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Having to walk a mile from a commuter line to a destination when the humiture is 110 means the mass transit system serves nobody's needs.
Most of the commuter rail lines, I've personally traveled on, also have express bus routes running from their stations into various city neighborhoods, as well as large park & ride lots, at far out suburban stations. This would eliminate the need to walk a mile to get to a station, if you reside within a fairly urban area.

We do need a commuter rail system, but instead of sending business to Amelia Island and St. Augustine, we should be solving our own problems first. Think of a rail system consisting of a dozen routes traveling in a concentric circle with another route running east-west and another running north-south and then two more making an X over the center. Then put stations no more than, say, 4 miles apart and then use buses to filter the commuters out to their destination.

^Citywide public transportation systems aren't built overnight. What you say sounds good, but no one could afford to build something like that at once, whether its rail or roads. I'm also sure we wouldn't be paying for extensions into Amelia Island and St. Augustine. Typically all counties served by regional rail systems contribute their fair share of funds.

Its best for an auto-oriented city, like Jax, to start with one single successful line (with stations spaced every mile or two, at least in the city) and add additional lines (such as downtown to Orange Park & Westside), as time goes on and public support builds for alternative forms of transit systems.

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jeafl - I think you are probably painting the wrong picture in your mind. The only reason they called the commuter rail "from Fernindina to St. Augustine" was because those are the TERMINAL stops. The primary service would be from the Jax suburbs to Downtown ... all the points in between. The service to outlying stops is generally much lighter.

Also, few people really walk to commuter lines. They drive or bike for a little bit, then get on the train, then ride downtown transit to their offices. That's how it works in Boston - it's very popular. It's definitely a system for suburbanites, to allow them to go downtown without having to worry about traffic or parking. (Also, they almost never run in circles. They go from the "major city" out in spokes to the suburbs and nearby towns. Check out a map of Boston at MBTA.com)

Of course, the obvious retort is ... "well why should we be worried about mass transit for the suburbs, when our more urban neighborhoods need light rail!!" And that's a valid concern. However, projections can put commuter rail at damn near 50x cheaper per-mile than light-rail. Plus, commuter rail makes an eventual light-rail system more comprehensive (again, look at Boston). So it's a nice way to help ease into useful mass-transit projects without freaking out the taxpayers.

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Having to walk a mile from a commuter line to a destination when the humiture is 110 means the mass transit system serves nobody's needs.

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That's funny. I've done it in Boston, on inclines and declines, and New York as have many millions of others have. Philadelphia's SEPTA can vouch through its ridership data. Heck, let's even consider DC's Metro.

The myopia that has plagued the city for generations will only intensify. These alternative modes of transportation are not designed to be functional for a short period of time. A paradigm shift would probably take three generations so that a group of teenagers waiting at a commuter station to go to the beach will not be an unfamiliar site. During that shift, revenues would exceed costs, but it certainly won't happen the year it's completed; not even five or 15 years.

Sure, maintenance and upgrades require money, but the other side of the financial impact is that those who don't have transportation modes (e.g., automobiles), will have access to greater mobility while paying a nominal transportation fee. I often rode the T in Boston with people who looked homeless who had montly unlimited passes to ride the subway. With this, one could actually be employed at the burgeoning office parks littered south and east of the river and possibly add a significant increment to the bank account. Insurance premiums of those who opt for mass transit would probably drop because of reduced use and gas expense would most likely decrease. An intangible benefit is that a family of five on a subway may appreciate being able to interact more, without the would-be driver trying to concentrate while the kids fight in the back and the other adult berates the would-be driver for not taking out the garbage. Anyway, transportation cost-analysis is mind boggling.

The idea of mass transit is to move a significant amount of people who would otherwise be drivers or passengers in lower-capacity vehicles. Unfortunately, your trip provided little value. A college student living at home in a lower-income area who lacks a car could view this as a value-added alternative.

No solution will appease or satisfy everyone. That is why there are multiple systems.

Edited by JaxNole
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Most of the commuter rail lines, I've personally traveled on, also have express bus routes running from their stations into various city neighborhoods, as well as large park & ride lots, at far out suburban stations.  This would eliminate the need to walk a mile to get to a station, if you reside within a fairly urban area.

When I was in school in Atlanta, MARTA had 2 rail lines- one running north-south and the other running east-west. Then buses traveled from a station on one line to a station on the other. You could easily use MARTA to travel Atlanta in circles. I could go from Emory University on the eastern edge of Atlanta (on Decatur's doorstep) to the airport on the south of Atlanta by taking 1 bus to a north-south station and then taking the train to the airport and the trip took less than 45 minutes. In Jacksonville it takes almost an hour to go from NAS to the library downtown. JTA does not have a good track record and I doubt than it can design an effective commuter rail system.

Its best for an auto-oriented city, like Jax, to start with one single successful line (with stations spaced every mile or two, at least in the city) and add additional lines (such as downtown to Orange Park & Westside), as time goes on and public support builds for alternative forms of transit systems.

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Wouldn't it be best to start with whatever line would reduce the most traffic? If most of the commuter traffic goes from Orange Part (or Mandarin or wherever) to downtown Jacksonville, shouldn't that be the first commuter line built?

The trouble with Jacksonville is that city hall goes first for the flashy instead of dealing with legitimate problems.

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jeafl - I think you are probably painting the wrong picture in your mind. The only reason they called the commuter rail "from Fernindina to St. Augustine" was because those are the TERMINAL stops. The primary service would be from the Jax suburbs to Downtown ... all the points in between. The service to outlying stops is generally much lighter.

I would have to see a map of the entire system and the timetable for construction. And still I would not worry about tourism before I would people who have to commute to work every day.

Also, few people really walk to commuter lines. They drive or bike for a little bit, then get on the train, then ride downtown transit to their offices.
But, in our heat and humidity, even a 5 minute walk to a bus stop would be horrendous. I would want something close to door-to-door bus service to the rail stations, using small buses like shuttle services have.

Of course, the obvious retort is ... "well why should we be worried about mass transit for the suburbs, when our more urban neighborhoods need light rail!!" And that's a valid concern. However, projections can put commuter rail at damn near 50x cheaper per-mile than light-rail.

But, is it cost effective to build one thing because its cheap while ignoring what is really needed?

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That's funny.  I've done it in Boston, on inclines and declines, and New York as have many millions of others have.  Philadelphia's SEPTA can vouch through its ridership data.  Heck, let's even consider DC's Metro.

How often do these points north have 110 degree humitures?

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I would have to see a map of the entire system and the timetable for construction.  And still I would not worry about tourism before I would people who have to commute to work every day.

But, in our heat and humidity, even a 5 minute walk to a bus stop would be horrendous.  I would want something close to door-to-door bus service to the rail stations, using small buses like shuttle services have.

But, is it cost effective to build one thing because its cheap while ignoring what is really needed?

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I think you thinking too hard about this proposal. The article said they were studying a possible commuter rail line. Lets give them time to see what they come up with before saying what people will and won't do. Btw, it gets pretty hot in Dallas too, but their commuter rail still gets good ridership.

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But, in our heat and humidity, even a 5 minute walk to a bus stop would be horrendous. I would want something close to door-to-door bus service to the rail stations, using small buses like shuttle services have.

We do have "door-to-door" service, they're called taxis.

Mass transit is designed to move general masses to general areas. There is no way possible to ride a train or bus directly from point "A" to point "B" without some walking using even the most complex transit systems. Its just a fact of life and, frankly, is good for you! If the heat and humidity is too much maybe we can put a glass bubble over the entire city and air condition it.

I speak as a firm supporter of this initiative to create a light rail plan and will most definitely park my car in a park'n' ride lot in St. Augustine and commute to the southside of Jax everyday and have no problem whatsoever walking a few blocks or taking a bus from the station to my office. I can also comfortably say that I speak for thousands of others along the proposed line. I would also love to be able to take the train from St. Aug to the airport without stressing the the drive and fronting the money for gas and airport parking.

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I think the best solution for Jacksonvilke (since it's a hot, humid, car-oriented city) is to plan for a "Park-and-Ride" system, where all the car lovers can drive to.

They'll still have a great commute into downtown (or to all those offices near JTB), but won't have to sacrifice the conveniences of their cars.

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I was in Atlanta before the '96 Olympics, when the MARTA trains did not go far past the city limits. I know there was talk of extending the trains to Stone Mountain to reach some of the Olympic venues, but I've never heard if it was built. Such a link would be a heavy rail system in my view since it connects people who live in suburbs far away from the city center. But when I was in Atlanta MARTA was nothing more than Jacksonville's people mover- other than the fact that MARTA actually served a purpose.

Atlanta doesn't have a commuter rail system, it has a heavy rail system.  Something Jacksonville isn't ready for and will probably never have.  Btw, the only cities in the South that have heavy rail systems are Atlanta, Miami & Washington.  For your understanding, commuter rail runs on existing freight rail lines and not its own dedicated path.  This is way its significantly cheaper, because all you have to do is buy passenger rail cars and build stations.

This is commuter rail

TRE in Dallas/Fort Worth

f59phi.jpg

Tri-Rail in Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach

9-24-03.jpg

This is light rail

TRAX - Salt Lake City

C010609.jpg

This is heavy rail

Metrorail - Miami

tour03metrorail070cj.jpg

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I think you thinking too hard about this proposal.  The article said they were studying a possible commuter rail line.  Lets give them time to see what they come up with before saying what people will and won't do.  Btw, it gets pretty hot in Dallas too, but their commuter rail still gets good ridership.

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The people mover is the result of a very long term planning and design process. I remember hearing about it back during the Carter Administration. I cannot help but be hard on any JTA plan. Their track record is abyssmal.

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We do have "door-to-door" service, they're called taxis. 

How many people can afford taxis?

Mass transit is designed to move general masses to general areas.  There is no way possible to ride a train or bus directly from point "A" to point "B" without some walking using even the most complex transit systems.  Its just a fact of life and, frankly, is good for you!

This depends entirely on how the system is designed. It will depend on how many rail lines the system has, how far apart the stations are, how often the various rail lines intersect and how many buses you have to take people back and forth to the stations. With enough airport shuttle-type buses, each one covering a very limited geographic area and enough rail stations, you could have door-to-door bus service.

And the older the population gets, the more door-to-door service would be needed. I am only 37, but already have arthritis in my knees and have trouble walking at times.

If the heat and humidity is too much maybe we can put a glass bubble over the entire city and air condition it.

Be serious.

I once read a book by John Todd (if I remember correctly). He proposed bus shelters built around giant tanks of water that were used to grow tilapia. This would be suitable in cold climates, but why couldn't we have solar powered air conditioned bus shelters here?

I speak as a firm supporter of this initiative to create a light rail plan and will most definitely park my car in a park'n' ride lot in St. Augustine and commute to the southside of Jax everyday and have no problem whatsoever walking a few blocks or taking a bus from the station to my office.  I can also comfortably say that I speak for thousands of others along the proposed line.  I would also love to be able to take the train from St. Aug to the airport without stressing the the drive and fronting the money for gas and airport parking.

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And again I point out that in comparison to places like Mandarin and Orange Park, not many commuters would come from St. Augustine. There are other rail lines that would be more useful and more needed.

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I think the best solution for Jacksonvilke (since it's a hot, humid, car-oriented city) is to plan for a "Park-and-Ride" system, where all the car lovers can drive to.

They'll still have a great commute into downtown (or to all those offices near JTB), but won't have to sacrifice the conveniences of their cars.

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We have (or had) park-n-ride already using buses. I know that the intersection of San Jose and I295 was a park-n-ride lot. But this means that people towards Fruit Cove still had to have a car and still had to fight San Jose just to spend an hour on the bus.

But, if someone has to have a car to get to a commuter station or bus stop, what will keep them from using that car to go all the way to work? I don't see a mass-transit system as an adjunct to automobiles. I see it as a way to replace automobiles.

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We have (or had) park-n-ride already using buses. I know that the intersection of San Jose and I295 was a park-n-ride lot. But this means that people towards Fruit Cove still had to have a car and still had to fight San Jose just to spend an hour on the bus.

But, if someone has to have a car to get to a commuter station or bus stop, what will keep them from using that car to go all the way to work? I don't see a mass-transit system as an adjunct to automobiles. I see it as a way to replace automobiles.

Park n Ride lots are a necessity for commuter rail in suburban oriented metros. You ask what will keep them from using that car to go all the way to work? Traffic congestion. Many will definately see the benefits of going to a park-n-ride (ex. in Mandarin or Northern St. Johns County) and taking a train into town, free of (vehicular traffic & delays), instead of sitting stand still on I-95 during rush hour.

Many, like myself, would also use these park-n-ride lots to store our cars, when going to downtown sporting events or the airport, to avoid high parking fees and after game traffic.

And again I point out that in comparison to places like Mandarin and Orange Park, not many commuters would come from St. Augustine. There are other rail lines that would be more useful and more needed.

Btw, Mandarin would be served by this proposed line, with possible stations at Baymeadows, Sunbeam Road or St. Augustine Road. If Orange Park is interested in commuter rail, then Clay County will have to step up to the plate and contribute its fair share of funds, as well.

This depends entirely on how the system is designed. It will depend on how many rail lines the system has, how far apart the stations are, how often the various rail lines intersect and how many buses you have to take people back and forth to the stations. With enough airport shuttle-type buses, each one covering a very limited geographic area and enough rail stations, you could have door-to-door bus service.

This is why we'll have to wait for more in depth news about this proposed line. Outside of the proposed route, which is very good, imo, none of us know how far or where the stations will be, the timeline for development or the costs.

I was in Atlanta before the '96 Olympics, when the MARTA trains did not go far past the city limits. I know there was talk of extending the trains to Stone Mountain to reach some of the Olympic venues, but I've never heard if it was built. Such a link would be a heavy rail system in my view since it connects people who live in suburbs far away from the city center. But when I was in Atlanta MARTA was nothing more than Jacksonville's people mover- other than the fact that MARTA actually served a purpose.

Atlanta's subway system had two decent lines extending across town, in four directions, well before the olympics came along. Our downtown people mover is a completely different type of rail system and can't be compared to heavy rail.

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Park n Ride lots are a necessity for commuter rail in suburban oriented metros.

Only if no bus service to the stations is provided.

You ask what will keep them from using that car to go all the way to work?  Traffic congestion.

And traffic congestion we already have makes people seek out alternatives like car pooling?

Many, like myself, would also use these park-n-ride lots to store our cars, when going to downtown sporting events or the airport, to avoid high parking fees and after game traffic.

What happens if the city imposes fees for the park-n-ride lots that are as high as what you find elsewhere?

Btw, Mandarin would be served by this proposed line, with possible stations at Baymeadows, Sunbeam Road or St. Augustine Road.  If Orange Park is interested in commuter rail, then Clay County will have to step up to the plate and contribute its fair share of funds, as well.

What about the beaches (part of Duval County) and Crystal Springs and the housing developments and apartment complexes in Jacksonville along Blanding Blvd? Why should St. Augustine or Amelia Island be served before the the People of Jacksonville have all of their needs met?

Atlanta's subway system had two decent lines extending across town, in four directions, well before the olympics came along.

Exactly what I said, although the lines were not completely underground.

Our downtown people mover is a completely different type of rail system and can't be compared to heavy rail.

It cannot be compared to MARTA either since MARTA is actually useful.

A study was conducted during the Superbowl regarding the people mover. Based on the cost it took to operate the system and the number of people that actually used it, it would have been cheaper to provide cab fare.

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Only if no bus service to the stations is provided.

A well planned commuter rail line would have BOTH, park-n-ride lots and express bus routes feeding into it.

And traffic congestion we already have makes people seek out alternatives like car pooling?

Yes, and commuter rail will become another alternative, for those willing to get out of their cars, because car pooling still puts you on the congested roads.

What happens if the city imposes fees for the park-n-ride lots that are as high as what you find elsewhere?

That wouldn't happen, because that would defeat the purpose of commuter rail and park-n-ride lot, in general.

What about the beaches (part of Duval County) and Crystal Springs and the housing developments and apartment complexes in Jacksonville along Blanding Blvd?

Existing rail lines (needed for commuter rail) don't run it those areas of town. Thus, the short term answer to your question is improved bus service.

Why should St. Augustine or Amelia Island be served before the the People of Jacksonville have all of their needs met?

This is a metropolitan area, of which Jacksonville serves as the core, not a large gated subdivision. This commuter rail line would serve a large population in Jacksonville, as well as make out rapidly growing suburban areas more accessible to town. This line also runs parallel to I-95, which works great as an option to avoid the main highway through metro Jax.

Exactly what I said, although the lines were not completely underground.

It cannot be compared to MARTA either since MARTA is actually useful.

No, you mentioned before 1996, Atlanta's MARTA was similar to Jax's Skyway. I strongly disagree. At no point, in its history, was it ever a short peoplemover system that on stretched 2.5 miles in downtown.

A study was conducted during the Superbowl regarding the people mover.  Based on the cost it took to operate the system and the number of people that actually used it, it would have been cheaper to provide cab fare.

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What does this have to do with a proposed commuter rail line? Nobody here would argue that the skyway suffers from a horrible layout and probably should have never been built as a monorail. We could have had a light rail system, 4 or 5 times as long, for the same price.

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A study was conducted during the Superbowl regarding the people mover.  Based on the cost it took to operate the system and the number of people that actually used it, it would have been cheaper to provide cab fare.

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Could you please provide a citation or reference? I've never heard of such a thing.

Furthermore, the TU reported that the skyway actually made a slight PROFIT for the 2004 fiscal year (which runs into 05) largely in part to the superbowl revenue.

Though I previously called the skyway a failure (and I stand by that statement, in its proper context), it's only a failure in the sense that several poor design choices have limited its potential. But from a financial standpoint, it's certainly been no worse a project than any one of a dozen pointless road and highway projects.

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This depends entirely on how the system is designed. It will depend on how many rail lines the system has, how far apart the stations are, how often the various rail lines intersect and how many buses you have to take people back and forth to the stations. With enough airport shuttle-type buses, each one covering a very limited geographic area and enough rail stations, you could have door-to-door bus service.

And the older the population gets, the more door-to-door service would be needed. I am only 37, but already have arthritis in my knees and have trouble walking at times.

Even using the most comprehensive transit systems (i.e. NYC, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, etc.) there is no way possible to provide "door-to-door" service. Walking is a requirement af ANY mass transit passenger. A taxi is literally the only way to prevent walking. Those that refuse to walk (or in your case are unable to walk) will then have to continue to suffer the daily gridlock in their car while cursing the congestion.

This proposed line (setting aside any correlation to my apparent benefit) is only the first leg of a possible comprehensive, multimodal, system that may service the needs of most anyone in the Jacksonville Metro.

We have (or had) park-n-ride already using buses. I know that the intersection of San Jose and I295 was a park-n-ride lot. But this means that people towards Fruit Cove still had to have a car and still had to fight San Jose just to spend an hour on the bus.

But, if someone has to have a car to get to a commuter station or bus stop, what will keep them from using that car to go all the way to work? I don't see a mass-transit system as an adjunct to automobiles. I see it as a way to replace automobiles.

Tracks and busses cannot replace the automobile. They can only supplement and give options to a traveler.

Be serious.

I once read a book by John Todd (if I remember correctly). He proposed bus shelters built around giant tanks of water that were used to grow tilapia. This would be suitable in cold climates, but why couldn't we have solar powered air conditioned bus shelters here?

:wacko:

Are you willing to pay more taxes to fund "air conditioned" bus stations and giant Tilapia tanks??? Who needs to be serious?

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Could you please provide a citation or reference? I've never heard of such a thing.

I heard it on the local TV news.

I also remember hearing that people here for the Superbowl were sold people mover passes that ended up costing the riders more than paying the fare for each ride would have cost. Is this how the profit was made?

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Even using the most comprehensive transit systems (i.e. NYC, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, etc.) there is no way possible to provide "door-to-door" service.  Walking is a requirement af ANY mass transit passenger.  A taxi is literally the only way to prevent walking.  Those that refuse to walk (or in your case are unable to walk) will then have to continue to suffer the daily gridlock in their car while cursing the congestion. 

You are thinking in terms of preserving the personal-use automobile.

As it stands now I have a 10-15 minute walk, depending on the weather and how many library books I am carrying, to get to the nearest JTA bus stop from my house. And I must be sure to arrive early just in case the bus is running ahead of schedule, meaning I have to wait in either the cold or heat. And my stop has no cover or bench.

This proposed line (setting aside any correlation to my apparent benefit) is only the first leg of a possible comprehensive, multimodal, system that may service the needs of most anyone in the Jacksonville Metro.
But, why should this first line be what is proposed instead of something that will benefit more people who actually live in Jacksonville?

Are you willing to pay more taxes to fund "air conditioned" bus stations and giant Tilapia tanks???  Who needs to be serious?

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I

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