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Is it a sign of hell freezing over? Atlanta to finally get true commuter rail.

AubieTurtle

Cyburbian
Messages
894
Points
21
Schedule to achieve Revenue Service in September, 2006

With the funding in hand, GDOT will begin on project implementation immediately. Negotiations with NS will be undertaken first to finalize an agreement in the first half of 2004. After announcement of an agreement, specifications and procurement for equipment will proceed in parallel with track upgrades, which will be accomplished in 20 months. Park and ride lot acquisition will take somewhat more than a year at which point ground breaking and construction will begin. After a several month training and system testing period, demonstration and special event runs will begin in the summer of 2006, and service inauguration will occur in September 2006.

PDF with more details

This first line will be small and go from Lovejoy to downtown Atlanta but it is the start of this:



As the southside of town is starting to develop since the northside is all clogged up with traffic, hopefully this will alter development patterns down there to be a bit more sane.
 
Messages
101
Points
6
AubieTurtle said:
Schedule to achieve Revenue Service in September, 2006

With the funding in hand, GDOT will begin on project implementation immediately. Negotiations with NS will be undertaken first to finalize an agreement in the first half of 2004. After announcement of an agreement, specifications and procurement for equipment will proceed in parallel with track upgrades, which will be accomplished in 20 months. Park and ride lot acquisition will take somewhat more than a year at which point ground breaking and construction will begin. After a several month training and system testing period, demonstration and special event runs will begin in the summer of 2006, and service inauguration will occur in September 2006.

PDF with more details

This first line will be small and go from Lovejoy to downtown Atlanta but it is the start of this:



As the southside of town is starting to develop since the northside is all clogged up with traffic, hopefully this will alter development patterns down there to be a bit more sane.
Wild. I'm looking forward to taking a trip down to Lovejoy, although I had no idea where it was until I looked at this map. I'll read the PDF, but my initial thought is to wonder why that particular line was picked. The early discussions of commuter rail
I remember focussed on Athens.
 
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Messages
101
Points
6
One other thing... I've often dreamed of rapid rail between East Atlanta and Spivey Hall, the only thing in Clayton County I ever bother to visit. It would be nice if they have the good sense to make the station in Morrow within walking distance of the Clayton State campus (and thus Spivey Hall).
 

passdoubt

Cyburbian
Messages
407
Points
13
It's amazing to me that some of those lines look to span 8 counties. Granted, Georgia's counties are smaller than most, but it seems like they're working with such an already-sprawled environment that commuter rail will only aleviate traffic enough to cause people to move out even further... and the free park-and-ride lots do little to encourage TOD. It is an improvement to move people from commuting by car to work, to commuting by car to the park-and-lot and from there to work, but it's such a baby step toward building sustainable communities.
 
Messages
101
Points
6
passdoubt said:
It's amazing to me that some of those lines look to span 8 counties. Granted, Georgia's counties are smaller than most, but it seems like they're working with such an already-sprawled environment that commuter rail will only aleviate traffic enough to cause people to move out even further... and the free park-and-ride lots do little to encourage TOD. It is an improvement to move people from commuting by car to work, to commuting by car to the park-and-lot and from there to work, but it's such a baby step toward building sustainable communities.
It's moving in fits and starts, but Atlanta has a great deal of new development which could be described as either New Urbanist, Smart Growth, or both. If the rail lines are built while maintaining the same land use patterns, yeah, the metro region will continue to be a sprawling choked mess (and rail lines will really neither help nor hurt).
But if they are part of a more generally pattern of more intelligent growth, and TOD is a component of the rail lines, the lines could be a part of at least allowing individuals to lead a sane life in Atlanta outside the intown areas.
 
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One other thing that occurs to me about this system once it's built out is the potential for more recreational day trips by intown Atlantans if the local stations are in either reasonably central locations, or have at the very least good public transportation shuttle service to destinations.

Just glancing at the map I could see taking in a minor league baseball game in Rome, going to Athens for lunch downtown (and if I spread it over two days a music event),
Lagrange has a nice intact downtown to wander in (and a central or well connected train station could strengthen it) , same with McDonough (smaller than Lagranges downtown, but still a nice little town square).

My guess is this depends on where the Norfolk Southern and CSX lines (the dominant
lines) already run. But I'm sure they historically touch central locations in all these towns.
 

AubieTurtle

Cyburbian
Messages
894
Points
21
There is money in the first stage earmarked for rebuilding/reinforcing town centers at the cities the rail lines will stop in. I think you're going to end up with a mix... the progressive developers will see a great opportunity to build TODs while the sprawl developers will have nothing in their way to prevent them from building more low density housing with seperation of uses. But at least the public will have choices, which isn't something they have much of now.
 
Messages
101
Points
6
AubieTurtle said:
There is money in the first stage earmarked for rebuilding/reinforcing town centers at the cities the rail lines will stop in. I think you're going to end up with a mix... the progressive developers will see a great opportunity to build TODs while the sprawl developers will have nothing in their way to prevent them from building more low density housing with seperation of uses. But at least the public will have choices, which isn't something they have much of now.
I've lost track of what's going on with the advocacy for a "railroad gulch" intermodal facility on the southwestern edge of downtown Atlanta. I read a recent article about the efforts to keep it alive, but have no idea what people and groups are involved. If the passenger rail network is really pursued seriously, such a facility could play an excellent role, similar to MARTA's strong airport station.

Do you know what's going on with that?

Also what's CSX's role in this? They've historically been an intransigent pain in the butt for intown Atlantans to deal with (their attitude seemingly hasn't changed since the old days when the railroads were answerable to no one. "We're the Railroad. We don't have to talk to you insects!").
 

AubieTurtle

Cyburbian
Messages
894
Points
21
There is money in the Lovejoy-Atlanta plan for building a basic intermodal station in the gulch. From the sounds of things, they would tear down the old Georgia Power/Atlanta Constitution building, clean up the site and build some sort of covered platform with connections to Five Points MARTA and CNN/Dome MARTA. Long range plans are much more complex with the whole gulch being filled in and covered with office towers and condos. New streets would be created at the same level as Philips with all the tracks going below like they currently go beneight the CNN parking deck. Those plans however are dependent on private investment and some public money too. I think it will happen, its just not going to be as fast as anyone would like. There would also be a bus facility for the commuter buses (which for the time being, against Atlanta's protests, are going to go up and down Peachtree) and Greyhound.

From what I've heard, the railroads are willing to talk but aren't going to give up anything without being well compensated. The lines in question carry an awful lot of freight so anything that gets in the way of that will cost the railroads. I don't think they are actively trying to prevent commuter rail, as matter of fact, this first rail line would actually be run by one of the railroads and would be their first try at passenger rail. For the railroads, its really all about money and risk.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
That is great. I look forward to riding it one day when I am home to visit. :)
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Where's the line to take you up to the Tanger outlet mall in Commerce? Does the GDOT expect commuters to pay retail for their Nike's. That's hardly policy condusive to ecouraging walkable communities and pedestrian traffic. ;-)
 

Cirrus

Cyburbian
Messages
303
Points
11
Apparently hell didn’t freeze over; it was just a little nippy out for a day or two.

… The “Mobility 2030” Atlanta regional transportation plan comes out today. $50 Billion (with a B), including funds for the Lovejoy line and a paltry $150 million for the circumferential light rail (not enough to actually build it)… and that’s it for rail.
 
Messages
101
Points
6
Cirrus said:
Apparently hell didn’t freeze over; it was just a little nippy out for a day or two.

… The “Mobility 2030” Atlanta regional transportation plan comes out today. $50 Billion (with a B), including funds for the Lovejoy line and a paltry $150 million for the circumferential light rail (not enough to actually build it)… and that’s it for rail.
I don't think anyone here expected the balance of transportation to tilt toward public transit here (and Georgia certainly isn't alone in that respect).

But even a demonstration line is a significant step forward for plans for a commuter rail system which was all but dead and buried this time last year.

And given the local momentum for the belt line here, I predict that it will not only be built, but will be in operation ahead of the 2030 date being floated. Atlanta is a city of Magic Dollars. If the right people want the funding to appear, it appears as if by magic.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
It's called the MMPT that will connect with the MARTA (i guess) at Five Points - I've been following it for a few years now and it has never appeared to me to lose steam - they've been working on the DEIS/EIS for the last two years for the Athens line so i'm sure it will be starting up soon enough.

http://www.atlantadowntown.com/CapAdidInitiatives_Multi-Modal.asp
link to garail.com at the bottom of the page.

I'm sure all of these rail lines pass through some great downtowns and i'm sure the counties closer in will take advantage of using new stations as TODs. I'm also sure that the places further out will stay park&rides for a while to come.

If Regional Rail in Atlanta does anything it will be to strengthen the downtown office market. When people are taking the train to downtown, or transferring to MARTA, they're not cruising to office parks along the perimeter or out in the hinterlands . . . and of course strengthening the office market will strengthen the housing market. It will be great for the city either way but it's up to the suburbs to make it work for them too.
 
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