Author Topic: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC  (Read 1790 times)

Kerry

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2020, 11:45:18 PM »
Honestly, I'm not buying it that Jax is included any further than vague references to politicans that might have to vote on funding.  I'm a consultant and one of our basic rules is, if it isn't on paper being in scope, it isn't in scope no matter what the sales guy said.
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thelakelander

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2020, 07:18:51 AM »
I seriously doubt you're a transportation consultant. Based on your comment history, it's an unfamiliar world. In 2012, many thought the Miami segment would never happen. Then they said Orlando segment would never break ground. Despite delays from lawsuits to stop it, it continues to move forward and TOD continues to pop up around its stations. Maybe it reaches Tampa and Jax or maybe it doesn't. No one truly knows the future. Yet the reality is that it's progressing faster than nearly everything dreamed and discussed here. Shipyards, The District, Berkman 2, two waying streets, a convention center, Landing revitalization, Skyway extension, activating the City Hall Annex site? All talk predating AAF/Brightline/Virgin Trains by years, but no closer to happening as they were in 2010. No one is being asked to buy it. That's sort of like moving the goalpost to the question that was raised.

Has anyone a VT ever said anything about coming to Jacksonville?

I was simply answering this question by giving an example of the vice president of the parent company mentioning possible extension to Jax after the Miami/Orlando segment is successfully running. The same article highlights the court documents regarding the rights to operate passenger rail services on FEC tracks up to Jax. Whether it happens two years from now or 10 years down the road, securing the rights to operate on a freight railroad is more than anything else done locally after years of talk and press releases. Even with JTA's AV dreams, there's a reason they have a "test facility" in a parking lot instead of running them on the street as a pilot. At this point, I'd bet the Virgin Orlando segment will be up and running before a Lot J or District completes one building on their properties. If anyone really is interested in more, the information, legal filings, etc. and even the AAF Jacksonville Segment, LLC. documents are out there and fairly easy to find.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 08:40:15 AM by thelakelander »
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Kerry

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2020, 09:26:28 AM »
No I'm not a transportation consultant.  However, I can read.  The document you provided did not include passenger traffic on the Cocoa-Jax segment as noted by the representative from Fernandina Beach.  In response, AAF said that is something we would need to look at later.  So I'm going to stand by my belief that VT has no plans, real or imaginary, to come to Jacksonville.  Now if someone produces something that indicates otherwise I'll be happy to change my mind.

So anyhow....now that we have this great idea to rehab Jax Terminals what do we do with it, if anything?
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Kerry

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2020, 09:58:15 AM »
No I'm not a transportation consultant.  However, I can read.  The 2016 document you provided did not include passenger traffic on the Cocoa-Jax segment as noted by the representative from Fernandina Beach.  The 2016 agreement also voided the 2014 agreement that did provide access to Jax.   So I'm going to stand by my belief that VT has no plans, real or imaginary, to come to Jacksonville.  Now if someone produces something that indicates otherwise I'll be happy to change my mind.

So anyhow....now that we have this great idea to rehab Jax Terminals what do we do with it, if anything?
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thelakelander

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2020, 10:09:26 AM »
If you want you can dig up the AAF Jacksonville Segment LLC documents and read through that legal paperwork. There should be a link in one of these forum threads from a few years back, but I don't have the time to look it up for you and its not my burden to change anyone's mind. So I'll move on.

As far as the Prime Osborn goes, the thought of bringing intercity rail (i.e. Virgin, Amtrak, etc.) back and making the terminal mixed use remains the same. The tracks with Virgin's rights aren't moving, Amtrak is still interested in expanding corridor services, most of the CSX A line is now owned by the state and the Palatka coal plant likely has a timeline as we shift from fossil fuels (which is why Ock keeps mentioning SunRail), the terminal is still designed to be a train station, there's still tons of land for TOD surrounding it and a local intermodal center lies immediately adjacent to it.

Here's some of JTA's old plans for bringing Amtrak. At the time, the thought was that the site would still serve as a convention center:













« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 10:11:26 AM by thelakelander »
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Kerry

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2020, 10:14:57 AM »
Okay - so beyond talking about it what can we do to move it along.  How do we marry the idea to an action?
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Ocklawaha

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2020, 10:34:23 AM »

No I'm not a transportation consultant.  However, I can read.  The 2016 document you provided did not include passenger traffic on the Cocoa-Jax segment as noted by the representative from Fernandina Beach.  The 2016 agreement also voided the 2014 agreement that did provide access to Jax.   So I'm going to stand by my belief that VT has no plans, real or imaginary, to come to Jacksonville.  Now if someone produces something that indicates otherwise I'll be happy to change my mind.

So anyhow....now that we have this great idea to rehab Jax Terminals what do we do with it, if anything?

The part of the Virgin/AAF business model that is continually misread, misreported and misunderstood is that this is a REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT VENTURE more than a ‘private passenger railway.’ So given such a golden piece of downtown as the old terminal property the sky is the limit. Toss in the adjacent JRTC and Amtrak and you’ve got a synergy for all types of mixed use development. 

Trains? Yes, trains are a part of the value-added services offered by the developer. While I doubt we’ll see 18 in each direction daily as South Florida will, somewhere around 6 each way on the FEC and 5 Amtrak runs puts us right at where we were back in 1971.

As for ridership figures it would be a grievous error to base our estimates on Amtrak’s 4 daily arrivals and departures. Consider if you want to fly to Most any destination you thumb through a dozen times daily spread among 2-5 airlines. Rail travelers outside of a few corridors typically have a choice of one train... Hows the saying ho? If you build it they will come.

thelakelander

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2020, 10:47:13 AM »
Okay - so beyond talking about it what can we do to move it along.  How do we marry the idea to an action?

It was delayed because of the expense of upgrading track infrastructure in the area. 

Quote
JTA laying groundwork for downtown passenger rail

Nat Ford, CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, notified the board Thursday of a grant application that would quicken freight trains traveling through San Marco, where trains have caused long delays, and help bring passenger rail service back to the downtown area.

The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grant is a joint effort by the City of Jacksonville, JTA and the Florida Department of Transportation with the support of Florida East Coast Railway and CSX Corp. (Nasdaq: CSX). At an estimated cost of about $35 million, the project would update aging rail and signal infrastructures, which Ford said were to blame for slow freight train speeds through the area.

"The grant would provide the funding necessary to fix the train chokepoint problem in the San Marco area," Ford told the board.

The grant is also a potential precursor to another JTA goal: getting passenger rail service downtown. Jacksonville's Amtrak station is currently about five miles northwest of the core of downtown.

"This will open the door for passenger rail to come back to the Prime Osborn Center," said Ford.

Full article: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2018/08/31/jta-laying-groundwork-for-downtown-passenger-rail.html


This situation has recently changed with the $17 million CRISI grant finally being awarded a few months back:

Quote
The project makes improvements to three components of the rail system in Northeast Florida. Specific components include:

  • Modernizing ten rail switches and the connective track primarily used by FEC traffic and Class I traffic.
    Installation of a 7,000 foot staging track to eliminate congestion and hospital blockages
    Upgraded signal and track at CSX/FEC Beaver Street interlocking
    Installation of centralized traffic control improvements all all crossings and on over five miles of FEC track

A statement from JTA CEO Nathaniel Ford Sr. read in part:

Simply put, this project is a long time coming for Jacksonville and for those who live and commute to Downtown Jacksonville on a daily basis. ... We strongly believe these improvements to busy railroad interchanges near the urban core will enhance safety and mobility in Jacksonville and throughout the State of Florida.”

Full article: https://www.news4jax.com/community/2019/06/09/jacksonville-gets-17m-grant-to-ease-train-delays-make-crossings-safer/


So there's already action. In addition, Amtrak's plans to establish a new route between Jax and Miami, with new stations in St. Augustine and Daytona Beach also went by the wayside when AAF/Brightline/Virgin Trains proposal came online. At the time, FDOT had committed $118 million to the project. Recently, Amtrak has mentioned that it intends to change the way it has traditionally operated.

Quote
“It is an inevitability that intercity short-haul passenger rail is going to have to grow in America,” Amtrak Board Chairman Anthony Coscia told reporters. “Congestion is going to get worse and high-quality, efficient service only way we’re going to make inroads in carbon emissions. We have to figure out a new methodology to serve that 300-mile short haul market with modern trains.”

The company has bold plans in the near future to expand routes, update its fleet, and improve reliability as Congress begins discusses renewing hundreds of billions of dollars in transportation spending next year.

Full article: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2019/11/11/amtrak-wants-to-compete-with-planes-and-roads/

So what needs to happen? Obviously, we'll have to actually get the track infrastructure upgraded but at least there's funding finally being allocated to it. Then you need an agency to be a cheerleader and help secure funding for the rail side operations at the Prime Osborn. Perhaps that's JTA (although their primary focus appears to be AVs on the Skyway and finishing the FCF routes these days) but it doesn't have to be. Maybe Amtrak or Virgin can play a role, if it can be presented as something that improves their bottom line. In Lakeland's case, it was their version of Lori Boyer, that led in getting their passenger rail station back downtown. That move 100% ignored ridership and dealt strictly with stimulating economic development in downtown and making their downtown more accessible to more people. In other cities, it's been the mayor or select council members.
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Kerry

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2020, 12:58:11 PM »

No I'm not a transportation consultant.  However, I can read.  The 2016 document you provided did not include passenger traffic on the Cocoa-Jax segment as noted by the representative from Fernandina Beach.  The 2016 agreement also voided the 2014 agreement that did provide access to Jax.   So I'm going to stand by my belief that VT has no plans, real or imaginary, to come to Jacksonville.  Now if someone produces something that indicates otherwise I'll be happy to change my mind.

So anyhow....now that we have this great idea to rehab Jax Terminals what do we do with it, if anything?

The part of the Virgin/AAF business model that is continually misread, misreported and misunderstood is that this is a REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT VENTURE more than a ‘private passenger railway.’ So given such a golden piece of downtown as the old terminal property the sky is the limit. Toss in the adjacent JRTC and Amtrak and you’ve got a synergy for all types of mixed use development. 

Trains? Yes, trains are a part of the value-added services offered by the developer. While I doubt we’ll see 18 in each direction daily as South Florida will, somewhere around 6 each way on the FEC and 5 Amtrak runs puts us right at where we were back in 1971.

As for ridership figures it would be a grievous error to base our estimates on Amtrak’s 4 daily arrivals and departures. Consider if you want to fly to Most any destination you thumb through a dozen times daily spread among 2-5 airlines. Rail travelers outside of a few corridors typically have a choice of one train... Hows the saying ho? If you build it they will come.

I was interested in Amtrak numbers because we still have to see if the costs are worth it.  193 people a day using the station isn't a bad number and with people dropping off and picking up the number of 'users' is likely 50% higher.  If there were 10 people using the Amtrak station you could easily argue adding Amtrak at any expense would be a waste of money.  While riding the Coast Starlight last year I got off at several stops that had 30 to 60 minutes stays.  We even bought a few treats at the Portland station.  I've never been out to the Amtrak station so maybe a field trip would be worth the time.
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Steve

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #39 on: January 09, 2020, 03:43:04 PM »
193 people a day using the station isn't a bad number and with people dropping off and picking up the number of 'users' is likely 50% higher.

And that's with the crappy service here in Jacksonville! Trains leave to go south at 7AM and 9:30AM, which actually aren't terrible times but that's it as far as options. Going north is worse - 5PM and 11PM.

I know Amtrak's plan is more regional service - less of Jacksonville to New York, but Jacksonville to Savannah, Orlando, Charleston, etc. type stuff.

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #40 on: January 10, 2020, 10:43:19 AM »
I’ll go out on a limb to predict the Florida trains will not be cut or cut back. In fact because of their newly stated goals I expect we’ll see 2-3 times what we currently have in a mix of long-distance and regional Amtrak routes.

All of this plus Virgin and Wild-Card FDOT/JTA are going to make for an interesting decade to come... We need to fix the viaduct!

Kerry

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2020, 11:48:57 AM »
I’ll go out on a limb to predict the Florida trains will not be cut or cut back. In fact because of their newly stated goals I expect we’ll see 2-3 times what we currently have in a mix of long-distance and regional Amtrak routes.

All of this plus Virgin and Wild-Card FDOT/JTA are going to make for an interesting decade to come... We need to fix the viaduct!

What is the reason for this optimism?  I hear a lot of talk about VT, AmTrak, SunRail, etc... but that is all it is - talk.  Is there anything from any of these rail providers that show an actual interest in bringing service to Jax?
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Steve

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2020, 12:07:00 PM »
I’ll go out on a limb to predict the Florida trains will not be cut or cut back. In fact because of their newly stated goals I expect we’ll see 2-3 times what we currently have in a mix of long-distance and regional Amtrak routes.

All of this plus Virgin and Wild-Card FDOT/JTA are going to make for an interesting decade to come... We need to fix the viaduct!

What is the reason for this optimism?  I hear a lot of talk about VT, AmTrak, SunRail, etc... but that is all it is - talk.  Is there anything from any of these rail providers that show an actual interest in bringing service to Jax?

While I have no insight, the southeast really would be an ideal place for the vision for Richard Anderson (Amtrak CEO). The idea is to support less of the long haul runs on trains and implement better routing for regional intercity connection.

Case in point - it's crazy that when I go down to Lakeland (my company's mothership, and no I don't work for Publix), I have no practical option than to drive. The timing of the train down isn't bad (it's about an hour longer but I could work), but I don't want to get home after 11PM.

thelakelander

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2020, 12:56:05 PM »
What is the reason for this optimism?  I hear a lot of talk about VT, AmTrak, SunRail, etc... but that is all it is - talk.  Is there anything from any of these rail providers that show an actual interest in bringing service to Jax?

Virgin has already legally secured rights to operate passenger rail through Jax. That's more than talk. That's actual interest even if getting their major link (Miami to Orlando) is their priority at the moment.

There's always been interest with Amtrak. There were serious talks about Amtrak establishing rail service between Jax and Miami but that seemed to fizzle with the announcement of AAF/Brightline/Virgin:

https://flaglerlive.com/36430/fec-rail-amtrak/

There have also been talks to bring Amtrak service back between New Orleans and Florida. Nevertheless, funding windows are generally politically connected. There was optimism under the Obama administration and not as much during Trump's term. Ultimately, whatever happens with Amtrak will largely depend on the presidential election later this year. If Trump is reelected, forget about it. If someone else ends up in office, you'll likely have a good four to eight year window to ram something through.

A good example of this was in the late 1990s when money had been allocated for LRT in Orlando. Locally, they couldn't get their act together and those funds helped Charlotte get its LRT project off the ground. 20 years later, the core of Charlotte is booming with TOD and LRT is still a pipe dream in Orlando. However, that experience has helped Central Florida become more aggressive with expanding its mass transit options.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2020, 01:00:29 PM by thelakelander »
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bl8jaxnative

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Re: Denver Union Station: A successful example for the JRTC
« Reply #44 on: January 16, 2020, 08:24:32 AM »

If you're putting money down in Vegas, put your money on JAX's station turning out like St. Paul's, not Denver's.   And other than the quarter of a billion pissed away on SPUD, STPL would be a decent result for a city like JAX.

  Denver's an outlier.  There's a ton a things that came together long, long before the bureaucrats had even bothered to start the paperwork for the processes that allowed for development on the empty land they had.  It's gets attention because it looks great.  Most union station projects result in nothing like this because 95% of what's needed is beyond any city's powers.