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Jacksonville traffic jams worsen

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Jacksonville traffic jams worsen

By DAVID BAUERLEIN, The Times-Union

A national study of traffic congestion in 85 urban areas puts Jacksonville in the middle of the road, with a ranking of 38th-worst in the country.

The Texas Transportation Institute's report, released today, showed Jacksonville's traffic jams have worsened over the years in the same way traffic has become a bigger problem in other cities. The report is based on evaluation of data from 2003.

In comparison, Jacksonville was rated 40th-worst in the country for congestion-related delays in 1998. The metropolitan area was ranked 32nd-worst in 1993, according to the institute.

The report says traffic continues to take a toll on motorists' time and money.

In the Jacksonville area, drivers lost 34 hours per year because of delays from rush-hour congestion, which is close to an entire work week.

Atlanta drivers experienced the highest amount of delays in the nation, wasting 67 hours a year sitting in rush-hour traffic, according to the report.

For more on the institute's 2005 Urban Mobility Report, visit http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/.

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Wake up Peyton!!! Give us some rail to get around and quit building overpasses.

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On the one hand, we have improved relative to other cities since 1993, but, on the other hand, we are still worse than cities with more people than us. So, this is clearly cause for concern. I do wonder about these studies, but I think there is something to this. We clearly need some sort of mass transit which does not use buses. Peyton, however, will never deliver this.

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It's also a road layout issue ...

Jacksonville is the poster child for the "collector road" school of transit planning. For example, look at the Southside. We only have 3 roads that go east/west connecting to the Beaches. Altantic, Beach, and JTB (Wonderwood will be the 4th when fully completed and merged with Merill). Everyone has to use these roads for east/west travel, whether they are driving from the beach to downtown, or just driving to the nearest grocery store. These roads are spread out over something like 10+ miles, yet there are only 3! Rather than trying to construct new parallel roads, our government would rather simply widen the current ones - an ineffective policy that just leads to more traffic jams and ugly cityscapes.

Considering the huge traffic relieving success of Wonderwood (or at least the parts open so far) our city should realize the benefit of building parallel roads wherever possible, instead of creating 6-8 lane mega-boulevards. Also, every parallel road need not be a contiguous boulevard stretching all the way from the river to the beach. Shorter roads on available right-of-way could also provide extreme benefits. For example, another east/west road between Southside blvd and San Pablo or Hodges (they could extend Saints road, maybe). Or perhaps overpasses over I-95, connecting the Southpoint office parks east of 95 with Phillips highway, thus providing an alternative route to hyper-congested JTB. I would also imagine that "new road" overpasses would be much cheaper than the infamous Better Jax overpasses, since no one has to be concerned with preserving traffic flow, and "engineering around" heavy current use.

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Oh, and as if to drive my point home ... I-95 south was shut down earlier today because of a crime scene. The result? Massive traffic jams because there are only two other parallel roads to take: Phillips highway and San Jose. And even San Jose is probably too out of the way to be useful for most people.

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Any type of Mass Transit systems will have the same problem of the bus system. Who do you slight when picking out station locations and who gets the first line? This would get mired down in the political arena until the powers that be would throw up their hands in surrender and say "Lets retime the traffic lights and make them smart instead. That will get me elected next term, putting a bridge on a limited access roadway to help traffic will not."

I see two problems with Mass Transit in JAX,

FIrst, most of the decision makers won't pull the trigger on a system that would be considered visionary. They usually can't see into the future long enough to see past their next campaign fundraiser. Let the ASE be an example of 'Mass' Transit in Jacksonville. This is a system that had to be built when it was built to take advantage of federal funding. It was built with the future in mind. A system like is not necessarily for the here and now, it is for the future. Build it now when the land is cheap. You had politicians champion this thing when it was first proposed. They saw what needed to happen and they pushed it. A portion got built. Everyone laughs at the ASE because it doesn't go anywhere. 20 Years from now, when they are expanding it all over downtown, and it really becomes a viable transportation option, from home to work to shopping, people will laud the proponents. Now the proponents of the system are blamed for birthing white elephants and wasting tax dollars.

Secondly, we all know it - Americans love their cars. The only way people get out of their cars is when they can't afford to use their cars. Parking in most large cities is super expensive and very scarce. Insurance is expensive. Gas is expensive. When it becomes too expensive to own and operate a car, that is when most people will beg for mass transit. The demand in JAX is not there yet. Mass transit would be a novelty. Lets hope that when people need mass transit that it is there for them We need to wise up and get something done now, when right-of-way is cheap and there is room for stations and such.

Light rail needs to start happening now not later.

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80% of the development east of the river is suburban. (I just approximated that number, don't hold me to it, lol). The problem is that suburban development isn't conducive to transit. Everything would have to be Park-And-Ride, which isn't that bad.

I agree, we need MORE roads, not WIDENED roads.

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Is it time for me to make another rant, about establishing commuter rail, as a local transportation alternative. The tracks are already here and already travel near several large destination points in town. Its also a lot cheaper to get running, then most of BJP's road projects.

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^I'm sure I could find about 3 threads where you mention your ideas, Lake. I agree, use the existing rail, like Tri-Rail did some 15-odd years ago. They started out small and simple, but look at the Tri-Rail system now!

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Oh, and as if to drive my point home ... I-95 south was shut down earlier today because of a crime scene. The result? Massive traffic jams because there are only two other parallel roads to take: Phillips highway and San Jose. And even San Jose is probably too out of the way to be useful for most people.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

i think that was some lady shooting the passenger in her car. and instead of san jose you can always use southside and cut across on baymeadows or use 9a to butler.

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IDEA:

If the city council wants to continue the widen the road and build an overpass methedolgy, then something else must be done as well.

Problems with current Methodology:

A: amazing costs associated with expanding roads. i think I heard somewhere that some overpasses cost as much as $50M

B: Inconveniences people who are closer to the CBD due to overpasses being built in their back yard, losing front yard property for expansion.

C: Decreases land value for those homes very near the expanded roads and overpasses

D: Marginal Benifits

E: What few advantages there are primarily are seen by those that live the farthest away, and potentially in other counties, and therefore do not contribute to Property Taxes needed to pay for such projects

F: Fewer paralell roads means higher likely hood for bottle necks (IE I95 Shutdown yesterday

I am sure there are other issues, but these are the most glaring. In any case, Here is my suggestion. If JAX is going to continue to allow sprawl, then there should be a progressive tax on property within the Duval County Lines. Example, if you live <3 mile from CBD, there is no added taxes, 3-5 miles, .2% added tax, 5-7 .5% added tax, so on and so forth.

Second part:

Local level Income Tax:

If your place of employment is within 5 miles of the CBD, but you live in a differant county, Employers are required to take out an addition .1-.2% out for Income taxes to be paid to Duval County. This does put the burden on the employer to verify this information, but, it allows us to tax those that work here, but do not live here.

If we are going to continue to beat our heads up against the wall and build like this, then make those that are causing the traffic/sprawl begin to pay for it. Why make those of us that actually live near downtown pay for their inconveninces.

Seems only Fair...

My Name is Josh, And I approve this message...

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As A note, I live in Madarin, and wold have to pay taxes. But if it helps, I wouldnt have any problems in paying it

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BJP was funded by Sales Tax. Most other road projects are funded at state and federal levels. These funds are generated by gasoline taxes. These kids of taxes are paid by everyone who uses the roads. We do not need any more taxes at the city level, they have a hard enough time managing what they already have. What we need is better representation with the legislatures that dole out the money.

Florida is and will probably always be a federal gas tax donor state. We get less money back than we put in. Its always satisfying to know that the tax you pay on your gas is being used to fund an airport expansion in CT, or a bridge replacment in Podunk, NY.

We need pols who will get this money back. This state is growing at a such a rate, we need all of the money we can get for more roads, better roads, better networks of roads, and mass transit.

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BJP was funded by Sales Tax.  Most other road projects are funded at state and federal levels.  These funds are generated by gasoline taxes.  These kids of taxes are paid by everyone who uses the roads.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Jacksonville actually has a history of constructing roads with local taxpayer funds, rather than state and national gas taxes. Not only the BJP, but the old Jacksonville Expressway Authority too.

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JTA (Expressway authority) used another form of usary tax for road funding - Tolls. This is pretty typical of a lot of Metro Areas. You get the users of a facility to pay for it. Most of the major roads owned by JTA were constructed or the construction performed by FDOT was paid off by revenue from the Toll operations. JTB was a road constructed by imposing a toll. Wonderwood was conceived as a toll road. Voters in this city got tired of waiting in lines at toll booths, so they effectively abolished tolls. This forced JTA to find other ways of funding roads. Now JTA project budgets are nearly completely derived from State and Federal Transportation Funds. Wonderwood has substantial federal fuding.

Isn't it weird that people complained about waiting in line at toll booths so they got rid of the tolls... Then people complain about waiting in line at intersections so they vote for a tax increase to speed up their travels... We need to make up our minds!

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No joke, people really do need to make up their minds.

All the while NIMBY's and zoning ordinances prevent any kind of dense or interconnected development because it would create too much traffic. As a result people have to drive further and futher to get anywhere because our development is so spread out.

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I may have had a long post earlier about what could be done under current circumstances, but in all honsoty, something DRASTIC has to change. My logic was simply if you want to live farther away, you have to pay the price... Anyway.

Cheers

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