JTA aims to build on downtown development momentum

JTA holds annual State of the Authority & Transit-Oriented Development Symposium

By Lena Pringle - Reporter/Anchor

Skyway modernization conceptual rendering (Image courtesy: JTA)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville Transportation Authority held its annual State of the Authority and Transit-Oriented Development Symposium on Wednesday. 

During the symposium, JTA discussed its continued goal to create live, play, work neighborhoods based around accessible public transportation.

"If you look at those cities that are thriving economically around the world, at the heart of it is having good, strong transportation. Sidewalks, bike lanes, public transit, automobile parking -- it takes all of those pieces holistically to be pulled together and I think we're at that cusp right now in terms of Jacksonville and downtown development and we want to be able to help with that momentum," said Nathaniel Ford, CEO of Jacksonville Transportation Authority.  

The Transit-Oriented Development, also known as TOD, focused on the LaVilla development -- a long-term strategy to building more transit-friendly neighborhoods.  

This current development will be used as a model to structure more transportation-forward neighborhoods around Jacksonville. 

Other projects JTA is focusing on include autonomous vehicles, as well as expanding the skyway. JTA received a $12.5 million build grant to move these projects into phase one. 

"That is helping us with phase one of what we call the U2C project, where it is the autonomous vehicle program we will implement in the Bay Street corridor. It is also going to be a smart corridor because we're partnering with the Northeast Florida TPO (Transportation Planning Organization). We're going to put smart sensors, smart lighting, and really create a tech incubator space in the core of downtown Jacksonville connecting with the stadium complex," Ford said. "It's really an exciting opportunity for the JTA and that project is moving very smartly."

JTA had a solid financial year and said the continued support by other state and local organizations will continue to move the transportation company forward. 

Ford said 2018 was a "fantastic year for us and we're just going to continue with that momentum into this year and for the years to come."

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