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-8x8h5dt/0/X2/i-8x8h5dt-X2.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-PdcHBrX/0/X2/i-PdcHBrX-X2.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-9g2bqMw/0/X2/i-9g2bqMw-X2.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-mdmt7cN/0/X2/i-mdmt7cN-X2.jpg)

Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 08, 2020, 10:14:57 AM
Okay - so beyond talking about it what can we do to move it along.  How do we marry the idea to an action?
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Ocklawaha on January 08, 2020, 10:34:23 AM

No I'm not a transportation consultant.  However, I can read.  The 2016 document you provided did not include passenger traffic on the Cocoa-Jax segment as noted by the representative from Fernandina Beach.  The 2016 agreement also voided the 2014 agreement that did provide access to Jax.   So I'm going to stand by my belief that VT has no plans, real or imaginary, to come to Jacksonville.  Now if someone produces something that indicates otherwise I'll be happy to change my mind.

So anyhow....now that we have this great idea to rehab Jax Terminals what do we do with it, if anything?

The part of the Virgin/AAF business model that is continually misread, misreported and misunderstood is that this is a REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT VENTURE more than a ‘private passenger railway.’ So given such a golden piece of downtown as the old terminal property the sky is the limit. Toss in the adjacent JRTC and Amtrak and you’ve got a synergy for all types of mixed use development. 

Trains? Yes, trains are a part of the value-added services offered by the developer. While I doubt we’ll see 18 in each direction daily as South Florida will, somewhere around 6 each way on the FEC and 5 Amtrak runs puts us right at where we were back in 1971.

As for ridership figures it would be a grievous error to base our estimates on Amtrak’s 4 daily arrivals and departures. Consider if you want to fly to Most any destination you thumb through a dozen times daily spread among 2-5 airlines. Rail travelers outside of a few corridors typically have a choice of one train... Hows the saying ho? If you build it they will come.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 08, 2020, 10:47:13 AM
Okay - so beyond talking about it what can we do to move it along.  How do we marry the idea to an action?

It was delayed because of the expense of upgrading track infrastructure in the area. 

Quote
JTA laying groundwork for downtown passenger rail

Nat Ford, CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, notified the board Thursday of a grant application that would quicken freight trains traveling through San Marco, where trains have caused long delays, and help bring passenger rail service back to the downtown area.

The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grant is a joint effort by the City of Jacksonville, JTA and the Florida Department of Transportation with the support of Florida East Coast Railway and CSX Corp. (Nasdaq: CSX). At an estimated cost of about $35 million, the project would update aging rail and signal infrastructures, which Ford said were to blame for slow freight train speeds through the area.

"The grant would provide the funding necessary to fix the train chokepoint problem in the San Marco area," Ford told the board.

The grant is also a potential precursor to another JTA goal: getting passenger rail service downtown. Jacksonville's Amtrak station is currently about five miles northwest of the core of downtown.

"This will open the door for passenger rail to come back to the Prime Osborn Center," said Ford.

Full article: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/08/31/jta-laying-groundwork-for-downtown-passenger-rail.html


This situation has recently changed with the $17 million CRISI grant finally being awarded a few months back:

Quote
The project makes improvements to three components of the rail system in Northeast Florida. Specific components include:

  • Modernizing ten rail switches and the connective track primarily used by FEC traffic and Class I traffic.
    Installation of a 7,000 foot staging track to eliminate congestion and hospital blockages
    Upgraded signal and track at CSX/FEC Beaver Street interlocking
    Installation of centralized traffic control improvements all all crossings and on over five miles of FEC track

A statement from JTA CEO Nathaniel Ford Sr. read in part:

Simply put, this project is a long time coming for Jacksonville and for those who live and commute to Downtown Jacksonville on a daily basis. ... We strongly believe these improvements to busy railroad interchanges near the urban core will enhance safety and mobility in Jacksonville and throughout the State of Florida.”

Full article: https://www.news4jax.com/community/2019/06/09/jacksonville-gets-17m-grant-to-ease-train-delays-make-crossings-safer/


So there's already action. In addition, Amtrak's plans to establish a new route between Jax and Miami, with new stations in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach also went by the wayside when AAF/Brightline/Virgin Trains proposal came online. At the time, FDOT had committed $118 million to the project. Recently, Amtrak has mentioned that it intends to change the way it has traditionally operated.

Quote
“It is an inevitability that intercity short-haul passenger rail is going to have to grow in America,” Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony Coscia told reporters. “Congestion is going to get worse and high-quality, efficient service only way we’re going to make inroads in carbon emissions. We have to figure out a new methodology to serve that 300-mile short haul market with modern trains.”

The company has bold plans in the near future to expand routes, update its fleet, and improve reliability as Congress begins discusses renewing hundreds of billions of dollars in transportation spending next year.

Full article: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2019/11/11/amtrak-wants-to-compete-with-planes-and-roads/

So what needs to happen? Obviously, we'll have to actually get the track infrastructure upgraded but at least there's funding finally being allocated to it. Then you need an agency to be a cheerleader and help secure funding for the rail side operations at the Prime Osborn. Perhaps that's JTA (although their primary focus appears to be AVs on the Skyway and finishing the FCF routes these days) but it doesn't have to be. Maybe Amtrak or Virgin can play a role, if it can be presented as something that improves their bottom line. In Lakeland's case, it was their version of Lori Boyer, that led in getting their passenger rail station back downtown. That move 100% ignored ridership and dealt strictly with stimulating economic development in downtown and making their downtown more accessible to more people. In other cities, it's been the mayor or select council members.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 09, 2020, 12:58:11 PM

No I'm not a transportation consultant.  However, I can read.  The 2016 document you provided did not include passenger traffic on the Cocoa-Jax segment as noted by the representative from Fernandina Beach.  The 2016 agreement also voided the 2014 agreement that did provide access to Jax.   So I'm going to stand by my belief that VT has no plans, real or imaginary, to come to Jacksonville.  Now if someone produces something that indicates otherwise I'll be happy to change my mind.

So anyhow....now that we have this great idea to rehab Jax Terminals what do we do with it, if anything?

The part of the Virgin/AAF business model that is continually misread, misreported and misunderstood is that this is a REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT VENTURE more than a ‘private passenger railway.’ So given such a golden piece of downtown as the old terminal property the sky is the limit. Toss in the adjacent JRTC and Amtrak and you’ve got a synergy for all types of mixed use development. 

Trains? Yes, trains are a part of the value-added services offered by the developer. While I doubt we’ll see 18 in each direction daily as South Florida will, somewhere around 6 each way on the FEC and 5 Amtrak runs puts us right at where we were back in 1971.

As for ridership figures it would be a grievous error to base our estimates on Amtrak’s 4 daily arrivals and departures. Consider if you want to fly to Most any destination you thumb through a dozen times daily spread among 2-5 airlines. Rail travelers outside of a few corridors typically have a choice of one train... Hows the saying ho? If you build it they will come.

I was interested in Amtrak numbers because we still have to see if the costs are worth it.  193 people a day using the station isn't a bad number and with people dropping off and picking up the number of 'users' is likely 50% higher.  If there were 10 people using the Amtrak station you could easily argue adding Amtrak at any expense would be a waste of money.  While riding the Coast Starlight last year I got off at several stops that had 30 to 60 minutes stays.  We even bought a few treats at the Portland station.  I've never been out to the Amtrak station so maybe a field trip would be worth the time.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Steve on January 09, 2020, 03:43:04 PM
193 people a day using the station isn't a bad number and with people dropping off and picking up the number of 'users' is likely 50% higher.

And that's with the crappy service here in Jacksonville! Trains leave to go south at 7AM and 9:30AM, which actually aren't terrible times but that's it as far as options. Going north is worse - 5PM and 11PM.

I know Amtrak's plan is more regional service - less of Jacksonville to New York, but Jacksonville to Savannah, Orlando, Charleston, etc. type stuff.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Ocklawaha on January 10, 2020, 10:43:19 AM
I’ll go out on a limb to predict the Florida trains will not be cut or cut back. In fact because of their newly stated goals I expect we’ll see 2-3 times what we currently have in a mix of long-distance and regional Amtrak routes.

All of this plus Virgin and Wild-Card FDOT/JTA are going to make for an interesting decade to come... We need to fix the viaduct!
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 10, 2020, 11:48:57 AM
I’ll go out on a limb to predict the Florida trains will not be cut or cut back. In fact because of their newly stated goals I expect we’ll see 2-3 times what we currently have in a mix of long-distance and regional Amtrak routes.

All of this plus Virgin and Wild-Card FDOT/JTA are going to make for an interesting decade to come... We need to fix the viaduct!

What is the reason for this optimism?  I hear a lot of talk about VT, AmTrak, SunRail, etc... but that is all it is - talk.  Is there anything from any of these rail providers that show an actual interest in bringing service to Jax?
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Steve on January 10, 2020, 12:07:00 PM
I’ll go out on a limb to predict the Florida trains will not be cut or cut back. In fact because of their newly stated goals I expect we’ll see 2-3 times what we currently have in a mix of long-distance and regional Amtrak routes.

All of this plus Virgin and Wild-Card FDOT/JTA are going to make for an interesting decade to come... We need to fix the viaduct!

What is the reason for this optimism?  I hear a lot of talk about VT, AmTrak, SunRail, etc... but that is all it is - talk.  Is there anything from any of these rail providers that show an actual interest in bringing service to Jax?

While I have no insight, the southeast really would be an ideal place for the vision for Richard Anderson (Amtrak CEO). The idea is to support less of the long haul runs on trains and implement better routing for regional intercity connection.

Case in point - it's crazy that when I go down to Lakeland (my company's mothership, and no I don't work for Publix), I have no practical option than to drive. The timing of the train down isn't bad (it's about an hour longer but I could work), but I don't want to get home after 11PM.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 10, 2020, 12:56:05 PM
What is the reason for this optimism?  I hear a lot of talk about VT, AmTrak, SunRail, etc... but that is all it is - talk.  Is there anything from any of these rail providers that show an actual interest in bringing service to Jax?

Virgin has already legally secured rights to operate passenger rail through Jax. That's more than talk. That's actual interest even if getting their major link (Miami to Orlando) is their priority at the moment.

There's always been interest with Amtrak. There were serious talks about Amtrak establishing rail service between Jax and Miami but that seemed to fizzle with the announcement of AAF/Brightline/Virgin:

https://flaglerlive.com/36430/fec-rail-amtrak/

There have also been talks to bring Amtrak service back between New Orleans and Florida. Nevertheless, funding windows are generally politically connected. There was optimism under the Obama administration and not as much during Trump's term. Ultimately, whatever happens with Amtrak will largely depend on the presidential election later this year. If Trump is reelected, forget about it. If someone else ends up in office, you'll likely have a good four to eight year window to ram something through.

A good example of this was in the late 1990s when money had been allocated for LRT in Orlando. Locally, they couldn't get their act together and those funds helped Charlotte get its LRT project off the ground. 20 years later, the core of Charlotte is booming with TOD and LRT is still a pipe dream in Orlando. However, that experience has helped Central Florida become more aggressive with expanding its mass transit options.

Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: bl8jaxnative on January 16, 2020, 08:24:32 AM

If you're putting money down in Vegas, put your money on JAX's station turning out like St. Paul's, not Denver's.   And other than the quarter of a billion pissed away on SPUD, STPL would be a decent result for a city like JAX.

  Denver's an outlier.  There's a ton a things that came together long, long before the bureaucrats had even bothered to start the paperwork for the processes that allowed for development on the empty land they had.  It's gets attention because it looks great.  Most union station projects result in nothing like this because 95% of what's needed is beyond any city's powers.

Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: bl8jaxnative on January 16, 2020, 08:31:41 AM

As for Virgin Trains USA, who cares if they come to Jacksonville.  The question is how the hell are they going to survive.  They're taking on insane levels of debt and have no revenues to back it.  If there's any softness on their Orlando line or they're LA line, either one, they won't have the cash flow to cover their bills.   ----->>>> *POOOOF* no more virgin trains USA.

They are a gigantic roll of the dice.  I hope they make a go of things.  But I wouldn't put any money on it.  Sysphues had it easy trying to roll a boulder up a mountain.  Virgin Trains USA is trying to roll a boulder up a cliff. 
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 16, 2020, 08:41:33 AM

If you're putting money down in Vegas, put your money on JAX's station turning out like St. Paul's, not Denver's.   And other than the quarter of a billion pissed away on SPUD, STPL would be a decent result for a city like JAX.

  Denver's an outlier.  There's a ton a things that came together long, long before the bureaucrats had even bothered to start the paperwork for the processes that allowed for development on the empty land they had.  It's gets attention because it looks great.  Most union station projects result in nothing like this because 95% of what's needed is beyond any city's powers.

SPUD is a great example. Still brings various modes together and has attracted TOD. Jax would be lucky to have things turn out similar.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 16, 2020, 03:06:45 PM
Heck, I would be happy with Joliet Union Station.

https://www.jolietunionstation.com/
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Peter Griffin on January 16, 2020, 03:20:31 PM
I'm just excited tor the JRTC to open. It's pretty multi-modal, and seems like a more sensible location for a transit hub than Rosa Parks Station. The potential for future integration of Amtrak is neat and something to hopefully look forward to.

Just out of curiosity, does anybody here actually use mass transit? I've been meaning to take the bus to work for a while now to give it a spin but have yet to.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: bl8jaxnative on January 16, 2020, 03:25:53 PM
I wouldn't say that Jacksonville would be lucky to have a SPUD. 

SPUD  claims to bring them together but it doesn't.  Nothing's been gained by bring the modes together other than empty fulfilling of some bureaucrats bucket list.

SPUDs in lowertown neighborhood of downtown STPL.  First off, it's impossible to not build something there that's not a "TOD".   Really a bit too wedded to the brochure words if you're throwing them around there, IMHO.

As for what ti's attracted, nothing.  There was development for decades as SPUD sat half empty ever since BN moved HQ to Ft. Worth.    It's been superfluous to downtown St. Paul's turnaround over the last generation. 

Setting that aside, it would be nice see Amtrak move back back downtown.   I can't imagine it would be a cheap move though.   There's no facilities and no track down there today.   

Then again, Virgin's a land development play.    I wouldn't be surprised to see them work with some developer  in northern St. John's county to drop in a station between Ponte Verdra and Palencia and declare that to the northern terminus and the JAX station.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: Kerry on January 16, 2020, 03:36:12 PM
I'm just excited tor the JRTC to open. It's pretty multi-modal, and seems like a more sensible location for a transit hub than Rosa Parks Station. The potential for future integration of Amtrak is neat and something to hopefully look forward to.

Just out of curiosity, does anybody here actually use mass transit? I've been meaning to take the bus to work for a while now to give it a spin but have yet to.

I've tried the bus here in Jax but it didn't fit my transit needs at the time.  I take rail mass transit in every city that has it when I am traveling for vacation or work.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 16, 2020, 04:33:06 PM
I wouldn't say that Jacksonville would be lucky to have a SPUD. 

SPUD  claims to bring them together but it doesn't.  Nothing's been gained by bring the modes together other than empty fulfilling of some bureaucrats bucket list.

SPUDs in lowertown neighborhood of downtown STPL.  First off, it's impossible to not build something there that's not a "TOD".   Really a bit too wedded to the brochure words if you're throwing them around there, IMHO.

As for what ti's attracted, nothing.  There was development for decades as SPUD sat half empty ever since BN moved HQ to Ft. Worth.    It's been superfluous to downtown St. Paul's turnaround over the last generation.

There appears to be infill development built immediately across the street recently. Also an attraction of bringing modes together is stimulating consistent foot traffic. That helps the marketplace for market rate adjacent infill development and small businesses catering to said foot traffic.

Quote
Setting that aside, it would be nice see Amtrak move back back downtown.   I can't imagine it would be a cheap move though.   There's no facilities and no track down there today.

Depends on the definition of cheap. We could easy do it for a fraction of Lot J. Perhaps cheaper than buying and demoing the Landing. But its more expensive than building a Waffle House.

Quote
Then again, Virgin's a land development play.    I wouldn't be surprised to see them work with some developer  in northern St. John's county to drop in a station between Ponte Verdra and Palencia and declare that to the northern terminus and the JAX station.

Makes sense. Especially with St. Augustine.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 16, 2020, 04:41:24 PM
Just out of curiosity, does anybody here actually use mass transit? I've been meaning to take the bus to work for a while now to give it a spin but have yet to.

I commute via the Skyway when I'm working out of my DT office.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: bl8jaxnative on January 17, 2020, 11:16:47 AM
There appears to be infill development built immediately across the street recently. Also an attraction of bringing modes together is stimulating consistent foot traffic. That helps the marketplace for market rate adjacent infill development and small businesses catering to said foot traffic.

Again, that redevelopment was happening in that block long before they rehabbed SPUD.   The areas in that part of downtown that was largely empty in recent years that have been developed  is on the other side of downtown from SPUD,  between east 7th and  I94.

As for the foot traffic, it's been open for nearly a decade and it ain't there.  The place is empty.   There was a Greek place that was in there forever, like 30 years ago ( sorry for confusion, some of SPUD has always been open in use; like river side lots of use by USPS, so it may be confusing given the talk of the quarter of a _BILLION_ used to re-open it.  )  They're gone now, IIRC.  In the last handful of years, a hanful of places have come in gone in there.  No one's made a go of it because the foot traffic is nonexistant and there's no parking.


If you live or work in downtown STPL it's a great place to go to study and think.  Very quiet.

The lack of foot traffic is well documented.

    Bringing these modes together has not resulted in more foot traffic.  Riders needing to transfer do it where they've always done, over at 4th / 5th and Cedar / Minnesota.  That's where the N-S + E-W bus lines come together along with the LRT.


Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: thelakelander on January 17, 2020, 11:45:30 AM
Funding was approved as far back as 2005 and here's their 2010 plan and real estate development strategy:

https://www.hraadvisors.com/portfolio/st-paul-union-depot/

You would know better than me if any of the sites and things discussed in this development strategy are related to what has actually happened since 2005. It also appears the $235 million SPUD isn't complete. Phase three goes through 2030 in the document, so it may be too early to nail the coffin shut on its ability to become a positive in the reactivation of the surrounding properties.

With that said, still a great example though.
Title: Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
Post by: bl8jaxnative on February 29, 2020, 07:40:47 PM
Yes, a great example of pissing away a quarter of a billion dollars.