Letter: Streetcar advocacy group forming
Robert W. Mann
I am one of the co-publishers of metrojacksonville.com, a semi-retired transportation planner, and full-time author in the field of transit and local histories.
Thirty-three years ago, I introduced an idea to the Jacksonville Downtown Development Authority to reconstruct several miles of the Jacksonville Traction Company; once the largest streetcar network in the state.
At the time we could have been the first city in the nation to return to vintage and reproduction – authentic – steel wheel on steel rail streetcars. Today we will be closer to urban area number 100 to return to the rails.
The good news is the plan is now part of the City of Jacksonville Mobility Plan. It will be 100% locally funded and give us a much needed downtown attraction, development engine, and mass transit system.
I’m calling for volunteers to help create a citizens advocacy group to lobby for rail transit in northeast Florida.
Tentatively called Streetcar Now, our purpose would be wide ranging support for several local and regional streetcar plans, including:
ST AUGUSTINE – Vintage (narrow gauge) Streetcar, San Marco-Cordova-King-Riberia
JACKSONVILLE – Heritage Streetcar, Stadium-Downtown-Riverside/Stadium-Gateway
GAINESVILLE – City is in the early stages of planning a modern streetcar network
FERNANDINA BEACH – Possible revival of a forgotten plan to rebuild the system.
PALATKA – Possible reconstruction of narrow gauge horse tram (Disney Main St. style)
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Possible reconstruction of narrow gauge horse tram (Disney Main St. style)
EDGEWATER – Restoration in Edgewater, Florida — approved by the municipality September 24 — includes a 3- to 4-mile internal streetcar line.
Please accept this as my invitation to join us, send us your endorsement, or assist us in creating and planning events. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.