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Old 08-27-2011, 03:53 PM
 
24 posts, read 31,633 times
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Default Ideas for the Downtown Connector?

Hey y'all. I am trying to figure a good solution for the Downtown Connector, Downtown, and Midtown in general. I have seen some posts on various forums about how the connector prohibits development and growth in the Downtown/Midtown area, and how its choking the economy of Atlanta. The traffic is horrible, of course, especially with the I-20 junction coming in at Downtown. So I was thinking of how to ease the problems of traffic, add visual appeal, and encourage growth in Downtown and Midtown.

To handle the traffic bottlenecks, I think the best option would be to reroute I-20 down into South Atlanta as shown in the map. I'm no expert, but I think this route would ease congestion from Downtown and also let Downtown/Midtown expand more easily. Here's the map:
Future I-20 Route - Google Maps

Now, as far as the Connector goes, Atlanta needs it to to access Downtown. However, it is an eyesore both on it and off. I read somewhere that people in Downtown and Midtown feel uncomfortable crossing the bridges by foot. Also, most of the bridges and overpasses are nothing more than bare concrete and huge chain-link fences. So, I think the best option to solve this problem is to widen all the overpasses enough so that buildings can be built on each side of the street.

Most of the Connector is below street level, with many walls and barricades on either side. However, some parts, like around Auburn and Edgewood, are above the streets on viaducts. I was thinking about dressing up these bridges by adding brick, arches, and whatever else. Also, the empty areas underneath the bridges could be utilized in some way, such as a MARTA station or something.

I was wondering what y'all's thoughts were regarding these ideas, the Downtown connector and I-20. How do you think we should solve the problems of interstate congestion?
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:32 PM
 
13,827 posts, read 8,182,323 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cest524 View Post
Now, as far as the Connector goes, Atlanta needs it to to access Downtown.
I don't believe the Downtown Connector is needed to access downtown. While it was originally envisioned that way, today it serves more as a way for folks to zoom through downtown Atlanta on their way to somewhere else. While downtowns and other urban areas can certainly benefit from high capacity roads, you don't a 16 lane super-slab.

You could easily reduce the current size of the Downtown Connector by half, and then green it and bridge it as we have been discussing in other threads. Then route the cut-through traffic elsewhere or implement transit solutions.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA (Dunwoody)
2,036 posts, read 2,466,620 times
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In my last book I went with hellfire, but maybe that's a bit drastic for some folk.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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Yeah, I definitely think 15 lanes is a little much for through traffic. But IMHO a lot of that traffic has no other viable alternative to getting where they wanna go. Like if you wanted to go from Sandy Springs to the airport, taking the Connector is probably the easiest way to get there. And in any case, I would rather see most of the congestion on the freeways rather than city roads. Hopefully Downtown and Midtown will be growing a lot over the next few decades, so more people will actually use the Downtown Connector to get to Downtown. I really, really would like to see the actual city of Atlanta grow in population over the next 20 or so years.
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Norcross, GA. (Metro Atlanta)
2,979 posts, read 3,134,602 times
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I think a great idea you (cest524) mentioned was to bridge over the connector with buildings as this will encourage pedestrian activity, more economic activity and much less of an eyesore that bare pavement with no greenery accentuates. A good example of this kind of development is right up the road in Buckhead, though to a lesser extent than what would be needed.

As for the I-20 re-routing idea, I'm fairly certain that idea, as much as it was intended for the right reasons, would not fly. A huge reason being that the area is already built up in those areas to the south. Though a few of the areas are blighted, it is still a large area to retrofit an expressway on and money nobody has at this point in time and probably not any time in the near future. The current I-20 needs to stay put. It just needs to be reworked to better fit with the environment around it.
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:17 PM
 
24 posts, read 31,633 times
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Quote:
I think a great idea you (cest524) mentioned was to bridge over the connector with buildings as this will encourage pedestrian activity, more economic activity and much less of an eyesore that bare pavement with no greenery accentuates. A good example of this kind of development is right up the road in Buckhead, though to a lesser extent than what would be needed.

As for the I-20 re-routing idea, I'm fairly certain that idea, as much as it was intended for the right reasons, would not fly. A huge reason being that the area is already built up in those areas to the south. Though a few of the areas are blighted, it is still a large area to retrofit an expressway on and money nobody has at this point in time and probably not any time in the near future. The current I-20 needs to stay put. It just needs to be reworked to better fit with the environment around it.
Thanks! And yes, I see your point. However, something needs to be done for traffic congestion. What do you think of joining Joseph Lowrey Blvd. with Sylvan Road in South Atlanta and extending Lowrey to I-75 via Howell Mill Road and making that road a nice parkway with limited stops. And perhaps doing the same thing with Moreland Avenue to get to I-85? I think that might help distribute the traffic more evenly.

The implementation of more public transit into the suburbs would also ease congestion. (Of course, the Atlanta Metro has a reputation for being against rail transit and MARTA, but I think this is changing.) I found this map from the Atlanta Regional Commission, which would really make things better: http://www.atlantaregional.com/File%...p_stylized.pdf

One other thing: I know Lowrey Blvd. is in a blighted area. I think Atlanta should redevelop the area. And thus bring more and more people into the city itself. Redevelop the road system, extend downtown, and build residential high-rises, which would lead to commercial growth as well.
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:50 PM
 
Location: Norcross, GA. (Metro Atlanta)
2,979 posts, read 3,134,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cest524 View Post
Thanks! And yes, I see your point. However, something needs to be done for traffic congestion. What do you think of joining Joseph Lowrey Blvd. with Sylvan Road in South Atlanta and extending Lowrey to I-75 via Howell Mill Road and making that road a nice parkway with limited stops. And perhaps doing the same thing with Moreland Avenue to get to I-85? I think that might help distribute the traffic more evenly.

The implementation of more public transit into the suburbs would also ease congestion. (Of course, the Atlanta Metro has a reputation for being against rail transit and MARTA, but I think this is changing.) I found this map from the Atlanta Regional Commission, which would really make things better: http://www.atlantaregional.com/File%...p_stylized.pdf

One other thing: I know Lowrey Blvd. is in a blighted area. I think Atlanta should redevelop the area. And thus bring more and more people into the city itself. Redevelop the road system, extend downtown, and build residential high-rises, which would lead to commercial growth as well.
Your thoughts are very ambitious, which is a great thing. I'm still concerned about the costs of conversion to these roads, however. Some would be easier than others, but the real question is do the costs outweigh the benefits or is it the other way around? (The other option being to rework I-20 where it is. Do you think this would cost more or less than your idea? Which do you think could work best for everyone?)
We know the areas to the south are blighted and are in need of redevelopment. Ultimately it is up to the market on if and when this could/would happen.
The Moreland Avenue idea is also a good one. Something similar to your idea, extending 675 to connect with 400, has been tossed around for a good while also. Perhaps linking these two freeways underground would make the most sense out of all these options.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:28 PM
 
Location: ITP in Tucker GA
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I don't think re-routing 20 interstate would help at all with the congestion on the Downtown Connector since majority of that traffic (local and thur) is coming from 78/85 south heading into Downtown. Most ppl traveling on 20 can get off easily at Windsor/Spring to access downtown. Although your idea is not bad at all, it would only push the traffic on 20 further south for the ones who need to get Downtown adding more traffic on 75/85. I created a thread a couple weeks ago (I-485 and I-875) Future I-485 and I-875 (2040) - Google Maps showing if 2 new loops were added to the metro area but my primarily focus was the 1st loop outside 285 to ease some of the bypass traffic. I never had the Downtown Connector in mind. However, my thoughts would be this new bypass with limited exits could also assist with some of the Connector's traffic.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:45 PM
 
24 posts, read 31,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingImport View Post
Your thoughts are very ambitious, which is a great thing. I'm still concerned about the costs of conversion to these roads, however. Some would be easier than others, but the real question is do the costs outweigh the benefits or is it the other way around? (The other option being to rework I-20 where it is. Do you think this would cost more or less than your idea? Which do you think could work best for everyone?)
We know the areas to the south are blighted and are in need of redevelopment. Ultimately it is up to the market on if and when this could/would happen.
The Moreland Avenue idea is also a good one. Something similar to your idea, extending 675 to connect with 400, has been tossed around for a good while also. Perhaps linking these two freeways underground would make the most sense out of all these options.
Hmmm, I see where the 400/675 might help somewhat, but it would pose the same problems that my I-20 reroute idea would pose. It would cut through many developed, historic neighborhoods such as Inman Park, Druid Hills, Virginia Highland, etc, and would really bring property values down in these neighborhoods if a huge interstate highway was right next door. As far as it being underground, that would cost a lot of money, much moreso than building it "on-ground."

I think that converting Moreland and Lowrey to parkways could work out well. When I say limited-access parkways, I'm not talking about interstate standards, but more about having a nice road with 2-3 lanes going each direction and a narrow, tree-lined, attractive median. Both roads already stretch from one end of Atlanta to the other, so all we have to do there is "fill in the gaps." One of the biggest benefits to doing this would be the opportunities to redevelop. Many sections of both roads are currently in blighted conditions, so in a sense there is no boundaries to what we can do. Unlike having a large, loud interstate highway beside them, people can enjoy living near a clean, relatively quiet parkway and can commute to any other section of the metro area. Thus, it would really help stimulate growth IMO. It would also have a much better visual appeal that a big interstate with a bunch of jersey barriers and such.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:07 PM
 
24 posts, read 31,633 times
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Originally Posted by bornjacksonian View Post
I don't think re-routing 20 interstate would help at all with the congestion on the Downtown Connector since majority of that traffic (local and thur) is coming from 78/85 south heading into Downtown. Most ppl traveling on 20 can get off easily at Windsor/Spring to access downtown. Although your idea is not bad at all, it would only push the traffic on 20 further south for the ones who need to get Downtown adding more traffic on 75/85. I created a thread a couple weeks ago (I-485 and I-875) Future I-485 and I-875 (2040) - Google Maps showing if 2 new loops were added to the metro area but my primarily focus was the 1st loop outside 285 to ease some of the bypass traffic. I never had the Downtown Connector in mind. However, my thoughts would be this new bypass with limited exits could also assist with some of the Connector's traffic.
I could see first half of the first loop to be beneficial (From Douglasville to Lawrenceville). The reason being that it encounters most of the major outlying suburbs where people will need to commute to.

However, that would cost a lot of money. So for the time being, build some alternate routes within the city itself rather than relying solely on its interstates. A good east-west corridor would be MLK Jr. Blvd. because it stretches from one end of the city to the other. Same thing with Lowrey and Moreland for north-south routes.
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