Author Topic: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa  (Read 207814 times)

marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #450 on: September 26, 2023, 10:35:30 PM »
The Amtrak corridor seems a lot less likely just because of FDOT's attitude about intercity rail, but that certainly doesn't mean we can't support provisions for if such a service ever comes about.

The thing about FDOT, is that their view can dramatically change every 4 to 8 years. It's totally reflective of who is charge in Tallahassee. When Rick Scott was in, he preferred lexus lanes and that basically became the go-to solution to widening our limited access system. DeSantis doesn't and now we're not building them like we used too. So there's hope for Amtrak. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for JTA under the same type of timeframe.

I can't say I like our odds of getting even a Crist-type in the near future, especially with the legislature how it is, but fingers crossed that'll change.
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thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #451 on: September 26, 2023, 10:54:12 PM »
The odds, how small they may be, are still better than the odds of JTA implementing any form of rail-based transit. JTA will need a complete overall, from the board to those on payroll, to dramatically shift their direction and priorities.
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #452 on: September 26, 2023, 11:42:14 PM »
It seems at this point like the authority's ability to do anything that isn't self-driving R&D is dependent on that overhaul anyway, so perhaps killing two birds with one stone is possible without dealing with a statewide election.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #453 on: September 27, 2023, 05:32:03 AM »
Perhaps, but history has suggested that will take a lot of time. We're already 20+ years and going about talks of LRT, streetcar, commuter rail, etc. For the older members like Ock, the talk dates back as far as the Skyway's planning.

Every time since the 1970s, it has been JTA finding a substandard rubber wheeled alternative to push forward with against the general will of the people. It has always started with cost saving talk, but at the end of the day, we end up blowing a lot of money, only to get something that totally fails to live up to the expectations of what was sold to the community. Just look at the FCF. It was supposed to be our alternative to LRT. The BRT instead of LRT talk originated back in the 1990s.

Now implemented, at the cost of hundreds of millions, many mass transit water cooler conversations still have people wanting LRT over the U2C. Just look at this board. How many people here have used the FCF? For those who have, do you consider it to be LRT on rubber wheels?

I don't believe much movement happens under Deegan's term (s) that will have us funding a local rail project by the time her limits hit. However, FDOT's priorities shift a bit with every administration change and DeSantis will be gone soon. It was supportive of Amtrak's plans to run on the FEC before Brightline came on the scene and there would be no SunRail or TriRail without them putting up the funds. Same goes for getting Brightline to Tampa down the I-4 corridor. As bad as a wrap people give them, they've proven that they will occasionally invest in rail projects. JTA, which is also heavily influenced by the state and local Republican machine, not so much.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2023, 05:53:25 AM by thelakelander »
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Charles Hunter

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #454 on: September 27, 2023, 08:34:49 AM »
I heard a report on the news last night that, during the budget debate,  Council Member Paluso offered an amendment to provide funds for LRT. The JTA rep in attendance said Jax does not have the population to support it, so the amendment was withdrawn. I will see if I can find an article about this.

thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #455 on: September 27, 2023, 09:03:40 AM »
^Did anyone say that we don't need LRT because we built the First Coast Flyer BRT instead? I'm surprised that JTA would not say this, since that's what was pushed as being LRT but cheaper and more flexible, by JTA for years, leading up to its implementation. So in essence, we already have a LRT-like system. It's the First Coast Flyer.....which evidently we do have the density for, lol.

Nevertheless, this is why I say its unrealistic to expect JTA to deliver any type of rail-based public transit project locally. That's not their wheel-house and they aren't interested in pursuing those types of public transit solutions. If that is anyone's local desire, like a CM Peluso, they will first need to overhaul the JTA board, staff and the political machine behind it (which would take years) and once that's done, then actually propose something and begin the long process of pulling together studies and funding to eventually implement.

In the meantime, money continues to be lit on fire with the U2C, with the same tales and promises used to get the Skyway and FCF built. Completely separate from the LRT talk altogether, real focus will be needed to pull the plug on the U2C expansion when the Bay Street Innovation Corridor fails to deliver what they've been selling.

« Last Edit: September 27, 2023, 09:07:56 AM by thelakelander »
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Lostwave

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #456 on: September 27, 2023, 09:58:26 AM »
I work downtown and live off San Pablo near Beach.  The First Coast Flyer could totally serve me in my commute.  But I would never take it.  It takes way longer than driving, regardless of how much or little traffic there is.  If there were a train running the same route that went say... 80 or 90 MPH, it would be faster than driving even with stops (and much much faster if there's traffic) and I would be on that train every day.

Ken_FSU

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #457 on: September 27, 2023, 10:21:23 AM »
Thanks for all the great info on Brightline, guys!

I learn something new here every day!

Ken_FSU

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #458 on: September 27, 2023, 10:37:20 AM »
I work downtown and live off San Pablo near Beach.  The First Coast Flyer could totally serve me in my commute.  But I would never take it.  It takes way longer than driving, regardless of how much or little traffic there is.  If there were a train running the same route that went say... 80 or 90 MPH, it would be faster than driving even with stops (and much much faster if there's traffic) and I would be on that train every day.

Same!

I work downtown and live off Hodges.

The First Coast Flyer could totally serve my commute as well, but it's a far less convenient alternative.

Despite all the talk about short headways and signal priority, functionally, it just seems like a bus with slightly newer stops.

Like many things in Jacksonville, we do things on the cheap and then blame the thing, rather than the execution of thing, when it doesn't pan out.

Would ride that sucker all day if had dedicated, and preferably separated, right-of-way to bypass all that traffic running down Beach Boulevard during rush hour.



Would be PERFECTLY happy if the U2C dollars went into transitioning some of the First Coast Flyer lines from glorified city bus routes to true BRT with dedicated lanes, platform-level boarding, physical seperation, better alignment, and even marketing of the benefits of the system.

The routes make sense. BRT makes sense for these corridors. What's currently there isn't anything close to BRT.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #459 on: September 27, 2023, 11:51:25 AM »
I heard a report on the news last night that, during the budget debate,  Council Member Paluso offered an amendment to provide funds for LRT. The JTA rep in attendance said Jax does not have the population to support it, so the amendment was withdrawn. I will see if I can find an article about this.

In some ways, this could be the "chicken and the egg."  Maybe we would have more density if we had better mass transit, i.e. TOD would follow LRT, etc.

I see whole "cities" growing around transit stations, such as the Metro stations in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of the Washington, DC area.  This isn't rocket science.

iMarvin

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #460 on: September 27, 2023, 12:30:07 PM »
I heard a report on the news last night that, during the budget debate,  Council Member Paluso offered an amendment to provide funds for LRT. The JTA rep in attendance said Jax does not have the population to support it, so the amendment was withdrawn. I will see if I can find an article about this.

I know light rail is almost automatically chosen as the best choice for rail transit in the US, but I do hope we study other technologies if the city gets serious about a regional system. Dedicated right of way is essential, but grade separation is just as important imo. Seattle and Los Angeles are building at-grade light rail throughout the entire city when they really would've benefitted from building a metro. Ironically, Seattle is spending even more money on light rail today than the metro system that voters rejected 50 years ago, adjusted for inflation. Worth nothing that in 1970 the Seattle metropolitan area had about the same population that Jacksonville does today...

If we're planning and building for the future, something Seattle didn't do, the system needs to be grade separated. And if it's going to be grade separated... lower the operating costs and go with automated light metro. The main benefit is the higher frequencies. Instead of a train running every 10-15 minutes, you could have trains every 3-5 minutes. That alone convinces more people to take the train.

I work downtown and live off San Pablo near Beach.  The First Coast Flyer could totally serve me in my commute.  But I would never take it.  It takes way longer than driving, regardless of how much or little traffic there is.  If there were a train running the same route that went say... 80 or 90 MPH, it would be faster than driving even with stops (and much much faster if there's traffic) and I would be on that train every day.

I don't think any train (metro or light rail) would be able to hit those speeds between such short distances. Even the express trains on the NYC Subway top out at 55 mph. But yeah, Downtown to Jax Beach would probably be a constant 25-30 minutes on a (grade separated) train... add 10-15 minutes for at-grade light rail.

thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #461 on: September 27, 2023, 07:39:46 PM »
JTA is running away from the Skyway because of the expense associated with grade separation. We won't see a grade separated system of any kind in our lifetime between DT and the beach. That would cost billions to move over 20 miles of low density suburbia.

Also, I agree that the First Coast Flyer would be better with dedicated lanes. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen on FDOT streets (i.e. Philips, Beach, Blanding,  etc.) either. True coordination between the public and multiple public agencies is a must for these types of projects. Jax has consistently failed in this arena traditionally, which is why most of what JTA has either implemented already or has planned, results in a situation of things that don't work or aren't as efficient and effective as they could be, despite the money lit on fire to play for them.

If we want to get anything right with the U2C, it would be to figure out how to secure dedicated lanes/ROW on COJ maintained streets and corridors. If that does not happen before any type of construction, that project is screwed regardless of the technology selected.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2023, 07:42:19 PM by thelakelander »
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WAJAS

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #462 on: September 27, 2023, 08:15:43 PM »
I took the FCF a few times, but it's gets stuck in traffic so often that it's hard to really convince myself its worth the effort. It's NOT BRT. No matter what JTA or others say.

Worse part, I live and work within a quarter mile of one of the lines, so you'd think if it made sense as an alternative for anybody it'd make sense to me.
 
It's effectively a high frequency but with nice shelters. Except it has pretty poor frequency for even a normal city bus, so it's just nice shelters.

thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #463 on: September 27, 2023, 08:49:58 PM »
^Basically, it is what we said it would be, when it was first proposed. The FCF is actually the basic type of bus service you'd expect to have in any major city. There's nothing special about it, although it serves an important role in the overall mass transit network. However, it's not a substitute for the various forms of rapid transit that choice riders tend to prefer.

More than a decade ago, we said that JTA was overselling the product, and that it was not true BRT, or a substitute for LRT (btw, you also don't "grow" into LRT, which is what some try to say also. Instead you intentionally invest in it because you want a certain type of outcome).

The comments here pretty much confirm what we predicted years ago.
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thelakelander

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Re: Brightline ready to expand rail system to Tampa
« Reply #464 on: September 27, 2023, 09:18:49 PM »
If Fort Pierce had Jax's assets, an intercity rail station would already be back in downtown:

Quote
Fort Pierce preemptively planning Brightline station downtown
'We're showing them we're ready to have a station,' Mayor Linda Hudson says

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — It’s been a looming question on the Treasure Coast: where to put a Brightline station?

It’s a question the city of Fort Pierce is trying to get ahead of.

In a City Commission meeting Monday, Commissioners officially approved an interlocal partnership with the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) of St. Lucie County to design a future Brightline station for downtown.

It's the latest step forward in Fort Pierce showing Brightline they want a station.

Quote
Of course, the designs are preemptive. Brightline has said it's always planned to have a Treasure Coast station at some point, and has promised to put one somewhere on the Treasure Coast within the next five years, but hasn't released any plans as to where yet.

Buchwald said it's a continuation of a process that really began in 2010 to effort a passenger rail station in Fort Pierce and extend Amtrak service. It then gained momentum again in 2018 when the Board endorsed a Brightline station in Fort Pierce.

Buchwald said with this latest partnership, the TPO has approved the expenditure of more than $350,000 in Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act funding for the project.

Buchwald also said the TPO hopes the have the plans finalized by July of 2024, at which point they'll look at what other steps are necessary to move forward with either Brightline or even another passenger train service station, like Tri-Rail or Amtrak.

Commissioners are planning to meet about the project again on June 12.

https://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/fort-pierce/fort-pierce-preemptively-planning-brightline-station-downtown?mibextid=S66gvF&fbclid=IwAR0ls4BP-_22qvnc-41g4eqUKRgRuQ-f0-jxaPdNppOM5pBkmRITaKWpj0U
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