Author Topic: Skyway Conversion Begins  (Read 5981 times)

marcuscnelson

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2020, 02:54:52 PM »
If the 800,000 skyway trips are over the course of a year, that's a little more than 2,100 trips a day. That's more than a 50% drop in recent years and the lowest ridership in more than a decade. Not good at all.

Lake, are your really surprised by this?  This is the 30+ year history of the Skyway.  And, today it's free so they can't even give sufficient numbers of rides away (and, I note, that's with the increase in Downtown living many said would drive increased use).

I'm actually not surprised. But it has less to do with the Skyway or infrastructure itself and more to do with how we run things into failure. We don't operate the thing on most weekends, we closed the LaVilla line just as soon as people started living next to it, we're five years late with attempting a no-frills stop at Brooklyn, we don't program or lease out excess space on the ground level of the stations, we still have not coordinated downtown land use and development policy around the existing skyway stops, we're still building parking garages and allowing demos for surface parking crazy and we don't operate the Skyway as a transit spine. You can't really talk about something being a failure when you've done nothing over the last 30 years but set it up to fail.

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This article [ https://www.jacksonville.com/article/20100905/NEWS/801245281] from 2010 is a nice recap of the Skyway's disappointing history and consistent string of dashed expectations since the day it opened over 30 years ago.  Interesting that hope sprung eternal then just as some are doing today (reminds me of being a Jag's fan  ;D) and the same ol' well-worn and desperate arguments to keep it going are still being proffered.  It's a fool's gold.

I think you're focusing too much on the Skyway itself when I'd argue it isn't the problem. It's a result of a true problem. That problem is until we change the way we do things, true Downtown revitalization itself is fool's gold. The Skyway and much of everything else will suffer until we stop the foolishness.

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The article notes that in 2010, the Skyway was a financial failure (and that was before it was free) even by mass transit standards.  Surely, it isn't doing any better today.  And, now you can add however much is the new investment to convert it to autonomous vehicles (which will also likely incur equal or greater operating losses compared to the current system) and the write-off of abandoning the existing track, cars and operating system.  Can you provide those numbers for discussion?

I find a lot of fault with the article but there are things that can be easily done to make the system and a lot of other things in downtown more effective and financially sustainable. With that said, the U2C is simply more madness.



Right, it's not like urban circulators are inherently flawed. It's that Jacksonville has spent decades incompetently managing urban transit & especially urban development.
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

jaxjaguar

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2020, 04:15:21 PM »
Looking at the station placements it's really saddening how many surface lots are immediately next to them. Every single station on the South bank is flanked by a massive surface parking lot... On the North bank 3/5 stations are flanked by surface parking lots.

If we took mass transit seriously, we would provide incentive to building hubs of density around each station. The more dense your building, the more incentive you get. Each station should be flanked by mid/high rise housing, hotel and multi-use mid/high rise buildings. Large garages with street level restuarant/retail should be at each terminus.

Doing this would maximize the usage of the skyway by diversifying the structures around each station. It would also help keep traffic out of the core.

I know it's a hot topic for debate, but the system should be progressively expanded towards the Sports District. Start off by building off the available extension slot on Bay Street to the lot where the Landing used to be. It would be expensive, but it would put The Times Union Center, Vystar, and Wells Fargo buildings all in a transit spot. It would also give someone a reason to develop something really nice where the Landing used to be.

The next leg would go to the former courthouse land. This would be a prime location for the Hyatt and Berkman residents. It would encourage travelers to use the Hyatt, boost the value of the lots around the Hyatt and give reason to complete Berkman II.

The final leg would be the longest and most expensive, but by this point we would have created enough density around each station to justify it. Here we would run track all the way to Lot X. There should be expansion slots just after Catherine street and at the terminus, just in case future developments allow for further expansion.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2020, 05:00:54 PM »
Looking at the station placements it's really saddening how many surface lots are immediately next to them. Every single station on the South bank is flanked by a massive surface parking lot... On the North bank 3/5 stations are flanked by surface parking lots.

If we took mass transit seriously, we would provide incentive to building hubs of density around each station. The more dense your building, the more incentive you get. Each station should be flanked by mid/high rise housing, hotel and multi-use mid/high rise buildings. Large garages with street level restuarant/retail should be at each terminus.

Doing this would maximize the usage of the skyway by diversifying the structures around each station. It would also help keep traffic out of the core.

I know it's a hot topic for debate, but the system should be progressively expanded towards the Sports District. Start off by building off the available extension slot on Bay Street to the lot where the Landing used to be. It would be expensive, but it would put The Times Union Center, Vystar, and Wells Fargo buildings all in a transit spot. It would also give someone a reason to develop something really nice where the Landing used to be.

The next leg would go to the former courthouse land. This would be a prime location for the Hyatt and Berkman residents. It would encourage travelers to use the Hyatt, boost the value of the lots around the Hyatt and give reason to complete Berkman II.

The final leg would be the longest and most expensive, but by this point we would have created enough density around each station to justify it. Here we would run track all the way to Lot X. There should be expansion slots just after Catherine street and at the terminus, just in case future developments allow for further expansion.

This is great, I totally agree. The challenge is the failure in leadership at COJ and JTA that instead mean that we're just now getting the ball rolling on TOD at Rosa Parks, and instead of finding a real fixed transit solution from a more reliable manufacturer and leveraging our existing assets, we're betting the farm on AVs and repeating our own mistakes from 40 years ago.
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

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2020, 07:31:32 PM »
Looking at the station placements it's really saddening how many surface lots are immediately next to them. Every single station on the South bank is flanked by a massive surface parking lot... On the North bank 3/5 stations are flanked by surface parking lots.

If we took mass transit seriously, we would provide incentive to building hubs of density around each station. The more dense your building, the more incentive you get. Each station should be flanked by mid/high rise housing, hotel and multi-use mid/high rise buildings. Large garages with street level restuarant/retail should be at each terminus.

Doing this would maximize the usage of the skyway by diversifying the structures around each station. It would also help keep traffic out of the core.

I know it's a hot topic for debate, but the system should be progressively expanded towards the Sports District. Start off by building off the available extension slot on Bay Street to the lot where the Landing used to be. It would be expensive, but it would put The Times Union Center, Vystar, and Wells Fargo buildings all in a transit spot. It would also give someone a reason to develop something really nice where the Landing used to be.

The next leg would go to the former courthouse land. This would be a prime location for the Hyatt and Berkman residents. It would encourage travelers to use the Hyatt, boost the value of the lots around the Hyatt and give reason to complete Berkman II.

The final leg would be the longest and most expensive, but by this point we would have created enough density around each station to justify it. Here we would run track all the way to Lot X. There should be expansion slots just after Catherine street and at the terminus, just in case future developments allow for further expansion.

Jaxjaguar, as noted, in theory this is all great.  In the reality of Jacksonville, it isn't.  And while there are many here saying that leadership is the biggest problem with the Skyway (which I totally agree), it's not all of it.  The Skyway just isn't people friendly.  It carries few people, its slow, it's elevated creating a psychological block (like the Intracoastal is to Beach residents  8) ), it's expensive, it's inflexible and it is not the best solution when measured on many levels against other mass transit options.

FYI, the station on the Omni block was actually contested by the developer of that block.  That's right.  He didn't want to give up his land by eminent domain for the Skyway because he saw no value to his property from it.  And, he was right.  When the Skyway got built, many shops, some in business for nearly a hundred years, along streets it went down closed up for good.  And, nothing has really come back to replace them.  So, if the Skyway appealed to the private sector that much, we would already have developers self-motivated to do what you advocate for and what is around the Skyway would already be increasing ridership.  None of that appears to be happening other than by random happenstance at best.

The arguments for building and keeping the Skyway have been recycled since it was conceived over 40 years ago.  Not one of them has stood the test of time for any excuse you want to pick.  And, nothing is on the horizon to indicate it will be any different for the next 40 years.  The real debate should be, if we have $xx million to spend on sustaining the Skyway, could we spend that same money on another option and get a lot more bang for the buck.  That's what the private sector would do.  And, if I suspect, the better answer is the latter, we would  move on.  But, no one is seriously looking at other options.  We just go into the default mode of we have to keep the Skyway running, come hell or high water, and invest good money after bad.  That's my beef.

tufsu1

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2020, 07:36:45 PM »
If the 800,000 skyway trips are over the course of a year, that's a little more than 2,100 trips a day. That's more than a 50% drop in recent years and the lowest ridership in more than a decade. Not good at all.

keep in mind parts of the system have been closed for the last two years

thelakelander

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2020, 07:54:25 PM »
^Oh yeah, I'm aware.

Looking at the station placements it's really saddening how many surface lots are immediately next to them. Every single station on the South bank is flanked by a massive surface parking lot... On the North bank 3/5 stations are flanked by surface parking lots.

If we took mass transit seriously, we would provide incentive to building hubs of density around each station. The more dense your building, the more incentive you get. Each station should be flanked by mid/high rise housing, hotel and multi-use mid/high rise buildings. Large garages with street level restuarant/retail should be at each terminus.

Doing this would maximize the usage of the skyway by diversifying the structures around each station. It would also help keep traffic out of the core.

I know it's a hot topic for debate, but the system should be progressively expanded towards the Sports District. Start off by building off the available extension slot on Bay Street to the lot where the Landing used to be. It would be expensive, but it would put The Times Union Center, Vystar, and Wells Fargo buildings all in a transit spot. It would also give someone a reason to develop something really nice where the Landing used to be.

The next leg would go to the former courthouse land. This would be a prime location for the Hyatt and Berkman residents. It would encourage travelers to use the Hyatt, boost the value of the lots around the Hyatt and give reason to complete Berkman II.

The final leg would be the longest and most expensive, but by this point we would have created enough density around each station to justify it. Here we would run track all the way to Lot X. There should be expansion slots just after Catherine street and at the terminus, just in case future developments allow for further expansion.

My thoughts haven't changed from a decade ago.

1. The DIA and JTA should have a coordinated development strategy to cluster infill and adaptive reuse within the walkshed off every existing Skyway station. This should have been done years ago when the real estate market was booming. Now we may have to realistically wait another decade to reap the benefits of such coordination.

2. Open a no frills Brooklyn station. Just get it done. Not having direct access to the only booming area within the DIA's boundaries has been a big miss. Luckily moves are finally being made after declarations that it wasn't feasible and that it would be too expensive.

3. Find a way to run 7 days a week, even if it means running an on-call service of sorts on the weekends. You can't coordinate transit and land use if the transit pick and chooses when it will be made available.

4. Make and run the Skyway like a transit spine. This can be done by eliminating the duplication between bus service and the Skyway.....even with the newer BRT lines. We've eliminated some duplication with the systemwide modification project a few years back (one of the best things JTA has done recently, IMO) but we can trim more downtown.

5. Take advantage of the massive footprint of the existing Skyway stations. They are great opportunities for various types of businesses, could generate some minor rental income and more importantly, offer increased attraction to ride the existing 2.5 mile system.

6. I wouldn't not consider any expansion of infrastructure before handling the five items above. Then before potential expansion, we'd need to really figure out what the hell we're doing and expecting with AVs.

7. To better get a read on their acceptance and operations, I'd shift to a real life demonstration by running a pilot program between the JRTC (or Jefferson Station) to Five Points via Park Street. We need an easy straight shot with a viable seven day/week destination at the end point. Using Park Street to connect Five Points to Downtown is the easiest. Based on how this plays out, it will let you know a lot about how much time, money and effort should be spent in screwing with the Skyway's infrastructure for what could very well likely be another Skywayish gimmick.

"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2020, 08:12:22 PM »
Jaxjaguar, as noted, in theory this is all great.  In the reality of Jacksonville, it isn't.  And while there are many here saying that leadership is the biggest problem with the Skyway (which I totally agree), it's not all of it.  The Skyway just isn't people friendly.  It carries few people, its slow, it's elevated creating a psychological block (like the Intracoastal is to Beach residents  8) ), it's expensive, it's inflexible and it is not the best solution when measured on many levels against other mass transit options.

The infrastructure isn't any different from the El in Chicago, the Metromover or Metrorail in Miami, or the Skytrain in Vancouver. There's nothing wrong with being fixed if you have an environment where fixed transit is needed to move a mass amount of people. We once had that but we've blown most of it up since 1970. So what isn't people friendly is actually Downtown. I believe anything you go with will fail until we integrate the transportation aspect with the land use.

By the same token, I do believe it is silly to convert a fixed guideway system into something for AVs that have the capacity of minivans. In this case, you would be better just running the public comparable of Uber on the street. But just acknowledge you won't have a transit system able to move mass amounts of people in a vibrant downtown (maybe we don't really want one and the things that come with it) and accept that the private sector can likely do it better.

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FYI, the station on the Omni block was actually contested by the developer of that block.  That's right.  He didn't want to give up his land by eminent domain for the Skyway because he saw no value to his property from it.  And, he was right.  When the Skyway got built, many shops, some in business for nearly a hundred years, along streets it went down closed up for good.

The thing didn't need to run on private ROW. That's a planning failure, not an infrastructure failure. Also, when it was constructed, downtown was in a free fall. Nearly every move we made at that time was both counterproductive fro the infrastructure installed and keeping downtown alive. In other words, I'd argue the economic issue and planning around it was and remains significantly larger than the Skyway infrastructure being a major obstacle.

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And, nothing has really come back to replace them.  So, if the Skyway appealed to the private sector that much, we would already have developers self-motivated to do what you advocate for and what is around the Skyway would already be increasing ridership.  None of that appears to be happening other than by random happenstance at best.

There's no land use policy or strategy in place to draw development within walking distance to Skyway stations. While we have some TAD (Transit Adjacent Development) like Kings Avenue Station and Jefferson Street Station, it will be hard to leverage TOD when the T isn't present and available every day.

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The arguments for building and keeping the Skyway have been recycled since it was conceived over 40 years ago.  Not one of them has stood the test of time for any excuse you want to pick.  And, nothing is on the horizon to indicate it will be any different for the next 40 years.

My top five points have never been addressed together in 40 years. But they seem to work just fine in other cities.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

thelakelander

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2020, 10:01:37 AM »
^Pretty much. We'll continue having them because nothing has changed. When you think about it, we've been having the same conversation about downtown revitalization since the 1950s.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #38 on: June 26, 2020, 11:33:57 AM »
But just acknowledge you won't have a transit system able to move mass amounts of people in a vibrant downtown (maybe we don't really want one and the things that come with it) and accept that the private sector can likely do it better.

Mass transit was appropriate for a day in age - a century ago - when you could have your Ford in any color you wanted just as long as you wanted it in black.

It's 2020. Mass transit went the way of the dodo bird, just like mass factories in the urban core that had 4,000 employees.  Those days are long, long, long gone.

Jacksonville doesn't have the density, not residential nor commercial, to half-way support anything like the Skyway.  Nothing close to it.  You've have to see things downtown grow to 4,5, 10 times to what they are.  That ain't gonna happen, not tomorrow, not for generations from now.

It's long past time to tear the damn thing down.


jaxjaguar

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #39 on: June 26, 2020, 12:54:43 PM »
Orlando is a prime example of how good leadership and foresight can completely change a downtown.

They went from having nearly as many vacant buildings and lots as Jacksonville to completely flipping into a dense urban center. They provided heavy incentives for Mid-high rise residences and it shows. There are still some vacant areas, but up until the virus slowed things down there were new projects lined up every other month, because at a certain point the growth starts sustaining itself without the need for as many incentives. It's cheaper to "start the fire now" than to wait 10 more years because inflation will always make things more expensive.

Tearing down the skyway would be admitting defeat and saying, "there's no hope for us to ever have a great urban core"

thelakelander

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #40 on: June 26, 2020, 02:45:35 PM »
Orlando, Tampa, Charlotte and Miami are good examples of why this statement doesn't hold up when a community makes good decisions during an economic boom:

Mass transit was appropriate for a day in age - a century ago - when you could have your Ford in any color you wanted just as long as you wanted it in black.

It's 2020. Mass transit went the way of the dodo bird, just like mass factories in the urban core that had 4,000 employees.  Those days are long, long, long gone.

Jacksonville doesn't have the density, not residential nor commercial, to half-way support anything like the Skyway.  Nothing close to it.  You've have to see things downtown grow to 4,5, 10 times to what they are.  That ain't gonna happen, not tomorrow, not for generations from now.

It's long past time to tear the damn thing down.

Get yourself together and you can have a completely different outcome and environment ten years down the road. Keep tearing stuff down and low quality replacements and you'll find yourself with a downtown in worse condition than it is now.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

fieldafm

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2020, 09:19:07 AM »

It's 2020. Mass transit went the way of the dodo bird, just like mass factories in the urban core that had 4,000 employees.  Those days are long, long, long gone.


LOL, this guy

ProjectMaximus

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #42 on: June 30, 2020, 07:41:49 PM »
Is the Skyway currently operating?

tufsu1

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #43 on: June 30, 2020, 09:48:03 PM »
Is the Skyway currently operating?

reopens tomorrow

bill

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Re: Skyway Conversion Begins
« Reply #44 on: June 30, 2020, 10:22:08 PM »
Is it just me or have the same threads on the skyway for 10 years been just repeated with people using the same complaints and others the same argument that we just can’t dump the skyway because of the cost of the  “give backs” and oh, what a waste that would be. We just need to take advantage of what we have!

I am sure it will different his time.
40 years