The Jaxson

Community => Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure => Topic started by: bl8jaxnative on May 30, 2020, 11:12:46 AM

Title: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: bl8jaxnative on May 30, 2020, 11:12:46 AM

Looks likle JTA's lined up money to start getting ready for the robobuses.

https://floridapolitics.com/archives/336518-jacksonville-feds-finalize-funding-for-autonomous-vehicle-system

The accord allows JTA to begin using $12.5 million in discretionary grant funds to start the transition of the existing Skyway Express rail people mover into a public autonomous vehicle system. The JTA will begin planning and requests for proposals for contractors by the end of this year and start work on the system in 2021.

<snip>

The conversion of the rail system for the people mover will involve removing a concrete “track” or tongue in the middle of the raised platforms and turning the pathway into what essentially will become an elevated roadway.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on May 30, 2020, 02:30:54 PM
Pretty sure it will take more than $62 million to convert the 2.5 miles of dual skyway decks and more than 12 to 15 driverless minivans will be needed. No need for pedestrian signals on grade separated infrastructure. This sounds like running autonomous vehicles at grade on Bay Street to the stadium.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on May 30, 2020, 03:44:16 PM
12 vehicles filled to capacity means you could move a maximum of 120 passengers at once. God forbid if someone rolled in there with a wheelchair or bike. One articulated city bus can carry up to 200 passengers. This isn't reliable mass transit to support a vibrant urban environment. At best, it's a demonstration project to explore the pros and cons of integrating various technologies into a real life urban environment.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: blizz01 on May 30, 2020, 04:54:21 PM
Aren't they extending the skyway to Brooklyn?
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on May 30, 2020, 05:10:00 PM
^Yes, that's separate from this.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: jaxlongtimer on May 30, 2020, 05:47:54 PM
Title for this project should be:  "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  (George Santayana)

We are about to waste more taxpayer dollars on another doomed-to-fail "pie-in'the-sky," politically sexy, ego boosting project to salvage/save face regarding the total failure of the Skyway to achieve its mission.

Just one example is that the low passenger capacity is also a big problem with the Skyway.  Consultants prostituting their traffic projections to justify the project for their paying client, JTA, will be another repeated mistake.  Accepting up-front Federal dollars for construction and then saddling local taxpayers with years of subsequent operating losses will be another.  Examples among many of not learning from the past.

Admitting failure and starting over just isn't something Jax leaders honorably do.  JTA should learn from Jeff Bezos:  It's alright to fail, learn from it, and try to not repeat the same mistake.  Bad enough that JTA failed with the Skyway,  But compounding that disaster is JTA's weakness to not learn from, and not repeat, these poorly concieved projects.  The autonomous vehicles appear to be much like the Skyway vehicles with only a different "track" and appearance. They are no faster, carry no more people, or will greatly widen the unappealing route network.  Add, that this is also, initially, going down Bay Street to the Stadium, gives me the idea this might be another bone being thrown toward Mr. Kahn's interests.  But, here we go again...

To put the odds of success in perspective, consider that Google, Tesla, Uber and others have spent billions of dollars and years of time plus run millions of miles trying to perfect autonomous vehicles and are still at it.  So, I am at a loss as to how JTA is going to leap frog their efforts with this project.  Wonder what happens after the first accident?

Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: Ken_FSU on May 30, 2020, 06:33:08 PM
Pretty sure it will take more than $62 million to convert the 2.5 miles of dual skyway decks and more than 12 to 15 driverless minivans will be needed. No need for pedestrian signals on grade separated infrastructure. This sounds like running autonomous vehicles at grade on Bay Street to the stadium.

Correct.

$44 million to build a 3-mile loop at grade between Julia Street/Central Station and TIAA Bank Field.

~$20 million for the “proof of concept” test track between the JRTC and Jefferson Station.

Full conversion is estimated to cost $350 to $400 million by JTA.

Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on May 30, 2020, 07:10:49 PM
Do you feel like you've been bamboozled yet? When this started, this was supposed to dramactically be cheaper than all other options under consideration. Now we're up to $20 million to convert four blocks of infrastructure.  That's light rail from scratch type numbers. The price will increase as more unknown factors are identified. The one saving grace may be that technology changes so fast, what's planned with the skyway will become less logical as time goes on.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on May 30, 2020, 07:16:21 PM
Full conversion is estimated to cost $350 to $400 million by JTA.

So double the amount that it cost to build the skyway but with less capacity. Only in Jax can something so silly be taken so seriously.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: Captain Zissou on June 01, 2020, 09:16:24 AM
Do these still only move at like 7 mph?  Why does our city embrace such awful plans with such gusto, but totally fail at maintaining or incrementally improving the systems we already have.  Across the board we would rather shoot for the moon than maintain what exists.  JEA, JTA, COJ, The Port Authority, etc..
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: icarus on June 01, 2020, 09:45:08 AM
This has to be the worst idea Ive ever heard.  I thought we were looking for effective mass transportation that integrates nearby communities and links underprivileged areas (i.e. no cars) to jobs and services.

I feel like somebody's parents are out of town and left their kid (JTA) with a credit card.

Worst idea ever.  SMH  ???
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 01, 2020, 09:52:14 AM
Do these still only move at like 7 mph?  Why does our city embrace such awful plans with such gusto, but totally fail at maintaining or incrementally improving the systems we already have.  Across the board we would rather shoot for the moon than maintain what exists.  JEA, JTA, COJ, The Port Authority, etc..

Up to 11mph or so, as long as you sit down and buckle your seatbelt. Staff reacts to boards and most board members are politically appointed. A downfall of that is that many may be great people, but necessarily experts at the details. That makes it easier for the "sexy" George Jetson type things to gain steam instead of placing top priority on how to accomplish and excel at the basics. Nevertheless, there's nothing wrong with demos. The problem arises when you start overselling them as some sort of transformational gamechanger or solution to our basic end user mobility needs.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 01, 2020, 09:55:43 AM
This has to be the worst idea Ive ever heard.  I thought we were looking for effective mass transportation that integrates nearby communities and links underprivileged areas (i.e. no cars) to jobs and services.

Things started that way. Somewhere along the way, it turned to forcing AVs as the desired solution, even if things like cost, capacity, land use integration, dedicated ROW, etc. haven't been sufficiently vetted.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 01, 2020, 10:22:30 AM
Full conversion is estimated to cost $350 to $400 million by JTA.

Oh, good lord. And chances are that number won't be accurate. So half a billion dollars to fill downtown with little pods that barely outrun someone who's good at running, hold fewer people than the existing system, and haven't actually been proven to work at this scale. My God.

It really boggles the mind. Even with all the talk here, I don't get how they could have screwed this up this badly. How is it that this entire agency is just barreling ahead with this on our dime, reason be damned? Whose bright idea even was this? When was the meeting where someone stood up and said, "let's do robot clown cars" and everyone started clapping?
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 01, 2020, 10:46:19 AM
The idea of putting small AVs on fixed Skyway infrastructure is already obsolete on arrival. Minus the technology aspect, you essentially have a taxi, Uber or Lyft situation at hand. You can get around with these now. Whether the service is driverless or not really doesn't matter. Your service of limiting them to fixed guideway makes you a loser right off the start. The best benefit of fixed and dedicated infrastructure is the ability to build density around stations and efficiently move large masses of people between them. Right now, we're proposing less capacity than what's already in place and not agressively coordinating and working to densify the 1/4 walkshed around all existing Skyway stations.

We don't need JTA or any public entity in the business of trying to figure out the AV world. The private sector will figure it out. No matter how much money we light on fire, we're not going to out Uber...Uber or be better than Tesla, trying to be Tesla. Take that out of the equation and we're back to making sure we resolve the most important issues regarding transit and being end user friendly. Designing for adaquate capacity, making sure transit is coordinated with surrounding land uses, having rolling stock that can carry multiple bikes, mass crowds, reliable service, decent frequencies and taking people to were they want to go. If we place a higher priority on resolving those basics, without preselecting the rolling stock, I'd think we'd end up with a dramatically different plan.

Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 01, 2020, 10:53:02 AM
So how do we make JTA do that?
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 01, 2020, 11:03:07 AM
Getting JTA to go a different route, means changing the board to direct staff to go in a different direction. Since the board is politically appointed, it means getting someone elected in office, willing to put change agents in place.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 03, 2020, 12:08:34 PM

That feeds into one of the 2 main problems with mass transit. 

Organizations evolve to focus on and serve what feeds them.  That's how they survive.   95% of JTA's transit funding, what JTA needs to survive, is money given directly to them by politicians.     Just by that setup, they're always going to be focused on what the politicians are looking for.   

That is to say, the politicians are the customer.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: Bill Hoff on June 04, 2020, 02:47:49 PM

That feeds into one of the 2 main problems with mass transit. 

Organizations evolve to focus on and serve what feeds them.  That's how they survive.   95% of JTA's transit funding, what JTA needs to survive, is money given directly to them by politicians.     Just by that setup, they're always going to be focused on what the politicians are looking for.   

That is to say, the politicians are the customer.

Speaking of transit funding.... came across this yesterday:

Transportation Per Person, Per Square Mile*

Jacksonville/Duval <$1
Orlando/Orange $3
Tampa/Hillsborough $3
Miami/Dade $18

* per capita spending

Via the JU Public Policy Institute.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: Live_Oak on June 04, 2020, 03:04:53 PM

That feeds into one of the 2 main problems with mass transit. 

Organizations evolve to focus on and serve what feeds them.  That's how they survive.   95% of JTA's transit funding, what JTA needs to survive, is money given directly to them by politicians.     Just by that setup, they're always going to be focused on what the politicians are looking for.   

That is to say, the politicians are the customer.


Speaking of transit funding.... came across this yesterday:

Transportation Per Person, Per Square Mile*

Jacksonville/Duval <$1
Orlando/Orange $3
Tampa/Hillsborough $3
Miami/Dade $18

* per capita spending

Via the JU Public Policy Institute.

Bill -

Do you have a link you could share?
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: jaxlongtimer on June 04, 2020, 05:37:05 PM
Speaking of transit funding.... came across this yesterday:

Transportation Per Person, Per Square Mile*

Jacksonville/Duval <$1
Orlando/Orange $3
Tampa/Hillsborough $3
Miami/Dade $18

* per capita spending

Via the JU Public Policy Institute.

Jax is low on per capita spending on transportation, education and parks, among other items (maybe social services?).  We are also low on taxes.  I would like to know what Jax's per capita spend is on handouts/incentives to developer projects. We are probably near the top on that list.

And we wonder why there is civil unrest?
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 05, 2020, 05:27:53 PM

Speaking of transit funding.... came across this yesterday:

Transportation Per Person, Per Square Mile*

Jacksonville/Duval <$1
Orlando/Orange $3
Tampa/Hillsborough $3
Miami/Dade $18

* per capita spending

Via the JU Public Policy Institute.


They're doing the same thing people do with LA. LA County's got 10 million people.  But it's a huge county, like 90 miles North - South,  like 5 times the land of Duval County.

Anyway, they take the LA population and divide it by the size of the county.  They then declare it to have a low density.  But if you  look at the urbanized part of the county, the urban-urban part south of the san briel mountains, it's the metro in the US.  IIRC that holds true when including Orange County, too.

When talking about transit, we shouldn't be measuring all of Duval for $ per square mile.  it shouldn't  limited the urban-urban areas.  Hell, I'm not sure what the fart dollars per sqare mile means. 

Does Chipotle judge their success on how much they spend per square mile?

They really should be looking at something like the number of trips per vehicle route miles.  The same with the cost.

If you look at total costs - operating, maint + capital - for the main 4 ( technically when you say Miami,there's a ton of transit operators like the city of Hallandale, etc ) PER passenger mile, it'll give you a better idea of what's going on.

Miami - $1.38
Tampa - $1.31
Orlando- $1.70
Jacksonville - $2.03
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 24, 2020, 09:11:33 PM
https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/jta-jacksonville-regional-transportation-center-was-years-bold-accomplishment

Quote
More than 800,000 people used the Skyway and the ferry logged 423,000 customers, Ford said.

Quote
Ford said JTA will further develop and expand the Ultimate Urban Circulator autonomous vehicle program, aided by a $12.5 million federal transportation grant, Ford said.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 24, 2020, 10:49:20 PM
If the 800,000 skyway trips are over the course of a year, that's a little more than 2,100 trips a day. That's more than a 50% drop in recent years and the lowest ridership in more than a decade. Not good at all.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: jaxlongtimer on June 25, 2020, 01:17:03 AM
If the 800,000 skyway trips are over the course of a year, that's a little more than 2,100 trips a day. That's more than a 50% drop in recent years and the lowest ridership in more than a decade. Not good at all.

Lake, are your really surprised by this?  This is the 30+ year history of the Skyway.  And, today it's free so they can't even give sufficient numbers of rides away (and, I note, that's with the increase in Downtown living many said would drive increased use).

This article [ https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20100905/NEWS/801245281 (https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20100905/NEWS/801245281)] from 2010 is a nice recap of the Skyway's disappointing history and consistent string of dashed expectations since the day it opened over 30 years ago.  Interesting that hope sprung eternal then just as some are doing today (reminds me of being a Jag's fan  ;D) and the same ol' well-worn and desperate arguments to keep it going are still being proffered.  It's a fool's gold.

The article notes that in 2010, the Skyway was a financial failure (and that was before it was free) even by mass transit standards.  Surely, it isn't doing any better today.  And, now you can add however much is the new investment to convert it to autonomous vehicles (which will also likely incur equal or greater operating losses compared to the current system) and the write-off of abandoning the existing track, cars and operating system.  Can you provide those numbers for discussion?

Quote
The system that was built for $183 million, more than half from the federal government, needs $14 million to operate each year - $1.5 million of that from Washington for maintenance alone.

In 2009, it generated only $431,000 in revenue, less than a 4 percent return. Most public transit systems lose money, but by comparison JTA’s bus system made back more than 20 percent - $6.2 million - of its $30.2 million cost in 2009.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 25, 2020, 08:52:53 AM
If the 800,000 skyway trips are over the course of a year, that's a little more than 2,100 trips a day. That's more than a 50% drop in recent years and the lowest ridership in more than a decade. Not good at all.

Lake, are your really surprised by this?  This is the 30+ year history of the Skyway.  And, today it's free so they can't even give sufficient numbers of rides away (and, I note, that's with the increase in Downtown living many said would drive increased use).

I'm actually not surprised. But it has less to do with the Skyway or infrastructure itself and more to do with how we run things into failure. We don't operate the thing on most weekends, we closed the LaVilla line just as soon as people started living next to it, we're five years late with attempting a no-frills stop at Brooklyn, we don't program or lease out excess space on the ground level of the stations, we still have not coordinated downtown land use and development policy around the existing skyway stops, we're still building parking garages and allowing demos for surface parking crazy and we don't operate the Skyway as a transit spine. You can't really talk about something being a failure when you've done nothing over the last 30 years but set it up to fail.

Quote
This article [ https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20100905/NEWS/801245281 (https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20100905/NEWS/801245281)] from 2010 is a nice recap of the Skyway's disappointing history and consistent string of dashed expectations since the day it opened over 30 years ago.  Interesting that hope sprung eternal then just as some are doing today (reminds me of being a Jag's fan  ;D) and the same ol' well-worn and desperate arguments to keep it going are still being proffered.  It's a fool's gold.

I think you're focusing too much on the Skyway itself when I'd argue it isn't the problem. It's a result of a true problem. That problem is until we change the way we do things, true Downtown revitalization itself is fool's gold. The Skyway and much of everything else will suffer until we stop the foolishness.

Quote
The article notes that in 2010, the Skyway was a financial failure (and that was before it was free) even by mass transit standards.  Surely, it isn't doing any better today.  And, now you can add however much is the new investment to convert it to autonomous vehicles (which will also likely incur equal or greater operating losses compared to the current system) and the write-off of abandoning the existing track, cars and operating system.  Can you provide those numbers for discussion?

I find a lot of fault with the article but there are things that can be easily done to make the system and a lot of other things in downtown more effective and financially sustainable. With that said, the U2C is simply more madness.

Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: Live_Oak on June 25, 2020, 11:32:16 AM
If the 800,000 skyway trips are over the course of a year, that's a little more than 2,100 trips a day. That's more than a 50% drop in recent years and the lowest ridership in more than a decade. Not good at all.

Transit ridership across the country has been declining. The closure of the Jefferson St and Convention Center stations surely also had an impact.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 25, 2020, 11:36:15 AM
True but not 50% pre-covid. Much of the Skyway's issues have always been self inflicted and not taking advantage of obvious opportunities.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: Live_Oak on June 25, 2020, 11:38:36 AM
Also, the skyway doesn't run on the weekends. So the trips per day are really around 3100.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 25, 2020, 11:45:11 AM
But it does run during special events and those days are likely higher than the average weekday numbers. So it would definitely be below 3100.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 25, 2020, 02:54:52 PM
If the 800,000 skyway trips are over the course of a year, that's a little more than 2,100 trips a day. That's more than a 50% drop in recent years and the lowest ridership in more than a decade. Not good at all.

Lake, are your really surprised by this?  This is the 30+ year history of the Skyway.  And, today it's free so they can't even give sufficient numbers of rides away (and, I note, that's with the increase in Downtown living many said would drive increased use).

I'm actually not surprised. But it has less to do with the Skyway or infrastructure itself and more to do with how we run things into failure. We don't operate the thing on most weekends, we closed the LaVilla line just as soon as people started living next to it, we're five years late with attempting a no-frills stop at Brooklyn, we don't program or lease out excess space on the ground level of the stations, we still have not coordinated downtown land use and development policy around the existing skyway stops, we're still building parking garages and allowing demos for surface parking crazy and we don't operate the Skyway as a transit spine. You can't really talk about something being a failure when you've done nothing over the last 30 years but set it up to fail.

Quote
This article [ https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20100905/NEWS/801245281 (https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20100905/NEWS/801245281)] from 2010 is a nice recap of the Skyway's disappointing history and consistent string of dashed expectations since the day it opened over 30 years ago.  Interesting that hope sprung eternal then just as some are doing today (reminds me of being a Jag's fan  ;D) and the same ol' well-worn and desperate arguments to keep it going are still being proffered.  It's a fool's gold.

I think you're focusing too much on the Skyway itself when I'd argue it isn't the problem. It's a result of a true problem. That problem is until we change the way we do things, true Downtown revitalization itself is fool's gold. The Skyway and much of everything else will suffer until we stop the foolishness.

Quote
The article notes that in 2010, the Skyway was a financial failure (and that was before it was free) even by mass transit standards.  Surely, it isn't doing any better today.  And, now you can add however much is the new investment to convert it to autonomous vehicles (which will also likely incur equal or greater operating losses compared to the current system) and the write-off of abandoning the existing track, cars and operating system.  Can you provide those numbers for discussion?

I find a lot of fault with the article but there are things that can be easily done to make the system and a lot of other things in downtown more effective and financially sustainable. With that said, the U2C is simply more madness.



Right, it's not like urban circulators are inherently flawed. It's that Jacksonville has spent decades incompetently managing urban transit & especially urban development.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: jaxjaguar on June 25, 2020, 04:15:21 PM
Looking at the station placements it's really saddening how many surface lots are immediately next to them. Every single station on the South bank is flanked by a massive surface parking lot... On the North bank 3/5 stations are flanked by surface parking lots.

If we took mass transit seriously, we would provide incentive to building hubs of density around each station. The more dense your building, the more incentive you get. Each station should be flanked by mid/high rise housing, hotel and multi-use mid/high rise buildings. Large garages with street level restuarant/retail should be at each terminus.

Doing this would maximize the usage of the skyway by diversifying the structures around each station. It would also help keep traffic out of the core.

I know it's a hot topic for debate, but the system should be progressively expanded towards the Sports District. Start off by building off the available extension slot on Bay Street to the lot where the Landing used to be. It would be expensive, but it would put The Times Union Center, Vystar, and Wells Fargo buildings all in a transit spot. It would also give someone a reason to develop something really nice where the Landing used to be.

The next leg would go to the former courthouse land. This would be a prime location for the Hyatt and Berkman residents. It would encourage travelers to use the Hyatt, boost the value of the lots around the Hyatt and give reason to complete Berkman II.

The final leg would be the longest and most expensive, but by this point we would have created enough density around each station to justify it. Here we would run track all the way to Lot X. There should be expansion slots just after Catherine street and at the terminus, just in case future developments allow for further expansion.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 25, 2020, 05:00:54 PM
Looking at the station placements it's really saddening how many surface lots are immediately next to them. Every single station on the South bank is flanked by a massive surface parking lot... On the North bank 3/5 stations are flanked by surface parking lots.

If we took mass transit seriously, we would provide incentive to building hubs of density around each station. The more dense your building, the more incentive you get. Each station should be flanked by mid/high rise housing, hotel and multi-use mid/high rise buildings. Large garages with street level restuarant/retail should be at each terminus.

Doing this would maximize the usage of the skyway by diversifying the structures around each station. It would also help keep traffic out of the core.

I know it's a hot topic for debate, but the system should be progressively expanded towards the Sports District. Start off by building off the available extension slot on Bay Street to the lot where the Landing used to be. It would be expensive, but it would put The Times Union Center, Vystar, and Wells Fargo buildings all in a transit spot. It would also give someone a reason to develop something really nice where the Landing used to be.

The next leg would go to the former courthouse land. This would be a prime location for the Hyatt and Berkman residents. It would encourage travelers to use the Hyatt, boost the value of the lots around the Hyatt and give reason to complete Berkman II.

The final leg would be the longest and most expensive, but by this point we would have created enough density around each station to justify it. Here we would run track all the way to Lot X. There should be expansion slots just after Catherine street and at the terminus, just in case future developments allow for further expansion.

This is great, I totally agree. The challenge is the failure in leadership at COJ and JTA that instead mean that we're just now getting the ball rolling on TOD at Rosa Parks, and instead of finding a real fixed transit solution from a more reliable manufacturer and leveraging our existing assets, we're betting the farm on AVs and repeating our own mistakes from 40 years ago.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: jaxlongtimer on June 25, 2020, 07:31:32 PM
Looking at the station placements it's really saddening how many surface lots are immediately next to them. Every single station on the South bank is flanked by a massive surface parking lot... On the North bank 3/5 stations are flanked by surface parking lots.

If we took mass transit seriously, we would provide incentive to building hubs of density around each station. The more dense your building, the more incentive you get. Each station should be flanked by mid/high rise housing, hotel and multi-use mid/high rise buildings. Large garages with street level restuarant/retail should be at each terminus.

Doing this would maximize the usage of the skyway by diversifying the structures around each station. It would also help keep traffic out of the core.

I know it's a hot topic for debate, but the system should be progressively expanded towards the Sports District. Start off by building off the available extension slot on Bay Street to the lot where the Landing used to be. It would be expensive, but it would put The Times Union Center, Vystar, and Wells Fargo buildings all in a transit spot. It would also give someone a reason to develop something really nice where the Landing used to be.

The next leg would go to the former courthouse land. This would be a prime location for the Hyatt and Berkman residents. It would encourage travelers to use the Hyatt, boost the value of the lots around the Hyatt and give reason to complete Berkman II.

The final leg would be the longest and most expensive, but by this point we would have created enough density around each station to justify it. Here we would run track all the way to Lot X. There should be expansion slots just after Catherine street and at the terminus, just in case future developments allow for further expansion.

Jaxjaguar, as noted, in theory this is all great.  In the reality of Jacksonville, it isn't.  And while there are many here saying that leadership is the biggest problem with the Skyway (which I totally agree), it's not all of it.  The Skyway just isn't people friendly.  It carries few people, its slow, it's elevated creating a psychological block (like the Intracoastal is to Beach residents  8) ), it's expensive, it's inflexible and it is not the best solution when measured on many levels against other mass transit options.

FYI, the station on the Omni block was actually contested by the developer of that block.  That's right.  He didn't want to give up his land by eminent domain for the Skyway because he saw no value to his property from it.  And, he was right.  When the Skyway got built, many shops, some in business for nearly a hundred years, along streets it went down closed up for good.  And, nothing has really come back to replace them.  So, if the Skyway appealed to the private sector that much, we would already have developers self-motivated to do what you advocate for and what is around the Skyway would already be increasing ridership.  None of that appears to be happening other than by random happenstance at best.

The arguments for building and keeping the Skyway have been recycled since it was conceived over 40 years ago.  Not one of them has stood the test of time for any excuse you want to pick.  And, nothing is on the horizon to indicate it will be any different for the next 40 years.  The real debate should be, if we have $xx million to spend on sustaining the Skyway, could we spend that same money on another option and get a lot more bang for the buck.  That's what the private sector would do.  And, if I suspect, the better answer is the latter, we would  move on.  But, no one is seriously looking at other options.  We just go into the default mode of we have to keep the Skyway running, come hell or high water, and invest good money after bad.  That's my beef.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: tufsu1 on June 25, 2020, 07:36:45 PM
If the 800,000 skyway trips are over the course of a year, that's a little more than 2,100 trips a day. That's more than a 50% drop in recent years and the lowest ridership in more than a decade. Not good at all.

keep in mind parts of the system have been closed for the last two years
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 25, 2020, 07:54:25 PM
^Oh yeah, I'm aware.

Looking at the station placements it's really saddening how many surface lots are immediately next to them. Every single station on the South bank is flanked by a massive surface parking lot... On the North bank 3/5 stations are flanked by surface parking lots.

If we took mass transit seriously, we would provide incentive to building hubs of density around each station. The more dense your building, the more incentive you get. Each station should be flanked by mid/high rise housing, hotel and multi-use mid/high rise buildings. Large garages with street level restuarant/retail should be at each terminus.

Doing this would maximize the usage of the skyway by diversifying the structures around each station. It would also help keep traffic out of the core.

I know it's a hot topic for debate, but the system should be progressively expanded towards the Sports District. Start off by building off the available extension slot on Bay Street to the lot where the Landing used to be. It would be expensive, but it would put The Times Union Center, Vystar, and Wells Fargo buildings all in a transit spot. It would also give someone a reason to develop something really nice where the Landing used to be.

The next leg would go to the former courthouse land. This would be a prime location for the Hyatt and Berkman residents. It would encourage travelers to use the Hyatt, boost the value of the lots around the Hyatt and give reason to complete Berkman II.

The final leg would be the longest and most expensive, but by this point we would have created enough density around each station to justify it. Here we would run track all the way to Lot X. There should be expansion slots just after Catherine street and at the terminus, just in case future developments allow for further expansion.

My thoughts haven't changed from a decade ago.

1. The DIA and JTA should have a coordinated development strategy to cluster infill and adaptive reuse within the walkshed off every existing Skyway station. This should have been done years ago when the real estate market was booming. Now we may have to realistically wait another decade to reap the benefits of such coordination.

2. Open a no frills Brooklyn station. Just get it done. Not having direct access to the only booming area within the DIA's boundaries has been a big miss. Luckily moves are finally being made after declarations that it wasn't feasible and that it would be too expensive.

3. Find a way to run 7 days a week, even if it means running an on-call service of sorts on the weekends. You can't coordinate transit and land use if the transit pick and chooses when it will be made available.

4. Make and run the Skyway like a transit spine. This can be done by eliminating the duplication between bus service and the Skyway.....even with the newer BRT lines. We've eliminated some duplication with the systemwide modification project a few years back (one of the best things JTA has done recently, IMO) but we can trim more downtown.

5. Take advantage of the massive footprint of the existing Skyway stations. They are great opportunities for various types of businesses, could generate some minor rental income and more importantly, offer increased attraction to ride the existing 2.5 mile system.

6. I wouldn't not consider any expansion of infrastructure before handling the five items above. Then before potential expansion, we'd need to really figure out what the hell we're doing and expecting with AVs.

7. To better get a read on their acceptance and operations, I'd shift to a real life demonstration by running a pilot program between the JRTC (or Jefferson Station) to Five Points via Park Street. We need an easy straight shot with a viable seven day/week destination at the end point. Using Park Street to connect Five Points to Downtown is the easiest. Based on how this plays out, it will let you know a lot about how much time, money and effort should be spent in screwing with the Skyway's infrastructure for what could very well likely be another Skywayish gimmick.

Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 25, 2020, 08:12:22 PM
Jaxjaguar, as noted, in theory this is all great.  In the reality of Jacksonville, it isn't.  And while there are many here saying that leadership is the biggest problem with the Skyway (which I totally agree), it's not all of it.  The Skyway just isn't people friendly.  It carries few people, its slow, it's elevated creating a psychological block (like the Intracoastal is to Beach residents  8) ), it's expensive, it's inflexible and it is not the best solution when measured on many levels against other mass transit options.

The infrastructure isn't any different from the El in Chicago, the Metromover or Metrorail in Miami, or the Skytrain in Vancouver. There's nothing wrong with being fixed if you have an environment where fixed transit is needed to move a mass amount of people. We once had that but we've blown most of it up since 1970. So what isn't people friendly is actually Downtown. I believe anything you go with will fail until we integrate the transportation aspect with the land use.

By the same token, I do believe it is silly to convert a fixed guideway system into something for AVs that have the capacity of minivans. In this case, you would be better just running the public comparable of Uber on the street. But just acknowledge you won't have a transit system able to move mass amounts of people in a vibrant downtown (maybe we don't really want one and the things that come with it) and accept that the private sector can likely do it better.

Quote
FYI, the station on the Omni block was actually contested by the developer of that block.  That's right.  He didn't want to give up his land by eminent domain for the Skyway because he saw no value to his property from it.  And, he was right.  When the Skyway got built, many shops, some in business for nearly a hundred years, along streets it went down closed up for good.

The thing didn't need to run on private ROW. That's a planning failure, not an infrastructure failure. Also, when it was constructed, downtown was in a free fall. Nearly every move we made at that time was both counterproductive fro the infrastructure installed and keeping downtown alive. In other words, I'd argue the economic issue and planning around it was and remains significantly larger than the Skyway infrastructure being a major obstacle.

Quote
And, nothing has really come back to replace them.  So, if the Skyway appealed to the private sector that much, we would already have developers self-motivated to do what you advocate for and what is around the Skyway would already be increasing ridership.  None of that appears to be happening other than by random happenstance at best.

There's no land use policy or strategy in place to draw development within walking distance to Skyway stations. While we have some TAD (Transit Adjacent Development) like Kings Avenue Station and Jefferson Street Station, it will be hard to leverage TOD when the T isn't present and available every day.

Quote
The arguments for building and keeping the Skyway have been recycled since it was conceived over 40 years ago.  Not one of them has stood the test of time for any excuse you want to pick.  And, nothing is on the horizon to indicate it will be any different for the next 40 years.

My top five points have never been addressed together in 40 years. But they seem to work just fine in other cities.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: sanmarcomatt on June 26, 2020, 09:08:12 AM
Is it just me or have the same threads on the skyway for 10 years been just repeated with people using the same complaints and others the same argument that we just can’t dump the skyway because of the cost of the  “give backs” and oh, what a waste that would be. We just need to take advantage of what we have!

I am sure it will different his time.







Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 26, 2020, 10:01:37 AM
^Pretty much. We'll continue having them because nothing has changed. When you think about it, we've been having the same conversation about downtown revitalization since the 1950s.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: sanmarcomatt on June 26, 2020, 10:18:38 AM
^Pretty much. We'll continue having them because nothing has changed. When you think about it, we've been having the same conversation about downtown revitalization since the 1950s.

But I have hope. Clowns and fireworks.

The fireworks will still go on or the virus wins.

The new clown committee will solve economic disparity and a billion dollars on clown cars and giveaways to a mustached clown should pay off handsomely.


.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 26, 2020, 11:33:57 AM
But just acknowledge you won't have a transit system able to move mass amounts of people in a vibrant downtown (maybe we don't really want one and the things that come with it) and accept that the private sector can likely do it better.

Mass transit was appropriate for a day in age - a century ago - when you could have your Ford in any color you wanted just as long as you wanted it in black.

It's 2020. Mass transit went the way of the dodo bird, just like mass factories in the urban core that had 4,000 employees.  Those days are long, long, long gone.

Jacksonville doesn't have the density, not residential nor commercial, to half-way support anything like the Skyway.  Nothing close to it.  You've have to see things downtown grow to 4,5, 10 times to what they are.  That ain't gonna happen, not tomorrow, not for generations from now.

It's long past time to tear the damn thing down.

Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: jaxjaguar on June 26, 2020, 12:54:43 PM
Orlando is a prime example of how good leadership and foresight can completely change a downtown.

They went from having nearly as many vacant buildings and lots as Jacksonville to completely flipping into a dense urban center. They provided heavy incentives for Mid-high rise residences and it shows. There are still some vacant areas, but up until the virus slowed things down there were new projects lined up every other month, because at a certain point the growth starts sustaining itself without the need for as many incentives. It's cheaper to "start the fire now" than to wait 10 more years because inflation will always make things more expensive.

Tearing down the skyway would be admitting defeat and saying, "there's no hope for us to ever have a great urban core"
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: thelakelander on June 26, 2020, 02:45:35 PM
Orlando, Tampa, Charlotte and Miami are good examples of why this statement doesn't hold up when a community makes good decisions during an economic boom:

Mass transit was appropriate for a day in age - a century ago - when you could have your Ford in any color you wanted just as long as you wanted it in black.

It's 2020. Mass transit went the way of the dodo bird, just like mass factories in the urban core that had 4,000 employees.  Those days are long, long, long gone.

Jacksonville doesn't have the density, not residential nor commercial, to half-way support anything like the Skyway.  Nothing close to it.  You've have to see things downtown grow to 4,5, 10 times to what they are.  That ain't gonna happen, not tomorrow, not for generations from now.

It's long past time to tear the damn thing down.

Get yourself together and you can have a completely different outcome and environment ten years down the road. Keep tearing stuff down and low quality replacements and you'll find yourself with a downtown in worse condition than it is now.
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: fieldafm on June 29, 2020, 09:19:07 AM

It's 2020. Mass transit went the way of the dodo bird, just like mass factories in the urban core that had 4,000 employees.  Those days are long, long, long gone.


LOL, this guy
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: ProjectMaximus on June 30, 2020, 07:41:49 PM
Is the Skyway currently operating?
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: tufsu1 on June 30, 2020, 09:48:03 PM
Is the Skyway currently operating?

reopens tomorrow
Title: Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
Post by: bill on June 30, 2020, 10:22:08 PM
Is it just me or have the same threads on the skyway for 10 years been just repeated with people using the same complaints and others the same argument that we just can’t dump the skyway because of the cost of the  “give backs” and oh, what a waste that would be. We just need to take advantage of what we have!

I am sure it will different his time.
40 years