Thursday, October 10, 2013

Be Open to New Experiences

Thursday, the week is almost over!  And I have a question:  Has anyone else in the Jacksonville area rode on the skyway we have in downtown?  It was free to ride for the past few months until the end of September.  That's why we took advantage and rode it with the kids.  I knew they would love it because it's like a theme park type of ride for them since you're up in the air.  They certainly enjoyed it!

The fiscal year just ended so I believe the skyway is free for seniors over 60 now.  You can find more info about that here.  I remember hearing that one of the reasons they had it free during the summer months was to encourage more people to use it.  I think that was an awesome idea.  Riding on the skyway that day reminded me of how we mostly commuted through New York when we visited a few years back.  

JTA Skyway System
The big difference with riding public transportation in Jacksonville compared to places like NY where it is so common for all types of people to use, is that here we tend to make a distinction to what kind of people ride public transportation.  For instance, in NY, anyone and everyone utilized the subway, taxis and buses.  We felt like normal residents and didn't stand out when we were commuting using those forms of transportation, too.  Here, however, is a different story.  

As we were riding the train, a woman stepped on and immediately grabbed a brochure pamphlet for the schedule and asked us for a pen.  I always carry one on me so I let her use it.  She scribbled something on the pamphlet and gave it to me.  She proceeded to ask us where we were from.  I replied, "Jacksonville."  She looked surprised and a bit embarrassed about giving us the pamphlet (which she had wrote her name and phone number).  She laughed and said, "Oh, I assumed you all were tourists because you're riding the skyway."  She then went on to explain that she just moved out from her mom's house and said, proudly, "No more riding the skyway for me."  She was super nice and tried to be helpful but she pretty much implied that riding public transportation in our city is seen as a negative thing to most people.  I can understand that it can be a turn off to ride during the peak hours when it can be crowded or when you may encounter unpleasant people.  Not to mention your assumed "socioeconomic status" if you're using public transportation.

It's a little sad to hear that's how people here look at it, however, because it is faster, saves you gas, is another way to bring community together (like talking to the nice lady who was a complete stranger), having more commuting options  and it was fun to see the kids enjoying the ride.  We got a great view from above, too.  I think it would be great if our city could implement the skyway system to travel all throughout the city, not just downtown.  

View from inside the train

The trains depart every 3 minutes.

FYI: Skyway will be open until 9:30 pm every first Wednesday of the month for Art Walk.

View from the top where we were able to see Hemming Plaza

Heading up to catch the next train

The kids had a blast riding on the train.

We had a fun night doing something different and cost-friendly!
Parking meters were free, too since it was after hours.  

It's nice to get out of the car and walk around our city to appreciate the view up close...

...more exercise, too!

As I do more exploring into different events, happenings around town and my expanding interest in capturing photos...

I'm discovering that there is more to Jacksonville than meets the eye... 

 ...and I'm gaining more appreciation for this city that I call, "home.". 

The new courthouse that took a decade in the making.

I used to work at the old courthouse and it definitely did not look like this! 

Our city of Jacksonville is undergoing a lot of changes.
I've lived here for the majority of my life so it's interesting to see the growing process but what would be better is if we could all take part and be an active part of the community and its improvements.
I'm glad we tried something new and experienced riding the skyway.  Like Albert Einstein said, "The only source of knowledge is experience."  By the way, the lady on the train got to talking so much that she didn't give me back my pen! She exchanged it with her thoughts and stories, though, so it's okay.  I've got plenty more to pass around so if you see me around town, feel free to borrow a pen from me, too. ;)

Check out some current happenings in our community: 

  • Oct. 11th 6 pm: World Habitat Day in Donner Park in Atlantic Beach.  Go here for info.  
  • Oct. 11th & every Friday/Saturday this month:  8-12 pm: Zombieville Part II - Terror Under the Big Top in St. Augustine, FL.  Go here for more info.
  • Oct. 12th 9-1 pm: The National College Fair of Jacksonville at Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center.  Go here for info
Food/Beverage Freebies:
  • Valid until Oct. 14th at Quiznos: Receive a free sub with the purchase of another sub and a drink.  Go here for coupon.
  • Valid until Oct. 11th: Pay it forward at Starbucks.  Buy a beverage for a friend or someone else and receive a free beverage for yourself. 
How do you participate in your community?  

Take care, until next time, enjoy your weekend and try something different in your city!