31 May, 2008

Vision for Jacksonville Traction Company, Inc.


Imagine a string of pearls illuminating one of the greatest downtown waterfronts in the world. Each pearl is a world-class destination: culinary, cultural, historical, recreational. Now, imagine that the string is a destination in itself—attractive vintage vehicles from around the world, each with its own rich history, each representing a great city or country. That string of pearls is Jacksonville Traction Companys vision for the proposed Water Street-Downtown historic streetcar line.

The idea of the revival of the original JTCO is decades old. But a comprehensive vision for the line is especially timely now, in the wake of soaring fuel costs, vacations close to home and the rebirth of Jacksonville's core. This measure would return the question of downtown urban Transit to the private sector and allow for rapid construction and completion along our booming transportation corridors. Among these improvements is a major streetcar and transportation museum, as well as a Trolley based Theme Park. The JTCO-line, as proposed would serve as a primary landside distributor of bus, Skyway and any BRT passengers and well as the anchor for all downtown tourism.
President JTCO

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The arguments rage to this date, "Should have never been built," "waste of taxpayer money," "Doesn't go anywhere," "Nobody rides it..." etc. Bottom line is we have it, and it is finally showing signs of life. Simple extensions to the Stadium, San Marco, and the area of Blue Cross in North Riverside would turn this little train around. Addition of Park and Ride garages and multimodal transit terminals at the end points would bring on the crowds. The video must have been shot on a Sunday Morning, as downtown is certainly as packed with life as any other major City on weekdays. Jacksonville is a city of Bikes, joggers, walkers, buses and cars, one almost wonders how the photographer managed to find this quiet moment.

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