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The Jaxson: JTA Skyway Plan Needs Some Tweaks

artist rendering of vehicle/pedestrian bridge
Modern Cities
JTA's plan includes a new river crossing from the Southbank to downtown.

As we’ve known for a while, JTA is planning to expand its Skyway monorail service farther into some neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Jacksonville, with a proposal calling for automated, driverless vehicles.

But as Bill Delaney with The Jaxson tells WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo in this week’s Business Brief, the plan as it stands now could use some tweaking if JTA wants to accomplish smart development and more reliable service than the current plan allows.

The "U2C,” or Ultimate Urban Connector, plan came from discussions on what to do with the aging Skyway, considering the system's main flaws: Skyway vehicles aren't manufactured anymore, the elevated structures are too expensive to extend, and they aren't capable of bearing the weight of light rail or modern streetcars.

JTA proposes replacing the Skyway's monorail trains with autonomous vehicles — essentially small, driverless buses. JTA's plans call for driverless vehicles that would travel the ramps and also run out into the city streets to provide access to adjacent neighborhoods. It's a bold idea, but one with red flags that need to be seriously considered and vetted locally before Jacksonville gets roped into another boondoggle, according to Modern Cities.

Read the rest of the editorial on the Skyway plan at Modern Cities.