29 December, 2008
PHOENIX GETS IT - FLORIDA DOESN'T
Amazing how Sunbelt Cities are catching the railroad bug. Just a couple of weeks ago we were offering congratulations to Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, for their new RAIL RUNNER commuter railway. This week it's the return of the PHOENIX to the Light Rail club.
Once again Florida residents must sit in near 100 degree temperatures, parked on endless pavement and traffic jams and wonder why? Why hasn't Central Florida Commuter Rail taken off yet? Why has Miami Streetcar gone so slowly? Why isn't Sarasota or Ft. Lauderdale putting down tracks? Why is Jacksonville's mayor suddenly lost his mental facilities and decided to try and torpedo all city transit? Why wouldn't anyone notice that this very mayor is wealthy due to owning the largest Oil Company and Concrete Plants in Jacksonville? Why isn't the news doing an investigative report? Why is some female representative from Volusia, not worthy of a name, trying to kill the Duval, Volusia, Clay, St. Johns, Orange, Seminole, and Osceola County's efforts to study or otherwise get funding for rail? According to the faceless lady in Volusia, "We simply can't afford the costs of rail..."
Boy does that sound original. We Transit people have been hearing that claptrap since the last stage coach bit the dusty trail, and Henry Ford rolled out the Tin Lizzy. People that say these things almost all have one thing in common:
1. They have never experienced modern or quality urban rail, if any.
2. They take all their information foundations and "think-tanks", steeped in oil or auto money.
3. They are clueless on the cost of rail -vs- highway.
4. They are clueless on the capacity and economics of rail operations.
If Florida continues to elect and support these out dated schemes, we'll find ourselves a century behind the rest of this country within 20 years.
Arizona is to be congratulated! Right under the nose, and in the land of "The Anti-Train" John Mc Cain, PHOENIX GETS IT!
TAKE A FREE TOUR OF THE JACKSONVILLE SKYWAY
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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