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Old 12-18-2014, 04:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
Houston was more dense than Atlanta 30 years ago and had a vast 25 year road plan. Most involved improving arterial roads. They were willing to condemn property to build left turn lanes and widen roads. They used multiple roads to create a single arterial. Just to give one example, in what were once a number of separate roads (many of which are still separate), you can drive about 25 miles from north Houston to Southwest Houston along the Hillcroft corridor. You start on Bammel-North Houston. Champions Forest merges with it. You drive straight onto North Houston Rosslyn (Champions Forest veers off). Then you drive onto Bingle (North Houston Rosslyn veers off). Bingle becomes Voss (Voss northbound deadends at the Katy Freeway). Voss becomes Hillcroft. Hillcroft becomes Blue Ridge Road. In many cases like North Houston-Rosslyn and Voss it didn't work well to extend those roads because of limited right of way so they connected to alternate routes.

Many freeways are built with condemning land. Austin's highway 71 and 183 built in the 80s/90s involved tearing down a lot of properties along arterial roads to convert to freeway. Houston expanded I-10 and its access roads a few years ago to about 24 lanes from about 12 using both rail right of way and condemning properties along the freeway. They are working on a massive expansion of the Northwest Freeway taking parking lots, buildings and putting up arial sections. Atlanta went underground for a piece of 400 near Lennox. There are lots of ways to do things. Its been so long since they've done major projects here, people don't seem to remember.
Those are some good comments and some good points about how properties were condemned for the improvement of arterial roads in Houston and the conversion of arterial roads to freeways in Austin.

You also made an excellent point about how the Georgia 400 Extension was tunneled under the Atlanta Financial Center in Buckhead when it was constructed in the early 1990's.

But there is a huge difference between the political climate in Texas (which seems to be much more permissive of new road construction and expansion, even if it requires condemnation of existing structures and properties to do it) and the political climate in Georgia (where there often seems to be an overwhelming degree of public pushback against road construction and expansion proposals that are perceived to have a major impact).

The much more active social activist community in Atlanta has made large-scale road expansions much more difficult in North Georgia than in Texas where large-scale road improvement and expansion proposals traditionally have encountered little if any resistance.

It should also be noted that while the Georgia 400 Extension has contributed heavily to the massive growth and prosperity of Metro Atlanta's Northside (Buckhead, Perimeter, North Fulton, Forsyth and the GA 400 North Corridor), the Georgia 400 Extension basically exhausted almost all of the political capital that might have been needed to make large-scale future expansions of Metro Atlanta's notoriously constrained road network.

Even as long ago as 25 years ago, Atlanta's legendary social activist community was gaining the upper hand in heated political and public relations battles over large-scale road expansion projects and likely would have been successful in stopping the construction of the GA 400 Extension through Buckhead and North Atlanta had the State of Georgia and the City of Atlanta not included plans for a MARTA Heavy Rail Transit line to be constructed down the middle of the GA 400 roadway.

Were it not for the inclusion of the MARTA HRT extension down the middle of the GA 400 roadway to placate the anti-road activists, those activists likely would have easily gotten public opinion on their side and defeated the GA 400 Extension which Northside business and real estate interests (then dominated completely by Buckhead business and real estate interests) so desperately wanted as a means of boosting the Northside real estate market.

Without the inclusion of the rail transit line to placate the anti-road activists, the plans for the GA 400 Extension likely would have succumbed to opposition over the road being constructed directly through a historic Freedman's settlement and upscale neighborhoods in Buckhead and North Atlanta.

Because so much political capital was expended on the controversial GA 400 Extension through Buckhead and North Atlanta, the state basically had no more political capital to expend on future large-scale road construction proposals like the Outer Perimeter, the Northern Arc, the East Atlanta toll tunnels and even the much more modest road expansion proposals included in the 2012 T-SPLOST referendum....All road construction proposals which were soundly defeated by social activist-led public backlashes.

And any proposal to condemn properties in the densely developed and populated core of the City of Atlanta to add new travel lanes to the already 16 lane-wide Downtown Connector would most likely and most predictably meet the same fate as the aforementioned defeated large-scale road construction projects.
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Old 12-18-2014, 04:41 AM
 
Location: Jonesboro
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As I wrote the other day, I don't give a pitooey how they've done things in other cities. It's not relevant just because someone says so or says that this and that can be done.
Atlanta went through the huge "Freeing the Freeways" projects in the late 80's to early 90's & will not remove more properties beyond that in the central core because it is too expensive, impractical & not wanted. 24 lanes may be nirvana for other cities but that's part of the problem as to why they look like they do... paved concrete ugliness. As I and others have written here, "absolutely not." Period. Case closed.
As for tunneling, the GDOT publicly offered a ludicrous proposal for a 14 mile plus intown tunnel project as recently as 2010. Needless to say, that went nowhere, especially given the cost and the fact that the tunnel would have only been 40 feet wide. What an innefective & destructive boondoggle that would have been.
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Old 12-18-2014, 05:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnetar View Post
I 100% agree that the traffic problems on the Connector are related to drivers weaving between lanes, but it's not for no reason, it's because of the Connector's design. The rightmost lanes that drivers merge into constantly end abruptly when they become exit only, causing panicked drivers to switch lanes at the last second and cause backups in lanes. I'd love to see GDOT devise a system whereby travelers driving through midtown/downtown could be separated from those trying to access the exits.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElleKaye View Post
I agree with what you have said. I don't know whose idea it was, but one of the first things I noticed about Atlanta, not just the connector, but surface roads as well, is there is great risk of being forced to turn right if you are in the right lane. I have not experienced that anywhere else. The right lane has been the safety net for keeping straight or driving slower if you are not familiar with the area. I actually still find it flat out annoying.

I think additional signage earlier on would help cut down on confusion so the surprise isn't flung on you at the last minute. I honestly cannot think of an area in the city where some portion of the signage is not misleading. I mean blatantly misleading like putting two arrows where there is only one exit lane or no indication at all that if I go through a said light that I will be forced onto the freeway.
The irony of your comments about the flawed design of the Downtown Connector is that the road was considered to have been one of the best designed roads in the entire nation immediately after its reconstruction was completed in the early 1990's.

The Georgia Department of Transportation was even reported to have won many awards and accolades for the design of the reconstructed highway back in the late 1980's and early 1990's which at the time was considered to be cutting edge.

Of course, that was when the Atlanta region only had less than half of the population that it has today and back when the road had substantially less traffic.

One of the major reasons for the flawed design of the road where right lanes seem to keep ending and motorists in those seemingly continuously ending right lanes keep having to move over to the left to continue on the highway is because of the placement of multiple exits and entrances within such a short distance on a wide highway that squeezes through a very densely developed area.

GDOT floated a plan to eliminate some of the exits and entrances on the Downtown Connector a couple of years ago but backed away from it because of concerns from city residents that the closure of exits and entrances would force more Interstate traffic onto city streets.

As was discussed earlier, GDOT also floated a plan to place tolls on the far-left 2 lanes of each direction of the Downtown Connector (the HOV-2 lanes and the far-left general purpose lanes), but seemed to quickly back away from that plan after the fierce public backlash to the rocky startup of the I-85 High Occupancy Toll lanes in Gwinnett County in October 2011.
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Old 12-18-2014, 07:11 AM
 
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Here is hoping GDOT brings HOT lanes to the downtown connector (and all metro highways). People that prefer to live far out in the suburbs need to have options to get into the city quickly. What better way then divert their rent / mortgage savings from living further out to pay for the infrastructure they need to make a timely commute into the city.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:44 PM
bu2
 
8,973 posts, read 5,668,100 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElleKaye View Post
I agree with what you have said. I don't know whose idea it was, but one of the first things I noticed about Atlanta, not just the connector, but surface roads as well, is there is great risk of being forced to turn right if you are in the right lane. I have not experienced that anywhere else. The right lane has been the safety net for keeping straight or driving slower if you are not familiar with the area. I actually still find it flat out annoying.

I think additional signage earlier on would help cut down on confusion so the surprise isn't flung on you at the last minute. I honestly cannot think of an area in the city where some portion of the signage is not misleading. I mean blatantly misleading like putting two arrows where there is only one exit lane or no indication at all that if I go through a said light that I will be forced onto the freeway.
Very, very, very true. I can't think of any place in the country with such inconsistent and bad designs. Piedmont Road is ridiculous.
When you are getting on a freeway, there's no consistency as to whether you need to get to the right or left for any particular direction. The signage is horrible. It seems designed for someone who already knows what to do. You don't see it until it is too late to change what you are doing. Even street signs are poor. You can't see the street name in many places until it is too late to turn. With the amount of convention business and outside events, you would think they would do a better job for visitors.

I can think of one place where they have the sign well in advance. They've got a sign for I-85 on Clairemont Road about 5 or 6 miles south of I-85!

There's really so, so much that could be done here without adding extra lanes to anything. Signage, left turn lanes, signal timing, fixing stuff like Piedmont Road. Maybe the start is to fire all the traffic engineers in the area and recruit new ones.
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