Author Topic: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program  (Read 3320 times)

bl8jaxnative

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2019, 02:45:54 PM »
I would suggest at least two other options:
(1) Convert the track to something like the Highline in NYC
(2) Put it (and all of us) out of its misery and tear it down

I'd go another route:

(1) It ain't the Highline and our context isn't NYC's. The infrastructure isn't wide enough for a Highline type application and our environment is more demanding of an "Underline" to protect users from the elements of our tropical climate.

I can see that.  In NYC you're in a sea of skyscrapers, cherishing any chance to see more than a few feet ahead of oneself.  Getting up 20' in the air would be great.


(2) Some of us actually use it and don't consider it a misery. From personal experience, if you work in downtown, you can save $1000 to $1200 annually by parking just north of Rosa Parks or south of Kings Avenue Station and using it for your last mile to avoid paying for parking.

Sure, a few folks do.  A single drop of water worth in an Olympic pool.   Get an eBike, eScotter or some fresh air and walk.  With the build out of BRT, find a good spot and grab that straight in.   

When resources are squeezed, you can't do everything for everyone.  Tear it down and focus scarce resources on what gets used the most.



Tacachale

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2019, 02:49:14 PM »
^Or, be proactive and devote resources to smart planning to build the kind of city we want to see.
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thelakelander

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2019, 04:40:03 PM »
Lol the Skyway is a drop in the bucket compared to most public investments. It's the least of Jax's financial worries.
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marcuscnelson

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2019, 10:19:10 PM »
Here's the latest vehicle being tested. It holds up to 15.



Stood around in there at the panel event. At least the wheels look cool.

Sure, a few folks do.  A single drop of water worth in an Olympic pool.   Get an eBike, eScotter or some fresh air and walk.  With the build out of BRT, find a good spot and grab that straight in.   

When resources are squeezed, you can't do everything for everyone.  Tear it down and focus scarce resources on what gets used the most.

I don't understand this desperate need of yours for us to throw our hands up and try to forget urban transit solutions. A bus with fancy stops isn't going to solve our problems either.

While I'm still not convinced of the U2C's ability to properly deliver on its promises, I certainly don't think we should give up. We're definitely spending as much or more on things like serving Khan's every whim and randomly demolishing buildings. It's silly to act like the Skyway is somehow the thing holding us back from making Jax a better city. With a $1 billion budget, resources certainly aren't squeezed or scarce here.

Plenty of people like Lake and many others have had the right mindset. We can make the Skyway or U2C, whatever it ends up being, work. We just have to do it intelligently, and make the right decisions to get the most value out of it.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2019, 11:33:05 PM »

I don't understand this desperate need of yours for us to throw our hands up and try to forget urban transit solutions. A bus with fancy stops isn't going to solve our problems either.

Agreed, no one solution will solve every possible scenario.  We need a mix of urban core short distance and suburban long distance solutions.  It's not about abandoning urban transit solutions (although that is pretty much what Jax has effectively done for the last 50 years as the Skyway is a failure and we really haven't made any effort to implement other options), it's about what solution does the most for the urban core while giving the most bang for the buck.  Short of fixed rail solutions, implementing more bus routes in the urban core seems to me to be the best option at present as it provides a quick, cost effective and flexible solution that can most ably serve needs of transit-deprived urban core residential neighborhoods.

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While I'm still not convinced of the U2C's ability to properly deliver on its promises, I certainly don't think we should give up. We're definitely spending as much or more on things like serving Khan's every whim and randomly demolishing buildings. It's silly to act like the Skyway is somehow the thing holding us back from making Jax a better city. With a $1 billion budget, resources certainly aren't squeezed or scarce here.

The issue here is, first, transit is paid by JTA, not the COJ.  That aside, don't think the COJ is rolling in the dough between the pension (not really solved, just kicked down the road), a 36% allocation to the sheriff's office, a backlog of deferred maintenance on local roads and parks and a steadfast refusal by elected officials to raise taxes.  I won't even mention the upcoming big overhang about to hit us when City officials finally wake up and realize we have to deal with resilience to rising seas. 

Second, there are very few discretionary dollars available for new transit options given the funding formulas that lock in much of what is available for other things like roads and maintenance.  As a result, the drain of dollars for the Skyway takes on greater significance.  How many more miles of bus routes could be funded by the cost of the Skyway?  Compare how many people those buses could serve with the number served by the Skyway.

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Plenty of people like Lake and many others have had the right mindset. We can make the Skyway or U2C, whatever it ends up being, work. We just have to do it intelligently, and make the right decisions to get the most value out of it.

Big assumptions here!  "Intelligently," "right decisions," "get the most value."  To date, those are all foreign concepts in planning Jax transit for the last 50 years.  That's why this conversation is taking place today  8).  Most anyone visiting comparable cities would have to conclude we are way behind in the world of public transit.


thelakelander

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2019, 06:07:55 AM »
I don't necessarily disagree with your post but it isolates public transit from the concept of coordinating transportation investments with supportive land use policies. This city has no answers for stimulating true economic mobility and access to transit deprived and dependent areas older areas of the core like the NW Quadrant because we still have not understood the link between fixed transit, land use and long term economic mobility. A bus is only good for moving people from point A to B. Changing communities involves a different level of infrastructure investment, vision, equitable access to education, jobs and services for users and coordinated land use to assist in transforming the built environment into one that exists locally in very limited nodes today. That built environment is the source of extra revenue into the tax base and local economy we continue to overlook in local mobility discussions. A retrofit of the Skyway infrastructure bathed in equity can have achieve this but it does require the type of holistic vision and follow through Jax has historically struggled with.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 06:10:24 AM by thelakelander »
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thelakelander

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2019, 07:43:42 AM »

Second, there are very few discretionary dollars available for new transit options given the funding formulas that lock in much of what is available for other things like roads and maintenance.  As a result, the drain of dollars for the Skyway takes on greater significance.  How many more miles of bus routes could be funded by the cost of the Skyway?  Compare how many people those buses could serve with the number served by the Skyway.

Statistically speaking, the Skyway is one of Jax's busiest transit routes. It definitely carries a larger volume of riders per mile, than regular bus routes so killing high frequency transit in the core to have longer, less used routes outside of it isn't an improvement. One could argue it would be more cost effective to reduce overall transit coverage to provide better services in the densest and most transit dependent and supportive ares of the region.

Also, funding doesn't have to be a challenge. Coordination of resources between various agencies is an excellent way to maximize funds we already have. Right sizing streets through existing local and state resurfacing budgets is one of several ways transit can be improved that we don't really take advantage of.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 07:46:01 AM by thelakelander »
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2019, 08:59:17 AM »
Lol the Skyway is a drop in the bucket compared to most public investments. It's the least of Jax's financial worries.

The Skyway costs more to operate than any one of the new and proposed bus rapid transit routes and carries less despite having the advantage of having no fares and being downtown.     

The Skyway is the poster child for chasing bad money with good.

thelakelander

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2019, 09:46:37 AM »
What BRT? You mean the regular bus routes transit users expect in any decent sized city that we call the First Coast Flyer (FCF)? They're great to have but let's get real, that type of transit investment isn't going to have any impact on the built environment. So the first thing that is necessary is to determine what type of future and built environment you want for various areas of the city. Once that's figured out, you can then have an honest discussion about what type of mode is best suited to facilitate that vision.

At this point, simply saying raze an urban transit circulator for more arterial bus routes, suggests little thought has been put into the context of what each mode is intended to serve or the needs of the typical end user within these areas. This, which has been done in the past, generally leads to failure, regardless of the technology selected.

Honestly, the most efficient transit systems aren't one-size-fits all mobility solutions. FCF is a good option for the what it is intended to serve but the Skyway serves a different transit market and is a different service altogether.  In the same, manner Amtrak, Brightline, future commuter rail, ride share, express buses, community shuttles, bike share, etc. all play different roles but should be included, coordinated and maxed out (potential-wise) as a part of a future connected Jacksonville. It's the 21st century. It's time to stop pitting the use of one technology against another without first understanding what we're trying to actually serve and build for.
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Kerry

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2019, 12:22:23 PM »
The City needs to decide what kind of city it wants to be.  A City is just a means to a way of life.  Right now Jax thinks it can simultaneously sprawl AND urbanize.  Well, it can't.  It has to pick one or the other.  Sadly, I think I the City has chosen and they picked auto-centric sprawl because that is basically all anyone in Jax knows - from politicans, to developers, to the average man on the street.  The problem is that sprawl is financially unsustainable and will eventually collapse under its own expenses.  Many places have already figured that out and started transitioning, but not Jax.
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thelakelander

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2019, 12:48:01 PM »
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The City needs to decide what kind of city it wants to be.  A City is just a means to a way of life.  Right now Jax thinks it can simultaneously sprawl AND urbanize.  Well, it can't.  It has to pick one or the other.

Like all metropolitan areas, it will be both. Jax can't determine the market. However (only within its city limits), it can guide growth, the development form, and be flexible enough to facilitate all aspects of the market in a way that maximizes the quality-of-life and various lifestyle choices of its residents.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 12:49:33 PM by thelakelander »
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2019, 07:50:45 PM »
Jax can't determine the market. However (only within its city limits), it can guide growth, the development form, and be flexible enough to facilitate all aspects of the market in a way that maximizes the quality-of-life and various lifestyle choices of its residents.

I agree.  But, perhaps, I would say this more forcefully.  The City may not "determine" the market, but it can set the rules for the market to play by and, therefore, pretty much control/greatly influence the general direction of the market.  This can be accomplished by (1) where and how the City invests in infrastructure such as roads, transit systems, parks, schools, sewers etc. and, (2) more importantly, by zoning and building codes. 

If we refuse to effectively support/encourage urban sprawl developers with civic improvements, incentives and inefficient land use policies while redirecting more such efforts toward the urban core, developers will have no choice but to turn to more urban style developments.  By example, I have seen communities implement sprawl-limiting infrastructure moratoriums, such as on sewer systems, resulting in an increased focus on infill and existing developed areas.

One exception, perversely, is if Jax continues to fail at providing effective mass transit to the burbs and beyond, effectively encouraging outlying development.  In this scenario, I would expect the demand to live in the urban core to modestly rise to compensate for long commutes and  I believe we are actually seeing this to some degree in Jax now in spite of our failures to further encourage such living with a holistic plan.  It is why I am reluctant to give too much credit to City leaders for the growth of downtown housing, lest they think they actually did all the right things to make it happen.

In the end, developers will play by whatever constraints are laid down, and, as long as they all play on an equal playing field, they are not competitively disadvantaged.  I think a bigger driver of sprawl is the false belief by elected officials that the only way to deliver affordable housing to an ever-growing populace is to build outward instead of upward.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 08:06:38 PM by jaxlongtimer »

thelakelander

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2019, 09:35:29 PM »
If we refuse to effectively support/encourage urban sprawl developers with civic improvements, incentives and inefficient land use policies while redirecting more such efforts toward the urban core, developers will have no choice but to turn to more urban style developments.  By example, I have seen communities implement sprawl-limiting infrastructure moratoriums, such as on sewer systems, resulting in an increased focus on infill and existing developed areas.

This can certainly be done to a degree and should be encourage but realistically this strategy would include our suburban areas, many of which are old enough to be considered "history" in their own right and have infrastructure to support additional development. However, I doubt we or any of the other examples totally eliminated all forms of autocentric development. Find a US example and find where that municipality's city limited ended. Across that border you'll likely discover the autocentric development still taking place.


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One exception, perversely, is if Jax continues to fail at providing effective mass transit to the burbs and beyond, effectively encouraging outlying development.  In this scenario, I would expect the demand to live in the urban core to modestly rise to compensate for long commutes and  I believe we are actually seeing this to some degree in Jax now in spite of our failures to further encourage such living with a holistic plan.  It is why I am reluctant to give too much credit to City leaders for the growth of downtown housing, lest they think they actually did all the right things to make it happen.

Jax is still failing at urban transit. I'm in the camp that believes Jax would be better served getting a good core five miles of something that's reliable with supportive land uses in place and incrementally expanding after that. Covering 800 square miles with something typically ends up with you stretching your resources too thin and having 800 miles of bad service as a result.

I wouldn't give local leaders too much credit with downtown housing. That's a national trend. If anything, we should have twice as much of it by now.....we're actually pretty late to the party and it still isn't concentrated infill and adaptive reuse.

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In the end, developers will play by whatever constraints are laid down, and, as long as they all play on an equal playing field, they are not competitively disadvantaged.  I think a bigger driver of sprawl is the false belief by elected officials that the only way to deliver affordable housing to an ever-growing populace is to build outward instead of upward.

The biggest driver of sprawl in zoning policies and transportation infrastructure investment. You invest billions in 9Bs and First Coast Beltways in the middle of cow pastures owned by politically connected landowners....expect sprawl.  If you want a different result, invest in the things that stimulate the type of development pattern you desire. As for developers, they'll develop as long as the proforma works. If it does not, they'll go to where it does.....even if it's outside of Jax.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 09:46:10 PM by thelakelander »
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #43 on: January 31, 2019, 12:29:43 AM »
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Find a US example and find where that municipality's city limited ended. Across that border you'll likely discover the autocentric development still taking place.

LOL.  Can you say "Where the western edge of South Florida cities meets the Everglades?"  The ultimate stop to development.  We should surround every city with a national park - problem solved!

https://www.google.com/maps/@25.773279,-80.5917245,53014m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

thelakelander

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Re: JTA Hires Former Amazon Exec To Oversee U2C Program
« Reply #44 on: January 31, 2019, 01:24:44 AM »
^But nearly everything west of I-95 is autocentric sprawl and they're still sprawling into the Everglades in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. All those "western" cities are their version of St. Johns and Nassau Counties. Other than six million people already being down there, that boundary is no different than something like the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. When we hit six million in another century or two, we'll have similar environmental constraints like that as well.
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