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Old 05-22-2013, 07:46 PM
 
Location: atlanta
2,516 posts, read 1,631,821 times
Reputation: 1348
Quote:
Originally Posted by PT 3000 View Post
I see alot of you want service Augusta, Athens, Macon, Chattanooga and Anniston, Al, how about we get service up and running in the metro counties first, how many of you would go to those outlying areas like Augusta or Chattanooga daily unless your job called for it, and for the out of state destinations we haven't heard not one other state say they would be willing to commit funds to make the trains cross the state lines or know what kind of ridership they would get so why even consider out of the way locales?
i agree but on the other hand, the commuter rail system is going to be a separate system from MARTA. there would be no point in running commuter rail to marietta or kennesaw, for instance— that should be covered by MARTA.

when it comes to high speed rail (which is different than commuter rail), i think the #1 route needs to be between charlotte and atlanta. if that were introduced it would immediately get federal funding— that's one of the most important corridors in the country.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:49 PM
 
2,159 posts, read 1,110,057 times
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Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
There really isn't room on any of the corridors you mention for MARTA Heavy Rail service, not without spending BILLIONS just on land acquisition alone.
...That's a good point, but it would be worth it to spend billions on land acquisition where needed to expand regional heavy rail transit service to provide maximum connectivity between outlying residential areas and existing, rising and emerging job and activity centers within the 5-county urban core (Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb, Gwinnett counties) of the greater Atlanta region.

(The regional heavy rail service concept would be in the mold of Northern California's Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART which provides regional heavy rail transit service up to 40 miles away from San Francisco's Downtown Financial District and up to 50 miles away from the San Francisco International Airport...
...BART's regional heavy rail service was designed to serve a function that is similar to a regional commuter rail service but only with heavy rail trains on separated-grade passenger rail-only tracks that run on a much-higher frequency than commuter trains with headways as low as 2 minutes between trains on some sections of track)

Also, most of the separated-grade tracks that the heavy rail trains ran on would be tunneled underground (along with expanded existing freight rail tracks where possible) through the most densely-developed and densely-populated areas within the right-of-ways of the existing freight rail lines that that the expanded and extended heavy rail lines utilized.

The billions to acquire land where needed and tunnel new sections of passenger rail and existing sections of freight rail tracks where applicable and possible would also not be a problem as the financing to do so would come from:

User fees (in the form of inflation-indexed distance-based fares);

Real estate transactional funding (for-profit leasing of land out for transit-oriented development along lines and around transit stations);

Tax Increment Financing (property tax revenues from new development that pops up along transit lines and around stations);

Private investment (for-profit leasing of transit lines and multimodal transportation corridors out to private investors/operators, the profits from which can be used for new land acquisition as needed...
...Example #1: In 2004 the City of Chicago leased-out the 7.8-mile-long I-90 Chicago Skyway for $1.83 billion which the city used to complete other road maintenance projects all over the city
...Example #2: In 2005 the State of Indiana leased-out the 157-mile-long I-90/I-80 Indiana Toll Road to a private consortium for $3.8 billion which the state used to complete long-delayed road projects, including a 142-mile long extension of I-69 through Southwestern Indiana and the 100-mile-long Hoosier Heartland Highway Corridor through North Central Indiana, a road that is logistically similar to Georgia's Fall Line Freeway)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
It's also not really worth it to run 10-15 minute headway all-day service much outside the perimeter with the GA-400 corridor being a notable exception. If you service is less than that, then it's better to use what's there, less frequently.
...It would be worth it to run regional heavy rail service with low-headway all-day service (preferably 5-10 minute-headway 24-hour service) because of the Atlanta region's severely-limited road network and the increasingly severe traffic congestion on the spoke Interstates of the physically and politically-constrained freeway system of the Atlanta region, a limited road network that only figures to become more congested with the continued population growth of the Atlanta region.

It would also be worth it to run 24-hour regional heavy rail service with low headways out to surrounding areas because doing would encourage land development and commuting patterns that would be much more sustainable than the current dominant commuting pattern of automobile overdependence on a severely-limited road network that is virtually unexpandable for political reasons.

Outlying areas that are primed for future growth (economy permitting) like Cartersville and Bartow County in the I-75 NW Corridor, Canton in the I-575 N/NW Corridor, Gainesville and Hall County in the I-985 NE Corridor and Athens in the GA 316 Corridor could continue to grow, but in a manner that was much more sustainable over the long-term than just solely the construction of more sprawling low-density development that forces people to be overdependent on automobile travel on a severely-limited road network.

Providing a high-frequency park & ride fixed passenger rail-anchored transit option would help people in outlying areas not have to be solely dependent upon automobile travel over both shorter distances on an inadequate surface road network and over longer distances on an inadequate and constricted freeway network.

It would also be worth it to run 24-hour regional heavy rail service to outlying areas in the 10-county plus region so that existing and emerging job and activity centers are well-served in a greater metro region of 6 million inhabitants where recent history has shown that population growth is not stagnant but rather is dynamic, with continued very high growth rates and sometimes exponental growth rates.

The reason why it would be so important to provide regional heavy rail transit service to outlying locations on the Northside (from the Southside of the region) is because areas like Kennesaw, Elizabeth (Near-North Marietta industrial district), Windward Parkway and Norcross are rising major job centers.

While Northside areas like Cumberland/Galleria, Perimeter Center/Dunwoody are already very major job and activity centers that continuing to rise in stature and importance.

Also, the areas on the Southside of the region where regional heavy rail service would run from could use the economic boost that would come with being connected via high-frequency fixed rail transit service to the existing, rising and emerging major employment and activity centers on the Northside.

Running regional heavy rail transit service to outlying locations on the Southside could also help to correct the development imbalance between the overwhelmingly-popular Northside and the not-as-popular Southside.

Running regional heavy rail transit service to the airport from outlying locations north of I-20 would also provide those increasingly-popular employment and activity centers on the Northside with much more dependable connectivity to what is arguably the region's most important and ultimate activity center, the world's busiest passenger airport at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int'l Airport
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Conyers, GA
2,192 posts, read 849,609 times
Reputation: 902
Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
...That's a good point, but it would be worth it to spend billions on land acquisition where needed to expand regional heavy rail transit service to provide maximum connectivity between outlying residential areas and existing, rising and emerging job and activity centers within the 5-county urban core (Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb, Gwinnett counties) of the greater Atlanta region.
Why use the high-cost solution of new heavy rail, when commuter rail could be done for billions less and still have extremely expansive service.
Quote:
(The regional heavy rail service concept would be in the mold of Northern California's Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART which provides regional heavy rail transit service up to 40 miles away from San Francisco's Downtown Financial District and up to 50 miles away from the San Francisco International Airport...
...BART's regional heavy rail service was designed to serve a function that is similar to a regional commuter rail service but only with heavy rail trains on separated-grade passenger rail-only tracks that run on a much-higher frequency than commuter trains with headways as low as 2 minutes between trains on some sections of track)
BART also serves a far higher density area than Atlanta has around it. Atlanta's metro area has been able to grow in all directions from the city, while SF, Oakland, and San Jose are constrained, so a few 40+ miles Heavy Rail lines hit massive population centers and run right along their spines. You're also connecting three cities of 980,000, 815,000, and 390,000 with significant traffic between them. Atlanta has two cities of about 140,000 each even close by, and they're 50 and 70 miles away with areas of very light development between. Hardly comparable.
Quote:
Also, most of the separated-grade tracks that the heavy rail trains ran on would be tunneled underground (along with expanded existing freight rail tracks where possible) through the most densely-developed and densely-populated areas within the right-of-ways of the existing freight rail lines that that the expanded and extended heavy rail lines utilized.
We're tunneling now? Ok, I'll revise to trillions then.
Quote:
The billions to acquire land where needed and tunnel new sections of passenger rail and existing sections of freight rail tracks where applicable and possible would also not be a problem as the financing to do so would come from:

User fees (in the form of inflation-indexed distance-based fares);
Name a transit system in this country that makes a user-fee profit? Including ones that have distance-based fares like BART does.
Quote:
Real estate transactional funding (for-profit leasing of land out for transit-oriented development along lines and around transit stations);
Try millions in profit, not billions.
Quote:
Tax Increment Financing (property tax revenues from new development that pops up along transit lines and around stations);
You are sorely overestimating the taxes from that, even so, all of the taxes can't be dedicated to transit.
Quote:
Private investment (for-profit leasing of transit lines and multimodal transportation corridors out to private investors/operators, the profits from which can be used for new land acquisition as needed...
...Example #1: In 2004 the City of Chicago leased-out the 7.8-mile-long I-90 Chicago Skyway for $1.83 billion which the city used to complete other road maintenance projects all over the city
...Example #2: In 2005 the State of Indiana leased-out the 157-mile-long I-90/I-80 Indiana Toll Road to a private consortium for $3.8 billion which the state used to complete long-delayed road projects, including a 142-mile long extension of I-69 through Southwestern Indiana and the 100-mile-long Hoosier Heartland Highway Corridor through North Central Indiana, a road that is logistically similar to Georgia's Fall Line Freeway)
The companies they leased to, didn't have to build the roads, and probably don't have to directly maintain them. Building AND operating transit is not profitable, that's why the government does it.
Quote:
...It would be worth it to run regional heavy rail service with low-headway all-day service (preferably 5-10 minute-headway 24-hour service) because of the Atlanta region's severely-limited road network and the increasingly severe traffic congestion on the spoke Interstates of the physically and politically-constrained freeway system of the Atlanta region, a limited road network that only figures to become more congested with the continued population growth of the Atlanta region.
The road network isn't that congested at night. Hourly service making all stops on the routes is plenty. Even New York only has hourly service out to only some of its suburbs 24/7.
Quote:
It would also be worth it to run 24-hour regional heavy rail service with low headways out to surrounding areas because doing would encourage land development and commuting patterns that would be much more sustainable than the current dominant commuting pattern of automobile overdependence on a severely-limited road network that is virtually unexpandable for political reasons.
Yea, but at what cost. What's the return on investment here? Would people use the 3:30am train to Duluth? Yea, five of them.
Quote:
Outlying areas that are primed for future growth (economy permitting) like Cartersville and Bartow County in the I-75 NW Corridor, Canton in the I-575 N/NW Corridor, Gainesville and Hall County in the I-985 NE Corridor and Athens in the GA 316 Corridor could continue to grow, but in a manner that was much more sustainable over the long-term than just solely the construction of more sprawling low-density development that forces people to be overdependent on automobile travel on a severely-limited road network.
And commuter rail service with at most, hourly overnight service is more than adequate at this time and for the foreseeable future (at least 60-70 years).
Quote:
Providing a high-frequency park & ride fixed passenger rail-anchored transit option would help people in outlying areas not have to be solely dependent upon automobile travel over both shorter distances on an inadequate surface road network and over longer distances on an inadequate and constricted freeway network.
No argument there, but that's no reason to run trains every 10 minutes at 3 in the morning.
Quote:
It would also be worth it to run 24-hour regional heavy rail service to outlying areas in the 10-county plus region so that existing and emerging job and activity centers are well-served in a greater metro region of 6 million inhabitants where recent history has shown that population growth is not stagnant but rather is dynamic, with continued very high growth rates and sometimes exponental growth rates.

The reason why it would be so important to provide regional heavy rail transit service to outlying locations on the Northside (from the Southside of the region) is because areas like Kennesaw, Elizabeth (Near-North Marietta industrial district), Windward Parkway and Norcross are rising major job centers.
And how many of those areas really need more than hourly service overnight, if even that? The Cobb County corridor wouldn't exceed the limits of any commuter rail system for a long time.
Quote:
While Northside areas like Cumberland/Galleria, Perimeter Center/Dunwoody are already very major job and activity centers that continuing to rise in stature and importance.
Job centers see people into them in the morning, and out in the afternoon, and have very little need to have trains every 10 minutes, 24/7.
Quote:
Also, the areas on the Southside of the region where regional heavy rail service would run from could use the economic boost that would come with being connected via high-frequency fixed rail transit service to the existing, rising and emerging major employment and activity centers on the Northside.

Running regional heavy rail transit service to outlying locations on the Southside could also help to correct the development imbalance between the overwhelmingly-popular Northside and the not-as-popular Southside.
No argument there either, but how many people will need trains every 10 minutes overnight?
Quote:
Running regional heavy rail transit service to the airport from outlying locations north of I-20 would also provide those increasingly-popular employment and activity centers on the Northside with much more dependable connectivity to what is arguably the region's most important and ultimate activity center, the world's busiest passenger airport at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int'l Airport
No argument there either, Athens, Gainesville, and Covington trains and their respective overlying regional service could have one-seat rides to the airport, and the Cobb County corridor too if people didn't mind riding backward from Atlanta to the airport. But again, no need for 10 minute headways overnight. Airport traffic overnight could easily see one train per hour from each line and still be underutilized.

Even with all this said about one-hour overnight headways, that still assumes the freight railroads would let commuter trains run overnight without bank-breaking investment. Perhaps they would allow trains to operate during the day, and run most of the freight at night, but even that would require a lot of improvements to be paid for.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Greensboro isn't enough of a city to be a distant terminus for regional rail service. Madison always struck me as too far away for commuter rail service too.
...Greensboro would be an important terminus point for regional commuter rail service in the I-20 East Corridor (NOT regional heavy rail service which would also run out to Covington) because Greensboro is the site of a major resort area at Lake Oconee, a resort area that includes roughly more than a half-dozen affluent golf course resort communities and the very high-end Ritz Carlton Resort Lodge at Reynolds Plantation.

Providing a relatively high level of connectivity between the posh resort area at Lake Oconee and the Atlanta Airport by way of the major tourist attraction at Stone Mountain and the constrained I-20 East Corridor which suffers from frequent severe congestion and traffic delays due to being overcapacity between I-285 East and Conyers is why Greensboro is important as a terminus point for regional commuter rail service in East Central Georgia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Before anyone brings up the Long Island Railroad or MARC, let me say that the outlying points are only served 3-6 times per day, and just happen to use the same equipment used closer in for more conventional commuter rail service. Perhaps someday, Atlanta could do this, but the better option would be to run commuter rail as far as Covington or maybe Social Circle, then Regional rail to Augusta with timed connections from commuter to regional rail outbound, and regional to commuter rail inbound.
...That's an excellent point and a key point.

Just because a regional commuter rail line would run out to and terminate at Greensboro does not mean that an endpoint like Greensboro would have to be served by commuter trains on a high-frequency.

Just like your example of the Long Island Railroad (which runs passenger trains out nearly 120 miles away from Midtown Manhattan on 2 regional commuter rail lines that serve the farthest reachest of Long Island only a few times each day) where trains service far-flung stops like Greenport and Montauk only 3-6 times daily, Greensboro/Lake Oconee would likely be a candidate to see trains only roughly 3-6 times daily.

Just because Greensboro would be a stop on the line doesn't necessarily mean that it would require frequent train service, especially as the farthest point on the line, but providing transit connectivity between the posh resort area at Greensboro, the massive tourist attraction at Stone Mountain and the world's busiest passenger airport at the Atlanta Airport is of great importance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
If you're going all the way to Anniston, you might as well anchor the line at Birmingham.
...Not necessarily as Birmingham already has Amtrak national intercity service from Atlanta via the Crescent that runs between New Orleans and New York that is likely slated to eventually receive an upgrade to higher-speed intercity rail service.

Though, if Birmingham wanted increased rail connectivity with Atlanta, arrangements could possibly be made to extend regional intercity passenger rail service west from Anniston to Downtown Birmingham.

Though any extension of passenger rail service out to Birmingham from Atlanta would likely have to be of the regional intercity rail variety because at nearly 150 miles west of Atlanta, Birmingham is likely too far to receive frequent regional commuter rail service from Atlanta.

Plus the commuting patterns from Atlanta don't necessarily dictate that regional commuter rail service be extended as far west as Birmingham (150 miles from Atlanta).

But evolving commuting patterns do reflect that there is an emerging need for a much-closer Anniston/Oxford area (90 miles from Atlanta) to receive at-least low-frequency regional commuter rail service as Anniston is 60 miles closer to Atlanta than Birmingham.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Again, Anniston is too small for a rural terminus.
...The Anniston/Oxford area is not all that small and is definitely not too small to be a rural terminus for a regional commuter rail line from Atlanta as Anniston, AL has a population of 22,000 and immediately neighboring Oxford, AL has a population of 21,000 making for a combined population of 43,000 between the 2 neighboring cities.

Plus, the home county of Anniston and Oxford, Calhoun County, AL (which is also home to Jacksonville, AL which is home to Jacksonville State University, an institution with many students and alums from Metro Atlanta) has a population of almost 118,000, a population that is greater than greater Atlanta region counties Bartow (100,000 residents, home county of Cartersville) and Carroll (110,000 residents, home county of Carrollton).
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:53 AM
 
2,159 posts, read 1,110,057 times
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Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Your first Chattanooga route is nice, but your second route is a better alternative. If you're just trying to get service to Rome, it would be better to run either a bus bridge across to Cartersville, or a short rail spur across from about Kingston with rail shuttle service and again, timed connections. Your first route however, could have commuter rail at least as far as Dallas, Rockmart starts becoming too far out, but maybe extend commuter rail service there.
...Good comments, but regional commuter rail service to Rome is very-crucial because as the county seat of Floyd County (96,000 people) and the largest incorporated city in the state of Georgia above Atlanta with 2 notable universities (Shorter University and extremely physically-large Berry College), 2 major medical centers, a substantial amount of industry, a very scenic mountain valley in which 3 large rivers converge, and a growing population of over 36,000 people, Rome is a very key city in Northwest Georgia.

Because Rome is not located directly on an Interstate Highway and is such a very key city in Northwest Georgia, Rome is very deserving of the high-level of connectivity to the activity centers of Metro Atlanta (including the world's busiest passenger airport at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International) that a direct regional commuter rail link provides.

Rome also is not all that far to connect to Atlanta by way of regional commuter service as Rome is roughly about 70 miles from Five Points and 80 miles from the Atlanta Airport by way of rail, distances which are well inside the roughly far-outer limit of a relative long-distance regional commuter rail transit line like New York's almost 120-mile-long Long Island Railroad Penn Station-Montauk line.

With Rockmart being only roughly 50 miles from Five Points and 60 miles from the Atlanta Airport by way of rail on the way to the very key Northwest Georgia city of Rome, and with commuting patterns reflecting that there is a growing amount of people commuting between Rockmart and Atlanta contributing to increasingly severe congestion on Hwy 278-6 and I-20 West, providing regional commuter rail service to Rockmart on the way to the key Northwest Georgia of Rome won't be an issue.

(...Anecdotally, I know a guy who used to commute about 65 miles each way between his job at the Atlanta Airport and his residence in Cedartown, GA)

Dallas, GA would be an important endpoint for regional heavy rail service because of the explosive population and development growth that Dallas, GA, Paulding County and the Hwy 278-6 Corridor have experienced in recent years, explosive growth that figures to resume at full-speed when the economy fully recovers.

The explosive growth in the Hwy 278-6 Corridor has also combined with continued very-heavy growth at the Norfolk Southern Truck-Rail Intermodal Facility to contribute to increasingly severe traffic congestion on Hwy 278-6 between I-20 and Dallas, GA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Ball Ground is worth it, and maybe two or three daily roundtrips to Ellijay, but with the curviness of the line, and the distance to another small city, Murphy, NC just isn't worth it. Ball Ground is quite far out for commuter rail service, but with the I-575 highway going all the way up there, it makes a nice place to terminate trains after Canton.
...Good points, though, actually, Asheville, NC might be an even better endpoint for passenger rail service from Atlanta (preferably some type of regional interurban rail service with a scenic mountain theme along the lines of the North Georgia Mountain's Blue Ridge Scenic Railway) than Murphy, NC because of the direct access to the very-popular resort and recreational areas of the Great Smoky Mountains and Southwest North Carolina that such a passenger rail line would provide (the 2 Indian casinos in Cherokee, NC and the tourist areas at Gatlinburg, TN and Pigeon Forge, TN, etc).

Regional commuter rail service (only a few trains a day at most) could run up to Murphy, NC to provide access to the mountain retreats, resorts and rural mountain communities of extreme North Georgia and extreme Southwestern North Carolina.

(Anecdotally, I also knew of a guy who commuted about 120 miles each way daily between his home in Murphy, NC and his job at the now-defunct General Motors plant in Doraville for more than 30 years because high-paying jobs like that were far and few between in rural Southwestern North Carolina.)

Though the priority would be extend regional commuter rail service through the Atlanta suburbs to the North Georgia Mountain towns of Jasper and Ellijay (areas which are seeing an increasing amount of outer-exurban development) as a way of relieving increasingly severe traffic stress from Interstate 575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Once you get to Spartanburg, you might as well try for Charlotte too.
...Not really...The main reasons to extend regional commuter rail service to Spartanburg would be to provide a direct rail transit link between Metro Atlanta and Clemson University as well as provide Metro Atlantans and North Georgians with consistent access to Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, which regional commuter rail service and/or regional interurban rail service could help turn into a reliever airport of sorts for the world-leading Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int'l Airport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Auburn is also good, but once you reach Auburn, why not go for Montgomery? Connect Alabama's state capitol with the world's busiest airport.
...That's a good point, but at 160 miles away from Five Points (more than 10 miles farther away from Five Points than Birmingham) and with no discernable daily commuting patterns between Atlanta and Montgomery, Montgomery is too far to provide regional commuter rail service to from Atlanta.

Though, maybe, but not necessarily, Montgomery could be a candidate for regional interurban rail service to and from Atlanta eventually.

The biggest priority is providing a consistent passenger rail transit link to Auburn University and the surrounding college town of Auburn, AL for the tens-of-thousands of Auburn students, alums and fans that live in the greater Atlanta region as more Auburn alumni likely live in the Atlanta region than any other individual metro area, even in Alabama.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
I'm not sure Perry is worth more than some kind of shuttle service down from Warner Robins. It would be nice to take the train to the Fairgrounds, but you'd need all new right of way to make it even close to competitive with driving.
...Despite the increasing political domination of the Atlanta region and North Georgia in Georgia politics, providing regional commuter rail service to Perry would admittedly be an olive branch to Middle Georgia to gain much-needed political support from Middle Georgia politicians for the critically-needed large-scale upgrade and expansion of rail-anchored transit service across the Atlanta region.

Because Perry is the county seat of the fast-growing and the still politically-crucial Houston County (former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, former Governor Sonny Perdue and former Georgia State House Majority Leader Larry Walker are all from Houston County) and the site of the Georgia National Fair, Perry would be targeted for eventual regional commuter rail service to and from Atlanta, though it would not necessarily be a priority like the lines to the Macon and Warner Robins areas (Bonaire and Kathleen).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Kathleen can be served by the Perry shuttle.
...Being that the Kathleen and Bonaire areas along with the Georgia Highway 96 corridor south of Warner Robins are areas that are experiencing continued very-heavy growth, areas like Kathleen and Bonaire (which are the sites of much new residential and commercial development) would be very well served by being the end stops on a regional commuter rail line with service to the employment and activity centers of the Atlanta urban core.
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:48 AM
 
2,159 posts, read 1,110,057 times
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Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Here's a map of what I think Atlanta's commuter rail lines should be:
Atlanta Commuter Rail - Google Maps
Only line missing is Athens, because when I made the map, I put Athens on a regional line, but I've decided since that it's deserving of denser service than regional rail would provide. You can also see that I would run the Lawrenceville-Athens line by Emory rather than through Emory so trains don't have to use the crowded Howell junction. I route the Suwanee-Gainesville line down the Beltline for the same reason.
...I like the regional commuter rail map you made.

As you well probably know, I completely and strongly agree with your point that Athens is much more deserving of denser/higher-frequency rail transit service than a regional commuter rail line would provide.

Which is why regional heavy rail transit service should be implemented on its own set of grade-separated tracks within the CSX/Seaboard Airline rail right-of-way between the Atlanta Airport and the University of Georgia in Athens.

I would also have to completely disagree with running the Lawrenceville-Athens "Brain Train" regional passenger rail transit line by Emory University down the Inman Belt to Kirkwood Junction instead of through the heart of the Emory campus on west along the CSX/Seaboard Airline right-of-way (underground on its own grade-separated tracks alongside a relocated and expanded existing freight rail line where possible and applicable) to the Cheshire Bridge, Piedmont Hospital/South Buckhead, Howell Mill, West Midtown areas, by the westside of the Georgia Tech campus THROUGH the Gulch/Five Points/Multimodal Passenger Terminal (MMPT) area through the West End area (access to the Atlanta University Center area) to the Domestic Terminal area on the Westside of the Atlanta Airport.

Providing direct and near-direct access to and from the Emory University and Georgia Tech campuses along with the campuses of the Atlanta University Center, the campus of Georgia State, the campus of UGA and the emerging campus of Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, is key to making the "Brain Train" the overwhelming and smashing success that it can and will likely be once the highly-anticipated passenger rail transit line becomes operational.

Also, instead of terminating at the MMPT at the Gulch/Five Points area Downtown, regional passenger rail lines should run THROUGH the MMPT to the Atlanta Airport.

Running regional passenger rail lines that originate north of I-20 THROUGH the Downtown MMPT to the Atlanta Airport would provide Northside metro region residents with direct access and a very-high level of connectivity to the massive employment, activity and one of the world's busiest single international logistical centers at the Atlanta Airport.

Running regional passenger rail lines that originate from south of I-20 THROUGH the Downtown MMPT to important logistical points on the Northside (Kennesaw, Alpharetta, Norcross) would provide residents from the Southside of the metro region and beyond with direct access and a very-high level of connectivity to the existing and emerging employment centers on the Northside of the Atlanta metro region.

The only passenger rail lines that should likely terminate at the MMPT are the interstate interurban passenger rail lines (Atlanta-Chicago high-speed rail, New Orleans-Atlanta-Charlotte-NYC high-speed rail, Atlanta-Florida high speed rail, etc) that are planned to eventually radiate out from Atlanta all over the Southeastern and Eastern United States.

I would also have to completely disagree with any routing of the Gainesville regional passenger rail line down the Northeast leg of the Beltline because routing the Gainesville/I-85/I-985 NE Corridor passenger rail line would route the important rail transit lines away from the rising massive employment and activity center at Atlantic Station/West Midtown as well as away from the activity centers at Georgia Tech and the Georgia World Congress Center/Georgia Dome/Philips Arena area where the Gainesville/I-85 NE Corridor regional passenger rail line critically needs to go.

I don't disagree with passenger rail service on the Beltline, I do think that the Beltline likely needs to be served by its own line for the most part, though some type of occasional spur passenger rail service off of a main passenger rail line could potentially be an option.

As you probably also know and as I stated before, in addition to making the "Brain Train" line to Athens a regional heavy rail line between the Atlanta Airport and UGA (the first regional heavy rail line), I would convert most of the lines on your regional commuter rail map to regional heavy rail lines.

I would convert most of the regional commuter rail lines on your map to regional heavy rail lines so that, of course, in addition to Athens, outlying locations on your map like Locust Grove, Griffin, Newnan, Villa Rica, Dallas, Cartersville, Canton, Cumming, Gainesville and Covington are served by very high-quality regional heavy rail service with regional commuter rail and regional interurban rail serving points beyond.

Taking a cue from your map, I would also take the state's proposed I-285 Top End Perimeter light rail line concept one step further and implement I-75 NW Corridor to I-85/GA 316 NE Corridor regional heavy rail service between Cartersville and Dacula by way of the I-285 Top End Corridor which suffers from increasingly severe traffic congestion.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
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Also, instead of terminating at the MMPT at the Gulch/Five Points area Downtown, regional passenger rail lines should run THROUGH the MMPT to the Atlanta Airport.
People can transfer to MARTA, which runs 7 minute headways southbound during peak hours, to get to HJIA.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
People can transfer to MARTA, which runs 7 minute headways southbound during peak hours, to get to HJIA.
I agree with this, there would be to much traffic if all trains used that trunk line to the airport. There could be a couple of trains that do this.

As for through trains though. It would be a good idea for college game days to run all trains coming from the south of the MMPT as an express to Athens, with a stop at North Avenue for Georgia Tech.

Also Augusta, Chattanooga, Auburn, Anniston, are WAY to far for COMMUTER rail service. However, they are perfect for more regional corridor Amtrak rail, such as the Northeast Regional, Piedmont, Hiawatha, or Keystone Corridor to name a few.

I am currently working on a southern regional rail plan in my spare time and will post it when it is done (give me a month or so).
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:58 AM
 
Location: City of Trees
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Clearly MARTA through South DeKalb. There's a built-in user base, and they've wanted it for YEARS. A spur going that direction could stop at Turner Field as well.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
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Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
There really isn't room on any of the corridors you mention for MARTA Heavy Rail service, not without spending BILLIONS just on land acquisition alone. It's also not really worth it to run 10-15 minute headway all-day service much outside the perimeter with the GA-400 corridor being a notable exception. If you service is less than that, then it's better to use what's there, less frequently.

Greensboro isn't enough of a city to be a distant terminus for regional rail service. Madison always struck me as too far away for commuter rail service too. Before anyone brings up the Long Island Railroad or MARC, let me say that the outlying points are only served 3-6 times per day, and just happen to use the same equipment used closer in for more conventional commuter rail service. Perhaps someday, Atlanta could do this, but the better option would be to run commuter rail as far as Covington or maybe Social Circle, then Regional rail to Augusta with timed connections from commuter to regional rail outbound, and regional to commuter rail inbound.

If you're going all the way to Anniston, you might as well anchor the line at Birmingham. Again, Anniston is too small for a rural terminus.

Your first Chattanooga route is nice, but your second route is a better alternative. If you're just trying to get service to Rome, it would be better to run either a bus bridge across to Cartersville, or a short rail spur across from about Kingston with rail shuttle service and again, timed connections. Your first route however, could have commuter rail at least as far as Dallas, Rockmart starts becoming too far out, but maybe extend commuter rail service there.

Ball Ground is worth it, and maybe two or three daily roundtrips to Ellijay, but with the curviness of the line, and the distance to another small city, Murphy, NC just isn't worth it. Ball Ground is quite far out for commuter rail service, but with the I-575 highway going all the way up there, it makes a nice place to terminate trains after Canton.


Once you get to Spartanburg, you might as well try for Charlotte too.

Auburn is also good, but once you reach Auburn, why not go for Montgomery? Connect Alabama's state capitol with the world's busiest airport.

I'm not sure Perry is worth more than some kind of shuttle service down from Warner Robins. It would be nice to take the train to the Fairgrounds, but you'd need all new right of way to make it even close to competitive with driving.

Kathleen can be served by the Perry shuttle.

Here's a map of what I think Atlanta's commuter rail lines should be:
Atlanta Commuter Rail - Google Maps
Only line missing is Athens, because when I made the map, I put Athens on a regional line, but I've decided since that it's deserving of denser service than regional rail would provide. You can also see that I would run the Lawrenceville-Athens line by Emory rather than through Emory so trains don't have to use the crowded Howell junction. I route the Suwanee-Gainesville line down the Beltline for the same reason.
The Locust Grove-Atlanta line uses one of NS busier lines. It would be nearly impossible to use that line for commuter rail.
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