JTA Plays Prominent Role in Revitalizing Historic LaVilla Community

BY LEIGH ANN RASSLER, Public Relations Manager
Jacksonville Transportation Authority

Last month, hundreds attended the Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s (JTA) ribbon cutting ceremony for the Intercity Bus Terminal, Phase One, at the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center (JRTC). Greyhound Lines Inc. leases the 9,961 square foot bus terminal from JTA. The terminal features an indoor waiting area, ticketing offices, a cafeteria, restrooms, nine bus bays, parking, and a customer drop-off area on Stuart Street.

Phase Two, currently under construction, will feature JTA’s administrative headquarters and main bus transfer facility with an enclosed passenger waiting area, ticket vending machines, operator lounge, public restrooms, lost and found area, and customer service. “Many of the world’s great cities have bustling transit stations through which trains, buses, taxis, pedestrians, and cyclists all come together in an urban center,” says JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “New York’s Penn Station, San Francisco’s Central Subway, and Chicago’s Union Station immediately come to mind.”

JTA’s vision is that the JRTC will be their own “Grand Central Station of the South” and will enhance mobility and connectivity throughout Northeast Florida. The JRTC will integrate and connect local, regional, and intercity modes of transportation, including the JTA’s First Coast Flyer™ Bus Rapid Transit system, fixed route buses, the iconic Skyway, and, in the near future, the Ultimate Urban Circulator or U²C, an autonomous transportation network. The regional transportation center will also include shared mobility solutions like taxi, car, bike, and ride share.

This state-of-the-art transportation center will be a gateway to the region and a destination where everyone can experience the rich culture of the historic LaVilla neighborhood in downtown Jacksonville. Visitors will have access to restaurants, events, and attractions that will help the area thrive, spurring economic growth and sustainability. In fact, LaVilla is already experiencing growth with the Lofts at LaVilla and the Lofts at Monroe. When Phase Two of the JRTC is completed in early 2020, it will stimulate additional transit-oriented development, which is key to regional and local growth.

The regional transportation center will utilize sidewalks and well-lit pedestrian paths. Visitors will be able to experience Jacksonville using an efficient multi-modal transportation system. The $57.3 million transportation center incorporates sustainable design features which create a sustainable, low impact, cost-efficient facility reducing impacts throughout the building’s life-cycle. The passenger circulation conditions, wayfinding, environmental signage, security, safety, and convenience will enhance the customer experience.

IBT April 12_2018 Ribbon Cutting event with CEO Nat Ford and others.

For example, lighting inside and outside the Intercity Bus Terminal is energy efficient light-emitting diode or LED, the JTA’s new standard for all capital projects and maintenance. LED lighting reduces electricity costs and the heat load on HVAC equipment, enabling them to operate more effectively. Lighting inside the building features daylight harvesting, a system that automatically dims lighting levels as natural light increases throughout the day. The bus transfer facility will feature a pedestrian friendly and ADA-accessible single continuous platform with 21 covered bus bays, as well as benches and other passenger amenities.

When the entire project is completed in early 2020, the transportation center will feature an elevated pedestrian bridge above Forsyth Street connecting the Intercity Bus Terminal to the JTA Administrative Building. Roadway, sidewalk, and landscaping improvements will also be completed in Phase Two. The center will be further enhanced in the future with connection to intercity rail. Partnerships with Amtrak and other carriers like Brightline will enable this final phase and provide easy connections to cities throughout Florida, the Southeast, and the rest of the United States.

The JRTC site is located on the parcel currently occupied by the Convention Center Skyway Station, bounded by Forsyth Street on the north, Bay Street on the south, I-95 on the west, and Johnson Street to the east. It is immediately north of the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center and immediately south of the Intercity Bus Terminal. Stay up to speed with the progress by visiting jtafla.com.


About Leigh Ann Rassler