Jacksonville Skyway

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Jacksonville Skyway
JTA Skyway train.jpg
Overview
Type Automated people mover
Status Operational
Locale Jacksonville, Florida
Termini Convention Center (west)
Kings Avenue (south)
Rosa Parks Transit Station (north)
Stations 8
Ridership 481,000 2011–2012
Operation
Opening 1989
Operator(s) JTA
Character Elevated
Technical
Line length 2.5 mi (4.0 km)
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge Monorail
Electrification Third rail
Operating speed 35 mph (56 km/h)
Route map
Rosa Parks
Hemming Plaza
Central
Jefferson
Convention Center
Operations and Maintenance Center
St. Johns River
San Marco
Riverplace
Kings Avenue

The Jacksonville Skyway is a people mover in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. An automated monorail train, it is operated by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. Opening in 1989 with three stations in Downtown Jacksonville the Skyway has been extended in 1996, 1998, and 2000, following a conversion from Matra technology to Bombardier equipment. The system currently comprises two routes across 2.5-mile (4.0 km) of track, serving eight stations and crosses the St. Johns River on the Acosta Bridge. There is currently no fare to ride the Skyway, which had 481,000 passengers in the 2011–2012 year.

Description[edit]

Skyway track curve between Central and Hemming Plaza stations at Hogan Street

The Skyway runs on an elevated two-way monorail track. The 2.5-mile (4.0 km) system serves eight stations in Downtown Jacksonville: five in the Downtown Core and LaVilla areas, and three across the St. Johns River on the Southbank. There are two routes running south from Rosa Parks Transit Station and branching at Central Station: one going west and terminating at Convention Center Station, and the other going south over the river and terminating at Kings Avenue Station on the Southbank.[1][2]

The system has used two car and control systems since its creation. From 1989 to 1996 it had a system designed by Matra using its VAL rubber-wheeled technology. This ran only on the 0.7-mile (1.1 km), three station Phase I-A segment. In 1997, this was replaced by the current system designed by Bombardier Transportation, a version of its UM III monorail technology. In the current system, vehicles run on beams 34 inches (86 cm) wide and 28 inches (71 cm) deep, fixed on an 11-foot (3.4 m) wide guideway with parapet walls.[1][2] Each train is automated by Automatic Train Control (ATC), can have two to six cars, and travels at up to 35 mph (56 km/h) per hour.

History[edit]

Planning and development[edit]

An automated people mover for Downtown Jacksonville was first proposed in 1972 to deal with traffic and parking issues. In 1976, the city incorporated it into its mobility plan, hoping to attract interest from the Urban Mass Transit Administration's Downtown Peoplemover Program. The initial study was undertaken by the Florida Department of Transportation and Jacksonville's planning department, who took the Skyway project to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) in 1977 for further development. Early proposals recommended a comprehensive system over 4 miles (6.4 km) long that would connect into adjacent neighborhoods, but the project's route and scope were greatly reduced over the years to meet budget constraints and the UMTA's parameters.[2][3]

After several stops and starts, the UMTA selected Jacksonville as one of seven cities to receive federal funding for the "Automated Skyway Express" in 1985. Two other related projects are Miami's Metromover and Detroit's People Mover. UMTA's approved plan called for the construction of a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) Phase I system to be built in three segments; the agency awarded JTA $23.5 million for the initial 0.7-mile (1.1 km) Phase I-A segment.[2][3]

Implementation and expansion[edit]

In July 1987, JTA selected French company Matra to build the Phase I-A segment. Work completed in May 1989 at a cost of $34.6 million. At its opening the Skyway served three stations on its east-west route: Central, Jefferson, and Terminal Station (now Convention Center Station) on the Northbank of Downtown Jacksonville. Subsequent extensions were planned to take the Skyway north to Florida Community College at Jacksonville (FCCJ), and then south across the St. Johns River over the Acosta Bridge. Development of these routes began in 1992 and 1995, respectively, but negotiations for a new contract with Matra failed when the previous one expired. In October 1994 Bombardier Transportation was awarded a new contract to revamp the existing east-west segment with new technology and to complete the remaining Phase I extensions.[1][2]

The system was shut down on December 15, 1996 to replace the former Matra technology with Bombardier equipment; the older cars were sold to O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. The northbound extension was completed, adding the Hemming Plaza and Rosa Parks Transit Station stops, and the Skyway reopened on December 15, 1997, with service from the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center to FCCJ. The southern segment opened on October 30, 1998, adding service to San Marco Station on Jacksonville's Southbank. On November 1, 2000, the Riverplace and Kings Avenue Stations opened, completing the Southbank segment and Phase I of the Skyway.[1]

Use and future[edit]

Ridership on the Skyway has been far below initial projections; while the JTA anticipated 100,000 riders monthly, it averaged less than a third of that by 2009. The primary reasons are the decline of the downtown workforce and lack of connections to other neighborhoods and modes of transit. The system became a major point of contention in Jacksonville, with critics considering it a "ride to nowhere" and a waste of resources. In 2010, after under-performing for over twenty years, The Florida Times-Union called it "a Jacksonville joke for a generation". However, others argued that expansion of the system and downtown revitalization could make it a success.[3][4]

In February 2012, the Skyway was temporarily made free to ride until a new payment system was installed. Ridership jumped 61%—to 481,000 annually. Ridership in 2013 averaged nearly 4,000 on weekdays (the system is closed on weekends) and JTA has renewed the fare-free policy through the end of September 2014.[5] In light of this momentum, JTA Director Nat Ford has announced the agency will apply for grants to expand the system with a new station in the fast-growing Brooklyn neighborhood.[6][7]

Stations[edit]

System map

The Jacksonville Skyway has eight stations on two lines: the Northbank (Convention Center) line, and the Southbank (Kings Avenue) line. All trains run though Rosa Parks Transit Station, Hemming Plaza Station, and Central Station, where they split.[1]

Rosa Parks Transit Station[edit]

     Northbank Line •      Southbank Line
Wheelchair symbol.svg
Rosa Parks Station.JPG
Layout Opened Transfer
1 island platform
2 track
1997 Local Transit JTA Bus
(18 bays)
Location
201 Union Street West, Jacksonville
30°19′59.67″N 81°39′31.63″W / 30.3332417°N 81.6587861°W / 30.3332417; -81.6587861

Rosa Parks Transit Station is an intermodal transit station serving both as a Skyway stop and as Jacksonville's main city bus station. Located on Hogan Street between State Street and Union Street, it is the Skyway's northern terminus and serves both the Northbank and Southbank lines. It is across the street from the Downtown campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville.[8]

The station was part of the Skyway's first extension, the north-south segment running from Central Station to the state college. It was designed to become Jacksonville's primary bus transfer point, with eighteen bays for city buses on the ground level and the Skyway element on the elevated platform. Construction began in 1993 and completed on December 15, 1997.[1] Highly regarded among intermodal stations in transit circles, Rosa Parks Transit Station has won awards for its architectural design.[2]

Hemming Plaza Station[edit]

     Northbank Line •      Southbank Line
Wheelchair symbol.svg
Hemming Plaza transit station.jpg
Layout Opened
1 island platform
2 track
1997
Location
301 Hogan Street, Jacksonville
30°19′46.03″N 81°39′35.41″W / 30.3294528°N 81.6598361°W / 30.3294528; -81.6598361

Hemming Plaza Station is located on Hogan Street between Duval Street and Monroe Street, adjacent to Hemming Plaza. Like Rosa Parks Transit Station, the station at Hemming Plaza was part of the Skyway's first north-south extension, which carried the system north to the state college. Construction began in 1993 and both stations began operation on December 15, 1997.[1]

The station serves both the Northbank and Southbank lines; the next stops are Rosa Parks Transit Station to the north and Central Station to the south.[1] Nearby points of interest include the Jacksonville Main Library, Jacksonville City Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, and the John Milton Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse.[9]

Central Station[edit]

     Northbank Line •      Southbank Line
Wheelchair symbol.svg
JTA Central Station 1.JPG
Layout Opened Transfer
1 island platform
2 track
1989
(rebuilt in 1997)
BSicon BOOT.svg Water taxi
Intercity Bus Greyhound
Local Transit JTA Bus
Location
300 Bay Street West, Jacksonville
30°19′38″N 81°39′44″W / 30.327087°N 81.662331°W / 30.327087; -81.662331

Central Station is the transfer point for the system's Northbank and Southbank lines, allowing transfer between trains heading east from Jefferson Station and north from San Marco Station across the river. It is located on Bay Street between Pearl and Julia Streets.[1]

Central Station was one of the three original Jacksonville Skyway stations that opened in June 1989. At the time it was the eastern terminus of the line, which ran west to Jefferson Station and Terminal Station (now Convention Center Station). All three stations were revamped in 1997, when the Skyway switched from Matra to Bombardier technology. Central was designed as a transfer hub for subsequent extensions to the north and south, which were completed in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Additionally, the station was constructed to accommodate a future eastern expansion along Bay Street.[1] Points of interest nearby include the Jacksonville Landing, the Northbank Riverwalk, and many businesses.[10]

Jefferson Station[edit]

     Northbank Line
Wheelchair symbol.svg
Jefferson Station.JPG
Layout Opened
1 island platform
2 track
1989
(rebuilt in 1997)
Location
800 Bay Street West, Jacksonville
30°19′39.5″N 81°40′03″W / 30.327639°N 81.66750°W / 30.327639; -81.66750

Jefferson Station is located on Bay Street just west of Jefferson Street. It is part of the Northbank line and was one of the three original Skyway stations that opened in June 1989. It stands between Convention Center Station to the west and Central Station to the east. All three stations were revamped in 1997 when the Skyway system switched to Bombardier Transportation technology. Jefferson Station has an adjacent park and ride lot.[1][11]

Convention Center Station[edit]

     Northbank Line
Wheelchair symbol.svg
Convention Center Station.JPG
Layout Opened
1 island platform
2 track
1989
(rebuilt in 1997)
Location
1101 W. Bay Street, Jacksonville
30°19′45″N 81°40′20″W / 30.329047°N 81.672206°W / 30.329047; -81.672206

Convention Center Station is located on Bay Street just west of Johnson Street in Downtown's LaVilla area, adjacent to the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center. It serves the Skyway's Northbank line and is the system's western terminus.[1]

The station was one of the three original Skyway stops that opened with the initial Phase I-A segment in June 1989. It was originally called "Terminal Station" in reference to the Jacksonville Terminal, a former train station that was converted into the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center in 1986. The station was built to provide public transit access to the Convention Center, and has an adjacent park and ride lot.[11][1][2] It was renovated in 1997 with the transition to Bombardier technology.[1][2] The City of Jacksonville plans to turn the site into an intermodal transit station with the return of rail service to the Jacksonville Terminal.[1]

San Marco Station[edit]

     Southbank Line
Wheelchair symbol.svg
Layout Opened Transfer
1 island platform
2 track
1998 BSicon BOOT.svg Water taxi
Location
701 San Marco Boulevard South, Jacksonville
30°19′03.5″N 81°39′39″W / 30.317639°N 81.66083°W / 30.317639; -81.66083

San Marco Station is located at the corner of San Marco Boulevard and Mary Street in the Southbank area of Downtown Jacksonville. It is on the Southbank line and is the first stop reached as the line crosses the St. Johns River on the Acosta Bridge from Central Station.[1]

The station was planned as the first on the Skyway's Southbank extension.[12] It opened on October 30, 1998, and was the southern terminus of the line until the Riverplace and Kings Avenue Stations opened two years later. As it stands at the southern approach of the Acosta Bridge, it has an unusual configuration: with its three-story interior concourse it is the highest of all the Skyway stations.[1] Nearby points of interest include Friendship Fountain Park, Treaty Oak Park, the Museum of Science and History, and the River City Brewing Company restaurant and marina.[13]

Riverplace Station[edit]

     Southbank Line
Wheelchair symbol.svg
Layout Opened Transfer
1 island platform
2 track
2000 BSicon BOOT.svg Water taxi
Location
801 Flagler Avenue, Jacksonville
30°19′03.5″N 81°39′24″W / 30.317639°N 81.65667°W / 30.317639; -81.65667

Riverplace Station is located at the corner of Mary Street and Flagler Avenue on Downtown's Southbank. It is part of the system's Southbank line. The Riverplace and Kings Avenue Stations opened on November 1, 2000, completing the Southbank segment as well as Phase I of the Skyway's development. As such, these stations are the most recent additions to the system.[1] The station was severely damaged by fire on the night of March 11, 2009 and was temporarily shut down. After approximately $450,000 in repairs it reopened for October 31, 2009, accommodating the annual Florida–Georgia football game and Halloween.[14][15] The station stands between the San Marco Station to the west and Kings Avenue Station to the east.[1] It is located near the Riverplace Tower office tower and several other commercial and residential buildings; other nearby points of interest include the Jacksonville Riverwalk and Treaty Oak Park.[16]

Kings Avenue Station[edit]

     Southbank Line
Wheelchair symbol.svg
Layout Opened
1 island platform
2 track
2000
Location
1003 Kings Avenue, Jacksonville
30°18′55″N 81°39′11″W / 30.31528°N 81.65306°W / 30.31528; -81.65306

Kings Avenue Station is located on Onyx Street between Prudential Drive and Louisa Street in the Southbank area. It is part of the Southbank line and is the Skyway's eastern and southern terminus. It opened on November 1, 2000, along with the adjacent Riverplace Station, completing the Southbank segment as well as Phase I of the Skyway's development. It is connected to the Kings Avenue Garage, a park-and-ride garage, via a lengthy walkway passing beneath Interstate 95, and some JTA bus lines run through the station.[1] It is near a number of hotels and residential towers.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Bell, Jon (December 1, 2007). "Jacksonville, Florida: The Skyway". web.presby.ed. Presbyterian College. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Schneider, Jerry B. (May 31, 2013). "Jacksonville's Automated Skyway Express Downtown Peoplemover". faculty.washington.edu. University of Washington. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Hannan, Larry (September 5, 2010). "After 20 years, the Jacksonville Skyway remains a punchline". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ Herman, Charles. "$200 Million Ride to Nowhere". ABC News. Retrieved December 26, 2009. 
  5. ^ Bauerlein, David (August 30, 2013). "JTA will keep Skyway free for riders another year". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ Bauerlein, David (May 16, 2013). "JTA head Nat Ford seeks new direction for transit". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  7. ^ "IRS scrutiny, JTA's new leader, Clay County election efficiency, Baymeadows changes". WJXT Jacksonville. June 2, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Skyway: Rosa Parks Skyway Station" (PDF). http://www.jtafla.com. Jacksonville Transportation Authority. 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Skyway: Hemming Plaza Station" (PDF). http://www.jtafla.com. Jacksonville Transportation Authority. 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Skyway: Central Station" (PDF). http://www.jtafla.com. Jacksonville Transportation Authority. 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "JTA Skyway" (PDF). http://www.jtafla.com. Jacksonville Transportation Authority. 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ Derek L. Kinner (December 15, 1997). "Skyway service starts today". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Skyway: San Marco Station" (PDF). http://www.jtafla.com. Jacksonville Transportation Authority. 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  14. ^ Larry Hannan (March 12, 2009). "Late night fire closes Skyway station". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ Larry Hannan (September 1, 2009). "Riverplace Skyway station should open before Halloween". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved September 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Skyway: Riverplace Station" (PDF). http://www.jtafla.com. Jacksonville Transportation Authority. 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Skyway: Kings Avenue Station" (PDF). http://www.jtafla.com. Jacksonville Transportation Authority. 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°19′38″N 81°39′44″W / 30.327087°N 81.662331°W / 30.327087; -81.662331