Author Topic: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte  (Read 24055 times)

avonjax

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2007, 06:47:15 PM »
These are very important comparisons for the future of Jacksonville mass transportation. I can't recall the local news stations or the Times Union reporting about the enormously expensive BRT plan the JTA stubbornly refuses to rethink. For me it's not even the money, it's the fact that we are one of the few cities determined NOT to consider some kind of rail.
Someone HAS to talk about it NOW before it's too late.
I have a feeling if we did get some rail of any type in our future we would see a great surge in quality development in and around downtown.

downtownparks

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2007, 11:02:28 PM »
I know of at least one City Council person who feels the same way. He seemed to completely understand what Lake and the MetroJax guys are saying, and thinks its a great idea.

big ben

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2007, 02:46:16 AM »
it seems like a forum like this (centered on city issues) should be reporting on the most current issues.  at the moment, i would say a pending decision on a very expensive commuter transit system is about the most important current issue, whether the other news outlets agree or not.  as for the focus on trains, it seems that the likely reason for it is it's about the only reasonable alternative to buses. 

i don't think an actual trolley (on rails) would necessarily do much to help downtown and/or the city, but it's still an alternative that should be discussed.  i'd definitely like to have a trolley like that, but i'm not so sure it would be successful. 

i don't suppose there's anyone on here that knows anyone at the times-union influential enough to do some research on the brt issue, is there?  i wonder if writing into their rants and raves would gather enough attention by itself.

gatorback

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2007, 08:00:54 AM »
If you want to draw attention to this the think outside the box.  Perhaps DVI could not get involved in this issue if we agree to letting them keep their parking meter revenue?  Perhaps DVI would get on the rail bandwagon if we increase parking fees?  I guess we gotta grease the wheels people.
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Ocklawaha

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Charlotte Rail Kicks Off - OCKLAWAHA'S RANT
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2007, 12:26:54 AM »
From Mass Transit Magazine and the Charlotte Observer comes this little jewel. Read it and weep Cowford, as we continue to embrace Motor City, big oil, idiots at JTA and the almighty highway. I remember back in the day, "The Who" singing "The Magic Bus"*. As tuned in and turned on as I was, I figured I had ridden on it plenty of times...somehow, today, it has taken on a whole new dimension. Which brings to mind another old "Who" song, one I dedicate to JTA and their minions... "Who Are You?"*

CATS in Homestretch for Light Rail
 Steve Harrison, The Charlotte Observer
 


Quote
The Charlotte Area Transit System has several countdown clocks in its offices, with red digital numbers ticking down the days, hours and seconds until Nov. 26 -- the scheduled opening of the light-rail line for paid service.
CATS isn't adjusting them.
Chief executive Ron Tober told the Metropolitan Transit Commission on Wednesday evening that he's still planning to open the train for a free weekend on Saturday, Nov. 24 and Sunday, Nov. 25. People will have to pay to use the train starting Monday, Nov. 26.
Tober said there are no problems that are "show-stoppers," though two areas concern him.
--The first is making sure the train control system is working. That allows trains to communicate with the line's main control center, giving drivers information on how fast to go, for instance.
--The other problem is with the self-service ticket kiosks at each station. During recent testing, the machines malfunctioned and didn't print properly.
ACS, the vendor, believes the problem is due to the string of days in August when temperatures cracked 100 degrees. It is trying to get additional airflow around the kiosk's internal computer.
The signature station uptown, the Charlotte Transportation Center/Arena, has been a source of concern because of delays in installing a steel canopy. David Leard, the line's program director, said the station is scheduled to be finished Nov. 9.
One reader recently e-mailed and asked how long will it take to travel the length of the entire line.
CATS believes it will take 25 minutes. Trains will cover the most ground on the south section of the line, when distances between stations are greatest and trains will often cross streets on bridges. Top speed: 55 mph.
When the line gets closer to uptown, trains will slow to 25 mph.


JTA? Some guys are naturally ignorant, but you people are abusing that privilege.
Only two things are said to be infinite, the universe and JTA's planning stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. People are born ignorant, not stupid, stupidity is a communicable disorder that infects the halls of Jacksonville's Transportation Authority. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it best when he said, "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Time to pull your collective Neanderthal heads out!


Ocklawaha
*Take a listen if you dare, but be warned, if all you ever heard was the TV version, these songs are not for virgin ears.

Julie Anne

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2007, 09:10:32 AM »
Just a couple of things about Charlotte, my corporate office is in Charlotte and actually the company I work for has been extremely instrumental in the development of downtown Charlotte. The majority of downtown workers still drive in to Charlotte but use trolleys to get around once parked. I know many are hopeful about the light rail alleviating some of this driving, but there is something in the mind of American's about being able to set your own schedule (even if you know you will be at work for at least 8hrs!). Also, there is a lot to do in downtown Charlotte, many excellent and diverse restaurants, clubs shopping, and residences. All of these came prior to the light rail, not after the fact. I personally believe without this corporate "sponsorship" Charlotte would not be where it is today. I am curious as to what you all think about this? Who is Jacksonville's corporate "sponsor"?  It seems we have a lot of employers, but no real headquartered companies. I think with a major national/international company located in Jacksonville we would all have a better chance of getting light rail, trolley cars, and many other upgrades discussed here and on other forums.

thelakelander

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2007, 09:22:17 AM »
I agree, with the idea that we have a lot of employers, but no real headquartered company, it terms of civic leadership.  I spent two years in Lakeland before coming here and its amazing to see the difference between what Publix does for that city and what many local companies do for Jax.

However, this could also be because Lakeland has a plan and vision of what it wants to be and so does Charlotte.  For example, these places have master plans and they've stuck with them throughout the years, even when mayoral administrations change.  On the other hand, we study and study, but rarely implement and when we do, we abandon and start over after each election. 

Based off our local government's past, you can't fault the local companies for not backing a government that has no real vision or sound idea of how to get there.  You'd be better off setting money on fire.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Julie Anne

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2007, 09:30:24 AM »
Well, I have to agree with the state of the local government. But I can say Charlotte's was not much better. I think the real push behind the changes you see in Charlotte were and are the two companies headquarted there (Bank of America and Wachovia, formerly First Union). It is my understanding a lot of the vision, funding, and political power to make things happen came from these two companies (more or less depending on which one you work for). I think with this type of clout and power watching your every move you tend to get off your rear end and begin implementing, you also have a 'frined" helping you make funding at a local, national, and federal level happen. If we wait around for a politician that has vision and the ability to implement we may be waiting awhile.

Jason

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2007, 10:24:25 AM »
We had one before Peyton took office (Delaney) but he now enjoys a cushy job as the president of UNF making 10 times the money he was as the mayor.  He was the guy that got the ball rolling downtown with the Better Jacksonville Plan, a new sports district, new main library and numerous branches, the superbowl, the fist new residential highrise in decades, a plan for a new county courthouse, a surplus in the budget, etc.  Everything was rolling and then Peyton spent the surplus, squandered the plans for the courthouse, took credit for the superbowl, and enlarged the government all with the supposed goal to "run the city like a buisness" that he touted before being elected.  He claimed to be another Delaney and was even endorsed by his predesesor, however, nothing notable has come out of his administration other than landing Fidelity and the Mitsui OSK seaport expansion (both of wich are still barely linked to him directly).

vicupstate

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2007, 12:08:42 PM »
  He claimed to be another Delaney and was even endorsed by his predesesor, however, nothing notable has come out of his administration other than landing Fidelity and the Mitsui OSK seaport expansion (both of wich are still barely linked to him directly).

Delaney landed Fidelity, not Peyton.  Peyton did not take office for several months after the Fidelity announcement.
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vicupstate

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Re: I'm Smaller than Jax and I have Rail: Charlotte
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2007, 12:40:37 PM »
Just a couple of things about Charlotte, my corporate office is in Charlotte and actually the company I work for has been extremely instrumental in the development of downtown Charlotte. The majority of downtown workers still drive in to Charlotte but use trolleys to get around once parked. I know many are hopeful about the light rail alleviating some of this driving, but there is something in the mind of American's about being able to set your own schedule (even if you know you will be at work for at least 8hrs!). Also, there is a lot to do in downtown Charlotte, many excellent and diverse restaurants, clubs shopping, and residences. All of these came prior to the light rail, not after the fact. I personally believe without this corporate "sponsorship" Charlotte would not be where it is today. I am curious as to what you all think about this? Who is Jacksonville's corporate "sponsor"?  It seems we have a lot of employers, but no real headquartered companies. I think with a major national/international company located in Jacksonville we would all have a better chance of getting light rail, trolley cars, and many other upgrades discussed here and on other forums.

I have lived within 120 miles or less of Charlotte my whole life, and have watched it grow from basically a typical small southern city into a major US city.   The corporate aspect you refer to is very real, and relevant to this topic.  Without question, the banks have kept a watchful eye on what happens in it's HQ city.   They have been the driving force for much of what happened in "Uptown" as they call it.

If the politicians did something to embarass the city ("Gang of Five") or derail progress (Hugh McColl's famous comments on rail), they made their displeasure known. and it didn't go unnoticed.

Merely agreeing to locate the vast majority of it's employees in DT is in  itself a major commitment, not to mention their involvement in coutless other DT projects to one degree or another. 

Jax is definitley lacking that.  Fidelity seems commited to the core, but they also seem to have no understanding that a successful DT is more than just office buildings.  Most other large companies seem more than eager to go to the suburbs than the DT area.   

I do have to disagree about the local political culture in Charlotte vs. Jacksonville.  Pat McCrory runs circles around Peyton.  For that matter the mayor of Palatka probably does too. McCrory had significant experience in government before he ran the first time, and now, as the city's longest serving mayor ever, he is a capable leader as the city is reaching a whole new level. 

A convention center is a prime example.  Charlotte built a new, larger center a decade ago.  Jax can't even decide it if needs to  have one at all, much less do the heavy lifting to build one.  The DT residential base went from something comparable to JAx to over 10,000 in about 5 years.  A DT Charlotte of 25,000 is likely in another 5-7 years.  Mass transit- no comparision there.  Airport - same story; 

Charlotte does what it take to move to the next level, and Jax is content to just stay put.  Jax even has the advantage of consolidation.     

As much as the corporate environment has helped Charlotte get ahead, I really don't think that it the CRITICAL MISSING ELEMENT.  That would be the difference in political will, effectiveness, and competence.  The momentum that we had under  Delaney proves that in my mind.

BTW, ask someone that was in Charlotte what DT was like 7-8 years ago.  They will tell you it was DEAD, more so than DT JAx is today.  There is hope for Jax, but it is going to take a leader with skills and vision to take the city there. 
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