22 April, 2009

Jacksonville Mayor's Back Door To BRT

Looks just like Jacksonville to me. NOT!

It just had to happen, Mayor John Peyton, of Jacksonville finally showed his hand at the poker table. The long term disinterest in Mass Transit, the canceled LRT studies of the 1990's, and the sudden embrace of BRT as the be - all - save - all for our city. Nobody it seems can get to the king for all the Emperor's standing in the door. He has refused to meet with any group with an idea of Rail or any other alternate transit. Isn't this the behavior we would expect from this Mayor who's family owns both Gate Petroleum and Gate Concrete.

Here's the news release:

The city of Jacksonville has a new sibling.

Mayor John Peyton and Mayor Beto Richa of Curitiba, Brazil, signed an agreement making that Latin American city Jacksonville's seventh sister city.

The time is ripe.

Curitiba, located on Brazil's southern coast, is a river city. It is also a business center, having been chosen three times by the Revista Exame, a local business publication, as the best place in Brazil to do business.

But Jacksonville stands to gain more than enriched business opportunities from its relationship with Curitiba. It stands to gain lessons in sustainable living too.

According to Yes! Magazine - a nonprofit publication that focuses on sustainable environments -Curitiba has one of the world's best mass transit systems. Aided by a series of express lanes, its buses transport people quickly through town, and around 85 percent of the people use it.
Its urban planning model has been lauded by UNESCO as one that could be emulated in rebuilding Afghanistan cities, and its efforts toward recycling and conservation have earned it accolades as the ecological capital of Brazil.

One goal of Jacksonville's Sister Cities program is to stimulate economic development.
This new sister has the potential to offer the city more insights on strategies to put that development on a greener path.

Yeah, "Greener path on Earth Day 2009," more buses, more fumes, more pavement, more heat, more waste... This is pretty darn transparent, you can read between the lines for yourself.

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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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