The Jaxson

Community => Transportation, Mass Transit & Infrastructure => Topic started by: BossmanOdum10 on May 13, 2021, 11:19:31 AM

Title: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: BossmanOdum10 on May 13, 2021, 11:19:31 AM
*Long Rant Alert*
Am I the only person who feels like this U2C Project is a waste? IMO I feel that this BILLION DOLLAR Project makes ZERO cents to help our city. I truly don't understand why the city leaders are so amazed with this project. Use that BILLION DOLLARS to improve what we have and create better and smarter projects. We are a city of nearly 1 million people (Jacksonville Proper)...4 seater automated mini vans driving around the downtown area isn't helping at all. Sorry, but the leadership here has to do better.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 13, 2021, 11:45:03 AM
Hi!

You're not alone at all, there have been people here concerned about this project for years now. Although, let's be clear about what it is. The U2C as proposed doesn't cost a billion dollars. The proposed gas tax increase includes many other infrastructure & transportation improvement projects across Duval County. The U2C (until yesterday) made up about $379 million out of $930 million. That number was just decreased by about $132 million in order to fund the Emerald Trail project.

In terms of why city leaders are amazed, frankly, it's not clear most of them are. Not a whole lot of people on Council are at least publicly singing its praises. The ones who are have been fed a lot of misdirection by people who are very confident that their project is going to work, but don't really know how to make it work. Not that they aren't smart people, autonomous vehicles are just incredibly hard and expensive. They've been chasing this dream of being a "national leader" and building the "future of transportation" to the point of really going beyond the duty of building functional public transportation.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on May 13, 2021, 11:50:34 AM
To the moderator:  There are any number of threads started on this project.  Is there an opportunity to consolidate some of them?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: WmNussbaum on May 17, 2021, 11:58:03 AM
The recent article in the Mag about the U2C presented a good analysis of the plan - it it can really be called one. As a matter of interest, how much would it cost to tear down the Skyway and pay the government what it would claim the city owes for abandoning such a worthwhile -  Ri-i-i-ight - venture?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on May 17, 2021, 12:15:07 PM
Less than a quarter of the cost that JTA would like to spend on the U2C.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 17, 2021, 06:03:25 PM
Less than a quarter of the cost that JTA would like to spend on the U2C.

Perhaps? JTA keeps fearmongering that the FTA will actually demand full repayment for the elevated structure if it's torn down, and I imagine that if they did it with me bringing that up, they'd certainly do it with Council. On top of that they keep referring - even on their FAQ page (https://u2c.jtafla.com/documentation/questions-answers/) - to a vaguely threatening "chilling effect on future federal funding opportunities."
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on May 17, 2021, 06:26:04 PM
The full project cost was $184 million. Not all of it was paid for by the FTA. So it's still peanuts in comparison to spending 1/2 billion on the U2C. With that said, we could do nothing with the Skyway and still not have to pay the FTA a dime back. So an alternative option is to take LOGT money and build a new transit project 100% independent of the Skyway, other than having a single station connect into the JRTC. As long as the new project doesn't duplicate the existing path of the Skyway, we'd have a fixed transit system that includes 2.5 miles of elevated Skyway connecting various areas of DT.

This option would be exactly what the Metrorail in Miami and QLine Streetcar in Detroit do for the Skyway siblings, the Metromover and Detroit Peoplemover......feed these downtown peoplemovers with riders coming from areas outside of downtown.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: WmNussbaum on May 17, 2021, 06:28:15 PM
And what is so great about autonomous vehicles? Elimination of jobs for the segment of workers who could drive a bus?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 17, 2021, 07:00:48 PM
And what is so great about autonomous vehicles? Elimination of jobs for the segment of workers who could drive a bus?

Well, Nat Ford did say we'd be turning bus drivers into drone operators, so there's that…

Jokes aside, here are some of the pros discussed in 2017 when AVs became the "preferred technology":

Quote
This vehicle technology option is expected to have a shorter service life so it does not require a long term commitment to the technology. Once past the initial infrastructure conversion, there would be a high level of flexibility to change vehicles at a later time. This option offers the highest level of flexibility and cost effectiveness of extensions. Autonomous vehicle technology is rapidly developing and there is significant private sector investment in it. By using a larger fleet of smaller vehicles that can be operated individually or in a train set, this option offers the highest level of operational flexibility. It also provides the option of operating at street level. While current application is limited, autonomous vehicle technology is expected to advance in a timeframe that would allow the U2C to have the most current, instead of obsolete, technology.

Autonomous Vehicle (AV) technology without a guidebeam or rail is the preferred technology option that enables the JTA to achieve the desired system attributes of the U2C. The operational flexibility provides high capacity and high frequency service. Extensions are more cost effective and can be at the street level or elevated. This flexibility is critical for the system to reach existing, emerging and planned residential, employment and retail centers. As the technology develops, the system would have the capacity to operate on-demand and even potentially offer point-to-point service where the infrastructure permits.

You might quickly notice that basically all of those benefits rely on promises of hypothetical capability. Hypothetical capability that in four years of expensive private sector R&D haven't really emerged yet.

The full project cost was $184 million. Not all of it was paid for by the FTA. So it's still peanuts in comparison to spending 1/2 billion on the U2C. With that said, we could do nothing with the Skyway and still not have to pay the FTA a dime back. So an alternative option is to take LOGT money and build a new transit project 100% independent of the Skyway, other than having a single station connect into the JRTC. As long as the new project doesn't duplicate the existing path of the Skyway, we'd have a fixed transit system that includes 2.5 miles of elevated Skyway connecting various areas of DT.

This option would be exactly what the Metrorail in Miami and QLine Streetcar in Detroit do for the Skyway siblings, the Metromover and Detroit Peoplemover......feed these downtown peoplemovers with riders coming from areas outside of downtown.

I suppose the problem that remains is that the current system does still need to have something done with it. Seeing as there is ~$250 million left (assuming it isn't better used elsewhere), I'd spend ~$20-30 million overhauling the existing system to last until the FTA term runs out and then the $200 million on a local 25% share of proven technology for something like the QLine that actually goes places like EWC and other destinations where people are likely to find it a useful alternative, vs just being for downtowners. That or direct it to getting commuter rail and the terminal off the ground vs just "further in planning". Or split some of it off and use it for increasing bus frequencies, that's also possible.

I think there's some theoretical promise in a Lake Nona-style AV network elsewhere in town, so the automation team could keep working on that with the remaining money until the technology is actually ready. If everyone there didn't already have golf carts, something like the U2C could probably be useful in Nocatee.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on May 17, 2021, 09:12:53 PM
The full project cost was $184 million. Not all of it was paid for by the FTA. So it's still peanuts in comparison to spending 1/2 billion on the U2C. With that said, we could do nothing with the Skyway and still not have to pay the FTA a dime back. So an alternative option is to take LOGT money and build a new transit project 100% independent of the Skyway, other than having a single station connect into the JRTC. As long as the new project doesn't duplicate the existing path of the Skyway, we'd have a fixed transit system that includes 2.5 miles of elevated Skyway connecting various areas of DT.

This option would be exactly what the Metrorail in Miami and QLine Streetcar in Detroit do for the Skyway siblings, the Metromover and Detroit Peoplemover......feed these downtown peoplemovers with riders coming from areas outside of downtown.

I suppose the problem that remains is that the current system does still need to have something done with it. Seeing as there is ~$250 million left (assuming it isn't better used elsewhere), I'd spend ~$20-30 million overhauling the existing system to last until the FTA term runs out

Definitely got to maintain what's there. However, I don't view it as a cost that has to be included in the LOGT. For example, the $15 to $20 million annually that it will cost to operate the U2C isn't included in the LOGT numbers.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 17, 2021, 09:47:50 PM
According to this (https://u2c.jtafla.com/media/2880/technical-memorandum-ii_operating-plan_final-april-2017.pdf), current annual O&M for the Skyway was $6.3 million a few years ago. My understanding of the reason for this whole adventure in the first place was that the vehicles were beyond the midpoint of their lifetime and needed to be either overhauled or replaced, and that four vehicles were out of service for mechanical failures. Fixing that, plus some refreshes for the infrastructure and operating system are costs I'm personally okay with us putting some capital into, just enough to get us to the end of the federal obligation. Then the remaining funding can go to alternatives.

Now that I'm thinking about it, it seems pretty odd that they didn't look at their plan and consider that maybe it'd go over easier if they just asked for the $130 million to do the extensions, with a simpler vehicle replacement or overhaul scheme for the existing structure. If they could have squeezed the whole Skyway ask into $150-170 million and done other, more popular stuff with the remainder, they probably would have gotten away with it. I know they apparently felt that requiring passengers to transfer was "suboptimal," but coming out and saying "we'd like to spend $423 million on the Skyway, which would be close to half of the entire gas tax proposal" was ballsy, and probably not a great idea in hindsight.

Then again, they apparently thought waxing poetic about this project turning us into a "global leader in digital innovation" was going to be a winning strategy.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on May 17, 2021, 09:51:50 PM
I still want to see documentation from FTA about the alleged "payback".
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on May 17, 2021, 10:42:05 PM
According to this (https://u2c.jtafla.com/media/2880/technical-memorandum-ii_operating-plan_final-april-2017.pdf), current annual O&M for the Skyway was $6.3 million a few years ago. My understanding of the reason for this whole adventure in the first place was that the vehicles were beyond the midpoint of their lifetime and needed to be either overhauled or replaced, and that four vehicles were out of service for mechanical failures. Fixing that, plus some refreshes for the infrastructure and operating system are costs I'm personally okay with us putting some capital into, just enough to get us to the end of the federal obligation. Then the remaining funding can go to alternatives.

Now that I'm thinking about it, it seems pretty odd that they didn't look at their plan and consider that maybe it'd go over easier if they just asked for the $130 million to do the extensions, with a simpler vehicle replacement or overhaul scheme for the existing structure. If they could have squeezed the whole Skyway ask into $150-170 million and done other, more popular stuff with the remainder, they probably would have gotten away with it. I know they apparently felt that requiring passengers to transfer was "suboptimal," but coming out and saying "we'd like to spend $423 million on the Skyway, which would be close to half of the entire gas tax proposal" was ballsy, and probably not a great idea in hindsight.

Then again, they apparently thought waxing poetic about this project turning us into a "global leader in digital innovation" was going to be a winning strategy.

Somewhere down the line it went from properly addressing the challenges involving the Skyway into a desired legacy solution. Now all the fiscal reasons for starting things years ago don't matter as much as forcing that desired solution into reality, regardless of costs.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: bl8jaxnative on May 18, 2021, 09:42:18 AM

No one should take serious a proposal is based on clown cars being drive themselves about rich people's neighborhoods ( + downtown ).
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: WmNussbaum on May 18, 2021, 01:24:10 PM
Jacksonville - or as I like to call it, Jackassville - is such an odd place. I see that according to a UNF poll, most of us don't want to raise the gas tax. It is a regressive tax to be sure, but how are we ever going to solve local problems without local funding? The city could be called Los Angeles East because we are married to the automobile and considering that getting around this huge metropolitan area is more than acceptable, that is not so bad.

So, spend money on bigger and better maintained roadways as L.A. has. Have a fleet of busses of different sizes to fit the amount of anticipated usage and with a circle of sub-stations around and in the areas of need. Improve and increase transfer points. Convert the Skyway to a bicycle - pedestrian pathway with a few more access points. (Speaking of bicycles, let me piss off the bikers - and I once was one: Spending money on bike paths in the hope it will generate bicycle ridership as a way to get around town should be very limited. We aren't an Amsterdam or any other city where a lot of the population gets around that way and building bicycle paths is not going to change that.)

Reconstruct the Hart Bridge ramps. If you re-build it they will come.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 18, 2021, 02:11:47 PM
Uh… we don't have the size, density, water table, or tax base to build like LA does. Sure, FDOT seems happy to pour billions into more and wider highways, but at some point the bill comes due on maintaining them, and the sprawl we have doesn't justify the cost without subsidy by other communities. We really can't afford to just build more highways forever.

JTA seems to at least be claiming (https://u2c.jtafla.com/documentation/questions-answers/) that using the Skyway infrastructure for anything other than a public transportation system (I'm not entirely sure how the U2C qualifies as that but I digress) triggers federal payback demands, in which case converting it into an elevated pathway won't work.

I'm confused how you say that building path/trail infrastructure will not change behavior, but building new Hart Bridge ramps means "they will come," which is a change in behavior? Not to mention that the ramps have been there for decades and if anything, they took people away from Downtown more than making them come? Maybe it was an error to tear them down before the promised development was a sure thing, but nonetheless the local, state, and federal government have all invested in removing them, so we'll have to lie in that bed.

The reason a lot of the population doesn't get around on a bike is because we poured billions of dollars into building highways instead, and designed a city where most people live pretty far from much of anything. If we have infrastructure that makes it possible to bike places, and then build housing and job centers and shopping destinations around that infrastructure, people will use it. There's nothing inherently special about Amsterdam that made biking big, just that it was what they chose to invest in. We can choose that too.

Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxjags on May 19, 2021, 03:06:45 PM
I still want to see documentation from FTA about the alleged "payback".

I sent a email to Cumber, Carlucci and Hazouri on defunding the U2C from the LOGT, doing Emerald Trail, etc. I asked that they approach Nate Ford for the paper work about paying back FTA and the threat of "future funding denial." I personally think Nate is just blowing smoke.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 19, 2021, 07:18:21 PM
I still want to see documentation from FTA about the alleged "payback".

I sent a email to Cumber, Carlucci and Hazouri on defunding the U2C from the LOGT, doing Emerald Trail, etc. I asked that they approach Nate Ford for the paper work about paying back FTA and the threat of "future funding denial." I personally think Nate is just blowing smoke.

Ford made this claim again at Hazouri's town hall tonight, to someone pointing out that it sounded odd:

Quote
Well not straight from the horse's mouth but I received our third letter from the Federal Transit Administration a couple of weeks ago because they're hearing this discussion, They not only said that we'd have to pay back their remaining use amount because we have always assumed with depreciation on their original investment it would be a lesser amount than the grant, they emphasized in this particular letter that they could actually go back and get the entire amount of the original grant, as it related to the invest their investment in the Skyway so they are part owners of the Skyway and that would be the tire 100 million dollar grant, and they would be on top of that the cost of the demolition and we estimate that it to be about 40 to 50 million. So it's about $150 million discussion.

The thing is, when you look across the country and, you know, we talked about the $2 trillion, from the federal government for infrastructure projects, they can ill afford for communities to take the money, then change their mind or do something different with their investment. So Jacksonville frankly would be held up as an example because you have communities across the country that have taken large federal grants, and for them to do an exception for Jacksonville in the Skyway really open a can of worms across the country with other communities.

Now, funny thing here is, "about a $150 million discussion" isn't what I was told when I visited. They seemed to suggest it'd be closer or more than the proposed U2C conversion cost.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: vicupstate on May 20, 2021, 07:40:44 AM
^^ Does anyone know of an example of a city or county or state having to pay back the Feds for a project that was abandoned?  By project, I mean any type of project, not just transportation related. 
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on May 20, 2021, 07:47:58 AM
I don't but the paying the Feds back thing should not be a thing. There's no reason they can't leave the Skyway up and still not pay $240 million to convert it into a road for driverless cars. All of this is just grasping at straws to get justify spending hundreds of millions on a gimmick.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxjags on May 20, 2021, 10:22:32 AM
+1000. Keep Skyway and start the discussion on street cars to feed it from UF/Springfield, Avondale/Riverside, San Marco/Southside and Eastside.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on May 20, 2021, 11:07:01 PM
^^ Does anyone know of an example of a city or county or state having to pay back the Feds for a project that was abandoned?  By project, I mean any type of project, not just transportation related.

Aside from the fact JTA offers a differing account of exactly what they would owe the Feds for abandoning the Skyway without ever showing us the documentation that supports their claims, I have repeatedly said that, politically, after 30 years of a money-draining continuous and disastrous failure that proves this "demonstration project" is not a viable mass transit solution (the point of this whole exercise thus being accomplished in that regard), we would be unlikely to be asked to refund all or any of the Fed's "penalty" dollars.

I also have never seen JTA admit or describe a real concerted conversation with the Feds or an appeal to our Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle  regarding relief from this supposed "obligation."
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on May 20, 2021, 11:39:10 PM
Is it the elevated guideway that we're on the hook for to the feds? I struggle to understand how we can be on the hook for the "remaining useful life" of the system on one hand, while at the same time being told the monorail cars are no longer supported by the manufacturer and can't be maintained. If the technology is obsolete and you can't get parts, how is it still considered to have decades of remaining useful life?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 21, 2021, 12:57:41 AM
Is it the elevated guideway that we're on the hook for to the feds? I struggle to understand how we can be on the hook for the "remaining useful life" of the system on one hand, while at the same time being told the monorail cars are no longer supported by the manufacturer and can't be maintained. If the technology is obsolete and you can't get parts, how is it still considered to have decades of remaining useful life?

It's actually both for the infrastructure and for the vehicles themselves. Interestingly enough, JTA actually has published a letter from the FTA regarding the Skyway vehicles, which you can find here (https://u2c.jtafla.com/media/2933/fta-letter-skyway-useful-life-response_october-10-2019.pdf). Why they haven't done the same regarding the infrastructure is a mystery.

Either way, the larger frustration remains that JTA is actively refusing to consider any downtown transportation solution beyond autonomous vehicles (to the point of outright denigrating fixed transit, as if every other city has somehow done this wrong), is using hypothetical capability and particularly hypothetical economic effects to defend their decision, and City Council remains broadly more concerned about passing a gas tax at all than about what we could use it for. The outstanding question seems to be whether an amendment could mandate the remaining $247 million be directed to alternatives or if funding the Emerald Trail was enough and that remainder will get an up-down vote with the rest of the bill.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on May 21, 2021, 09:25:26 AM
Is it the elevated guideway that we're on the hook for to the feds? I struggle to understand how we can be on the hook for the "remaining useful life" of the system on one hand, while at the same time being told the monorail cars are no longer supported by the manufacturer and can't be maintained. If the technology is obsolete and you can't get parts, how is it still considered to have decades of remaining useful life?

It's actually both for the infrastructure and for the vehicles themselves. Interestingly enough, JTA actually has published a letter from the FTA regarding the Skyway vehicles, which you can find here (https://u2c.jtafla.com/media/2933/fta-letter-skyway-useful-life-response_october-10-2019.pdf). Why they haven't done the same regarding the infrastructure is a mystery.

So that's the crux of my question. We are effectively, if not technically, off the hook for the vehicles as long as we replace them with something (buses included). What about the guideway? Can we tear it down and replace it with at grade transit ROW as like kind investment?

Quote
Either way, the larger frustration remains that JTA is actively refusing to consider any downtown transportation solution beyond autonomous vehicles (to the point of outright denigrating fixed transit, as if every other city has somehow done this wrong), is using hypothetical capability and particularly hypothetical economic effects to defend their decision, and City Council remains broadly more concerned about passing a gas tax at all than about what we could use it for. The outstanding question seems to be whether an amendment could mandate the remaining $247 million be directed to alternatives or if funding the Emerald Trail was enough and that remainder will get an up-down vote with the rest of the bill.

I think JTA has enough of the "yes" votes onboard with some version of the U2C that complete defunding is a stretch, but it's still worth a shot. Cumber is probably the only no vote pragmatic enough to attempt to improve a bill she won't vote for, but even her amendments didn't axe the Skyway. I think cutting the more popular (or the least unpopular) component -- neighborhood extensions -- was not the best approach. Flawed as it is, even if nothing changes, I still hope the bill survives.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on May 21, 2021, 11:27:50 AM
Quote
I think cutting the more popular (or the least unpopular) component -- neighborhood extensions -- was not the best approach. Flawed as it is, even if nothing changes, I still hope the bill survives.

75% of the Skyway project should be funded with state and federal dollars and not LOGT funds. JTA being given $240 million for the U2C and already having $44 million for Bay Street, is a hell of a lot more than the 25% local funds they should be receiving. They've made out like a bandit if this passes. No pork has been cut from this project.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 21, 2021, 11:46:46 AM
Here's what I came up with for an amendment:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1syWnDTiLa-fmqYftMyIQ9_6ozLMmKSXE/view?usp=sharing

It would reduce the Skyway Conversion to simply Skyway Rehabilitation, convert the Skyway Fleet purchase line into vehicle overhauls, increase the funding for the JRTC Rail Terminal so that we actually get to build a rail terminal versus just planning to, partly (pretty substantially I think) funds a Phase 1 Commuter Rail project to St. Augustine, and still includes $33 million for transit improvements, which in theory could be enough for an entire new BRT corridor or widespread frequency improvements, whatever they can make work.

It's probably not perfect, but I think it's quite a bit better than blowing $240 million to remove a concrete beam.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on May 21, 2021, 12:28:44 PM
Quote
I think cutting the more popular (or the least unpopular) component -- neighborhood extensions -- was not the best approach. Flawed as it is, even if nothing changes, I still hope the bill survives.

75% of the Skyway project should be funded with state and federal dollars and not LOGT funds. JTA being given $240 million for the U2C and already having $44 million for Bay Street, is a hell of a lot more than the 25% local funds they should be receiving. They've made out like a bandit if this passes. No pork has been cut from this project.

I agree. It would just be a net loss overall for $700M in legitimate, beneficial projects for the city to die at the altar of a $240M black hole. If we can't change the $240M by next Wednesday, I hope to see 11 councilmembers hold their noses and press the green button. Then we can commence harassing them to change the project list and the "no" voters may be useful allies in redirecting funds after the fact if the issue of the tax is already settled.

Here's what I came up with for an amendment:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1syWnDTiLa-fmqYftMyIQ9_6ozLMmKSXE/view?usp=sharing

It would reduce the Skyway Conversion to simply Skyway Rehabilitation, convert the Skyway Fleet purchase line into vehicle overhauls, increase the funding for the JRTC Rail Terminal so that we actually get to build a rail terminal versus just planning to, partly (pretty substantially I think) funds a Phase 1 Commuter Rail project to St. Augustine, and still includes $33 million for transit improvements, which in theory could be enough for an entire new BRT corridor or widespread frequency improvements, whatever they can make work.

It's probably not perfect, but I think it's quite a bit better than blowing $240 million to remove a concrete beam.

I'll happily share it/support it with my CM (Morgan) with your consent.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on May 21, 2021, 01:01:12 PM
Assuming no one has any suggested changes, sure. I'll probably put something together justifying some of the numbers too.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: BridgeTroll on May 23, 2021, 07:08:27 AM
Madison Wisconsin was looking...

https://www.popsci.com/environment/driverless-cars-sustainable/
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on June 07, 2021, 10:48:26 AM
An article from Popular Science about public acceptance of AVs, and their impact on public transit and emissions, from a study done by the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  https://www.popsci.com/environment/driverless-cars-sustainable/

Quote
The researchers expected that the presence of autonomous vehicles would compete with public transit, which in Madison is the bus system. In the survey, when people could choose between private vehicles, autonomous taxis, buses, and bicycles, they responded that they would use autonomous vehicle taxis 31 percent of the time. People with their own private vehicles were not interested in swapping that for a ride in an autonomous taxi. Instead, as researchers expected, people who usually rely on public transit could be swayed by the self-driving Ubers of the future.

A couple observations. First, Madison is a University town, which may affect the acceptance of AVs.  Second, it appears the study looked at AVs as "self-driving Ubers" and not as line-haul transit, as proposed here.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on June 07, 2021, 11:14:09 AM
Did they tell the survey participants that these shuttles currently are regulated to speeds of 12mph or so?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on June 07, 2021, 01:21:02 PM
^ And that "autonomous" really means "semi-autonomous," at best, with drone drivers!
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: bl8jaxnative on June 07, 2021, 04:58:38 PM
Second, it appears the study looked at AVs as "self-driving Ubers" and not as line-haul transit, as proposed here.

That's because anyone with more than 1.4 brain cells realizes the key technology advantage of the auto is point to point service.

People at JTA know this.

Pretty amazing testament to the short comings of bureaucracy that there vision for tomorrow is still stuck in 1883 with fixed stops.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on June 07, 2021, 05:06:52 PM
Second, it appears the study looked at AVs as "self-driving Ubers" and not as line-haul transit, as proposed here.

That's because anyone with more than 1.4 brain cells realizes the key technology advantage of the auto is point to point service.

People at JTA know this.

Pretty amazing testament to the short comings of bureaucracy that there vision for tomorrow is still stuck in 1883 with fixed stops.

I asked JTA about this when I visited their facility, they explained that the U2C as proposed won't do it because it's impossible to maintain headways if, for example, multiple people along the same city block request a ride. However, they've said since then that eventually the expectation is getting picked up at your door and taken somewhere.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: bl8jaxnative on July 06, 2021, 10:57:45 AM


Anyone fluent in German?  Any interesting tid bits?

In short, they tested NAVYA mini robobuses for 3 years and found they're not ready for regular use.

https://www.heise.de/news/Autonomer-Bus-bewaehrt-sich-in-Wien-nicht-6124642.html
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on July 06, 2021, 01:08:27 PM
Below is what JTA will run into with U2C, perhaps even worse, and we taxpayers are going to be on the hook.  Hope someone comes to their senses and kills this project ASAP.

Quote
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Saturday that making a self-driving car was harder than he expected, after the company's timeline for its latest Full Self-Driving (FSD) software slipped again.

Self-driving was a "hard problem" that "requires solving a large part of real-world AI," Musk tweeted.

"Didn't expect it to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect," he said....

https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-tesla-full-self-driving-beta-cars-fsd-9-2021-7

And, here's a recent take on this project from the Wall Street Journal:
Quote
In 2015, Elon Musk said self-driving cars that could drive “anywhere” would be here within two or three years.

In 2016, Lyft CEO John Zimmer predicted they would “all but end” car ownership by 2025.

In 2018, Waymo CEO John Krafcik warned autonomous robocars would take longer than expected.

In 2021, some experts aren’t sure when, if ever, individuals will be able to purchase steering-wheel-free cars that drive themselves off the lot.

In contrast to investors and CEOs, academics who study artificial intelligence, systems engineering and autonomous technologies have long said that creating a fully self-driving automobile would take many years, perhaps decades. Now some are going further, saying that despite investments already topping $80 billion, we may never get the self-driving cars we were promised. At least not without major breakthroughs in AI, which almost no one is predicting will arrive anytime soon...

https://www.wsj.com/articles/self-driving-cars-could-be-decades-away-no-matter-what-elon-musk-said-11622865615
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 06, 2021, 04:59:56 PM
And now: When drilling a brand new tunnel is somehow cheaper per mile than JTA rehabbing an existing above-ground structure:

https://observer.com/2021/06/elon-musk-boring-company-open-vegas-tunnel-experts-skeptic/ (https://observer.com/2021/06/elon-musk-boring-company-open-vegas-tunnel-experts-skeptic/)

Sounds like it may have issues of its own, but it's yet another example of how the cost of U2C is simply laughable when compared to other solutions.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 06, 2021, 07:08:42 PM
Anyone fluent in German?  Any interesting tid bits?

In short, they tested NAVYA mini robobuses for 3 years and found they're not ready for regular use.

https://www.heise.de/news/Autonomer-Bus-bewaehrt-sich-in-Wien-nicht-6124642.html

Some friends I'd been telling about the U2C brought this to my attention this morning.

Looking at it through Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&u=https://www.heise.de/news/Autonomer-Bus-bewaehrt-sich-in-Wien-nicht-6124642.html), some key tidbits (emphasis mine):

Quote
The two shuttle buses have been used since April 2018, initially in a garage and on a university campus, and then from June 2019 in public passenger test operations in Seestadt. Over 12,000 kilometers were driven at a maximum of 20 km/h (~12 mph) and more than 8,000 passengers were carried.

8,000 passengers over three years isn't exactly stunning ridership, although I'll chalk that up to being a test.

Quote
"There are still weather-related problems in both summer and winter. Strong winds as well as light snowfall, heavy rain or fog mean that the e-buses have to be controlled manually. The market still has to cope with numerous tasks for the vehicles to be used continuously on a regular basis."

I don't know if any of y'all have looked out the window or stepped outside lately, but this seems like it could be a problem.

Quote
The Seestadt would be ideally suited for the slowly autonomous buses. Urban planners have deliberately left a lot of space and at the same time given cars little space. "The Seestadt use case was a perfect environment for NAVYA to test the autonomous buses," said NAVYA Sales Manager Jean-Michel Boëz "Cars is deliberately reduced."

However, a young district means that something is constantly changing. Therefore, NAVYA had to constantly re-record the route traveled and even try to anticipate new conditions. "The environment itself was a challenge, as it was constantly changing due to construction work and so on, prompting our team to continuously adapt the route and predict future work in order to ensure the smoothest possible operation," explained Boëz.

For this to be the ideal environment and still have this many problems should probably be alarming. Also worth noting that NAVYA is one of the shuttles currently being tested by JTA, although they seemed to enjoy the Olli more.

Quote
The extent of the problem was already evident during the first autonomous test drives in April 2018: the route was mapped in March when it was still cold in Vienna. Two weeks later it was warm and the buses always stopped automatically in the same place. It took some searching to find the "obstacle": daisies had grown out of a crack in the pavement. That disrupted the artificial intelligence of the autonomous vehicle.

I don't think I have to explain how the prospect of literally any change to the built environment of the route changing vehicle behavior could be a problem.

Quote
"As soon as the technology makes noticeable progress, we will look for vehicles again," promises Günter Steinbauer, Managing Director of Wiener Linien, "because the overall impression that both the passengers shared with us and that we received after three years shows that this will be the future. Only when this future begins is not yet certain!"

But hey, 2-3 years for Bay Street, right?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 06, 2021, 07:48:52 PM
And now: When drilling a brand new tunnel is somehow cheaper per mile than JTA rehabbing an existing above-ground structure:

https://observer.com/2021/06/elon-musk-boring-company-open-vegas-tunnel-experts-skeptic/ (https://observer.com/2021/06/elon-musk-boring-company-open-vegas-tunnel-experts-skeptic/)

Sounds like it may have issues of its own, but it's yet another example of how the cost of U2C is simply laughable when compared to other solutions.

The thing about the Loop is that it's a very poor mass transit solution and a very poor use of potential transit ROW. But, at this point it has proven itself more than the U2C has at actually being capable of carrying passengers in "revenue" service. It works poorly, but it works. Also, it's very important to note that even Boring and by association Tesla have pushed back if not given up (in the near term) on the possibility of autonomous operation.

Even if you give JTA the credit of their theoretical implementation being different from the experiment in Austria, by virtue of building additional infrastructure into the road, they don't actually have any way of knowing whether what they're doing is possible.

In terms of the infrastructure cost, the 3-mile Bay Street line is supposed to cost about the same as the tunnel project, although with only ~12 vehicles (last I checked) rather than the 62 used by Boring.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 06, 2021, 08:48:05 PM
And now: When drilling a brand new tunnel is somehow cheaper per mile than JTA rehabbing an existing above-ground structure:

https://observer.com/2021/06/elon-musk-boring-company-open-vegas-tunnel-experts-skeptic/ (https://observer.com/2021/06/elon-musk-boring-company-open-vegas-tunnel-experts-skeptic/)

Sounds like it may have issues of its own, but it's yet another example of how the cost of U2C is simply laughable when compared to other solutions.

The thing about the Loop is that it's a very poor mass transit solution and a very poor use of potential transit ROW. But, at this point it has proven itself more than the U2C has at actually being capable of carrying passengers in "revenue" service. It works poorly, but it works. Also, it's very important to note that even Boring and by association Tesla have pushed back if not given up (in the near term) on the possibility of autonomous operation.

Even if you give JTA the credit of their theoretical implementation being different from the experiment in Austria, by virtue of building additional infrastructure into the road, they don't actually have any way of knowing whether what they're doing is possible.

In terms of the infrastructure cost, the 3-mile Bay Street line is supposed to cost about the same as the tunnel project, although with only ~12 vehicles (last I checked) rather than the 62 used by Boring.

Right. It's the cost that floors me. Forgetting, for a second, all of the challenges with either the Loop or the U2C vehicles, how is it that the pure construction cost to remove a concrete beam and pave 2.5 miles is between 4 (Vegas, actual) and 10 (Ft. Lauderdale, projected) times the cost per mile of boring a literal tunnel? This ratio should be reversed in a sane world.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 07, 2021, 11:51:08 AM
Two reasons.

First, it's possible that the conversion could be less "remove beam, pour concrete into beam until flat" and more "remove beam, remove entire bridge section, fabricate and place new bridge section." There are different alternatives, and they haven't decided which to go with. Now that they know they have the money, they might decide to just go for the most elaborate option, with the only limitation being to not spend the money meant for the other stuff.

Speaking of other stuff, the conversation cost isn't just the construction. It's also building all of the associated infrastructure. Refurbishing the stations (Have you seen the Rosa Parks station concept from the TOD study? It's pretty dramatic), overhauling any and all related cabling (adding fiber), replacing signaling systems, probably a massive overhaul of the maintenance and operations center, redoing the payment system, and likely a bunch of other things related to the AVs that we're not aware of.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on July 07, 2021, 12:06:50 PM
How are they coming with developing a solution to getting the AVs between the elevated guideway and the ground?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 07, 2021, 12:32:20 PM
Two reasons.

First, it's possible that the conversion could be less "remove beam, pour concrete into beam until flat" and more "remove beam, remove entire bridge section, fabricate and place new bridge section." There are different alternatives, and they haven't decided which to go with. Now that they know they have the money, they might decide to just go for the most elaborate option, with the only limitation being to not spend the money meant for the other stuff.

Speaking of other stuff, the conversation cost isn't just the construction. It's also building all of the associated infrastructure. Refurbishing the stations (Have you seen the Rosa Parks station concept from the TOD study? It's pretty dramatic), overhauling any and all related cabling (adding fiber), replacing signaling systems, probably a massive overhaul of the maintenance and operations center, redoing the payment system, and likely a bunch of other things related to the AVs that we're not aware of.

With the exception of refurbished stations, everything you cited is directly related to the decision to go with AVs as the preferred solution, which illustrates my point nicely. All that fancy advanced tech that still requires a human driver for a whole laundry list of conditions (100% of the time initially, apparently) necessitates additional expense that makes digging Tesla Tunnels look like a vastly more affordable alternative. You could do as I said -- remove the beam and pave the Skyway -- at what I must imagine would be a lower cost than digging tunnels, and end up with an equally bad but significantly cheaper Tesla Terrace instead of doing what's proposed here. But the list of alternatives good and bad has, I suppose, been beaten to death; I just found the cost comparison to be absolutely stunning and an apt illustration of just how large a self-inflicted injury this debacle is likely to be.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 07, 2021, 02:10:02 PM
^The refurbished stations are also directly related to the decision to go with AVs as the preferred solution. The station platforms have to be redesigned and modified because the AV shuttles they are considering are much smaller than the current trains. I still find it pretty crazy that Detroit's new QLine Streetcar is cheaper than the U2C......and I still believe the streetcar cost was overly bells and whistles expensive.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Detroit-1/i-qGMCxNR/0/a2089c00/XL/20210707_092340-XL.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Detroit-1/i-TgVHRB6/0/28b90fb9/XL/20210707_092344-XL.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Detroit-1/i-CgqdPms/0/7ac2f2ee/XL/20210707_104314-XL.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Cities/Detroit-1/i-6SMLPkP/0/360ff77c/XL/20210707_120559-XL.jpg)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: bl8jaxnative on July 07, 2021, 03:53:44 PM
How are they coming with developing a solution to getting the AVs between the elevated guideway and the ground?

The longer we go w/out detials on this, the more I suspect they don't know.  I've never found anything like it out there.  They're probably looking to have to design + engineer from scratch and at that anyone providing services, it's a one-off.  There's no where else that wants nor needs to the equipment nor solutions.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 07, 2021, 03:58:42 PM
I asked during my tour of their testing facility. The short answer is they don't know. They planned to ramp down Hogan Street but the DIA said no. So they were exploring an elevator which is one of the dumbest things I've heard about this project so far. The sane person in me wonders why they just won't try a pilot AV program that's 100% at-grade by removing a lane out of a locally maintained street? It would be a thousand times cheaper, less time consuming and easier to implement.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on July 07, 2021, 04:43:59 PM
^ Problem solved by going all the way, futuristic/Jetson's style, and have flying AV's.  Hyundai is working on flying cars so maybe JTA should give them a call.  No reason why JTA shouldn't be a trendsetter there too - after all, money is no object nor are realistic goals.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: bl8jaxnative on July 09, 2021, 02:30:57 PM
I asked during my tour of their testing facility. The short answer is they don't know. They planned to ramp down Hogan Street but the DIA said no. So they were exploring an elevator which is one of the dumbest things I've heard about this project so far. The sane person in me wonders why they just won't try a pilot AV program that's 100% at-grade by removing a lane out of a locally maintained street? It would be a thousand times cheaper, less time consuming and easier to implement.

Except they have a monorailpod fleet of vehicles that are at the end of their lifespan.  If they're going to keep running the Skyway, they need to keep running something up there.

And that comes back to the idea that they'd have to pay the Feds back.  Surely it ain't that much when prorated, if that's even really in play.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 09, 2021, 02:38:49 PM
^It would still be cheaper to replace the fleet of vehicles than to take the route they've decided.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 09, 2021, 02:58:32 PM
I wonder if it's out of the question to buy the portion of parking lot next to Hogan Street and ramp down there.

As far as Lake, I guess we have no choice but to heed Carlucci's words, "you gotta have faith in the future."

The final offers from the Bay Street consortiums are supposed to be in the 12th. It's possible that by August or September they'll be signing a deal.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: JBTripper on July 12, 2021, 12:14:38 PM
I found something similar in Gainesville: http://go-rts.com/autonomous-vehicle/

(http://go-rts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Auto_Shuttle.png)

The route runs from downtown Gainesville, about 12 blocks to a roundabout 1 block off the UF campus. It turns a 15-minute walk into a 10-minute ride.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 12, 2021, 12:35:59 PM
^It moves less than 10mph and it doesn't seem to be packed with transit users. Much faster and easier to bike. Good for a pilot project and first mile/last mile connection but questionable for use on a major transit spine.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 12, 2021, 01:27:48 PM
JTA better figure out a way to do better than that on Bay Street.

When people from the beaches and Ponte Vedra come downtown for football and see a phase-1 clown car rolling down the street at 10mph (ideally getting passed by bicycles--or scooters!--as a reference point), and dead-ending with a mournful gaze up at the yet-to-be-transitioned Skyway before turning around for a return trip down Bay Street, they're gonna say "That's the future of nearly $300M?"
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on July 13, 2021, 08:46:49 AM
An article about the computer simulation technology Waymo is using to virtually test their AVs
https://www.theverge.com/2021/7/6/22565448/waymo-simulation-city-autonomous-vehicle-testing-virtual?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 13, 2021, 08:07:38 PM
Lol at this article: https://news.wjct.org/post/industry-first-jta-goodyear-roll-out-airless-tires-autonomous-test-shuttle
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 15, 2021, 02:55:36 PM
Lol at this article: https://news.wjct.org/post/industry-first-jta-goodyear-roll-out-airless-tires-autonomous-test-shuttle

Sounds like Mr. Ford is even more confident in AVs' imminent success than the President of the company selling them:

Quote
Local Motors President Vikrant Aggarwal said in a statement that autonomous vehicles such as Olli still need to decrease maintenance costs and "perform reliably," but added that he thinks Goodyear's NPTs will be less of a burden for maintenance teams. NPTs could become an industry standard, he said.

https://link.autonews.com/view/5f7a8f4d756427613a3db85aek9o0.54j/6154a7eb (https://link.autonews.com/view/5f7a8f4d756427613a3db85aek9o0.54j/6154a7eb)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on July 15, 2021, 06:07:42 PM
Looks like Nat Ford is hedging his bets with the quotes in this article.  Basically admits they have a long way to go and will still need JTA employees in the vehicles.  Then he adds a comment indicating this is planned to be deployed after being proven on closed streets and courses ?!  Really?  How about deploying it after its proven on open streets?  I am confused as to their plan, if they even have one.

All things highlighted in prior posts.  So, whats the point then...?

Quote
JTA has been testing automated vehicles at Armsdale from three different companies for its U2C program but has not selected the model that will be used.

Ford said JTA will award the bid for the first phase of the U2C — the 3-mile Bay Street Innovation Corridor — within a few weeks.

He says the project will take two to 2½ years to complete.

JTA will receive $247 million for the U2C from the 6-cent Local Option Gas Tax increase approved by City Council on May 26.

The authority will use the money for the second phase of the U2C, which will convert the Skyway monorail track into an elevated roadway for the automated vehicles connected to the Innovation Corridor.

Ford said the JTA will station attendants aboard the automated vehicles when they’re first deployed until officials determine the technology is ready to be fully autonomous.

“We don’t feel, at this juncture, the technology is robust enough as it relates to all the different encounters that will happen in a typical American street,” Ford said. “Everything from pedestrians, children and animals, things of that nature.

“In the future, when the time is right based on closed courses and closed streets and roads, then you can get into a model of driverless.”

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/photo-gallery/goodyear-jta-announce-partnership-for-pilot-program
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 15, 2021, 07:04:12 PM
I’d almost respect it if it wasn’t so damning. Man waited to have the money in his pocket before walking back to “oh, it’ll be longer than that for any useful degree of autonomy.”

I’ve said before, one of the things that I found disappointing is that they didn’t (or couldn’t) convince any of the players in this market to put anything here. No factories, no offices, no service centers or operations facilities, nothing. The only jobs this creates are construction and I guess now new operators.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 15, 2021, 08:17:20 PM
It created 6 or so jobs at JTA. That was actually a selling point that was pushed during my trip to the U2C test parking lot.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 15, 2021, 09:08:07 PM
Sure is a helluva long way from the on- demand robot rideshare we were promised could pick grandma up and take her to her doctor's appointment. I thought we were getting a cutting- edge transit system.

And don't forget, these will give our kids a clear advantage as we churn out legions of robotics experts from DCPS....somehow?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on July 16, 2021, 01:14:31 PM
This is just the solution!

(https://scontent-mia3-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.6435-9/216992050_5781318485243802_6528999421676608079_n.jpg?_nc_cat=102&ccb=1-3&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_ohc=0HWlLsqizAEAX_ednyI&_nc_ht=scontent-mia3-2.xx&oh=252df6fe3eb2b4a5990e325e0370c7c1&oe=60F709E8)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on August 26, 2021, 09:41:24 AM
Waymo to start AV ride service in San Francisco https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/24/waymo-launches-robotaxi-service-in-san-francisco/?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email

Quote
Waymo, the self-driving vehicle company under Alphabet, has launched a robotaxi service that will be open to certain vetted riders in San Francisco.

On Tuesday, the company officially kicked off its Waymo One Trusted Tester program in the city with a fleet of all-electric Jaguar I-PACEs equipped with the company’s fifth generation of its autonomous vehicle system. This AV system, which has been branded the Waymo Driver, is informed by 20 million self-driven miles on public roads and over 10 billion miles driven in simulation, according to Waymo.
...
The company will have so-called “autonomous specialists” — another term for human safety operators — sitting in the front seat to monitor the ride and ensure a safe experience. These safety drivers are contract workers, and employed by Transdev. Waymo has long partnered with Transdev to provide staffing for some of its operations.

Jaguars!
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on August 26, 2021, 01:06:27 PM
JTA's board (https://www.jtafla.com/media/2989/082621-board-meeting-agenda.pdf) is expected to approve the contracts for program management, as well as for the design, operation, and maintenance of the Bay Street Innovation Corridor today. The latter's NOITA isn't available anywhere I can find it, but the former lists England-Thims & Miller as the winner (and possibly only shortlisted applicant) for program management, and the document is partly titled "Balfour Beatty Construction."

If this is true, then based on my previous analysis (https://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,36131.msg508660.html#msg508660) of the consortiums involved in this, Bay Street will use some combination of or choice between Navya and Olli AVs, which is what JTA has been most recently testing. We'll know for sure in a few hours.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Captain Zissou on August 26, 2021, 04:52:30 PM
https://www.investors.com/news/tesla-stock-ceo-elon-musk-unleashes-another-surprise-on-full-self-driving/

Quote
Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk now says the EV maker's Full Self Driving beta will be available to the wider U.S. public in about four weeks.

By the time the JTA system is online, Waymo and Tesla will be driving literal circles around these cars on Bay Street. The clown cars will be safety hazards due to their slow speeds.  This is such a waste of time and money.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on August 26, 2021, 05:14:14 PM
Definitely, a waste of time and money. How about some bus shelters please?!
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on August 26, 2021, 06:09:03 PM
Definitely, a waste of time and money. How about some bus shelters please?!

To be fair, I was under the impression bus shelters and ADA compliance were part of the non-U2C ask by JTA for the gas tax increase.

Unfortunately I had class and couldn't see the meeting, so I'm not sure who ended up receiving the contract. For whatever reason, despite streaming the meeting they don't seem to record it.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on August 26, 2021, 11:17:54 PM
The Daily Record put out an article with details.

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/jta-awards-design-engineering-contracts-for-skyway-replacement

Key quotes:

Quote
The Balfour Beatty V2R is a consortium of five companies including Superior Construction Co. Southeast; Beep Inc.; WGI, Inc.; Stantec Consulting Services Inc.; Miller Electric; and Balfour Beatty.

Quote
According to board documents, Balfour Beatty VR2 was the only bidder.

The board also voted unanimously to negotiate an estimated $2 million contract with England-Thims & Miller for construction, engineering and inspection for the first phase of the project.

Quote
After the vote Aug. 26, Schmidt said taking the design from 30% to the 90% goal in the next year will refine the cost estimate, as JTA and Balfour Beatty selects technologies that will make the U2C function.

“We have to make sure we’re not picking the Blackberry but we’re picking the iPhone,” Ford said.

“It’s that kind of challenge that we have to walk through and negotiate that design with Balfour Beatty.”
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on August 27, 2021, 04:55:19 PM
They're only at 30% design and there was only one bidder?! Expect the estimated cost to skyrocket. Definitely watching this show with a tub of popcorn. Hopefully, they can avoid hurting downtown businesses if they are imagining tearing up Bay Street.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Papa33 on August 27, 2021, 05:04:27 PM
https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/27/cars/toyota-self-driving-vehicle-paralympics-accident/index.html
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on August 27, 2021, 05:43:59 PM
^
From the linked article
Quote
At the time, the vehicle was under manual control of an operator, who told police they "were aware that a person was there but thought (the person) would (realize that a bus was coming) and stop crossing the (street)," the Asahi reported.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: bl8jaxnative on September 02, 2021, 03:49:53 PM
They're only at 30% design and there was only one bidder?! Expect the estimated cost to skyrocket. Definitely watching this show with a tub of popcorn. Hopefully, they can avoid hurting downtown businesses if they are imagining tearing up Bay Street.

Ya.... I just love how they magically went from $500M to $300M..... like they're angling for a New Starts US FTA grant.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on September 02, 2021, 05:54:45 PM
They're only at 30% design and there was only one bidder?! Expect the estimated cost to skyrocket. Definitely watching this show with a tub of popcorn. Hopefully, they can avoid hurting downtown businesses if they are imagining tearing up Bay Street.

But Lake,

Quote
Not only will AVs satisfy all of the program requirements, but they will also be the most cost-effective approach for new service extensions and are rapidly evolving in their capabilities.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on September 02, 2021, 06:43:05 PM
Of course! Wishful and optimistic at best. No rational nexus or proven facts for them to base the optimism upon. So when reality strikes, the message will shift.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on September 03, 2021, 02:17:02 AM
Of course! Wishful and optimistic at best. No rational nexus or proven facts for them to base the optimism upon. So when reality strikes, the message will shift.

Well, there's this quote from a report dated September 26, 2016:

Quote
The driverless automated transit solution is evolving at such a rapid pace; one can expect that within a
short amount of time, it will be able to accommodate most urban transit needs and solutions.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on September 03, 2021, 05:36:49 AM
Nice! That was five years ago and we're no closer to this being true than we were in 2016. I wonder what's the definition of short amount of time? 20, 30, 40 years? Imo, anything outside of a five year horizon should not be labeled short term. Quotes with no dates, approvals, etc. should be classified as hot air.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on September 21, 2021, 04:00:25 PM
Typical of JTA consultants, no surprise, they are coming back with "findings" to support JTA bringing U2C to surrounding areas.  Based on years of seeing such reports, I would say the consultants are one step away from prostitution, and, at $1 million, with a heavy price to taxpayers.  "Studies" like this also said, decades ago, the Skyway would be successful.  JTA used such "studies" to support its construction and this is deja vu.  Taxpayers will be sucker punched once again.

I note that WSP is being "rewarded" with another hefty contract to study JTA's plans for commuter rail.

I have never seen a "study" come back and say a JTA project wasn't feasible.  What are the odds?

Here is today's report:
Quote
If the Jacksonville Transportation Authority expands the Skyway into the Ultimate Urban Circulator, it could lead to infill development near Park Street in Five Points, spur higher density residential projects near UF Health and add life to the streets of LaVilla.

Those were the findings of a $1 million study commissioned by JTA that the authority rolled out Tuesday as part of its blueprint for converting the Skyway into an autonomous vehicle system reaching throughout the urban core.

“Now we are looking, specifically, at the transportation elements to make downtown more attractive from a living perspective, a work perspective, in terms of the right mix of office and retail," JTA CEO Nathaniel Ford Sr. said. "Doing these in advance, we can properly plan and design these facilities well in advance and not try to shoehorn something in after development occurs."

To create the Ultimate Urban Circulator, JTA proposes adding 7.5 miles and 14 stations to the 2.5 miles of track and eight stations used by the Skyway system. The circulator would have five corridors, stretching to Five Points, San Marco, LaVilla, the sports complex and Springfield.

The 528-page report looking at development that could take place along the proposed routes was produced by engineering consultant WSP USA Inc. and real estate consulting firm HR&A and was paid for with a grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

The goal of the study was to lay out a framework for how the transit system could lead to private sector projects.

“The idea (is)that we’ve already done the economic outlook of each individual station, and we understand what those demographics mean,” Clark said. “Even more importantly, this is what the community said they wanted to see. When a developer comes in, that’s an enormous hurdle. When you have certainty, developers come.”

Building out the Ultimate Urban Circulator is expected to cost $432 million.

If the project is done, it would have to be paid for by non-local funds. Although JTA had pushed to use money from the recently expanded gas tax to build the circulator, City Council has forbidden the agency from doing so.

JTA Director of Economic Development Richard Clark said Monday the agency has applied for a $5.65 million grant as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s RAISE program. It’s the same pool of discretionary funding that JTA won to build the Bay Street Innovation Corridor, otherwise known as the Phase I of Ultimate Urban Circulator program.

Ford said JTA will also apply for funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program.

Work on the first phase of the Ultimate Urban Circulator is slated to begin later this year, and service is expected to begin by 2025. The second phase, converting the Skyway into an autonomous vehicles program, as well as the third phase, expanding the system into neighborhoods, are both expected to begin after the Bay Street Innovation Corridor is completed.

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2021/09/21/jta-u2c-tod-study.html?mpaign=ae&utm_content=ja&ana=e_ja_ae&j=25103134&senddate=2021-09-21utm_source=st&utm_medium=en&utm_ca
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on September 21, 2021, 04:42:07 PM
When will they post the study on their website?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on September 21, 2021, 06:46:26 PM
I would not expect the study to say anything different. However, all of whatever they claim the U2C would stimulate, would happen on its own, with or without the U2C.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jcjohnpaint on September 21, 2021, 07:14:19 PM
Wasn’t there a study 12 yers ago?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jcjohnpaint on September 21, 2021, 07:16:08 PM
Sorry wrong thread. Thought this was on commuter rail.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on September 21, 2021, 07:35:35 PM
There was a JTA study about TOD years ago when J. Keith Brown was around.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on September 22, 2021, 12:43:31 AM
When will they post the study on their website?

Here it is:

https://online.flippingbook.com/view/657074596/

They posted it on Twitter but it's nowhere on their website yet. Starting to read now.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on September 22, 2021, 02:28:09 AM
Hello from the other side!

To answer some of the big questions, this study was not about the actual feasibility of the system itself, nor did it seriously question whether developers would choose to support a transit system with the "flexibility" demands and unique parameters of the U2C. On page 472, they say:

Quote
The U²C is a new, technology-driven mode for which there are no real precedents. However, we looked for light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT) based on their surface similarities to Jacksonville’s mix of LRT (the Skyway) and BRT and, in certain cases, the lack of a fixed guideway.

The case studies the U2C is compared to include:

Essentially, the study fundamentally relies on the assumption that the market will treat the U2C like a conventional LRT or BRT system despite its substantial differences, and respond with new development as if it was. The entire study is built on this assumption. Therefore, the actual development potential around stations, particularly those running in mixed traffic is likely somewhat less clear than presented by the study.

There are surprisingly many typos in the document, including several pages where the reference numbers for graphics is wrong. For a report that was supposed to be complete months ago, it's rather odd.

I'm a bit disappointed in the JRTC area vision, namely because it simply proposes turning the old station into some kind of food hall/market, while putting a commuter rail station a block or so away with little clear connection. There doesn't seem to be a vision here for returning intercity rail to downtown, which seems like a big blind spot for feeding ridership and development into any transit system.

Despite those glaring problems, I think it does provide some potentially helpful perspective on problem areas around downtown, and I think it wouldn't hurt to follow some of the recommendations in terms of building an environment for new development even if we might not have a transit system going there yet. If anything, the recommendations for Rosa Parks and the JRTC should be able to happen right now, since the Skyway still exists. There is a small portion about the need for governance and oversight of the development between the city, JTA, and stakeholders, and seeing how much bellyaching we do here about city leadership, that might be something to heed.

I'm sure Lake and everybody else will have more thoughts later, but here are mine right now.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on September 22, 2021, 11:19:25 AM
When will they post the study on their website?

Here it is:

https://online.flippingbook.com/view/657074596/

They posted it on Twitter but it's nowhere on their website yet. Starting to read now.

Thanks! I shall start reading it. Sucks there's no way to download it. Ideally, I would download a PDF and then make notes in it as I read.
Quote
There are surprisingly many typos in the document, including several pages where the reference numbers for graphics is wrong. For a report that was supposed to be complete months ago, it's rather odd.
This will drive me crazy - lack of quality control and proofreading are major concerns of mine.  If they can't get the obvious things right, can we trust their analysis of less obvious things?

marcus - looking at the timestamps on your posts before and after reading the study - when do you sleep? :D
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on September 22, 2021, 11:30:59 AM

Quote
The U²C is a new, technology-driven mode for which there are no real precedents. However, we looked for light rail transit (LRT) and bus rapid transit (BRT) based on their surface similarities to Jacksonville’s mix of LRT (the Skyway) and BRT and, in certain cases, the lack of a fixed guideway.

The case studies the U2C is compared to include:
  • TriMet Yellow Line, Portland, OR (LRT)
  • Metro Green Line, Minneapolis, MN (LRT)
  • MLK Jr. East Busway, Pittsburgh, PA (BRT)
  • Troost MAX BRT, Kansas City, KS (BRT)
  • Cleveland HealthLine, Cleveland, OH (BRT)
  • Patriot Place Commuter Rail Link, Foxborough, MA (Commuter Rail?)
  • COTA CMAX, Columbus, OH (BRT)

Essentially, the study fundamentally relies on the assumption that the market will treat the U2C like a conventional LRT or BRT system despite its substantial differences, and respond with new development as if it was. The entire study is built on this assumption. Therefore, the actual development potential around stations, particularly those running in mixed traffic is likely somewhat less clear than presented by the study.

This assumption alone pretty much discredits the report from having any real viable use other than wrapping fish. A good example of wasting tax dollars. In addition, some of those BRT systems mentioned have not stimulated the amount of TOD they claim. Cleveland's HealthLine is a great example. There are multiple universities and medical centers along Euclid Avenue that were present before that BRT project. When these places spend money on new dorms, student centers, cancer centers, etc., the transit agency and economic development types have included these projects as TOD. However, much of the development would have happened regardless of the presence of transit.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on September 22, 2021, 12:47:36 PM
Quote
There are surprisingly many typos in the document, including several pages where the reference numbers for graphics is wrong. For a report that was supposed to be complete months ago, it's rather odd.
This will drive me crazy - lack of quality control and proofreading are major concerns of mine.  If they can't get the obvious things right, can we trust their analysis of less obvious things?

What do you expect for "only" a $1 million fee?  No typos or grammar mistakes?  Add another million!

This assumption alone pretty much discredits the report from having any real viable use other than wrapping fish. A good example of wasting tax dollars. In addition, some of those BRT systems mentioned have not stimulated the amount of TOD they claim. Cleveland's HealthLine is a great example. There are multiple universities and medical centers along Euclid Avenue that were present before that BRT project. When these places spend money on new dorms, student centers, cancer centers, etc., the transit agency and economic development types have included these projects as TOD. However, much of the development would have happened regardless of the presence of transit.

Ennis, my point above too.  These "studies" are for one reason only - to provide "cover" for all those decision makers about to make a politically motivated and train-wreck of a decision that will cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  The consultants are nothing more than paid stooges backing up other stooges who stand to personally benefit from this project.

Anyone who is intimately familiar with a community and experienced with development could probably come to an accurate conclusion on the feasibility of these projects in a few days or less at virtually no cost.  And, the conclusion wouldn't be a white wash or pre-ordained "this-is-feasible-so-go-for-it" endorsement.  (It might even be absent typos!)  But, that doesn't serve JTA's purposes so we don't get that.

If you watch Schitt's Creek, their "City Hall" operates with 4 people sitting around a table that arm wrestle decisions.  No consultants with fancy studies.  That process seems better if for no other reason than at least they don't spend millions of taxpayer dollars to come to conclusions they already had in mind to make.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on November 13, 2021, 10:46:46 PM
Not looking good right now for fully autonomous vehicles.  No worries, JTA has this all figured out.

Quote
US opens probe into Tesla's Autopilot over emergency vehicle crashes

(CNN)WASHINGTON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is looking into a consumer report that a Tesla Model Y was involved in an accident while using the company's Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software.

The owner of a 2021 Tesla Model Y reported to the auto safety agency that on Nov. 3 in Brea, California the vehicle was in FSD Beta mode "and while taking a left turn the car went into the wrong lane and I was hit by another driver in the lane next to my lane."

The car "gave an alert half way through the turn" and the driver tried to assume control "but the car by itself took control and forced itself into the incorrect lane," the report says. The car was severely damaged on the driver side, the owner added.

"NHTSA is aware of the consumer complaint in question and is in communication with the manufacturer to gather additional information," an NHTSA spokesperson told Reuters on Friday

https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/13/tech/tesla-autopilot-emergency-crashes/index.html

Some other articles:

https://jalopnik.com/the-first-crash-of-a-tesla-using-fsd-beta-may-have-happ-1848049816

https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/automobiles/581441-us-investigating-teslas-autopilot-after-collision
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: ProjectMaximus on November 18, 2021, 07:26:09 PM
I now know why JTA has been pushing U2C...it's so they could win this acclaim!!!

(https://scontent.fmia1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/241573784_10120583299170281_2544324075436139244_n.jpg?_nc_cat=111&ccb=1-5&_nc_sid=b9115d&_nc_ohc=A5f14q9Q1bkAX-gKpBC&tn=n_gybHPHslJNSiXm&_nc_ht=scontent.fmia1-2.fna&oh=657a8e5540943c9818dfae93d29d7570&oe=619B8EAD)

Of course, these were being handed out like participation trophies.

(https://scontent.fmia1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/258153722_10120583299215191_6268157298560597022_n.jpg?_nc_cat=107&ccb=1-5&_nc_sid=b9115d&_nc_ohc=n6fYEIdVj2gAX8fmlsc&_nc_ht=scontent.fmia1-1.fna&oh=7c93048452b342dcb7bc296a22a495cf&oe=619BDB5D)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on November 18, 2021, 07:59:25 PM
For the several hundred million in costs, at least the award should be in diamond encrusted gold!  Is it considered "innovation" when it hasn't even been built out yet?  What exactly are they seeing that we don't see?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on November 18, 2021, 10:21:53 PM
They're in their own little bubble.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on November 19, 2021, 07:10:55 PM
The U.S. Department of Transportation apparently sees something we don’t. They’ve announced a grant to help on planning for the neighborhood extensions. Curiously enough, it makes mention of “some dedicated transit lanes.”

(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/833877455118794772/911406399756587088/IMG_2286.png)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on November 19, 2021, 07:39:15 PM
The U.S. Department of Transportation apparently sees something we don’t. They’ve announced a grant to help on planning for the neighborhood extensions. Curiously enough, it makes mention of “some dedicated transit lanes.”

I would not put much stock in these grants.  This is how the original Skyway got built.  It's all pork barrel spending supported by bought politicians, not transportation professionals or community demand, who are "bringing home the bacon" for their local contractors and agency employees who are the only ones who stand to benefit from the project's completion.  No effort is made to consider other more pressing needs of the greater community that lacks the lobbyists and paid connections to redirect these monies for higher value projects.

This is a bipartisan issue.  Follow the money.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: tufsu1 on November 20, 2021, 09:46:29 PM
Impressive map with that RAISE project description ;)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on November 20, 2021, 10:22:19 PM
Oh my!  I had not even noticed the map!  Brilliant!
Does that mean that Orlando really got the $1.7 million for some planning study?  :D
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on November 20, 2021, 10:35:38 PM
Impressive map with that RAISE project description ;)

Yeah, they screwed up and put the map from the Orlando Vision Zero project that's on the following page. Not sure how that happened. Orlando got about $600k for that.

JTA's also put out a press release about the award: https://www.jtafla.com/media-center/press-releases/jta-awarded-1-72-million-raise-grant-for-u2c/
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: tufsu1 on November 23, 2021, 09:46:14 AM
I would be much happier receiving the $18 million Tampa got for complete streets
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Captain Zissou on November 23, 2021, 12:14:11 PM
So it costs $5.5M just to study the U2C?  This is such a boondoggle. We could do so much more with that money. 
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on November 23, 2021, 12:19:33 PM
Just lighting money on fire!
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on December 16, 2021, 10:14:42 PM
Everything’s fine, we’re totally gonna figure it out, nothing to see here.

https://toronto.citynews.ca/2021/12/16/wave-shuttle-whitby-durham-region-transit-traffic/

Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on December 17, 2021, 07:37:38 AM
Even with the accident, it is interesting that they are using these as a first mile last mile pilot from rail stations.  This would be equivalent to running a pilot to Springfield, San Marco or Riverside from the nearest Skyway station, not replacing a higher capacity system.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 13, 2022, 09:08:28 PM
Local Motors, the company behind the Olli 2.0 JTA has been testing, and recently showcased Goodyear airless tires on, appears to be shutting down.

https://www.engadget.com/after-15-years-local-motors-will-reportedly-cease-operations-this-friday-224540158.html
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on January 13, 2022, 10:21:02 PM
Interesting.... I wonder what this means for our ambitious dreams?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on January 13, 2022, 10:24:03 PM
From the article
Quote
It set off a minor arms race among automakers to produce a new class of autonomous EV people movers, however, imparting Level 4 autonomous capabilities has proven exceedingly difficult to date — in part due to technological shortcomings in the current generation of sensor and signal processing systems.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 13, 2022, 11:14:28 PM
David Cawton of JTA had this (https://twitter.com/davidcawton/status/1481812321949339648?s=21) to say:

Quote
The Olli 2.0 is one of many vehicles the JTA's tested, not one that was identified as the vehicle we would use... that decision is a while off
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on January 13, 2022, 11:16:56 PM
When are they supposed to break ground on the U2C again?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Ken_FSU on January 13, 2022, 11:25:08 PM
Speaking of which, has anyone heard anything about the Brooklyn no-frills Skyway extension?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 14, 2022, 02:35:07 AM
From the article
Quote
It set off a minor arms race among automakers to produce a new class of autonomous EV people movers, however, imparting Level 4 autonomous capabilities has proven exceedingly difficult to date — in part due to technological shortcomings in the current generation of sensor and signal processing systems.

Asked about the quote, got this (https://twitter.com/Davidcawton/status/1481879739103129603?s=20) back:

Quote
I'm not sure who you're quoting but safety is always our concern with anything. JTA has also been clear that the service would not begin in L4. It would begin in L3 and eventually move to L4.

Personally, I think the knees of the word "eventually" are buckling from holding up the rest of the paragraph and perhaps this entire program.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on January 14, 2022, 08:45:18 AM
I can only assume construction is not imminent. Whenever, some progress is made, they'll likely have to go through the DDRB for conceptual and final design approval. You won't get to that point before figuring out what vehicles you'll be using.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Captain Zissou on January 14, 2022, 10:45:57 AM
I believe they are already designing Bay Street/Gator Bowl Blvd to accommodate lanes for these vehicles.  Either that, or I have zero explanation for why they need so many lanes for a road that is never busy other than 12 days a year.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on January 14, 2022, 11:26:09 AM
At least dedicated transit lanes on Bay can be used by buses if AVs aren't ready to roll out. Pure madness would be taking any action to halt/reduce the operation or maintenance of the Skyway in preparation for AVs that haven't been selected, but I can't imagine they would take the risk of leaving the system inoperable and run the risk of triggering a federal payback. The big question is, how long will Council allow a $240M earmark to sit around when the AV can continues to get kicked down the road?  If we're still sitting here in 10 years with no viable AV option -- a real, even likely, possibility -- then what?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: acme54321 on January 14, 2022, 11:34:09 AM
I believe they are already designing Bay Street/Gator Bowl Blvd to accommodate lanes for these vehicles.  Either that, or I have zero explanation for why they need so many lanes for a road that is never busy other than 12 days a year.

I thought the same thing.  Apparently they think it's for capacity that for formerly on the ramps.  Which was also never that busy.  Has anyone missed them during construction? 
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: icarus on January 16, 2022, 01:52:49 AM
Granted I'm notorious for stating the obvious .. captain obvious perchance .... But, I feel completely self vindicated in simply stating ... "The Emperor has no clothes!"
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on January 16, 2022, 12:47:58 PM
I believe they are already designing Bay Street/Gator Bowl Blvd to accommodate lanes for these vehicles.  Either that, or I have zero explanation for why they need so many lanes for a road that is never busy other than 12 days a year.

There's some ROW on the south side of the street (specifically at Metropolitan Park) but whatever they are doing hasn't reached a stage of design or approval where construction is imminent. The bigger challenge is finding a logical way to retrofit streets in the heart of the Northbank in a way that doesn't negatively impact downtown businesses and property owners. This will need DIA approval and need to go through the DDRB process.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 21, 2022, 01:32:21 PM
Anyone on the Jaxson want to apply for this JTA "opportunity"?  LOL.  I also note there is no mention of the autonomous vehicle project here.  Wonder what's up with that.

Quote
JTA set to pick manager to oversee projects funded by gas tax expansion

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is in the process of hiring a project manager to oversee the work that will be funded by Duval County's increased gas tax, which went into effect at the beginning of the year.

Thursday morning, the authority will begin the process of picking between AECOM, HTNB Corporation, Jacobs Project Management and Reynolds, Smith & Hill to oversee the projects, with a contractor expected to be selected on Jan. 27.

The projects include rehabilitating the Jacksonville Skyway vehicles at a cost of $6.87 million, providing a new $16.18 million boat for the St. Johns River Ferry and spending $34.71 million to bring JTA bus stops into compliance with the latest Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Bidding expected to kick off in spring.

Which projects will be tackled first remains to be seen: About eight months since the tax was approved by City Council, JTA is still in the process of creating a schedule for the work.

The expanded local option gas tax is expected to raise about $25 million a year for drainage, roadway and transit infrastructure projects, with the money split between JTA and the city. The former will handle roadway and transit projects, while the latter will primarily handle drainage projects.

The authority projects it will receive $12.5 million from the gas tax during the first 12 months of the levy....

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2022/01/20/duval-county-begins-additional-gas-tax-collections.html?utm_source=st&utm_medium=en&utm_campaign=me&utm_content=ja&ana=e_ja_me&j=26440303&senddate=2022-01-21
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 21, 2022, 06:16:46 PM
I was looking at the RFP documents for this a few days ago. The U2C project is being managed by a different group (the Balfour Beatty V2R team that was selected last year), this project manager is only overseeing the other LOGT projects and doing some coordination with that team.

Interestingly the other projects include PD&E for somehow only the commuter rail station at the JRTC. I personally don't understand how you only do a PD&E for a single station on a commuter rail line that doesn't exist yet, but that seems to be the current plan.

And as an aside, did anyone know that the new ferry boat is supposed to be electric and autonomous? That's also in the RFP.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: acme54321 on January 21, 2022, 06:21:01 PM
An autonomous ferry boat crossing a shipping channel with a ripping tide...  Sounds about right LOL.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: tufsu1 on January 22, 2022, 06:21:11 PM
Interestingly the other projects include PD&E for somehow only the commuter rail station at the JRTC. I personally don't understand how you only do a PD&E for a single station on a commuter rail line that doesn't exist yet, but that seems to be the current plan.

It isn't uncommon to do a PD&E or federal NEPA document for a major transportation facility. So yes, they could do it for just the station.

As to the program management contract, my firm was considering it, but decided to focus on other opportunities.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 24, 2022, 03:51:14 PM
JTA loses one of its AV partners.  More evidence of the mighty mountain they need to climb.
Quote
Local Motors, involved with JTA autonomous vehicle program, ceases operations

Just months after its CEO declared a new stage of growth, Chandler, Arizona-based Local Motors has shut down.

Multiple employees have posted about the company closing on their LinkedIn pages, though the company has not yet put out an official statement.

The news was originally reported on Jan. 12 by The Drive, a website dedicated to automotive news. Representatives from Local Motors did not immediately return a request for comment.

Chris Stoner, formerly a VP at Local Motors, wrote on his LinkedIn page that the company would shut down on Jan. 21.

“I am disheartened to announce that Local Motors will cease to exist as of January 14,” Stoner wrote on Jan. 12. “The autonomous vehicle space is an exciting emerging market with plenty of opportunity. Experiencing first-hand the skill and dedication of the people I worked with, I have no doubt AVs (like Olli) are the future of transportation.”

Ivan Golubic, formerly the interim CFO, also wrote about the company shutting down on his LinkedIn page.

The Olli was one of three autonomous vehicles the Jacksonville Transportation Authority was testing for its Ultimate Urban Circulator program at its Armsdale Test & Learn center in northwest Jacksonville. An EV Star that is owned by the authority and The Autonom Shuttle by French-based NAVYA are the others.

"It doesn't affect our test and learn program because we remain vehicle agnostic with the Ultimate Urban Circulator program," JTA spokesman David Cawton told the Business Journal....

https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2022/01/24/local-motors-to-cease-operations.html?utm_source=st&utm_medium=en&utm_campaign=ae&utm_content=ja&ana=e_ja_ae&j=26471796&senddate=2022-01-24
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on January 24, 2022, 07:05:38 PM
Quote
"It doesn't affect our test and learn program because we remain vehicle agnostic with the Ultimate Urban Circulator program," JTA spokesman David Cawton told the Business Journal.

It should affect anyone's testing and learn program. If you are truly running a test and learn operation, you need to know what doesn't work as well. So, it would be good to learn why they are closing down and how might the product challenges (which led to the supplier's closure) impact the implementation of unproven dreams like the U2C. Getting a handle on the failures will only help you out in the long run.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on January 24, 2022, 11:40:13 PM
Frankly, I don’t really understand how the statement could be true. Clearly they’d taken some liking to the Olli, as it’s what they put in most of the renderings (including the website redesign they just did) and what they used to show off the tires from the deal with Goodyear. I don’t know about all of you, but something tells me they aren’t going to use the van as their production, revenue-service autonomous shuttle. So unless they go back to the EasyMile shuttle that leaves only the Navya, or some hypothetical vehicle we haven’t seen and they haven’t tested.

I’d forgotten to mention, I watched JTA’s board meeting last week and the cost of Bay Street has gone up. Reportedly only by $5 million, to $49 million total but it’s the number they plan to put in the final contract with Balfour Beatty V2R. That’s supposed to pass on the 27th.

I wonder what they even do with all the Olli shuttles at this point. Presumably they’re useless because they won’t be a production vehicle, but do you just leave it in a yard or something? Maybe cannibalize the $10,000 LIDAR sensors?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on January 25, 2022, 12:21:08 AM
^ Will be interesting to see how many potential JTA vendors are left standing by the time JTA says they are "ready" for a full fledged system.  What if every last one drops out?

How many Skyway-type vendors are left today for JTA to look at if they wanted to maintain that type system?  I know the original one left the business long ago forcing JTA to scavenge for parts or make their own.  Will the same fate befall the AV system they implement (if ever)?  Could it be that private autonomous "car-like" vehicles prevail over the multi-person "pod" looking vehicles JTA is focused on?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on January 25, 2022, 09:52:55 AM
Frankly, I don’t really understand how the statement could be true.

If it is true, then they aren't learning anything. They just observed a real-life example of one of the biggest risks facing implementation of AVs in public transit and are brushing it off.

Quote
Clearly they’d taken some liking to the Olli, as it’s what they put in most of the renderings (including the website redesign they just did) and what they used to show off the tires from the deal with Goodyear. I don’t know about all of you, but something tells me they aren’t going to use the van as their production, revenue-service autonomous shuttle. So unless they go back to the EasyMile shuttle that leaves only the Navya, or some hypothetical vehicle we haven’t seen and they haven’t tested. [...] I wonder what they even do with all the Olli shuttles at this point. Presumably they’re useless because they won’t be a production vehicle, but do you just leave it in a yard or something? Maybe cannibalize the $10,000 LIDAR sensors?

Ironic, because the vans seem to make the most sense. From a customer-adoption perspective, on initial launch they will appear no different than a standard shuttle, so public mistrust should be minimized. They're built by a company focused on public transit and cargo delivery. And, should the AV technology fail to realize its potential, the vehicles aren't totally useless -- they're set up to be driven by a real driver, not just monitored by an "attendant". I certainly hope they aren't making these decisions based on which vehicles look the coolest.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: icarus on January 30, 2022, 01:08:04 PM
I wont bore anyone with repeating the profanities that immediately escaped my lips upon reading this headline. I for the life of me cant understand why would we would spend roughly $40 million a mile on experimental technology at best and that will serve no one at worst.

We have real infrastructure needs in Jacksonville and real mobility issues that $400 million would go a long way toward solving.  The entire JTA Board should resign in shame.


[url]https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/jta-signs-dollar49-million-contract-with-balfour-beatty-for-skyway-replacement/[url]
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on January 30, 2022, 01:52:55 PM
It's crazy that this thing started off as being an affordable option. Now, it's quickly becoming one of the most expensive and with the most risk. What's really puzzling is this one doesn't appear to have the support of those they hope will one day use it.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on February 25, 2022, 09:11:08 PM
This is one issue where I agree with Cumber - opposition to the U2C.  As a result of her opposition, she voted against Aundra Wallace for a seat on the JTA board:

Quote
.......Aundra Wallace

After five years as the DIA CEO, Wallace succeeded Jerry Mallot as JAXUSA president in October 2018.

JAXUSA is the economic development division of JAX Chamber. The DIA is responsible for governing Downtown development.

Wallace will replace JTA board member Nicole Padgett.

He will serve the remainder of her term that ends May 31, 2023.

Council member LeAnna Cumber was the sole vote against Wallace’s appointment at the Council Rules Committee and at Council.

During Wallace’s confirmation interview with the committee Feb. 15, Cumber said her vote was related to her opposition to the cost of JTA’s Skyway modernization called the Ultimate Urban Circulator.

Cumber agreed Wallace does “great work” for the chamber and is qualified for the appointment.

But Cumber said she didn’t like  Wallace’s responses to questions at the committee.

He declined to support a cap to the U2C’s growing cost and he did not take issue with the JTA board approval of a single-response bid to design and build the project’s first phase.

“I’m going to look at the numbers. I’m going to talk to staff, and we’re going to see if we got the best cost available. And we’re going to make informed decisions,” Wallace said.

“As a board member of JTA, we’ll make that decision collectively.”

The transportation authority estimates the entire 10-mile automated vehicle network will cost $379 million to $400 million.

Wallace worked in two other metropolitan areas, Detroit and Miami-Dade County, that were part of the federal pilot program for monorail “people movers” in the 1980s that funded the Downtown elevated Skyway.

Wallace was executive director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority and a senior vice president at the North Carolina Community Development Initiative.

In Miami-Dade County, he served in roles focused on community and economic development.

Wallace told the Rules Committee that he will press JTA to have a transportation network competitive with Southeastern U.S. cities including Orlando, Tampa, Nashville, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Those cities have viable public transportation networks to make sure that economic development is equitable — that no matter what census tract, no matter what ZIP code you live in, you have the ability to ascertain meaningful, gainful employment and have a way to get there, even if you do not own transportation yourself,” Wallace said.

Council member Aaron Bowman abstained from the vote. Bowman is JAXUSA senior vice president of business development and he reports to Wallace....

https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/article/two-high-profile-names-return-to-city-service
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on February 28, 2022, 09:43:46 PM
Local Motors, once the manufacturer of what appeared to be JTA's favorite autonomous shuttle, is auctioning off their property in two weeks, including several Olli shuttles. If you're interested for some reason in buying hardware you'd rarely see for sale to consumers, and don't mind heading to Knoxville to pick it up, here's your chance.

https://svdisposition.hibid.com/catalog/349158/local-motors--2/?fbclid=IwAR328BWg0jNQuWfvGCy_rVOV9P2Whb6yfNYL92aj4soW7h63S22QUDmoLGU
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on March 01, 2022, 07:57:10 AM
Maybe JTA can pick up all the U2C rolling stock it desires for pennies on a dollar?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on March 01, 2022, 12:42:26 PM
Maybe JTA can pick up all the U2C rolling stock it desires for pennies on a dollar?

Problem: Skyway rolling stock is obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturer.
Solution: New rolling stock, also obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturer, but that also requires massive infrastructure investment.

Sounds about right!  ;D
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on March 01, 2022, 01:24:11 PM
Maybe JTA can pick up all the U2C rolling stock it desires for pennies on a dollar?

Problem: Skyway rolling stock is obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturer.
Solution: New rolling stock, also obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturer, but that also requires massive infrastructure investment.

Sounds about right!  ;D

This is going to sound kind of nuts, but since one of the big things about the Olli was that it was 3D printed, and they are auctioning at least some of the manufacturing equipment and quite a bit of the hardware, JTA could theoretically buy all that up and just build the vehicles themselves. Maybe if they make the self-driving work, which they seem confident they will, they could even sell them to other transit agencies and turn the whole enterprise into a revenue-generating operation.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on March 01, 2022, 02:54:06 PM
Yes, that's nuts, lol :-)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxjags on March 01, 2022, 06:44:33 PM
Unfortunately there will be no support now or in the future on sensors, electronics or software. Could dig a big hole that needs a large amount of money to install debug and maintain.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: fsu813 on March 02, 2022, 07:34:11 PM
People interested in this subject can ask their questions to JTA's Director of Automatuon either in-person or Zoom this Friday, March 4th at the Jax Chamber Downtown Council meeting. Sign up for in-person & Zoom here:

https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/10c0c4ba5a929a0f5c70-jaxchamber16
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on March 02, 2022, 08:28:39 PM
I'm more interested in the realistic things we can achieve.  The type of projects that have the ability to benefit a larger cross section of our city.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: fsu813 on May 20, 2022, 06:13:27 AM
Related:
https://news.yahoo.com/whats-holding-back-the-self-driving-car-revolution-134845274.html
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on May 21, 2022, 08:26:04 PM
Quote
Our roads aren’t built to accommodate autonomous vehicles

“The biggest challenge to self-driving cars is the biggest challenge to most major social changes: infrastructure. We want to integrate cool new things, but new things rely on old things. Fixing streets and signs and sidewalks paves the way to a particular vision of a cleaner, more accessible future.” — Meg Leta Jones, emerging technologies researcher, to Politico

To me, this is the biggest obstacle and its not changing anytime soon. From a transit perspective, projects like the U2C are more realistic when operating on dedicated right of way, which will remove many of the conflicts and challenges mentioned elsewhere in the article.

Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on May 22, 2022, 09:08:04 AM
Dedicated ROW also means AVs have to compete against and demonstrate superior value relative to streetcars, BRT, light rail, etc.. -- all of which are expensive to execute but don't have tens to hundreds of billions in future R&D costs to consider.

It's ironic that the fix for many of the AV shortcomings also renders their most impressive benefits moot. It's been well documented here how passenger capacity is expected to suffer comparing U2C to the skyway or even a bus route alternative, while at the same time U2C will cost no less per mile than proven alternatives.

Have there been any cost revisions post-pandemic to the U2C estimate? I would imagine that price tag to have eclipsed $400M by a significant margin, in line with other construction increases, meaning the LOGT earmark for the Skyway conversion probably won't come close to being enough.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 06, 2022, 01:03:31 AM
To answer the prompt, it sure seems to be getting serious. JTA has put out procurement documents for Phase 2 of the U2C, the city-funded conversion of the Skyway into an elevated guideway for "connected autonomous vehicles." This is for PD&E and 30% design, essentially what is happening now with the Bay Street Innovation Corridor.

The most interesting things I found in the documents were reports from Pond & Michael Baker indicating what they found to be the preferred alternatives for the conversion. These plans include raising the entire guideway by 50 inches, using a combination of relocated beams onto the top of the piers and inserts into the piers themselves, in order to bring the roadway height to the level required for ADA-compliant boarding. This is because JTA reportedly wants to avoid building ramps at just the stations. I suppose this is what they asked for $240 million for. They also proposed adding a cantilevered deck to the Acosta Bridge to widen the guideway to the width they want for the vehicles.

Here are some fun pictures indicating the ideas, Alternative 3 is the preferred:

(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/903278437869961297/993979388595019936/Image_7-5-22_at_4.38_PM.jpg)

(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/903278437869961297/993979976519000214/Image_7-5-22_at_4.41_PM.jpg)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 06, 2022, 02:00:00 AM
Much more complex than mentioned years ago when the sales job of this being the cheapest solution was heavily pushed. With that said, it seems that we're still far away from anything actually materializing. Definitely see the costs continuing to rise on this one. On the other hand, ridership potential.....not so much.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Steve on July 06, 2022, 08:40:32 AM
Wow. This seems......costly.

At this point wouldn't light rail be cheaper? I've never been a huge advocate for Light Rail for Jacksonville (as opposed to utilizing the existing heavy rail lines), but if you're going to blow money on this U2C thing, then wouldn't light rail make more sense?

This is one thing that Cumber and I are aligned with - this thing is bananas.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Todd_Parker on July 06, 2022, 11:20:53 AM
Is there any possibility this project doesn't turn out to be a boondoggle?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 06, 2022, 11:23:37 AM
Is there any possibility this project doesn't turn out to be a boondoggle?

There's a strong possibility they'll spend millions to end up not doing anything because the technology still isn't there.

Wow. This seems......costly.

At this point wouldn't light rail be cheaper? I've never been a huge advocate for Light Rail for Jacksonville (as opposed to utilizing the existing heavy rail lines), but if you're going to blow money on this U2C thing, then wouldn't light rail make more sense?

This is one thing that Cumber and I are aligned with - this thing is bananas.

Yes, no frills LRT would be cheaper, generate higher ridership and spur more economic development. This whole project was always a risky gamble. Now it's flat out silly that people take any of this stuff seriously. We're lighting tax money on fire.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 06, 2022, 01:17:23 PM
Phase 1 (Bay Street) has to happen due to the federal funding they’ve already accepted. At least it’s (comparatively) easy, because ultimately all the industry seems to be capable of right now is a low-speed shuttle (because as far as I can tell the speed increases NHTSA was supposedly going to approve this year don’t look like they’ll happen) trundling down Bay Street at 15-20mph with an attendant onboard who has to constantly keep a hand on the manual override because cars are speeding around and turning in front of it.

Even JTA employees and interns I’ve talked to don’t seem particularly impressed by this project that is taking up enormous amounts of the authority’s resources. The “Golden 20” rules they came up with don’t seem to be possible to apply to this project because of how unfeasible it all is right now. It’s maddening knowing that Council is welcome to solve most of this at any moment by redistributing the funds but simply won’t, especially now knowing that they’re essentially going to spend that quarter-billion dollars mostly rebuilding the entire superstructure.

The funding available here could easily pay for a substantive overhaul of the existing system (see Miami MetroMover) followed by a substantial chunk of the funding needed for any other transit project one could imagine. A $50 million Skyway overhaul plus the $50m BSIC and a $200 million local share for hundreds of millions in state & federal funding could be transformational for the region, but we are simply not doing that. They’ll come out every few months and randomly say commuter rail could happen in three years, but when it’s time to put money where their mouths are, this is somehow the priority.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on July 06, 2022, 01:22:14 PM
I am reposting the below from a prior post on another JTA thread.  Watch the PBS Nova show below on AV's and you will much better appreciate how out-of-bounds JTA's plan for AV's is.  This technology has a long way to go to be Level 5.  Some say we may never quite get there.  Anything less than Level 5 requires some level of human supervision so it won't be a real gain for JTA.

All this just so JTA doesn't have admit the original Skyway was a total boondoggle.  Double or nothing bet here with the odds 10,000,000+ to 1 against it working.  Pure idiocy and a slap in the face to taxpayers.  City council needs to pull the plug on this.

I watched NOVA on PBS tonight about self driving vehicle technology - how it works and is developed, where it is currently at and what the prospects are for it (view it online at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/look-whos-driving/ ).

Let me just say we have a good ways to go to "level 5" full autonomy and anything less than isn't all that useful for a variety of mostly safety reasons.

Some people believe we will never quite match a human driver.  At best, society will have to decide if it is worth some people dying by autonomous vehicle failures in return for such deaths being less than we currently see with human drivers as perfection on public roads in all situations is unlikely.

Left me again scratching my head about JTA's plans for open road AV's.  The show should be required viewing for JTA board members and other City officials.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jcjohnpaint on July 06, 2022, 03:19:59 PM
I guess we all can hope Phase 1 fails miserably and we can all move on.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 06, 2022, 04:17:51 PM
I guess we all can hope Phase 1 fails miserably and we can all move on.

I’m worried they’ll try to be tearing up monorail beams already by whenever Phase 1 is supposed to open, and we’ll be put in the awful position of having to either commit to the conversion or just demolish it and pay the feds back.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 06, 2022, 05:26:03 PM
We'll end up with an expensive jogging path that cost us more than LRT when this is all said and done.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 06, 2022, 06:10:18 PM
We'll end up with an expensive jogging path that cost us more than LRT when this is all said and done.

At least 9% of the population will be thrilled! ::)

Quote
The JTA received 1,619 responses to the online survey on the Skyway future. Of those responding to the survey, 80 percent favored keeping the Skyway and expansion of the Skyway system. Nine percent preferred converting to an elevated multi-use path.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/2015/12/11/jta-board-approves-modernizing-skyway/ (https://www.news4jax.com/news/2015/12/11/jta-board-approves-modernizing-skyway/)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on July 06, 2022, 06:11:54 PM
I guess we all can hope Phase 1 fails miserably and we can all move on.

I’m worried they’ll try to be tearing up monorail beams already by whenever Phase 1 is supposed to open, and we’ll be put in the awful position of having to either commit to the conversion or just demolish it and pay the feds back.

I still think, politically, that we could get out of paying the Feds a penalty.  I believe JTA uses that as a red herring to avoid having to admit the Skyway is done for.  It was an experiment predicted boondoggle (just like U2C will be) and failed despite unrelenting support by JTA so why would the Feds be vengeful.  It's foolish to keep spending money on it just to avoid the "penalty."  Further, what JTA is proposing spending wasting big money on now is far greater than any penalty.  If the "penalty" is truly enforced, it would be cheaper to pay it than go forward with the almost sure-to-fail U2C.  The lack of a business-like approach to this project is mind blowing.

Either convert it to our version of NYC's Highline or tear it down and move on.  Enough already.

We'll end up with an expensive jogging path that cost us more than LRT when this is all said and done.

At least 9% of the population will be thrilled! ::)

Quote
The JTA received 1,619 responses to the online survey on the Skyway future. Of those responding to the survey, 80 percent favored keeping the Skyway and expansion of the Skyway system. Nine percent preferred converting to an elevated multi-use path.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/2015/12/11/jta-board-approves-modernizing-skyway/ (https://www.news4jax.com/news/2015/12/11/jta-board-approves-modernizing-skyway/)

Not a scientific survey so not very meaningful.  I also wonder if the "voters" were fully informed of the facts as discussed on the Jaxson: costs, technical challenges, alternative transit options, lack of ridership, questionable service levels, etc.  No way 80% would buy into JTA's plans.  JTA effectively stuffed the ballot box :).  Results would likely be flipped if the populace knew the real facts.  To add, the 80+% living in the burbs would be a big "NO" based on my life in Jax.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 06, 2022, 06:27:02 PM
I guess we all can hope Phase 1 fails miserably and we can all move on.

I’m worried they’ll try to be tearing up monorail beams already by whenever Phase 1 is supposed to open, and we’ll be put in the awful position of having to either commit to the conversion or just demolish it and pay the feds back.

I still think, politically, that we could get out of paying the Feds a penalty.  I believe JTA uses that as a red herring to avoid having to admit the Skyway is done for.  It was an experiment predicted boondoggle (just like U2C will be) and failed despite unrelenting support by JTA so why would the Feds be vengeful.  It's foolish to keep spending money on it just to avoid the "penalty."  Further, what JTA is proposing spending wasting big money on now is far greater than any penalty.  If the "penalty" is truly enforced, it would be cheaper to pay it than go forward with the almost sure-to-fail U2C.  The lack of a business-like approach to this project is mind blowing.

Either convert it to our version of NYC's Highline or tear it down and move on.  Enough already.

We'll end up with an expensive jogging path that cost us more than LRT when this is all said and done.

At least 9% of the population will be thrilled! ::)

Quote
The JTA received 1,619 responses to the online survey on the Skyway future. Of those responding to the survey, 80 percent favored keeping the Skyway and expansion of the Skyway system. Nine percent preferred converting to an elevated multi-use path.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/2015/12/11/jta-board-approves-modernizing-skyway/ (https://www.news4jax.com/news/2015/12/11/jta-board-approves-modernizing-skyway/)

Not a scientific survey so not very meaningful.  I also wonder if the "voters" were fully informed of the facts as discussed on the Jaxson: costs, technical challenges, alternative transit options, lack of ridership, questionable service levels, etc.  No way 80% would buy into JTA's plans.  JTA effectively stuffed the ballot box :).  Results would likely be flipped if the populace knew the real facts.  To add, the 80+% living in the burbs would be a big "NO" based on my life in Jax.

Definitely not scientific, but this was the 2015 survey that predated clown car magic. I imagine most people -- myself included -- expected more traditional transit solutions. U2C isn't "modernize and expand". It's about as close to tear-down and rebuild as you can get without technically demolishing the Skyway.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 06, 2022, 07:46:02 PM
I guess we all can hope Phase 1 fails miserably and we can all move on.

I’m worried they’ll try to be tearing up monorail beams already by whenever Phase 1 is supposed to open, and we’ll be put in the awful position of having to either commit to the conversion or just demolish it and pay the feds back.

I still think, politically, that we could get out of paying the Feds a penalty.  I believe JTA uses that as a red herring to avoid having to admit the Skyway is done for.  It was an experiment predicted boondoggle (just like U2C will be) and failed despite unrelenting support by JTA so why would the Feds be vengeful.  It's foolish to keep spending money on it just to avoid the "penalty."  Further, what JTA is proposing spending wasting big money on now is far greater than any penalty.  If the "penalty" is truly enforced, it would be cheaper to pay it than go forward with the almost sure-to-fail U2C.  The lack of a business-like approach to this project is mind blowing.

They can simply do nothing and not owe anyone anything.  The U2C has nothing to do with the Skyway, other than JTA trying to force it on the system.

Quote
Either convert it to our version of NYC's Highline or tear it down and move on.  Enough already.

No to the High Line in Jax. That's a bigger waste of money than the U2C. Focus on the Emerald Trail, which still needs millions to implement.

Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on July 06, 2022, 10:11:44 PM
I guess we all can hope Phase 1 fails miserably and we can all move on.

I’m worried they’ll try to be tearing up monorail beams already by whenever Phase 1 is supposed to open, and we’ll be put in the awful position of having to either commit to the conversion or just demolish it and pay the feds back.

I still think, politically, that we could get out of paying the Feds a penalty.  I believe JTA uses that as a red herring to avoid having to admit the Skyway is done for.  It was an experiment predicted boondoggle (just like U2C will be) and failed despite unrelenting support by JTA so why would the Feds be vengeful.  It's foolish to keep spending money on it just to avoid the "penalty."  Further, what JTA is proposing spending wasting big money on now is far greater than any penalty.  If the "penalty" is truly enforced, it would be cheaper to pay it than go forward with the almost sure-to-fail U2C.  The lack of a business-like approach to this project is mind blowing.

They can simply do nothing and not owe anyone anything.  The U2C has nothing to do with the Skyway, other than JTA trying to force it on the system.

Quote
Either convert it to our version of NYC's Highline or tear it down and move on.  Enough already.

No to the High Line in Jax. That's a bigger waste of money than the U2C. Focus on the Emerald Trail, which still needs millions to implement.

If they "do nothing" they still have to maintain the structure and surroundings to some degree and to secure it to keep it free of vandalism or other threats.  Additionally, a nonfunctioning structure is, in my mind, a monument to the failure of the Skyway and downtown and a blight on downtown (as if it needed another such addition).

The connection, to me, between U2C and the Skyway is that, aside from the U2C project itself likely to be joining the Skyway as another JTA boondoggle, they want to spend a major (the bulk?) of U2C funding on repurposing the Skyway track and infrastructure, adding insult to injury.  They can "do" U2C without the Skyway but they aren't.  Why "is JTA trying to force it on the system?" Only one reason, to me, to spare hitting JTA's institutional pride by admitting the Skyway is a bust.

I have no issue tearing down the Skyway but, if JTA insists on keeping the infrastructure, and pure abandonment is not an acceptable outcome, then the "cheapest" way out is to make it a "Highline."  We don't need to take funds from the Emerald Trail, just carve out a fraction of the funds already dedicated for converting the Skyway track to accommodate U2C.  Everyone walks away happy except maybe JTA and its leaching U2C contractors :).
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 06, 2022, 11:58:19 PM
From my view, maintaining the Skyway infrastructure and running the thing as a transit system is no different from maintaining our streets, sidewalks and public infrastructure network. Tearing the infrastructure down due to us not knowing how to run transit or create real TOD could be just as wasteful as some of the U2C options discussed. Based off the success and failure of similar systems in various peer cities, I believe we'll get use out of that infrastructure through operating it as a transit spine (i.e. eliminate all competing bus routes and stops....and run it on the weekends) and coordinated land use policy (i.e. high density TOD) around its stations and transit feeder routes. These are things we still fail to do locally. No kind of transit will work in this town without coordinated land use policy.


I have no issue tearing down the Skyway but, if JTA insists on keeping the infrastructure, and pure abandonment is not an acceptable outcome, then the "cheapest" way out is to make it a "Highline."  We don't need to take funds from the Emerald Trail, just carve out a fraction of the funds already dedicated for converting the Skyway track to accommodate U2C.  Everyone walks away happy except maybe JTA and its leaching U2C contractors :).

My concern with the "Highline" thing is that it is anything but a cheap option with the Skyway infrastructure. The former rail operations of the Highline and the Skyway are dramatically different, making the concepts more of an apples and oranges comparison. Unlike, the Highline, which was an old freight railroad that went through multilevel warehouses and buildings, the Skyway is a narrow APM structure designed to support significantly less live and dead load. That would have to be beefed up similarly to what is being shown on some of these U2C documents (making the infrastructure an elevated road). After those hundreds of millions are spent, we still would not have the Highline (trail width, ability to support similar weight or the connected surrounding built density). We'd more likely have a sidewalk where people would boil like eggs being completely exposed in our humid climate.

Regarding the Emerald Trail, it still needs a good +$100 million or so to complete. That's money that still needs to be found and secured. If someone finds extra cash for a "Highline" concept, I'd argue the more bang for our buck would be using those "Highline" funds to complete the unfunded portions of the Emerald Trail, as opposed to attempting to do something that would have to siphon pedestrian traffic off downtown's already seldom used streets to be remotely successful.


A few Highline pictures below - We can't do this with the Skyway's infrastructure without a major retrofit and widening.

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-mDLSJZ6/0/X3/i-mDLSJZ6-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-kfjP8GQ/0/X3/i-kfjP8GQ-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-22MBxVc/0/X3/i-22MBxVc-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-S6zXrCc/0/X3/i-S6zXrCc-X3.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-C3SZ7nt/0/X3/i-C3SZ7nt-X3.jpg)
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on July 07, 2022, 12:11:00 AM
I think it's been argued plenty of times before that the Skyway is much more a symbol of failure in leadership to think about how to make downtown a usable place for people to live, work, & play while utilizing the train, so I won't go too far into that. If I recall correctly, the core problem with the Highline suggestion is that it would likely trigger the FTA payback requirements anyway. The Skyway is meant to be a transit line, not a trail. They're not likely to count whatever bicycles end up there as qualifying vehicles to avoid the payback. The infrastructure has to be used to run a transportation service, not just exist.

I think the most concerning thing about all this is seeing that they decided to cancel the overhaul of the existing trains and just skip to trying to bid out the PD&E for the conversion ASAP. Bids are already due next week. Hence my worry that they'll try and start tearing out beams before the road paint has dried on Bay Street and force total commitment, regardless of whether the damn thing works. Makes my head spin trying to understand the decision-making process here.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on July 07, 2022, 12:22:38 AM
From my view, maintaining the Skyway infrastructure and running the thing as a transit system is no different from maintaining our streets, sidewalks and public infrastructure network. Tearing the infrastructure down due to us not knowing how to run transit or create real TOD could be just as wasteful as some of the U2C options discussed. Based off the success and failure of similar systems in various peer cities, I believe we'll get use out of that infrastructure through operating it as a transit spine (i.e. eliminate all competing bus routes and stops....and run it on the weekends) and coordinated land use policy (i.e. high density TOD) around its stations and transit feeder routes. These are things we still fail to do locally. No kind of transit will work in this town without coordinated land use policy.

If I read your posts correctly, you are not advocating for the U2C to run on the Skyway tracks but, rather, you are suggesting the Skyway can continue to be operated in something approximating its current form.  My understanding is this is not feasible due to lack of support of the current technology or other technology that can "cheaply" operate on the roughly current infrastructure.  If I am correct, your options are reduced to U2C, Highline type use or demolition (I can't see the option of a simple abandonment in place making anyone happy).

As I noted, if the Highline isn't feasible, U2C isn't feasible and continuing to run the Skyway isn't feasible, then, 3 strikes and tear it down :).

Help me out here to clarify your position or what technology you think would use the current infrastructure to feasibly allow it to serve as a "transit spine."

I think it's been argued plenty of times before that the Skyway is much more a symbol of failure in leadership to think about how to make downtown a usable place for people to live, work, & play while utilizing the train, so I won't go too far into that. If I recall correctly, the core problem with the Highline suggestion is that it would likely trigger the FTA payback requirements anyway. The Skyway is meant to be a transit line, not a trail. They're not likely to count whatever bicycles end up there as qualifying vehicles to avoid the payback. The infrastructure has to be used to run a transportation service, not just exist.

Marcus, see my previously posted comment reposted below about the Federal "penalty."  I think that should be a non-issue whether it actually gets enforced or not given the costs of avoiding it.

Quote
I still think, politically, that we could get out of paying the Feds a penalty.  I believe JTA uses that as a red herring to avoid having to admit the Skyway is done for.  It was an experiment predicted boondoggle (just like U2C will be) and failed despite unrelenting support by JTA so why would the Feds be vengeful.  It's foolish to keep spending money on it just to avoid the "penalty."  Further, what JTA is proposing spending wasting big money on now is far greater than any penalty.  If the "penalty" is truly enforced, it would be cheaper to pay it than go forward with the almost sure-to-fail U2C.  The lack of a business-like approach to this project is mind blowing.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 07, 2022, 09:35:42 AM
If I read your posts correctly, you are not advocating for the U2C to run on the Skyway tracks but, rather, you are suggesting the Skyway can continue to be operated in something approximating its current form.

Correct. I'm suggesting an overhaul of the existing system makes the most logic and is more feasible than both conversion to the U2C or an elevated sidewalk.

Quote
My understanding is this is not feasible due to lack of support of the current technology or other technology that can "cheaply" operate on the roughly current infrastructure.

This is incorrect. Think of this from an automobile perspective. A road was constructed during the 1980s. You purchased a Pontiac Grand Am to drive on it. 40 years have passed, the road is full of potholes and your rusted out Grand Am is on its last legs. You need a new Grand Am but the manufacturer does not make the vehicle any more. The road needs to be fixed, but the pavement crack rating is requiring a full milling and resurfacing, as opposed to the duct tape maintenance measures used the past few decades. Thus an overhaul (resurfacing) of the road (infrastructure) is needed, along with new vehicles/technology (they don't make Grand Ams anymore).

This is what I'm suggesting. Fix up your aging infrastructure and buy new vehicles, even if they require going to Toyota or Nissan, instead of General Motors.

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If I am correct, your options are reduced to U2C, Highline type use or demolition (I can't see the option of a simple abandonment in place making anyone happy).

From my view, an overhaul is an option that should not be eliminated. APMs are still around and aren't going anywhere. It's also significantly cheaper than the U2C as proposed or conversion into an elevated sidewalk (remember, you can't even ride bikes on the Highline).

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As I noted, if the Highline isn't feasible, U2C isn't feasible and continuing to run the Skyway isn't feasible, then, 3 strikes and tear it down :).

I don't believe the Highline is feasible from a cost or use perspective. I also don't believe spending a half billion to put lower capacity AVs on the elevated Skyway infrastructure makes financial sense and it certainly won't increase ridership. However, I do believe updating the Skyway as an APM, with heavy focus on supportive land use strategies around its stations, is an option that should be explored more intimately.

Quote
Help me out here to clarify your position or what technology you think would use the current infrastructure to feasibly allow it to serve as a "transit spine."

My position: Overhaul/update the system + with logical expansion where necessary.

Technology: APM technology, which is what the current infrastructure is designed to support. Raising the infrastructure seems like a non-starter with me. Once you start getting into that, you may be better demolishing the thing and investing in a starter LRT or modern streetcar line.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxoNOLE on July 07, 2022, 11:04:33 AM

Quote
Help me out here to clarify your position or what technology you think would use the current infrastructure to feasibly allow it to serve as a "transit spine."

My position: Overhaul/update the system + with logical expansion where necessary.

Technology: APM technology, which is what the current infrastructure is designed to support. Raising the infrastructure seems like a non-starter with me. Once you start getting into that, you may be better demolishing the thing and investing in a starter LRT or modern streetcar line.

I believe that the survey respondents I previously cited expected something along these lines. I think the survey was important because, whether it was representative or not, it was used as JTA's mandate of public support to retain and expand the Skyway. Then, by the time they got to the specifics of route expansion, AVs were already selected as the technology of choice.

During the LOGT public meetings, there was plenty of debate around the tax itself, but any public comment on the U2C was almost unanimous against. JTA must have known any standalone funding request for the Skyway would be tanked by public opposition--it was almost enough to bring down the LOGT. The total cost of this thing should be enough to be a mayoral campaign issue. Beaches residents might not care about what happens to the Skyway, but they should care about what happens to $240M of committed earmarks + whatever the future ask is going to be in their taxpayer money. Now that the LOGT is law, we don't have to argue about the tax and the Skyway at the same time.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 07, 2022, 01:07:41 PM
I believe that the survey respondents I previously cited expected something along these lines. I think the survey was important because, whether it was representative or not, it was used as JTA's mandate of public support to retain and expand the Skyway. Then, by the time they got to the specifics of route expansion, AVs were already selected as the technology of choice.

During the LOGT public meetings, there was plenty of debate around the tax itself, but any public comment on the U2C was almost unanimous against. JTA must have known any standalone funding request for the Skyway would be tanked by public opposition--it was almost enough to bring down the LOGT.

JTA was already U2C or bust years before the LOGT public discussion went on. Back in 2015, advocates of potential Skyway modernization and extension weren't being forced with this particular U2C concept. That's largely grown internally at JTA. Btw, 2015 was seven years ago and this thing still isn't about to be operational anytime soon. Just keep that in mind, the next time someone states that they can have commuter rail operational in 3 years....

(http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/photos/4532831584_h2gNsLJ-900x1000.jpg)

(http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/photos/4532831598_kDZtV5M-900x1000.jpg)

https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-nov-survey-determining-the-skyways-future

Quote
The total cost of this thing should be enough to be a mayoral campaign issue. Beaches residents might not care about what happens to the Skyway, but they should care about what happens to $240M of committed earmarks + whatever the future ask is going to be in their taxpayer money. Now that the LOGT is law, we don't have to argue about the tax and the Skyway at the same time.

Like the initial BRT plan from the early 2000s, I expect the U2C costs to dramatically raise. It will easily clear +$500 million, if nothing changes.



Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on July 07, 2022, 02:18:19 PM
I think it's been argued plenty of times before that the Skyway is much more a symbol of failure in leadership to think about how to make downtown a usable place for people to live, work, & play while utilizing the train, so I won't go too far into that. If I recall correctly, the core problem with the Highline suggestion is that it would likely trigger the FTA payback requirements anyway. The Skyway is meant to be a transit line, not a trail. They're not likely to count whatever bicycles end up there as qualifying vehicles to avoid the payback. The infrastructure has to be used to run a transportation service, not just exist.

From my perspective, the core problem with the High Line suggestion is that the High Line is a former elevated New York Central Railroad spur. In other words, its equivalent to a FEC, NS or CSX railroad line:

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-K87mBjp/0/L/i-K87mBjp-L.jpg)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-QhcWC72/0/X2/i-QhcWC72-X2.jpg)

Which do we believe can support the weight of having a functional public park built on top of it?

This (High Line comparable)?

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-j9V2qnP/0/L/i-j9V2qnP-L.jpg)

or this (Skyway infrastructure that can't even support the weight of a modern streetcar)?

(https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-MgFpvR3/0/XL/i-MgFpvR3-XL.jpg)

To make the Skyway anything close to the High Line, you're going to have to beef up and expand the existing elevated infrastructure to be able to support the load of that new use. That's likely millions to make what is essentially an elevated sidewalk (can't ride bikes on the High Line).

Also, unlike NYC, we struggle to fill our downtown streets with enough foot traffic to support the mix of uses, retail, restaurants, etc. that everyone wants to see. So another angle to any High Line alternative is the consideration of the cost and impact on downtown vibrancy itself (i.e. if we had $300 million to spend in DT, is an elevated sidewalk the best use of those funds?).

Quote
I think the most concerning thing about all this is seeing that they decided to cancel the overhaul of the existing trains and just skip to trying to bid out the PD&E for the conversion ASAP. Bids are already due next week. Hence my worry that they'll try and start tearing out beams before the road paint has dried on Bay Street and force total commitment, regardless of whether the damn thing works. Makes my head spin trying to understand the decision-making process here.

They definitely give off the impression of U2C or bust when it comes to this. That's a very dangerous and risky position to put taxpayers in, considering the desired product doesn't exist.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: jaxlongtimer on July 07, 2022, 06:36:28 PM
Quote
From my perspective, the core problem with the High Line suggestion is that the High Line is a former elevated New York Central Railroad spur. In other words, its equivalent to a FEC, NS or CSX railroad line:

Point of information:  The Highline track ultimately was owned by CSX which donated it to the City of New York.  (CSX had actually been served with a NYC letter of condemnation demanding its demolition before a spirited individual saw the potential in an alternative use.  So, CSX saved by not tearing it down after all :) ).

I find it a bit humorous that a Jacksonville company made the Highline possible while the useless Skyway operates outside the windows of that same company's HQ's.

[Emphasis added]
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Believe it or not, the High Line was once destined for demolition. Luckily, the community rallied together to repurpose it instead, creating the park you see today, for everyone to enjoy. It has since become a global inspiration for cities to transform unused industrial zones into dynamic public spaces....

....The High Line’s public prospects waxed and waned through the decades. In 1991, the five blocks of the structure from Bank to Gansevoort streets were demolished when a warehouse was converted into an apartment building. In 1999, the High Line owner CSX Transportation opened to proposals for the structure’s reuse.

In the decades of disuse, many people were calling the High Line an ugly eyesore (Mayor Giuliani signed a demolition order, one of his last acts in office). But few of these critics saw what had secretly taken over the structure: a thriving garden of wild plants. Inspired by the beauty of this hidden landscape, Joshua David and Robert Hammond founded Friends of the High Line, a non-profit conservancy, to advocate for its preservation and reuse as a public space. Friends of the High Line remains the sole group responsible for maintenance and operation of the High Line (and is funded by supporters just like you).

To provoke dialogue about the High Line, in a time when its transformation into a park was not yet ensured, Friends of the High Line hosted an “ideas competition,” receiving 720 ideas from over 36 countries for ways the park might be used (including ideas that were neither realistic nor practical, like a rollercoaster, or a mile-long lap pool). At the time, few people had heard of the High Line; the competition helped drive both awareness and excitement....

....Four years after CSX Transportation donated ownership of the structure to the City of New York, and three years after first breaking ground (in April 2006), the first section of the High Line opened to the public from Gansevoort to 20th streets. High Line Art was founded in 2009, and continues every year to commission and produce artworks on and around the High Line.

https://www.thehighline.org/history/
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on August 11, 2022, 04:36:23 PM
Does the PD&E request include figuring out how to get the AVs from street level to the (even more) elevated track level?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: marcuscnelson on August 11, 2022, 06:26:58 PM
Does the PD&E request include figuring out how to get the AVs from street level to the (even more) elevated track level?

Yes.

Quote
Ramp Design and System Integration: The ramp design should solve the requirement to connect Bay Street to the existing elevated guideway. The design should allow autonomous vehicles to travel from grade to above grade for continuous service operation to and from the superstructure and Bay Street utilizing a ramp or mechanical apparatus.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on August 11, 2022, 06:53:23 PM
Does the PD&E request include figuring out how to get the AVs from street level to the (even more) elevated track level?

Yes.

Quote
Ramp Design and System Integration: The ramp design should solve the requirement to connect Bay Street to the existing elevated guideway. The design should allow autonomous vehicles to travel from grade to above grade for continuous service operation to and from the superstructure and Bay Street utilizing a ramp or mechanical apparatus.

That part of the report should be interesting.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on August 11, 2022, 07:18:56 PM
Where exactly will the ramp be installed? Are they proposing to close Hogan Street or block street frontage at the former Sear's site? How does it integrate or accommodate the Emerald Trail? So many questions!
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on August 11, 2022, 07:42:48 PM
Where exactly will the ramp be installed? Are they proposing to close Hogan Street or block street frontage at the former Sear's site? How does it integrate or accommodate the Emerald Trail? So many questions!

I envision an escalator-like structure (well, two, one up, one down) with each 'step' able to hold one of the AVs. It could be steeper than a ramp, since the AVs would remain "flat" on the step.
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: thelakelander on August 11, 2022, 10:44:54 PM
That sounds pretty low capacity wise. What happens if larger vehicles become a modern mass transit preference? In a world where downtown was actually vibrant and people used mass transit, I wonder if an escalator-type solution would be scalable?
Title: Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
Post by: Charles Hunter on August 11, 2022, 10:57:16 PM
But the U2C is THE solution to all things transportation! It is so new it hasn't been invented yet!

Oops, it appears a JTA Spirit hacked me ... I'm back now.
Good points, Lake. Which means they will never be considered.