01 November, 2008

MONORAIL SUBWAY COMING SOON




Las Vegas is pointing the way for Jacksonville. The downtown monorail is going to the airport, which in the case of Vegas, is "where the people are". Jacksonville is much larger and many miles more scattered, but could they be onto a novel idea? In Jacksonville, "the people" are in San Marco, 5-Points/Riverside Ave, Shands, (the "new" courthouse) or the Stadium district. Who in Jacksonville would have thought of taking our Skyway, "where the people are?" Note that this Vegas job might end up being the most expensive monorail ever built. Not because the technology is THAT expensive, but because they are going to build a monorail SUBWAY! Now please don't jump to the conclusion that I would EVER support such an idea in Jacksonville, we simply don't need it. But we do need to make the Skyway viable, so we look on jealously and "wish" we had leaders that were not idea challenged invertebrates. So my beloved City, read it and weep:



Edward Lawrence, Reporter

Monorail Looks to Expand to McCarran Airport

Imagine getting off a plane and onto a train to get to your hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The Las Vegas Monorail announced plans to do just that by expanding to the airport.
The monorail runs behind the casinos on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard in a four mile stretch.
Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority board members say this will be the only way to save the project. The monorail opened four years ago to fewer than expected passengers. To increase the riders, they want to go where the people are.
The monorail impressed visitor Jim Norbury, "I think the monorail is brilliant, absolutely brilliant."
Take a look at the Las Vegas Monorail's proposal
He and his wife Lee are visiting from England. They say the monorail looks new and clean.
To survive, monorail executives told the LVCVA it needs to go to the airport. Monorail President and CEO Curtis Myles says it's a necessary next step to generate the needed riders and revenue.
"Certainly that is where the people are in this town. 70-percent of the people who visit Las Vegas through the airport are going to the resort corridor where our system is," he said.
Myles put together a team to identify creative financing for the project, "There is a lot of money out there today that is chasing infrastructure projects and this is an infrastructure project. Oddly enough, the best time to do a project is in a down economy. It puts a lot of people to work. It invests in the community."
He refused to say how much it will cost. Myles made his presentation for a blessing from the elected leaders on the convention board, which he got, with strings.
"They have given us reassurance that our taxpayers will not be on the hook. We are going to take them up on that," said Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid.
Commissioner Tom Collins put it best, "County will not be on the bite for this thing."
Once the money is settled and expansion is finished, the Norbury's look forward to using it for a cool trip to their hotel, "We had a 10 hour flight, we were pretty tired. Then to stand in the heat. We arrived at 1 o'clock. It was maybe five minutes, but it seemed a long time when you have done a 10 hour flight."
Curtis Myles says he doesn't expect any resistance from cab drivers for the monorail expansion.
If all goes according to schedule the first train will run to the airport in 2012. It will go from MGM Grand, east on Tropicana, then turn south on Swenson into the airport.
There will be two more stations, one at terminal one and another that will be inside the airport expansion for a terminal three.
Part of the trip for the monorail will also be underground to give the monorail space and avoid moving roads. The final design work is being finished now.

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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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