|by Bradley Parsons - 11/2003
Staff Writer Jacksonville Daily Record
City Council member Lake Ray advocated Wednesday a policy
shift that will consider a $75 million Intelligent Transportation System as a
possible alternative to controversial interchange improvements already
approved by Jacksonville voters.
Ray has been one of the City’s strongest
supporters of ITS, a high–tech system that routes traffic away from clogged
intersections toward open lanes. During a Council workshop, Ray said, in
addition to cutting commuters’ transit times, committing to ITS will make the
City a more attractive business destination and would keep Jacksonville in
line to receive State and federal transportation dollars — some of which are
tied to the system.
Further, Ray suggested that ITS could
help solve the City’s overpass dilemma. Although the Better Jacksonville Plan
includes $251 million to build 12, traffic–relieving intersection overpasses,
neighborhood activists have protested the massive concrete structures as
harmful to property values.
By Ray’s estimate, four of the
overpasses will not survive the political process, leaving $80 million the
City could use to install ITS.
“Some of the overpasses have been
contentious issues,” said Ray. “It’s just a guess, but I’d estimate about a
third of them will not survive. If you kill four overpasses that leaves $80
million that could be spent to see that everybody in the City benefits.”
** If, If, If, - And IF there
is no money are you going to be the one to ask for another SALES TAX INCREASE
since you cannot run again due to term limits? ....Lake Ray constantly
sounds like an accident going someplace to happen!
Mayor John Peyton, in a recent speech to
the Rotary Club of Jacksonville, said he was aware of the controversy
generated by the overpasses, but said he presumed they would be built.
Peyton’s policy chief, Steve Diebenow, who sat in on the workshop, declined
comment on Ray’s suggestion.
Ray emphasized that ITS would only be
part of the solution. Matt Dominy, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s
deputy executive director, said some interchange improvements would still be
“This urban legend
that you can install ITS and you won’t need to build any overpasses; it’s just
not accurate,” said Dominy. “In terms of helping with traffic flow and easing
congestion; it can be an effective tool.”
** Effective tool? $100 million
dollars to save 10 minutes in travel time - what a joke! ....A bad joke
perp'ed on the taxpayers of Jacksonville.
The discussion over the comparative
advantages of the overpasses and ITS occasionally became cluttered with
high-tech language. Council member Faye Rustin focused the discussion on its
“Some of this is going way over my
head, and I don’t think I’m the dumbest person in the room,” said Rustin.
“What I need to know is how much time is this [ITS] going to save commuters?
How much is this going to cost? And where’s the money coming from?”
Ray responded that ITS would cut
minutes*** off the average Jacksonville commute. It would cost between $50 and
$100 million. The money would come from leftover overpass funds, State and
federal funding and yet to be identified sources.
Think of the money as an investment Ray
said. By cutting ***10 minutes*** from the average commute (to and from work), ITS
would essentially earn commuters an extra work week each year. Additionally,
Ray said every dollar spent on ITS would save the City $10 to $30 in road
** Really Mr. Ray..... is
it 5 or 10 minutes.. And is this goofy proposal gonna fix the potholes,
ruts and collapsing roads and bridges??? ....Lousy math & dumb, expensive pipe
ITS has cut Tallahassee’s traffic
congestion from 15 to 30 percent and shown better results elsewhere, said Ray.
** Mr. Ray, Get Real! This is NOT Tallahassee....... and never will be!
Dream on....... $100 million for 5 or 10 minutes?? Surely you jest! Put
the money into the school system - build a REAL future for this City!
....Better yet, sit down and shaddap!
** Question: What firm would 'engineer' this "Pie in the sky" scheme?
Yours??? Faye Rustin is right.... Only, its way over the heads of ALL of
Duval County! Folks, this guy's daffy proposals make me wanna puke -
what a waster he is of taxpayer time & money. Maybe, just maybe, Duval County
will see its first RECALL?? ...Lake Ray is a "legend in his own mind."
** Editor, STReport