23 August, 2008

THE NEW AQUATIC ROADS OF JACKSONVILLE

Sometimes, a hard lesson from Mother Nature, can reteach public transit 101. In a generally low laying Coastal Port City like Jacksonville, having just experienced a week of endless rain, an elevated train system like our Skyway isn't looking like such a stupid idea after all. In fact if this storm experience proved anything, it's that leaving our monorail system 1/3 finished is mega dumb. Funny thing is, three of the 4 unfinished lines of the Jacksonville Skyway would go into the hardest hit flood areas. Riverside/Brooklyn, San Marco, and Springfield, all look like inland seas and it's only going to get worse as the water that fell on Central Florida makes it's way north on the St. Johns River - only to "stack up" in the narrows downtown. Meaning the worst of the flooding could still be ahead of us in the areas that can least afford it. A Skyway tied to new development, streetcars, commuter rail and bus transit, routed on the dryer high roads, would do wonders for mobility in the next few weeks. But City Hall doesn't want to hear about Skyway's, or other pie-in-the-sky projects. We'll study the problem and for the price of the study we could buy every citizen of these inner neighborhoods a canoe.

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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