Author Topic: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans  (Read 9680 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« on: March 06, 2018, 05:45:02 AM »
It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans



Local transit advocates were thrilled when the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) embarked on a mission to finally upgrade Downtown's long-suffering Skyway. But anticipation for what is being called the Ultimate Urban Circulator, or "U2C" is quickly melting. Could Jacksonville be setting itself up for another big disappointment?

Read More: https://www.moderncities.com/article/2018-mar-its-time-for-some-real-talk-on-jtas-skyway-plans
« Last Edit: August 25, 2019, 10:02:03 PM by thelakelander »

Redbaron616

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 06:50:02 PM »
What is the current ridership of Skyway and projected ridership of any new expansion plans? What are the current or project fares? Honest questions, because I have no idea. Thanks!

thelakelander

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 07:01:01 PM »
The current ridership is around 5,000 passengers a day. Currently, it's fare free. I'm not sure anyone in the public has seen projected ridership or projected fares. These would be important things to know but they may not even be that far yet. Since I deleted my FB account years ago, one of the writers of the story sent me a screenshot of Moderncities.com's FB page. Evidently, JTA doesn't agree with what's in the article and will be issuing a rebuttal. Hopefully, it will include some of the questions you've raised.

https://www.facebook.com/ModernCitiesOnline/posts/777907572401401
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Redbaron616

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 07:48:10 PM »
Thanks for the info. I am not on Facebook either. LOL

The current ridership is around 5,000 passengers a day. Currently, it's fare free. I'm not sure anyone in the public has seen projected ridership or projected fares. These would be important things to know but they may not even be that far yet. Since I deleted my FB account years ago, one of the writers of the story sent me a screenshot of Moderncities.com's FB page. Evidently, JTA doesn't agree with what's in the article and will be issuing a rebuttal. Hopefully, it will include some of the questions you've raised.

https://www.facebook.com/ModernCitiesOnline/posts/777907572401401

JaxJersey-licious

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 09:23:37 AM »
One of the flaws brought up with these new autonomous vehicles were their capacity. If that's an issue why couldn't these cars just be coupled? The current Skyway platforms could be easily retrofitted to handle more cars and whenever I'm downtown using it there is rarely so much demand that would overwhelm a single Skyway car.

I understand we do need to have more discussions on a more viable transportation system DT that would benefit more commuters from the burbs but if the JTA decides this is the way to go, I could somewhat accept that because this system can be reasonably be expanded without the need for dedicated ROW. That's the problem with having streetcars in mixed traffic. The "H" street streetcar in Washington DC is a greeat example of those problems - You not only have the problem of an unwavering vehicle going through a dense and increasingly popular neighborhood but it's also on a street that is a major feeder road for trucks and Northeast Corridor-serving buses heading to and from downtown. DT Jacksonville has nooo such problem on any potential automated vehicle expansion route and could serve the area a whole lot better that trying to expand the current Skyway apparatus or just letting it break down and rot.

thelakelander

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2018, 09:59:41 AM »
One of the flaws brought up with these new autonomous vehicles were their capacity. If that's an issue why couldn't these cars just be coupled?

The hope is that one day they can. However, what's available today is certainly limited in terms of capability to efficiently move masses. It's even more limited when mixed into traffic with regular vehicles. When mixed in traffic, there's no vast difference between an AV or regular vehicle for the end user. Nevertheless, operating in mixed traffic is ideal for last mile, first mile connectivity. For a trunk line? It's questionable and highly debatable at best.

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The current Skyway platforms could be easily retrofitted to handle more cars and whenever I'm downtown using it there is rarely so much demand that would overwhelm a single Skyway car.

Sure, but the article isn't about technology or the pros and cons of using AVs.

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I understand we do need to have more discussions on a more viable transportation system DT that would benefit more commuters from the burbs but if the JTA decides this is the way to go, I could somewhat accept that because this system can be reasonably be expanded without the need for dedicated ROW.

But would you want a system that's limited in it's abilities to maximize economic activity or be ultimately reliable because it's operating in mixed traffic? Dedicated ROW doesn't mean you have to construct something elevated. It can be as simple as right sizing streets to dedicate certain lanes for transit use only. Sort of like dedicating ROW for bicycle lanes, cycle tracks and shared use paths as opposed to mixing cyclists with motorized vehicles.

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That's the problem with having streetcars in mixed traffic. The "H" street streetcar in Washington DC is a greeat example of those problems - You not only have the problem of an unwavering vehicle going through a dense and increasingly popular neighborhood but it's also on a street that is a major feeder road for trucks and Northeast Corridor-serving buses heading to and from downtown. DT Jacksonville has nooo such problem on any potential automated vehicle expansion route and could serve the area a whole lot better that trying to expand the current Skyway apparatus or just letting it break down and rot.

The streetcar on H Street is exactly what you'd want to avoid from a transit reliability perspective. On the other hand, it's exactly what you want from a economic development perspective.

It opetates in mixed traffic, which hurts it from the transit reliability perspective for the end user. Give it its own lane and it immediately becomes more reliable for the end user. Same goes for AV, bicycles, pedestrians, buses, etc. Dedicated ROW/lanes helps all technologies and also is critical to assisting in opening the door to supportive land development opportunities. Why not set yourself up for success by also right-sizing your streets to better facilitate premium transit services? Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater just because technology allows for the potential of mixing in with regular traffic.
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U2CJAX

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JTA Response to Modern Cities U2C Editorial
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 11:46:19 AM »
This editorial raises questions about JTA’s Ultimate Urban Circulator Program (U2C). Public feedback and criticism is part of the project development process.  We welcome the opportunity to hear feedback, as we look to strengthen the program.

With that said, it is odd “Modern Cities” would post an editorial that appears to recommend reliance on old, antiquated technology, with a heavy reliance on costly infrastructure.  The U2C program proposes a cutting-edge high tech solution that can revolutionize public transit and invigorate our Downtown. 

The editorial states the U2C is in a “meltdown.” This statement is out of touch with reality.  We recently launched our Test and Learn Track.   The project is receiving positive local and national attention from media, the public transit industry and private sector interests. We continue to receive constant requests to share this vision with others in the industry.
Below is a response to the issues raised in the opinion piece.

#6 The Name
The editorial questions the U2C or Ultimate Urban Circulator name.  While this does not appear to be a particularly serious criticism, clarification is warranted. At this point, the Skyway name has not been changed. U2C is the program name that encompasses the plan to modernize and expand the circulator system. As we near deployment of the new system, we will engage in a more thorough branding discussion.

#5 Capacity
The editorial is critical of the potential vehicles and capacity. The selection of the future vehicle and its service plan is very important and critical analysis on this matter is ongoing.  At this point, we have chosen a preferred technology, but not the specific vehicle. The Test and Learn Track will allow us to bring in different models as we develop the specifications for the future vehicle.  There are a range of vehicle sizes from 4 to 6 passenger pods operating at Heathrow Airport, to the 20-24 passenger 2Getthere vehicle envisioned in the Bluewater project.  It is true that several of the current shuttles like EasyMile, Navya and Local Motors are in the 10-12 passenger range. We expect different manufacturers to provide a variety of capacity options.

While we have not settled on desired vehicle capacity, it is important to keep in mind that we plan to run the vehicles individually or in trainsets, in response to demand.  We may even have different sized vehicles to address different types of services.  For example, a smaller vehicle might be more appropriate when we extend into neighborhoods with on-demand service integrated into the circulator system.  We do expect the system will have more vehicles and run with a higher frequency.  One of the benefits of this approach is that this will allow the system to be scaled up more easily as demand increases.  Further, higher frequency service will allow us to grow ridership. It is important to note that an operational analysis is underway that will define the performance requirements of the system, including size, number, speed, etc. of the vehicles. A minimum requirement of the new system is that it provide more capacity than the existing Skyway.

The article suggests that the autonomous vehicles aren’t ADA compliant.  As part of the Test and Learn program, JTA will evaluate the accessibility of different vehicles.  We will use this information to develop performance specifications that will include compliance with U.S. disability access laws, ensuring that access is provided for all.

#4 Dedicated Lanes
Based on traditional technology, it is true that the elevated system provides the most reliable service.  It is also the most expensive and intrusive. We believe the strategy of using the existing elevated system and ground level extensions, with new technology, will be the most cost effective approach. This will enable us to connect with Jacksonville’s great urban and historic neighborhoods.  We will be working with the City and Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) to develop strategies for dedicated lanes or shared use lanes to ensure a high level of reliability.

Again, the line of reasoning from the Modern Cities is based on an old way of thinking.  In the future, we need to use technology to create multimodal corridors that maximize infrastructure capacity.  This will include intersection management strategies that are more advanced than the current Transit Signal Priority used for the BRT system.  They are also used in conjunction with other emerging technologies such as the “Greenwave” system to allow more efficient traffic flow in transit corridors. A potential approach may also include the development of a “Smart Lane” concept that will manage lane usage based on demand and could allow access for transit, taxis or other vehicles, depending on demand.

#3 Economic Development
The current Skyway has not driven economic development as envisioned because it was not fully built out. The system serves as a last mile connector for bus service and Park-n-Ride to Downtown employment.  We need a circulator system that ties origins and destinations for complete trips.  A system that connects residential, commercial and employment will support the vision for a strong and vibrant Downtown.

Tying an economic development strategy around the U2C program is important.  JTA is working with the DIA to create a plan for the redevelopment of LaVilla around the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC) and a similar effort is needed for the U2C.  The JTA is also coordinating with all local agencies, including the City of Jacksonville, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the North Florida TPO and DIA to develop a plan for the extensions.  The goal is to offer access to important destinations within Downtown and nearby neighborhoods. Our analysis of Downtown properties demonstrates tremendous opportunity for development associated around the system.  JTA is working with the Urban Land Institute to set up a five-day Advisory Services Panel to gain insights and strategies to make the best use of the U2C investment. 

The Modern Cities editorial seems to suggest that extending the elevated system is a better approach. We strongly disagree, as this will result in a costly, geographically limited system that lacks scalability, is based on antiquated technology and does not connect into the neighborhoods around Downtown.  In our opinion,  that is not the best approach to generate economic development.

#2 Captive Audience
JTA developed the current system plan based on extensive public outreach and engagement.  We received critical direction from the Skyway Advisory Group to build flexibility into the system to allow JTA to respond to customer needs, as conditions warrant.  The concept is to develop a system that is scalable and expandable to better accommodate the needs of the community.  We are also exploring new ways to provide first and last mile service to the community.

The article suggests additional extensions to Durkeeville and East Jacksonville.  These may very well be excellent opportunities for future expansion.  Being at the ground level with the U2C will allow us to expand into neighborhoods like this.
Also, JTA is following all applicable local, state, and federal requirements, including Title VI.  We have held numerous public meetings and will continue to do so during program development. The suggestion this will not meet Title VI requirements is inaccurate.  Our initial analysis shows that the U2C service area has a comparable minority population to JTA’s existing service area (58% for U2C/59% JTA service area). The poverty level in the U2C service area far exceeds that for the JTA service area (34% for U2C/15% JTA service area).

#1 Funding
Great projects often don’t start with funding in place.  They start with great ideas.  JTA is positioning the project for traditional state and federal funding opportunities, such as the FTA New Starts Program.  We are currently conducting a detailed Transit Concept Alternative Review Process in conformance with FDOT guidelines.  This will include anticipated ridership, system requirements, estimate costs and potential funding as a preliminary step to determine eligibility for state and federal funding.

Current funding programs tend to take longer than desired, under our program timeline. This is why we are looking at alternative funding opportunities. FDOT has been supportive of our planning efforts and the leadership at USDOT is very interested in innovative projects and acceleration of their development and delivery timeline.  We are confident we can address the funding issue.  The state level discussion regarding alternative transportation funding and Smart Cities only strengthens the case that funding for this type of project will be available.

We appreciate feedback on the U2C program, as this will help us develop a robust circulator that supports the development of a vibrant Downtown that is connected with our great urban and historic neighborhoods. If we want to create a truly “Modern City”, it’s time to get on board and help make the U2C a reality.  For more information, visit u2cjax.com or email u2cjax@jtafla.com

Tacachale

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Re: JTA Response to Modern Cities U2C Editorial
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2018, 12:46:39 PM »
Thank you very much for your response, U2CJAX. We appreciate your openness to criticism. I'm one of the authors. We'll have some further commentary in a bit, but I want to start off with two quick things:

This editorial raises questions about JTA’s Ultimate Urban Circulator Program (U2C). Public feedback and criticism is part of the project development process.  We welcome the opportunity to hear feedback, as we look to strengthen the program.

With that said, it is odd “Modern Cities” would post an editorial that appears to recommend reliance on old, antiquated technology, with a heavy reliance on costly infrastructure.  The U2C program proposes a cutting-edge high tech solution that can revolutionize public transit and invigorate our Downtown. 


Right off the bat, Modern Cities is not advocating against driverless technology, or specifically advocating for any specific alternative. What we're advocating against is any project that does not improve upon the current Skyway in terms of how many riders it can carry, where it can go, how successfully it can do it, etc. That means the system will need bigger vehicles, and its own dedicated right-of-way. That's an issue whether we're talking driverless vehicles, the current monorail vehicles, or something else.

#6 The Name
The editorial questions the U2C or Ultimate Urban Circulator name.  While this does not appear to be a particularly serious criticism, clarification is warranted. At this point, the Skyway name has not been changed. U2C is the program name that encompasses the plan to modernize and expand the circulator system. As we near deployment of the new system, we will engage in a more thorough branding discussion.


I wrote this part, and let me say: this criticism is dead serious. "Ultimate Urban Circulator"/"U2C" is just a bad name for a transit system, and a totally unnecessary change - of all the myriad problems of the current Skyway, the "Skyway" name is not among them. It's a huge relief to hear that you're open to dropping the new, Batusi-esque name.


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ProjectMaximus

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2018, 01:08:00 PM »
JTA, thanks for the response! Yes, please keep the skyway name!! Re: everything else, I am cautiously very optimistic.

Sonic101

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2018, 01:35:42 PM »
My biggest issue that I have IS the flexibility of the system. Its essentially just small driverless buses with maybe some fancy lanes here and there. Developers make TOD projects near fixed mass transit stations, not bus stops. Developers don't want to create this development near a transit stop with so much flexibility because it may one day be removed and their development loses a major selling point. I don't see this form of transit encouraging density either. Instead of trying to control urban sprawl it seems to just play into its hand.

Additionally, lots of people seem to suffer from this delusion that driverless cars will be fully rolled out in five or so years. Driverless vehicles won't be common place until 15 or 20 years, optimistically. Companies are racing to the 5 year mark just to say "First!" and after that they will be very limited with where/when they operate with a LOOOOOONG teething process and a slow roll-out following. I've seen driverless cars operate first hand, I don't buy for one second that these will be able to operate in all weather conditions that the Skyway can (especially  those white out conditions from heavy downpours where most drivers go exceedingly slow).

So yes, I'm skeptical. This isn't going to "put Jacksonville on the map", it won't change our image, it will just be a neat little toy like the Skyway was. Leave the new, unproven tech to a larger city or the private sector, and give the city something that is shown to work.

KenFSU

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2018, 02:51:18 PM »
I commend JTA for thinking outside of the box and trying to get ahead of technology, but personally, I think AV's best use will come from complimenting and feeding into fixed transit systems, not replacing them. Hopefully, in the next 5-10 years when this is sorting itself out, JTA can throw a guy a bone with a no-frills station in Brooklyn, where track already exists. This would give the existing Skyway more utility than five dozen clown cars combined.

P.S. I think that AV makes a lot more sense on the First Coast Flyer side of things. Deploy some vehicles in the neighborhoods near Flyer stops to feed into that system, and I guarantee you that more people use it.

Ocklawaha

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Re: JTA Response to Modern Cities U2C Editorial
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2018, 03:45:21 PM »
With that said, it is odd “Modern Cities” would post an editorial that appears to recommend reliance on old, antiquated technology, with a heavy reliance on costly infrastructure.  The U2C program proposes a cutting-edge high tech solution that can revolutionize public transit and invigorate our Downtown.


This from the agency that convinced an entire city that Streetcars 'Must operate in mixed traffic in the street,' and that Light-Rail would never catch on because 'Monorail's are the trains of the future.'

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The editorial states the U2C is in a “meltdown.” This statement is out of touch with reality.

The meltdown has nothing to do with your 'media attention or stardom,' and everything to do with your not finishing the last great idea (Skyway) to even a semblance of what was promised, failing horribly and are now threatened with re-equipping or paying cash for the mistake. Suddenly in crisis mode, we'll simply put a last/first mile solution on a directionally limiting track and call it success.

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#5 Capacity
The editorial is critical of the potential vehicles and capacity. The selection of the future vehicle and its service plan is very important and critical analysis on this matter is ongoing...We expect different manufacturers to provide a variety of capacity options.


Just as we expected JTA to complete the Skyway to UF Hospital/8Th Street, to the Stadiums, to Riverside and to Atlantic in San Marco.

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While we have not settled on desired vehicle capacity, it is important to keep in mind that we plan to run the vehicles individually or in trainsets, in response to demand.  We may even have different sized vehicles to address different types of services.  For example, a smaller vehicle might be more appropriate when we extend into neighborhoods with on-demand service integrated into the circulator system... A minimum requirement of the new system is that it provide more capacity than the existing Skyway.

If a 3500 Passenger Per Direction Per Hour Monorail train is capable of 50 mph (as ours was said to be tested at) how many 25 MPH AV-PODS will it take to reach 7000 passengers per direction per hour? With 24 seats costing as much as a new city bus, this retrofit is going to cost us big time and when it fails to act or perform as well as a train, monorail or streetcar in exclusive lanes is going to look pretty sweet.


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#4 Dedicated Lanes
Based on traditional technology, it is true that the elevated system provides the most reliable service.  It is also the most expensive and intrusive. We believe the strategy of using the existing elevated system and ground level extensions, with new technology, will be the most cost effective approach...

...Again, the line of reasoning from the Modern Cities is based on an old way of thinking.  In the future, we need to use technology to create multimodal corridors that maximize infrastructure capacity....

When a Light-Rail vehicle approaches a crossing along a existing rail corridor such as the Shipyards-Gateway Plaza, lights flash and gates go down, the trains reach as much as 60 MPH in many cities. Only in Jacksonville do those corridors remain abandoned scars or bike trails because JTA refuses to use 'traditional proven technologies.' We reinvented the wheel with a horizontal elevator from no-where to nothing in the 1980's when we would have been the third city to embrace Light-Rail, and when that failed we switched to the Skyway Monorail in 2000 because that technology was so much smarter then Streetcars which JTA told our political leadership; 'Must run in streets with mixed traffic...' Now we've quietly removed rail from 'future projects' because we have another new technology and anyone not buying into it is 'behind the times...' Sorry JTA but I've been 'Behind the times since George Harmon and I crafted the first prediction of the Skyway's failure 30+ years ago.

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#3 Economic Development
The current Skyway has not driven economic development as envisioned because it was not fully built out. The system serves as a last mile connector for bus service and Park-n-Ride to Downtown employment.  We need a circulator system that ties origins and destinations for complete trips.  A system that connects residential, commercial and employment will support the vision for a strong and vibrant Downtown.

Finally something I can almost agree with, but only because JTA has fumbled the ball in such a monumental way. True the Skyway was never finished. Also true it serves as a last-mile connector and a pretty poor one at that because it doesn't touch the east side of downtown. We do need a circulator and that is exactly what the AV-POD's are designed for. So straightening this out we have a Monorail, designed as a regional rapid transit/mass transit trunk-line carrier, doing the job of AV's and Taxi's because that is as far as it ever got.

Imagine using economical Monorail expansion (meaning we don't build an elevated road, lay a monorail beam on it and surround it with walls) to push the original system into the most dense and close-in urban neighborhoods, Durkeeville (North Line), Woodstock/Farm Market (Intermodal Station Line), 5-Points (Brooklyn Line), San Marco @ Atlantic (South Line), Stadiums (East Bay Street Line). Next compliment this with our higher quality First Coast Flyer (which is great but not BRT by any international standard) and add the AV's in the downtown grid from Myrtle to I-95 South to Talleyrand to State and Union Streets offering door to door pick up and delivery. Round the whole thing up with regular city buses and a few longer distance Motor Coaches to the Beaches/Clay/Nassau etc... and we'd have a real functional expandable transit system. Making another horizontal elevator out of the Skyway is a recipe for disaster.

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Tying an economic development strategy around the U2C program is important.  JTA is working with the DIA to create a plan for the redevelopment of LaVilla around the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC) and a similar effort is needed for the U2C.


You simply cannot continue to copy the oft tried BRT ploy of creating the system then building 6 publicly funded buildings and calling it 'Economic Development,' this is what Clevelands Health Line did and it's smoke and mirrors at best.

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The Modern Cities editorial seems to suggest that extending the elevated system is a better approach. We strongly disagree, as this will result in a costly, geographically limited system that lacks scalability, is based on antiquated technology and does not connect into the neighborhoods around Downtown.  In our opinion,  that is not the best approach to generate economic development.

While I cannot speak for everyone at MetroJacksonville or Modern Cities JTA should be aware that we have promoted the idea of using fixed rail, Ultra-Light-Rail and/or exclusive lane streetcar since the inception. Large, high capacity, electric transit that can use a great deal of proven technology. Removing the Monorail beam and replacing it with rails offers us a selection of vehicle size, shape and complexity ranging for 100 year old cars to the newest types installed for recent world events. True economics? How long does an AV in daily use last? The BRT buses come with a 12 year or 500K life expectancy. Dallas, New Orleans, San Francisco and other cities have Light Rail cars in daily service at or beyond their 100Th birthday.

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#2 Captive Audience
JTA developed the current system plan based on extensive public outreach and engagement.  We received critical direction from the Skyway Advisory Group to build flexibility into the system to allow JTA to respond to customer needs, as conditions warrant.  The concept is to develop a system that is scalable and expandable to better accommodate the needs of the community.


JTA's outreach has always been a one-way street. Since the article by George Harmon, the agency has consistently held endless public meetings and workshops and then done whatever they propose to do anyway. Rarely has public input mattered because if it did we'd be a leading city today with Light-Rail lines reaching Orange Park and perhaps the Beaches and we'd be talking about the U2C as the solution to first and last mile.

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If we want to create a truly “Modern City”, it’s time to get on board and help make the U2C a reality.

With so much effort in trying to explain how the authors were behind the times because they don't believe turning our Monorail into another road is a good idea perhaps we should mention that first high-tech road, the Via Appia was built in 312 BC.



TimmyB

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2018, 03:59:19 PM »
Thank you, Robert.  That was incredibly well-written.

Coming from an education background, I have zero experience in mass transit (other than as a user) but I sure do recognize "leaders" who attempt to show they are doing something by using "cutting edge" technology, even though there is very little data to suggest it will improve results.  At least it LOOKS like we're not being left behind.

JaxJersey-licious

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2018, 04:01:31 PM »
One of the flaws brought up with these new autonomous vehicles were their capacity. If that's an issue why couldn't these cars just be coupled?

The hope is that one day they can. However, what's available today is certainly limited in terms of capability to efficiently move masses. It's even more limited when mixed into traffic with regular vehicles. When mixed in traffic, there's no vast difference between an AV or regular vehicle for the end user. Nevertheless, operating in mixed traffic is ideal for last mile, first mile connectivity. For a trunk line? It's questionable and highly debatable at best.

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The current Skyway platforms could be easily retrofitted to handle more cars and whenever I'm downtown using it there is rarely so much demand that would overwhelm a single Skyway car.

Sure, but the article isn't about technology or the pros and cons of using AVs.

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I understand we do need to have more discussions on a more viable transportation system DT that would benefit more commuters from the burbs but if the JTA decides this is the way to go, I could somewhat accept that because this system can be reasonably be expanded without the need for dedicated ROW.

But would you want a system that's limited in it's abilities to maximize economic activity or be ultimately reliable because it's operating in mixed traffic? Dedicated ROW doesn't mean you have to construct something elevated. It can be as simple as right sizing streets to dedicate certain lanes for transit use only. Sort of like dedicating ROW for bicycle lanes, cycle tracks and shared use paths as opposed to mixing cyclists with motorized vehicles.

Quote
That's the problem with having streetcars in mixed traffic. The "H" street streetcar in Washington DC is a greeat example of those problems - You not only have the problem of an unwavering vehicle going through a dense and increasingly popular neighborhood but it's also on a street that is a major feeder road for trucks and Northeast Corridor-serving buses heading to and from downtown. DT Jacksonville has nooo such problem on any potential automated vehicle expansion route and could serve the area a whole lot better that trying to expand the current Skyway apparatus or just letting it break down and rot.

The streetcar on H Street is exactly what you'd want to avoid from a transit reliability perspective. On the other hand, it's exactly what you want from a economic development perspective.

It opetates in mixed traffic, which hurts it from the transit reliability perspective for the end user. Give it its own lane and it immediately becomes more reliable for the end user. Same goes for AV, bicycles, pedestrians, buses, etc. Dedicated ROW/lanes helps all technologies and also is critical to assisting in opening the door to supportive land development opportunities. Why not set yourself up for success by also right-sizing your streets to better facilitate premium transit services? Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater just because technology allows for the potential of mixing in with regular traffic.

I totally agree about the importance of dedicated ROW for transit systems but all I hear from people trying to establish new streetcars and trams were the complaints of the costs of having dedicated lanes and that their construction would be so disruptive to the businesses in the area (although long-term they'll reap great rewards). I just can't see a system like the Skyway that can't be easily expanded, needs proprietary parts to replace it that virtually no longer exist, and can't even sell ad spaces to help finance their costs could be viable long term.

Speaking of outdated systems, isn't the Detroit People Mover using similar technology to the Skyway? I wonder what their plans for that system are?

TimmyB

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2018, 04:21:07 PM »
...Speaking of outdated systems, isn't the Detroit People Mover using similar technology to the Skyway? I wonder what their plans for that system are?

Similar, but not similar in use.  The DPM has about twice the ridership and they pay a fee ($.75 per ride, I believe).  Also, the DPM goes in a continuous loop, stopping at several more places, AND it now connects up to the Q-Line streetcar.  If someone had told me 5 years ago that downtown Detroit would be light years ahead of a place like Jacksonville, I'd have had them institutionalized.  Hell, they even are recognized as one of the most bicycle-friendly places in the USA.