scongro

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About scongro

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    Whistle-Stop
  • Birthday 11/01/82

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    Jacksonville
  1. Personally, I think we need to take baby steps towards a transit system. Other than Miami, who has a transit system? This high speed rail system needs some connections. For example, let's say I'm in Tampa, and I want to go to Orlando. I hop on the train, and get to Orlando. Great - Now what do I do. Do I hop on the imaginary rail line to Church St? IMO, first we (Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville) need to get a decent transit system in the cities, then we can look at a rail system to the other cities.
  2. Jacksonville Transit

    I stand corrected - When I said world, I really didn't think about Asia. However, the point is that we have what we have - I really don't see Jacksonville ripping up I-95 and replacing it with a Train. With the layout of Jacksonville, and the mindset of the residents, I don't see transit as the primary means of transportation (at least not in the next 25 years)
  3. Jacksonville Transit

    You can't build a grocery store within walking distance to each and every house; you would have a grocery store every 8 blocks (assuming that 4 blocks is a reasonable walking distance. This is where some sort of transit comes in. It wasn't mentioned in the article, however I know JTA was looking at a trolley like that ran from Downtown to Roosevelt Square. In this case, much of the historic district would be within walking distance of this. Again, you can't serve everyone. For example, let's take two of the best transit systems in the country, New York and Chicago. There are a lot of places that Chicago's L does not go, such as Soldier Field, and the United Center (they are withing 10 blocks, but this is a relatively long walk). New York's Subway does not run to the airports. There is no city in the world that does not have roads for personal automobiles; this is impossible. Mass transit and Transit Oriented Developement is designed to supplement the road system, not replace it. How many times has that last sentence been repeated?
  4. Jacksonville Transit

    As a graduate of Nease (St. John's County), I will say that while I felt that the school prepared me for life after school academically, socialy it was horrendous (I'm not talking about being cool or not), but the fact that it was like la-la land. The average 16 year old girl does not get a BMW 3-Series for their 16th birthday, but you wouldn't know that by looking at the Nease parking lot. The typical problems that teenagers deal with usually don't include getting all of their friends past the security gates at marsh landing for the weekend party, but this sort of stuff was discussed at Nease (no kidding) After high school, I worked for a collection agency during college for about 2 years, and to be honest, it really opened up my eyes. I had to call people and demand payment of 2-3 year old phone bills. Not only that, the job wasn't exactly high paying. I was doing it for beer money in college, but most people had a family to try to provide for. After about a year and a half (and a few foot in mouth comments), I really started to understand how difficult it is to be successful in life. I went to college at JU, and as soon as I pay them the last $630 that I owe them, I can call myself a graduate. While JU was not a cheap school, that area of Arlington is a little rough. To be honest, the whole college experience was very eye opening, both in and out of the classroom. I felt like it helped me become a lot better in interacting with people I don't know personally, which I think we all know is important in business. I not saying that Nease sucks, or that Raines is the ideal place to send a kid. What I am saying is there is more to a school than it's FCAT score. Personally, I think that the best high school to send a child is Stanton (provided that they can handle the workload). An excellent school in a rough neighborhood. To be honest, I think it's healthy (to a point) that a teenager see what happens in rough neighborhoods; it opens their eyes to a point. My girlfriend went to Stanton (class of '98, JU 2002), so maybe I am a little partial, but I feel like people that come out of Stanton generally are very well rounded people. As I've mentioned in other posts, I am 22 years old with no children, so I believe that I have a different perspective. I just bought a townhome in the Sandalwood district (not the best, not the worst). Frankly, the school district was not my first priority when I bought my place; it was potential financial return (of which school district is a portion). I'm interested in hearing thoughts from other that have families on their opinions. My guess is that they won't agree with me, but frankly, if I had kids, I might not agree with me either.
  5. Jacksonville Transit

    But since you have the Skyway, why do you have all of the downtown stops? To see what I'm talking about, check out the print article (the maps do not appear online). To me, you have a stop at the intermodal center, and maybe a stop at the stadium (since a line goes over the Mathews anyway), and that's it.
  6. Jacksonville Transit

    While i'd love to see Jacksonville get Rapid Transit, it seems like JTA is taking the wrong direction. Instead of extending lines to Regency, Gateway, Baymeadows, and Wilson, they should pick two of them, and finish them (like from the Airport to the Avenues). I'd think there would be a lot more demand for a line from OP to Downtown, rather than just Wilson for example. I know you have to start somewhere, but if you get Skyway sized ridership, people will scream. What do you all think?
  7. Jacksonville Transit

    City set to start buying land for rapid transit bus system 29-mile network for express buses would pick up passengers at 27 stations By DAVID BAUERLEIN The Times-Union With $100 million in the bank and a stack of studies on the shelf, Jacksonville will start buying land in 2005 for a 29-mile rapid transit system where express buses zip along in their own lanes while picking up passengers at 27 stations in downtown and the suburbs. The total bill for building the system over a 20-year period will be $611 million, according to estimates by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. To make good on the blueprint, the JTA must make headway in winning several hundred million dollars in state and federal support. That will be a daunting challenge because other cities are competing for the same pot of transit cash, but JTA officials said they're optimistic they can build the system in stages. "It's been through a lot of variations and a lot of study by a lot of people, including citizens," said Ed Castellani, rapid transit director for the JTA. "How fast it gets used and how fast we can get funding is how fast we are going to get it built." The $100 million already on hand is from the Better Jacksonville Plan, approved by voters in 2000 with a half-cent sales tax increase. Most of the plan's $1.5 billion in transportation funding is for roadwork, reflecting the fact that cars are the dominant way for people to get around. As Mayor John Peyton said at a recent town hall meeting in East Arlington, "Everybody on the road wants the person in front of them and the person behind them to ride the buses." The premise behind rapid transit is that building lanes exclusively for buses will make riding the bus more appealing because buses will travel free and clear of the rush-hour congestion that makes driving a hassle. "We don't have enough money and enough space to build enough roads," Castellani said, referring to long-range transportation studies that show worsening traffic jams citywide in the next 25 years. "As congestion builds, and it will, people will see the difference between sitting in traffic and the speed of transit." The journey toward rapid transit began in 1997 when the JTA commissioned a report that envisioned a light rail line running from downtown to Gateway mall in north Jacksonville, a second light rail from downtown to Orange Park in Clay County, a third light rail from downtown to Mandarin, and a "busway" with lanes dedicated for buses from downtown to the Regency Square mall area in Arlington. JTA dropped the idea of light rail because of the high cost. Instead, all the rapid transit routes would use express buses with an eye toward converting the routes to light rail lines in the future if ridership is high enough. The 2O-year plan also scaled back the size of the system to bring down the cost. The north leg reaches Gateway mall and the east leg still goes to Regency Square mall. But the southwest legs goes only to Wilson Boulevard in Jacksonville, well short of the Clay County line. The southeast leg stops at Baymeadows Road, rather than continuing to Mandarin. The JTA has estimated the cost of building the system in two ways. In today's dollars, it would cost $476 million. That cost is comparable to estimates for what it would cost to build the proposed "outer beltway" through Clay County and St. Johns County with a new bridge over the St. Johns River. Because rapid transit won't be built all at once, the JTA also has taken into account inflation and penciled in the figure of $611 million over the 20-year period. A city typically pays 25 percent of the cost for building rapid transit, along with a 25 percent contribution by the state and 50 percent from the federal government. Based on that formula, Jacksonville's share of the cost would be $153 million. The JTA's financial forecasts show the agency can achieve the local match by using the $100 million earmarked in the Better Jacksonville Plan and tapping the JTA's current revenue sources for bus service to get the remaining $53 million. Castellani said the order in which the different phases are built is tentative. However, the agency will definitely start acquiring right of way in 2005 and expects to spend the $100 million from the Better Jacksonville Plan by 2010. The JTA is banking on being able to share state Department of Transportation right of way at no cost for the bus lanes. Most of the Better Jacksonville Plan funding will purchase the property for the transit stations, Castellani said. The JTA's study has identified general areas for stations but not specific pieces of property. One station might be in the northeast corner of Interstate 95 and Baymeadows Road, where a home-building company proposes to build condominiums on what's now the Baymeadows Golf Club course. At a town hall meeting on that proposed development, residents who live along the golf course laughed derisively at the notion that rapid transit would help traffic congestion on Baymeadows Road. The JTA also faced neighborhood-based opposition when it considered buying land at Atlantic Boulevard and San Pablo Road for a transit site with a park-and-ride lot. The authority pulled the plug on that earlier this year after deciding the future route for rapid transit to the Beaches communities would run down Beach Boulevard. In cities that already have rapid transit, a growing trend in real estate development is "transit-oriented development" around stations, according to a September report by the Federal Transit Administration. Those living near transit stations own fewer cars than the region as a whole, are more likely to rent an apartment than own a home and prefer living in a denser development where they're close not only to the transit station, but also to stores and restaurants. "I don't think it's ever too soon to start planning for that," said Jeannie Fewell, director of the city's Department of Planning and Development. "Whether it's too soon for it to reach a point where it's faster for people to get out of their cars and take a dedicated bus [lane], that's really an individual choice." david.bauerleinjacksonville.com, (904) 359-4581
  8. Jacksonville Transit

    Well, I'm sure people would never go for another better jax plan, but go with me for a second. The city owns the Prime Osborne, which the JTA would buy (hopefully we wouldn't give it away for too cheap). The JTA has to buy land and build the building already, and it's not like the Prime Osborne is in bad condition, so the renovations would be too extensive (relatively speaking). Plus, what about the bed tax we are charging at our hotels? Between the two of these, I thing we should have a start.
  9. Jacksonville Transit

    Thanks for the welcome! I spend part of the time in Avondale, part with my parents in Ponte Vedra, and I am under contract for a townhome that is currently under construction at Kernan @ Wonderwood. I wanted to move Downtown, but I wanted to own (not rent), and the options downtown are Berkman (IMO, not worth it for the price), the Shipyards (out of my price range, and who knows when anything will go vertical there), or the Parks at the Cathedral, which is not bad, but I am looking more short term, and I don't feel like it is a good short term investment (hurts to say, because I love downtown)
  10. Jacksonville Transit

    Personally, I think that instead of being next to the Prome Osborne, it should be the Prime Osborne. Remember, this thing was designed similarly to Penn Station in NYC, so it would function well as a transit hub. Plus, the rail lines already run next to the thing, and the Osborne Center isn't exactly the world's best Convention Center anyway (the new one probably will be at a different site)