Author Topic: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans  (Read 9679 times)

Tacachale

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2018, 04:28:11 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.

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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.

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?

The current Skyway certainly isn't preferable or really viable long term. But if we're going to spend millions to replace it, the new system should be an improvement over what's there. No way is a 25 person minibus going 25 miles per hour - and dipping into traffic - an improvement.
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thelakelander

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2018, 06:15:14 PM »
Pretty cool. A few good posts to respond too.

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).

Depends on the project, capacity needed and desired corridors for routes. The type of technology isn't always the determining factor on the cost to secure sufficient ROW for premium transit use. You'll find some expensive projects like the streetcar on H Street in DC, the Health Line BRT in Cleveland and some pretty affordable projects like the original Trolley LRT corridor in San Diego. Right-of-way/dedicated lane costs are really more dependent on the context, surrounding environment, age of the corridor's infrastructure and hoops required by each roadway maintaining agency. U2C aside, looking at Jax, it would be easier to take a local wide street like Bay or Park and right-size them to include dedicated lanes/ROW for transit than trying to work with FDOT to get them on State, Union and Main or investing millions on a new river crossing that may need as much as 135' of vertical clearance over the shipping channel.

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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.

The plan is to expand the Skyway by being able to take advantage of running vehicles at-grade. The question is whether it's more beneficial for Jax to run premium transit at-grade on dedicated ROW (or in dedicated lanes...which are essentially the same thing), or attempt to place the system on regular streets in mixed traffic.  However, outside of Jacksonville's city limits, it's pretty damn well proven across the globe at this point that systems with dedicated ROW are superior to those that aren't.

The picture below is of a BRT system with dedicated ROW or lanes where the transit service isn't subject to regular traffic getting in them:



On the other hand, here's a picture I took from inside a ride on Cleveland's Health Line BRT a few years back during rush hour. Despite having TSP, we sat blocked in traffic for about five minutes because cars trying to make left turns blocked our path.

« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 06:27:38 PM by thelakelander »
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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2018, 06:36:05 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.

I've been following the revitalization of DT Detroit pretty closely the last 18 years. The city as a whole has some pretty significant challenges but downtown is no longer one of them.

As for the DPM and Skyway, both were experiments that went bad. The third project in Miami, the Metromover, generally does what it was supposed to do. However, that system was also complemented by a rapid transit system that feeds it with riders. It averages around 33,000 riders a day and now TOD is being built all around and over it.





« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 06:48:56 PM by thelakelander »
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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2018, 07:56:29 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?

They may have similar (or same) driverless tech and were part of the same govt grant program, but not the same rolling stock at all. Detroit's is more traditional rail and I believe the same as Vancouver's skytrain. Jax's skyway is a far less common monorail. In fact, I think if we had Detroit's system here in Jax it would be much easier to extend it at-grade.

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2018, 08:54:52 PM »
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.

Thanks for the comments. I'll try to respond to a few items but here are a few incorrect assumptions in the response by U2C.

1. The editorial doesn't recommend or promote any specific technology, rely on expensive infrastructure or dismiss cutting edge technology. The points raised are issues that should seriously be considered and incorporated regardless of if the plan is to add AVs, flying saucers, buses, LRT or mopeds.

2. The editorial doesn't say JTA is in a "meltdown". It specifically says,

"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 as questions arise about its ability to adequately serve Urban Core neighborhoods. Is Jacksonville setting itself up for another big transit disappointment?"

Excitement appears to melting among transit advocates. However, we all want JTA and Jacksonville to be successful with the plan to modernize the Skyway. Yet, there is strong growing belief that if major issues that have nothing to do with the preferred technology aren't adequately answered, we're setting ourselves up for failure. As illustrated above, I'll provide a strike through for things the editorial doesn't suggest or imply.

Okay, on to the points.

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#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.

Tacachale addressed this, so I'll move to #5.

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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.  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.

This explanation basically backs what the editorial mentions with more words. At this point, what's being tested isn't compliant and doesn't appear to have adequate max capacity equal or above what the Skyway currently offers. Nevertheless, it's great that a minimum requirement of the new system is to provide more capacity than the existing Skyway. When will the operational analysis be completed and available for public consumption?


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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. 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.

Since the editorial doesn't promote an elevated system or certain technology, I crossed out what's not applicable. It's well known that dedicated ROW or lanes are most advantageous from a reliability and maximizing economic development opportunities perspective. Especially in areas outside of the DIA's official boundaries. It's also well known that shared use lanes can have a negative impact on service and virtually take away spin-off economic opportunities on the surrounding urban landscape. Since the public will eventually be asked to contribute millions to implement, the challenge the editorial makes is a push for 100% dedicated lanes/ROW, regardless of technology if it means Jacksonville can benefit more economically in areas outside of simply providing transit. As mentioned by U2C, coordination and participation with additional public agencies will be needed. But let's push for true innovation and reliability that includes a system operating at max efficiency.

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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.

In reality, a street with a sidewalk, cars and a city bus meets the basic definition of being a multimodal corridor. However, being multimodal doesn't mean it's a great one. On the other hand, maximizing infrastructure capacity (and ultimately improving end user safety) also means right-sizing streets. Understanding the existing and future context classifications should play a critical role once system capacity needs are figured out. When we understand capacity, emerging technologies like Greenwave and Smart Lanes may be cool but and absolutely needed in Mexico City, NYC, London or Tokyo, but may not be a necessity for this particular project in a 2023 or 2030 downtown Jacksonville environment. Especially, considering AADT on local streets have been in a general decline or stagnant over the last decade and the fact that one literally can't find a taxi outside of the Greyhound station even if they wanted too. However, we'll have a clearer picture on what type of emerging technologies fit our landscape when we figure out item #5 (capacity) in the editorial. So yes, while we should certainly keep emerging technologies in mind, a challenge will be to not let them override the importance of getting the basics of a reliable transit system in place first.
 

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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.

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 current Skyway has always suffered from never having the regional transit system built that was supposed to feed it with riders. It also has suffered from public officials over downtown development in the past, never aligning their development goals and land use policies to complement the public's investment in the Skyway. Modernization program aside, there's no significant reason why TOD could not be coordinated and generated around the Skyway's existing stations right now (that's another topic altogether).

Also, a circulator system and something that serves as the last mile/first mile connection isn't exactly the same thing. In addition, downtown is ultimately a victim of the loss of connectivity and decline in population density of the neighborhoods surrounding it. Not just Springfield, San Marco and Riverside but also the denser lost walkable districts like Sugar Hill, Hansontown, LaVilla, Railroad Row, Fairfield and neighborhoods still around like Durkeeville and the Eastside. All of these areas offer the opportunity for significant infill and redevelopment. JTA's U2C program has the potential to reconnect and help build density. A challenge for JTA and all local coordinating agencies will be to look outside of the imaginary bubble we call downtown and see how we can maximize this and other pending public investments to effectively tie the actual urban core back together.
 
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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.

Crossed this out since the editorial doesn't suggest this.

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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.  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.

I think most will wholeheartedly agree that being at the ground level will allow the U2C to expand into neighborhoods like Durkeeville and the Eastside.


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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).

The article does not suggest that the U2C will not meet Title VI requirements. It simply provides a definition of Title VI for the average reader who will have no clue of what it means. What is does suggest is an opportunity for U2C to hit a Title VI home run by penetrating these long overlooked walkable neighborhoods.  This should not be taken as criticism. Consider this a fat soft ball being tossed up. Please swing and hit a home run :).

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#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.

I don't think there's any debate that great projects don't start with funding in place. However, we're a few years into this now. If something is going to happen and be operational within five years, the editorial suggests that figuring out anticipated ridership, system requirements, estimated costs and funding and known project funding eligibility needs to happen....like yesterday.

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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.

I think most are glad to hear that there's optimism that the funding issue can be addressed. Just take note that it's hard for most outside to share that same optimism when we don't even really know what we need, what capacity it will need, how much it will cost and how the unpredictability in Trump's DC will impact funding programs like FTA New Starts over the next few years. I know last time I heard, FTA News Starts is in line to get significantly wacked in Trump's lasted budget proposal. Optimism gets kicked in the chops again when press hits of potential state funding opportunities like millions in old Sunrail money going to Tampa and Miami-Dade for emerging technologies, leaving Jax to attempt to fight for the remaining crumbs with 65 other counties.

Again, the funding point isn't meant to be taken as criticism. It's an important observation and question that will continue to be asked. It's also one that will ultimately require some swift political movement if the desired timeline is five years.

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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

I believe the U2C will get a lot more feedback. This is a topic that people around the community have been asking Modern Cities as a group to address for months. Personally speaking, Tacachale will vouch for me sitting on what was originally submitted to be posted for a few weeks to comb through, make it easier to stomach and ensure that it addressed concerns that have nothing to do with debating innovation and emerging technology and everything to do with a desire to see something materialize that the entire community can be proud of.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2018, 10:33:55 PM by thelakelander »
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Ocklawaha

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2018, 09:59:09 PM »

The El Paso streetcar system will link the International Bridges, downtown retail areas, convention center, ballpark, Cincinnati Entertainment District, and the University of Texas at El Paso, among other area attractions. Construction consists of approximately 4.8 miles of track, 27 streetcar stops, related street improvements. Uses old El Paso PCC Cars found in the desert and rebuilt by Brookville. $97 Million, all locally funded.


Uses old El Paso PCC Cars found in the desert and rebuilt by Brookville. New Oklahoma City Streetcar in the background.


$97 Million, total system cost, car barn, cars, track, overhead, maintenance equipment, pavement, all inclusive - all locally funded.

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2018, 05:00:48 PM »
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.

That's exactly how I read the response.  It actually made me more nervous about JTA's ability to get this right, way more than MC's editorial.

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2018, 10:46:42 PM »
A little sidebar from the discussion but i understand people have many different reasons for visiting and contributing to this site and it's been taken in a number of different directions over the years but it's threads like these are the main reason I keep visiting this site. I mainly come here to gain perspectives and to be educated and the input plus back-and-forth is much appreciated. Hopefully now that it appears some legal hurdles have recently been cleared this website can adhere to that path. Although I admit I miss some of the former contributors and the drama that came with it, there is no shortage of topics and discussions that keep my interest so keep being that relentless advocate!

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2018, 05:05:37 PM »
#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.

It's good to see U2CJAX Responding here. Two thoughts:

1. Forgive the skepticism, and I recognize that the Nat Ford-led JTA seems to be much more in tuned reality (both operationally and planning-wise) than the Michael Blaylock-led JTA, but at the same time if you really study the original BRT renderings and plans that JTA released I think you'd understand the skepticism. You can only claim, "that was the old JTA" to a point. Those renderings and plans DID happen.

2. Please dump the rendering of the U2C (or whatever it will be called) crossing the river at a new crossing. It really shoots all "cost saving" arguments about elevated track in the foot. I'd be willing to bet that extending the Elevated Skyway tracks to the stadium and making all other extensions from there (and at other end points) at grade is MUCH cheaper than an entirely new river crossing - even if all other aspects of the U2C are at grade.

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2018, 07:21:31 PM »
Can't imagine a new river crossing being built for less than $100 million alone. Unless it's a drawbridge, it probably needs to have a vertical clearance of at least 135', which is what the Main Street bridge is. Anything less, and you're negatively impacting the value of waterfront property on the North and Southbank west of it. Remember those cruise ships at the Hyatt during Super Bowl or Khan's yacht in downtown? Forget about that happening again with vessels that large with a low level bridge. Then if you did build a high level bridge for cyclist and pedestrians, you'd have some wicked approaches to tackle. Without a doubt, it would have to eat into waterfront property on both sides of the river to accommodate the ramps needed to get back to grade. Yeah, if the cost benefits of extending at grade are going to be promoted, it may be best to put that bridge concept to sleep or else risk being torpedoed on the cost effectiveness argument.
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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2018, 07:23:53 PM »
A little sidebar from the discussion but i understand people have many different reasons for visiting and contributing to this site and it's been taken in a number of different directions over the years but it's threads like these are the main reason I keep visiting this site. I mainly come here to gain perspectives and to be educated and the input plus back-and-forth is much appreciated. Hopefully now that it appears some legal hurdles have recently been cleared this website can adhere to that path. Although I admit I miss some of the former contributors and the drama that came with it, there is no shortage of topics and discussions that keep my interest so keep being that relentless advocate!

We appreciate the kind words. At Modern Cities we have some plans in the works to amp up our coverage of urban issues in the Jax area considerably, that'll hopefully launch before too long. At the same time we hope to clear up the confusion between Metro Jacksonville and Modern Cities, which are different sites and companies, despite some Modern Cities content being republished here at Metro Jacksonville. Our hope is that later this year, you'll be seeing a lot more detailed Jax coverage and editorials like this.
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Tacachale

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2018, 07:27:59 PM »
Can't imagine a new river crossing being built for less than $100 million alone. Unless it's a drawbridge, it probably needs to have a vertical clearance of at least 135', which is what the Main Street bridge is. Anything less, and you're negatively impacting the value of waterfront property on the North and Southbank west of it. Remember those cruise ships at the Hyatt during Super Bowl or Khan's yacht in downtown? Forget about that happening again with vessels that large with a low level bridge. Then if you did build a high level bridge for cyclist and pedestrians, you'd have some wicked approaches to tackle. Without a doubt, it would have to eat into waterfront property on both sides of the river to accommodate the ramps needed to get back to grade. Yeah, if the cost benefits of extending at grade are going to be promoted, it may be best to put that bridge concept to sleep or else risk being torpedoed on the cost effectiveness argument.

The bridge seems particularly unrealistic, to the point that I can't imagine that JTA's building wing would ever have suggested as the renderings show. Leads one to think there's a lack of internal communication between the different areas of JTA about this proposal.

Hopefully with the bridge out of the way, we can move onto more productive discussions like capacity, dedicated lanes (a 100% necessity for any Skyway expansion to work), and other neighborhoods to expand to.
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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #27 on: March 09, 2018, 07:31:38 PM »
A little sidebar from the discussion but i understand people have many different reasons for visiting and contributing to this site and it's been taken in a number of different directions over the years but it's threads like these are the main reason I keep visiting this site. I mainly come here to gain perspectives and to be educated and the input plus back-and-forth is much appreciated. Hopefully now that it appears some legal hurdles have recently been cleared this website can adhere to that path. Although I admit I miss some of the former contributors and the drama that came with it, there is no shortage of topics and discussions that keep my interest so keep being that relentless advocate!

We appreciate the kind words. At Modern Cities we have some plans in the works to amp up our coverage of urban issues in the Jax area considerably, that'll hopefully launch before too long. At the same time we hope to clear up the confusion between Metro Jacksonville and Modern Cities, which are different sites and companies, despite some Modern Cities content being republished here at Metro Jacksonville. Our hope is that later this year, you'll be seeing a lot more detailed Jax coverage and editorials like this.

If I can add two cents, I love the fact that MC has a Facebook presence.  I don't have to check in anywhere to see that they have a new article worth looking at.  I understand that MJ used to have one, but stopped.  I really don't know why.  I would hope that maybe they (you) would reconsider that option.  Whether you are a fan of social media or not, there is no arguing the ease of getting your message out to a much greater audience much more quickly.

thelakelander

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #28 on: March 09, 2018, 08:25:13 PM »
MJ's FB presence stopped for the same reason the content production and email blasts ended. Working on an overall resolution now that can be implemented soon.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

TimmyB

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Re: It's Time for Some Real Talk on JTA's Skyway Plans
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2018, 09:57:15 PM »
MJ's FB presence stopped for the same reason the content production and email blasts ended. Working on an overall resolution now that can be implemented soon.

Hope so!  That would be a great improvement.  (Not that having your site on auto-refresh every five minutes on my PC is too much work!!!)  It's nice when I'm traveling, which I am frequently, to have the stories just pop up in my FB feed of things that I really care about.