Author Topic: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....  (Read 123472 times)

thelakelander

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #270 on: March 31, 2023, 11:08:51 PM »
Good luck! I'm over the self promotion stuff with untested predictions in this city at this point. Been there, done that. I predict by December, the estimated 2025 completion date will change to 2026 or 2027 and that these driverless vehicles will actually have......drivers. Just a modern, more expensive and slower moving version of Ocklawaha's dreaded PCTs!
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #271 on: April 01, 2023, 01:39:39 AM »
The skyway is already driverless or automated. To move large sums of people (assuming we're planning for a vibrant downtown with thousands of more people), we'll need something with larger rolling stock and dedicated ROW. Right now, we're going in the opposite direction. Really, what's proposed on Bay Street is more of a gimmick. Great, in terms of testing or being an experiment for operation in real life conditions. There's not much it can be outside of that, without hundreds of millions in totally retrofitting what's planned. To be real mass transit, a system will have to be designed to accommodate larger rolling stock and adequate infrastructure to support it. What's planned now, will always be restricted on this end if the instance is to use the existing elevated Skyway structure or mix with on-street human controlled vehicles. It's a situation where we can't squeeze blood out of a turnip. No matter how innovative we want to be.

This is something I’ve hinted at before, but there should really be more consideration to the fact that the U2C is actually an incredibly pessimistic vision of urban transportation. When you really get down to it, the U2C as-proposed assumes a future where we can’t change our street layouts to accommodate fixed transit, where riders are going to such disparate and sprawling places that we can’t take advantage of scale to carry them, and where, fundamentally, few people are riding transit at all. It’s possible this isn’t really relevant because of how its proponents are chasing glory nonetheless but thinking about the idea of the world these might help create, it does look like spending a lot of money to actually give up. While other systems are adding capacity and renewing their infrastructure to move more people, we’re building for fewer. That should be concerning.

Was in a meeting with Ford and Schmidt today. They are still saying phase 1 in 2025. Asked about why it's important for JTA to be on the bleeding edge on this, with all the challenges that come with that. Answer: if not us, who?

It's INSANE to me that with limited funds for public transit and obviously limited public political will (see implementation of transit in any sunbelt city, and even see taxpayer fatigue with Second Ave subway in NYC), that they are choosing to go with this stupid thing.

Good freakin' luck getting taxpayers to foot the bill for rail when we want it, and when the obvious to the rest of us becomes obvious to the people actually leading our transportation authority now.

I have recently read the TOD bill passed last October.  They are calling BRT premium and fixed and trying to figure out a way to create TOD overlays around existing JTA version of BRT ("dedicated lanes").  There are a few people I have interacted with in the real estate/development and law communities who seem new to the term TOD.  Not only that, JTA will be calling the shots on creating the TOD overlays.  They will essentially be master planning now around their version of "transit".

I have to say, they have really stepped up our bus system over the years and I do see more and more people riding it.  But I don't have any faith in them to successfully do anything beyond what they've done.

This is just where Jax is at right now, very far behind other cities.  And running the opposite direction with Nat Ford at the helm steering us down the "path NOT traveled [for a reason]".  I will bite my tongue further as I see Nat Ford at an event coming up and maybe he will be reassuring...I'm so cynical at this point.  Jax is so amateur hour

In a vacuum, this actually makes plenty of sense. The same way we currently develop enormous amounts of land in Florida by deciding where new suburban highways go, or transit agencies around the world develop TOD around their stations, or even how railroads once developed towns along their lines, it’s natural for the growth of a region to be designed around its transit infrastructure.

The problem here is that instead of building a system to grow, we’re instead downsizing our transit aspirations (even with stuff like the U2C) while the roads continue to grow, and rapidly too. It should say a lot that JTA promised the FTA ten minute frequencies on the First Coast Flyer BRT lines as part of the cost-benefit analysis, and now is running that system every thirty minutes while spending hundreds of millions on the U2C. Buses every thirty minutes don’t make for “rapid transit.”

It should say a lot that systems like SunRunner in St. Petersburg, which is similar to the Flyer to the point of using the same buses, is so popular that they’re buying more buses and expanding service, while the Flyer is waiting on studies.

Good luck! I'm over the self promotion stuff with untested predictions in this city at this point. Been there, done that. I predict by December, the estimated 2025 completion date will change to 2026 or 2027 and that these driverless vehicles will actually have......drivers. Just a modern, more expensive and slower moving version of Ocklawaha's dreaded PCTs!

I wonder how the FTA grant works with all of that, whether that money sticks around long enough or if they have to rush something through to meet a deadline. Apparently according to the recent Making Moves they’re now having to ask for a Buy America waiver because none of these new shuttles are made in America and would have American factories open before 2025.
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

Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #272 on: April 01, 2023, 03:24:10 PM »
Just to add more icing on the cake to all of this, JAX actually seems well positioned for a small expansion of the transit system. Brooklyn, the Sports District, San Marco proper, and Springfield could all benefit greatly from having connectivity to the Skyway tracks & an overall system. (Plus all of the ROW that seems to already exist?)

Seems from my novice understanding that the tracks could be transitioned to a base floor grade, reducing expansion costs for like a light rail system? The tracks are something like 11' wide? I agree with the lakelander on the capacity issues with the U2C. Why invest so much cost into something that has less capacity, mostly drives in regular traffic, and makes erratic stops... I don't understand personally.

I feel like three things that would be game changers for JAX transit would be:

1). Brightline extends service to DT Jax (Amtrak maybe moves too)
2). Expanded transit system to growing, already dense neighborhoods, allowing true TOD zoning to actually be implemented
3). DT Jax to St. Aug commuter rail

I have to imagine $300M with other state & national gov't matches would go a long way in getting some of these things done. It sounds way too good to be true listing it out.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #273 on: April 01, 2023, 09:00:57 PM »
Just to add more icing on the cake to all of this, JAX actually seems well positioned for a small expansion of the transit system. Brooklyn, the Sports District, San Marco proper, and Springfield could all benefit greatly from having connectivity to the Skyway tracks & an overall system. (Plus all of the ROW that seems to already exist?)

Seems from my novice understanding that the tracks could be transitioned to a base floor grade, reducing expansion costs for like a light rail system? The tracks are something like 11' wide? I agree with the lakelander on the capacity issues with the U2C. Why invest so much cost into something that has less capacity, mostly drives in regular traffic, and makes erratic stops... I don't understand personally.

I feel like three things that would be game changers for JAX transit would be:

1). Brightline extends service to DT Jax (Amtrak maybe moves too)
2). Expanded transit system to growing, already dense neighborhoods, allowing true TOD zoning to actually be implemented
3). DT Jax to St. Aug commuter rail

I have to imagine $300M with other state & national gov't matches would go a long way in getting some of these things done. It sounds way too good to be true listing it out.

Brooklyn was for a long time going to be a larger expansion that would go down Riverside Ave. More recently, it was scaled down to a modification of the existing storage yard to serve as a station, but then even that was dropped by JTA (perhaps in the hope that the U2C conversion would happen soon enough to render it unnecessary). Meanwhile this site has long advocated for making an extension over and along the FEC to San Marco in order to serve the now increasing development there. Springfield and the Sports District were always going to be harder, but certainly not unworthy of transit service. But with losing the TIGER grant in 2013 and the general bad reputation of the Skyway it seems they were unwilling to really consider that, especially now.

The problem with the existing monorail system is that you can’t transition it to street-level unless it’s in a place with no intersections and with complete separation from the actual street. Obviously with Bay Street they aren’t willing to make those compromises. But yes, as has been discussed here, so much of the U2C proposal has become more about the prestige of JTA’s executives for somehow delivering it than about building a useful transit system.

The three ideas you mention have been asked for for decades now, and it seems to be a victim of the lack of leadership in this city about what it’s actually supposed to work like or look, aside from individual special interests. All three of those projects can happen, but the city has to actually want it to happen and try to make it happen.
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

Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #274 on: April 02, 2023, 11:03:05 AM »
Always wondered what happened to that Brooklyn station..

thelakelander

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #275 on: April 02, 2023, 01:29:10 PM »
Getting down to grade is easy, as long as you're willing to drop to grade at Rosa Parks/FSCJ, San Marco (once over the FEC) or in Brooklyn.  Part of the bad planning is attempting to force a route down Bay Street to work, in order to get to the stadium. Another part of questionable transit planning is forcing the Skyway to be something it isn't. It was designed to be an urban circulator that would be fed riders from a regional LRT or commuter rail system. Perhaps the Skyway should be the Skyway and a completely different (yet complimentary) rapid transit system should be built? It's just really unfortunate that we force ourselves into illogical boxes that ultimately end up with us failing and wasting hundreds of millions in the process.

Another issue with the existing monorail is that the elevated infrastructure can only support a certain amount of weight. So options like LRT or Modern Streetcar won't work. However, an upgraded APM, historic streetcar or modern tram could be viable and less expensive than what AVs are turning out to be. Unfortunately, it's AVs or bust for JTA.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2023, 01:35:12 PM by thelakelander »
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jaxlongtimer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #276 on: April 02, 2023, 02:25:20 PM »
^ I have come to the conclusion we are spending a dollar to save a dime.  Tail wagging the dog.  Give up on the whole Skyway project and start with a clean slate.  As long as the Skyway stands, it seems someone is trying to make it into something it will never be or succeed at.  Time to cut bait and move on.  Pure silliness to keep a discussion going about saving the Skyway.

For the investment in the U2C or any other Skyway based solution we could do so much better.  Not to mention avoiding a public relations black eye for mass transit in the City.  It's also a major distraction and energy drainer from working on much better options.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #277 on: April 02, 2023, 03:30:50 PM »
^ I have come to the conclusion we are spending a dollar to save a dime.  Tail wagging the dog.  Give up on the whole Skyway project and start with a clean slate.  As long as the Skyway stands, it seems someone is trying to make it into something it will never be or succeed at.  Time to cut bait and move on.  Pure silliness to keep a discussion going about saving the Skyway.

For the investment in the U2C or any other Skyway based solution we could do so much better.  Not to mention avoiding a public relations black eye for mass transit in the City.  It's also a major distraction and energy drainer from working on much better options.

I can't help but be surprised that the FTA does not appear to have wavered in their support for this project, nor have they come out with any clear statement of their own as to what exactly the payback requirements (if any exist) are for the existing Skyway infrastructure. Especially seeing as they've already cut transit projects in cities like Philadelphia for not making enough financial sense with existing technology, the fact they've been pretty much fine with a project that isn't technologically proven yet seems quite odd.

It's hard to get a sense of exactly how insular the "Transit C-Suite" is, but it's bewildering to me that JTA has received surprisingly little public flack for the U2C, and even acclaim from some, when nearly anyone I actually explain the project to who works in transit planning, operations, or advocacy thinks it sounds nuts. But maybe I'm the insulated one, I don't know. It really is strange looking back at the last 8 (!) years and how we got from "Keep, Modernize, Expand" to all of this.

Edit: I happened to look at the board agenda from last week's meeting (they rarely seem to actually upload the agenda before the meeting, and never upload recordings) and I see an action item about "Approval to Satisfy Federal Interest – Skyway Vehicles" that was voted on. If I remember correctly, the FTA did send a letter about two years ago saying that the federal interest in the vehicles was worth about $1.7 million, so I wonder if this vote was to just pay that off.

Getting down to grade is easy, as long as you're willing to drop to grade at Rosa Parks/FSCJ, San Marco (once over the FEC) or in Brooklyn.  Part of the bad planning is attempting to force a route down Bay Street to work, in order to get to the stadium. Another part of questionable transit planning is forcing the Skyway to be something it isn't. It was designed to be an urban circulator that would be fed riders from a regional LRT or commuter rail system. Perhaps the Skyway should be the Skyway and a completely different (yet complimentary) rapid transit system should be built? It's just really unfortunate that we force ourselves into illogical boxes that ultimately end up with us failing and wasting hundreds of millions in the process.

Another issue with the existing monorail is that the elevated infrastructure can only support a certain amount of weight. So options like LRT or Modern Streetcar won't work. However, an upgraded APM, historic streetcar or modern tram could be viable and less expensive than what AVs are turning out to be. Unfortunately, it's AVs or bust for JTA.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think the evidence shows that downtown isn't really strong enough to demand a circulator for that role by itself. It could be if we tried, but it isn't. I wonder, if we had the chance to do it all over, if it'd make more sense to have more of a regional transit line (whether LRT or commuter rail or something else) that runs through downtown instead of being solely within it. Anyway, since we're talking about what already exists, I think going to the stadium makes enough sense, especially if you actually do anything at all about a convention center and get passenger rail back downtown. Making it possible to ride a train into downtown and then transfer to the Skyway for a day in the Stadium District isn't that out there. But in theory you should want something capable of high capacity for that, not the smallest form of "transportation" possible. At the end of the day, it does seem to be agreed-upon here that we're long past the point where starting over makes sense, but the challenge then is actually making that reality.

It's also notable that in the Transit Concept and Alternatives Review for the Skyway Conversion, JTA included the First Coast Flyer as being the feeder for the U2C. But then again, if they're only running the Flyer every half hour at best it probably isn't going to be as capable of doing that. In theory it'd probably make some more sense to use some of the hundreds of millions they're proposing for the 2.5 miles of Skyway/U2C to get the Flyer back to the frequencies they promised (especially when that's nearly twice what the entire 58-mile Flyer cost to build) but then again, I don't run a transit agency.
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: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #278 on: April 02, 2023, 04:56:38 PM »
With the benefit of hindsight, I think the evidence shows that downtown isn't really strong enough to demand a circulator for that role by itself. It could be if we tried, but it isn't.

It or anything else they do will never work if the same planning mistakes are repeated over and over again. A circulator of any kind isn't going to work without something to feed it with transit riders, being directly linked to congested pedestrian centers of activity (i.e. medical centers, colleges, stadiums, etc.) and a real effort to build density around all transit stations. Jax has never done this with the Skyway, so no one should expect success, no matter the promises and attempts at various gimmicks being labeled as innovative.

The best thing I like about an expansion of Amtrak or Brightline to include Jax is that these entities won't rely on Jax agencies to do the planning and implementation. That alone, increases their chances at success, while Jax benefits from rail investments made back in the 19th century.

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I wonder, if we had the chance to do it all over, if it'd make more sense to have more of a regional transit line (whether LRT or commuter rail or something else) that runs through downtown instead of being solely within it.

The problem isn't the transit technology. Its literally everything else that has also turned downtown into a scene that looks like a bombed World War II zone. I've used the Skyway, quite often over the years. Its been real convenient. However, that's only because my offices have generally been within close walking distance of existing stops.

Quote
Anyway, since we're talking about what already exists, I think going to the stadium makes enough sense, especially if you actually do anything at all about a convention center and get passenger rail back downtown. Making it possible to ride a train into downtown and then transfer to the Skyway for a day in the Stadium District isn't that out there.

This was the original plan, along with connections to the medical centers. If it were built as originally planned, it would be a lot more used than it is today. No doubt about that. It would have also been elevated through downtown along Bay Street. However, that "elevated" ship has sailed. There's no local appetite for it and its super expensive. Nevertheless, dropping it down to grade at Hogan Street doesn't make sense unless the community is willing to live with the Hogan Street intersection being permanently closed. So from a planning perspective, given the current environment (political and built) and the infrastructure in place, that potential extension (or ramp down to grade level) is best suited elsewhere. Forcing it at Hogan and Bay, given the constraints, only leaves us with crazier ideas like making elevators and/or escalators for AVs. Something totally expensive that immediately becomes obsolete as soon as vehicle sizes increase.

Quote
But in theory you should want something capable of high capacity for that, not the smallest form of "transportation" possible. At the end of the day, it does seem to be agreed-upon here that we're long past the point where starting over makes sense, but the challenge then is actually making that reality.

Capacity isn't an issue if left as an APM or converted into a tram or heritage streetcar system. While I'm happy to hear that they are now looking at 22 passenger vehicles instead of 12, capacity is only an issue with this current AV option.

Quote
It's also notable that in the Transit Concept and Alternatives Review for the Skyway Conversion, JTA included the First Coast Flyer as being the feeder for the U2C. But then again, if they're only running the Flyer every half hour at best it probably isn't going to be as capable of doing that. In theory it'd probably make some more sense to use some of the hundreds of millions they're proposing for the 2.5 miles of Skyway/U2C to get the Flyer back to the frequencies they promised (especially when that's nearly twice what the entire 58-mile Flyer cost to build) but then again, I don't run a transit agency.

Any idea why they are running at 30 minute headways at peak? I was under the impression that they had to run 10-15 minutes during AM/PM Peak hours.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2023, 04:59:02 PM by thelakelander »
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #279 on: April 02, 2023, 06:20:55 PM »
With the benefit of hindsight, I think the evidence shows that downtown isn't really strong enough to demand a circulator for that role by itself. It could be if we tried, but it isn't.

It or anything else they do will never work if the same planning mistakes are repeated over and over again. A circulator of any kind isn't going to work without something to feed it with transit riders, being directly linked to congested pedestrian centers of activity (i.e. medical centers, colleges, stadiums, etc.) and a real effort to build density around all transit stations. Jax has never done this with the Skyway, so no one should expect success, no matter the promises and attempts at various gimmicks being labeled as innovative.

The best thing I like about an expansion of Amtrak or Brightline to include Jax is that these entities won't rely on Jax agencies to do the planning and implementation. That alone, increases their chances at success, while Jax benefits from rail investments made back in the 19th century.

Now that I think about it, pretty odd that they spent a million dollars in federal money on the U2C TOD study and they haven't really done much of anything with it, particularly when most of the stations it would use already exist.

What you say about Amtrak and Brightline is true in theory, but generally not in practice. Both railroads, save for the largest cities like New York, Chicago, and Miami (and even then sometimes still) usually expect the municipalities to step up in developing modern stations. Boca Raton chased down a multimillion dollar federal grant for their Brightline station, while it took tons of effort by activists in Tampa to reactivate their Amtrak station. This isn't to say that there's no scenario in which they'd do it themselves, but odds are they won't unless they really have to. This seems especially true when extending to Jacksonville would require a pretty arduous build from Cocoa for Brightline or constructing all the baggage and crew base and train servicing space Amtrak would want to justify moving, in a building owned by the city.

Quote
Quote
I wonder, if we had the chance to do it all over, if it'd make more sense to have more of a regional transit line (whether LRT or commuter rail or something else) that runs through downtown instead of being solely within it.

The problem isn't the transit technology. It's literally everything else that has also turned downtown into a scene that looks like a bombed World War II zone. I've used the Skyway, quite often over the years. It's been real convenient. However, that's only because my offices have generally been within close walking distance of existing stops.

Quote
Anyway, since we're talking about what already exists, I think going to the stadium makes enough sense, especially if you actually do anything at all about a convention center and get passenger rail back downtown. Making it possible to ride a train into downtown and then transfer to the Skyway for a day in the Stadium District isn't that out there.

This was the original plan, along with connections to the medical centers. If it were built as originally planned, it would be a lot more used than it is today. No doubt about that. It would have also been elevated through downtown along Bay Street. However, that "elevated" ship has sailed. There's no local appetite for it and it's super expensive. Nevertheless, dropping it down to grade at Hogan Street doesn't make sense unless the community is willing to live with the Hogan Street intersection being permanently closed. So from a planning perspective, given the current environment (political and built) and the infrastructure in place, that potential extension (or ramp down to grade level) is best suited elsewhere. Forcing it at Hogan and Bay, given the constraints, only leaves us with crazier ideas like making elevators and/or escalators for AVs. Something totally expensive that immediately becomes obsolete as soon as vehicle sizes increase.

Quote
But in theory you should want something capable of high capacity for that, not the smallest form of "transportation" possible. At the end of the day, it does seem to be agreed-upon here that we're long past the point where starting over makes sense, but the challenge then is actually making that reality.

Capacity isn't an issue if left as an APM or converted into a tram or heritage streetcar system. While I'm happy to hear that they are now looking at 22 passenger vehicles instead of 12, capacity is only an issue with this current AV option.

All true, I'm more suggesting that perhaps it would have been easier to build a useful transit network even in downtown's state with technology that wasn't dependent on fully grade-separated rights of way. Say, if instead of peoplemovers we'd decided to build a streetcar in the 90s or 2000s. It's mostly besides the point at this point, but just a thought.

I wonder how the "platooning" feature they kept raving about is going now.  ;D

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It's also notable that in the Transit Concept and Alternatives Review for the Skyway Conversion, JTA included the First Coast Flyer as being the feeder for the U2C. But then again, if they're only running the Flyer every half hour at best it probably isn't going to be as capable of doing that. In theory it'd probably make some more sense to use some of the hundreds of millions they're proposing for the 2.5 miles of Skyway/U2C to get the Flyer back to the frequencies they promised (especially when that's nearly twice what the entire 58-mile Flyer cost to build) but then again, I don't run a transit agency.

Any idea why they are running at 30 minute headways at peak? I was under the impression that they had to run 10-15 minutes during AM/PM Peak hours.

Presumably it's either lack of operational funding or lack of drivers. But I don't think they've returned to those initially promised frequencies since 2020 at least. Leaves me wondering how the Green Line TOD Study (also federally funded) is supposed to be successful when the transit line it's based around is so infrequent.
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: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #280 on: April 02, 2023, 08:56:59 PM »
What you say about Amtrak and Brightline is true in theory, but generally not in practice. Both railroads, save for the largest cities like New York, Chicago, and Miami (and even then sometimes still) usually expect the municipalities to step up in developing modern stations. Boca Raton chased down a multimillion dollar federal grant for their Brightline station, while it took tons of effort by activists in Tampa to reactivate their Amtrak station. This isn't to say that there's no scenario in which they'd do it themselves, but odds are they won't unless they really have to. This seems especially true when extending to Jacksonville would require a pretty arduous build from Cocoa for Brightline or constructing all the baggage and crew base and train servicing space Amtrak would want to justify moving, in a building owned by the city.

Even if Jax and JTA did nothing, places like St. Augustine, Palatka and possibly Clay County get Amtrak or Brightline stations, along with more trains serving the region. That alone is a major positive for Northeast Florida residents, even if downtown Jax doesn't benefit.

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All true, I'm more suggesting that perhaps it would have been easier to build a useful transit network even in downtown's state with technology that wasn't dependent on fully grade-separated rights of way. Say, if instead of peoplemovers we'd decided to build a streetcar in the 90s or 2000s. It's mostly besides the point at this point, but just a thought.

I wonder how the "platooning" feature they kept raving about is going now.  ;D

In the 1990s/early 2000s, there was a desire from the community to have the $100 million in BJP rapid transit funds go to LRT. JTA went BRT, wasted time with implementation and eventually the $100 million disappeared (likely went to cover the courthouse overruns). So we could have had both. A Skyway circulator funded through a federal APM pilot program that we won, along with a more extensive LRT line. That would have made our network similar to Miami's and Detroit's systems where their downtown APMs are complimented by either modern streetcar or heavy rail lines stretching into other areas of those communities.

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Presumably it's either lack of operational funding or lack of drivers. But I don't think they've returned to those initially promised frequencies since 2020 at least. Leaves me wondering how the Green Line TOD Study (also federally funded) is supposed to be successful when the transit line it's based around is so infrequent.

I hope its not because of a lack of drivers, considering each of those U2C vehicles will need attendants/drivers.
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Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #281 on: April 02, 2023, 09:05:12 PM »
The lack of TOD zones & development in Jacksonville is the failure to all transit services that exist currently and I have tried personally to pursue a TOD zoning without much luck. A few things that surprise me are: Jacksonville LUZ or City Council's lack of city-wide legislation for a TOD zoning overlay, and the lack of frequency of the buses.

What shocks me is that there is still not a single TOD zoned overlay in Jacksonville as of today. In other cities, legislation is sponsored for overlays or rezonings so that parcels are given development rights, with ease. It creates a lot more certainty from the building side of it. I guess its good we finally have code specifications on TOD overlays, but what use is that without it actually being implemented. Hoping this is an intentional step 1 of a several step plan?

Regardless this has hindered any viability with the skyway & the BRT system. I think there needs to be a zoning focus more than anything with the current and future systems. It's hard to justify a TOD based on federal standards with JAX's level of BRT service. That means those projects lack the criteria for federal or state transit TOD funding. It's just another hinderance for local development that otherwise happens in other cities like Orlando, Tampa & Miami. The U2C does not meet federal TOD standards as well.. so just keep that in mind. No federal funding for private developments will ever be available without program changes or exceptions. With true rail, that isn't the case.

We should assess projects on their potential return IMO. Clearly the U2C lacks.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #282 on: April 05, 2023, 12:06:22 PM »
^ I decided to look at the current TOD code because of this and good lord.

This is based on legislation that passed last year and it requires JTA to propose a TOD designation, create a "TOD master plan," identify a "TOD area," assign a "TOD typology," and then develop a "vision and implementation strategy" for the TOD. That's all "phase one." Then they have to "codify the development principles identified in the TOD master plan through the establishment of the TOD zoning overlay for property located within the TOD master plan area."

Included within that process are requirements for "pre-application charettes," a "pre-application conference," an "authorization to file an application" and an "application for Establishment." And it looks like they're supposed to do this for every single TOD site? How? How could it even be worthwhile to file for this? How long does this take?

More importantly, how can we justify spending a million dollars a pop on TOD studies for the Green Line or commuter rail or U2C when that's the process any TOD is supposed to go through?
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thelakelander

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #283 on: April 05, 2023, 03:28:13 PM »
Interesting. If someone acquired property and built "real" TOD adjacent to an existing Skyway stop, would it not be considered TOD because it isn't in JTA's TOD designation or follow a process of pre-application charettes?
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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #284 on: April 05, 2023, 03:38:05 PM »
^ I decided to look at the current TOD code because of this and good lord.

This is based on legislation that passed last year and it requires JTA to propose a TOD designation, create a "TOD master plan," identify a "TOD area," assign a "TOD typology," and then develop a "vision and implementation strategy" for the TOD. That's all "phase one." Then they have to "codify the development principles identified in the TOD master plan through the establishment of the TOD zoning overlay for property located within the TOD master plan area."

Included within that process are requirements for "pre-application charettes," a "pre-application conference," an "authorization to file an application" and an "application for Establishment." And it looks like they're supposed to do this for every single TOD site? How? How could it even be worthwhile to file for this? How long does this take?

More importantly, how can we justify spending a million dollars a pop on TOD studies for the Green Line or commuter rail or U2C when that's the process any TOD is supposed to go through?

I'm glad that you see it too. It has got to be one of the most elaborate and unclear processes I could imagine. I have been told it is a 6-9 month process, but ultimately nobody knows because it has never been attempted to my best knowledge.

Your last question hits the issue on the head of the nail. What's the purpose of it without the implementation of it? Is there any reason a city-sponsored TOD overlay should not be passed around the current skyway systems? They already basically grant TOD density bonuses to those well connected developers.

A city-sponsored overlay would basically upzone all that property, theoretically increasing the turnover rate for new dense development which those areas desperately need... commercial use receive great benefits too.

Interesting. If someone acquired property and built "real" TOD adjacent to an existing Skyway stop, would it not be considered TOD because it isn't in JTA's TOD designation or follow a process of pre-application charettes?

No, because a true TOD is not hindered by the crazy development costs that are associated with provided structured parking. The Artea is the closest attempt at trying to be a "TOD" and they are marketing it as a "TOD" but for the purposes of our discussion what we are advocating for or highlighting is the lack of the zoning overlay in town. The overlay significantly eases planning restrictions that directly relate to costs. The Artea would have even less parking if it had the TOD overlay. But of course JTA needs to approve the overlay. So it is a weird predicament.

The benefit of the TOD is the up-zoning and ease on the planning code by giving a concentrated area higher use. Spotted TOD developments prevent the true effect a TOD overlay is intended to provide.