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Old 05-08-2015, 09:18 AM
 
10,309 posts, read 7,264,240 times
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Some good thoughts from ATL Urbanist:

Could MARTA serve Gwinnett County

Quote:
...I’m not saying MARTA could or couldn’t be an improvement here, but with that kind of built environment, the county is going to be difficult to serve well with bus service regardless of the agency.

Gwinnett lost 25,000 acres of forests to urbanization from 1992-2001, more than any other county in the southern US during that period – but that urbanization happened in a low-density fashion. The county went all in with a car-centric style of development and, with recent news of a new 67-acre, 238-lot subdivision being built there, seems to still be building in that style.
...



Here’s something that illustrates the challenging service area for transit in Gwinnett.

...how did Gwinnett get denser than Mecklenburg County without building a Charlotte? Or denser than Orange County without building a Chapel Hill? What kind of odd population dispersion is happening here? A look at land value per acre – a means of finding “downtown” areas with tell tale economic activity – showed what was happening.



But with Gwinnett, with its 3D visualization turned completely on its side, there were no tall spikes. Just continuous little ones. Minicozzi says that it looks like a big, thick carpet.



The further apart people and destinations are in this sprawling pattern, the harder it is to build bus routes that can serve them. In a dense urban center, you might get 100 bus riders in walking distance of a single stop from there homes. In medium-density sprawl, maybe 10 (I’m throwing out numbers to make a point; those aren’t based on actual counts).

Unless the tax digest is high enough to fund an incredibly comprehensive transit system, the math just doesn’t work out for high-level service from any provider. If MARTA comes in, it seems possible to me that the service level for residents could be a lateral move in comparison to what they have now. As for a heavy-rail train line – the return on that massive investment would be highly questionable without a plan for increasing density in walkable urban centers.

I’m not saying MARTA shouldn’t move into Gwinnett – just that the challenges in land use make the move questionable and that the agency should use caution; or better yet, work with the county and its municipalities to plan out some nodes of density near transit lines.
Gwinnett as a county does have respectable density numbers, higher than other counties that house core southern cities. But that just goes to show how one number can't tell you everything. It lacks urban nodes. Transit will never be able to serve sprawl well. But I do think think some sort of rail connection, at least a commuter rail line. Could do a lot to help Gwinnett develop urban nodes and stay competitive. We don't need a subway stop at every cul de sac in suburbaia, but we should have urban nodes with transit connections available for people to make that choice.
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Old 05-08-2015, 09:29 AM
 
Location: O4W
3,744 posts, read 3,636,048 times
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Whoever wrote this is a dumbass. MARTA would not have rail stops in the middle of subdivisions....duh

Rail stops would be at Gwinnett Place Mall, Sugarloaf Mills, Mall of Ga, etc....You know, places where a lot of people go. Plus the main use for MARTA will be to get people to Atlanta and Dunwoody for work Monday-Friday
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
23,015 posts, read 17,014,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Some good thoughts from ATL Urbanist:

Could MARTA serve Gwinnett County



Gwinnett as a county does have respectable density numbers, higher than other counties that house core southern cities. But that just goes to show how one number can't tell you everything. It lacks urban nodes. Transit will never be able to serve sprawl well. But I do think think some sort of rail connection, at least a commuter rail line. Could do a lot to help Gwinnett develop urban nodes and stay competitive. We don't need a subway stop at every cul de sac in suburbaia, but we should have urban nodes with transit connections available for people to make that choice.
I found the density, without a downtown business district shocking.
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:41 PM
 
Location: ATL -> HOU -> DAL
4,272 posts, read 3,410,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
I found the density, without a downtown business district shocking.
Especially since eastern Gwinnett isn't dense at all.

Look, Gwinnett might not have dense nodes, but it absolutely has a main route. I 85. That is THE main route and is the perfect spot for a rail line. Or at least make it easy to access for 85 commuters. I really like that you can get off 400 and be right there at the North Springs station. You aren't gonna convert Gwinnettians into urbanites walking to stations but many will be thrilled to drive to the stations on side streets that either aren't too bad, or will just remain terrible, all while avoiding a backed up freeway.
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:03 PM
bu2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedimenjerry View Post
Especially since eastern Gwinnett isn't dense at all.

Look, Gwinnett might not have dense nodes, but it absolutely has a main route. I 85. That is THE main route and is the perfect spot for a rail line. Or at least make it easy to access for 85 commuters. I really like that you can get off 400 and be right there at the North Springs station. You aren't gonna convert Gwinnettians into urbanites walking to stations but many will be thrilled to drive to the stations on side streets that either aren't too bad, or will just remain terrible, all while avoiding a backed up freeway.
Its an interesting article. I do think I-85 or near Buford Hwy are the logical routes.
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:08 PM
 
Location: ATL -> HOU -> DAL
4,272 posts, read 3,410,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
Its an interesting article. I do think I-85 or near Buford Hwy are the logical routes.
Buford Hwy is right near the railroad. Commuter rail possibly?

US 78 could use something but I don't know if a dedicated line is worth the cost
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:18 PM
bu2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sedimenjerry View Post
Buford Hwy is right near the railroad. Commuter rail possibly?

US 78 could use something but I don't know if a dedicated line is worth the cost
Possibly. Or simply use the same right of way.
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Old 05-08-2015, 03:33 PM
bu2
 
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This article is about the Texas department of transportation, but the discussion is equally relevant to Atlanta and even Gwinnett.

TxDOT moving past the highway, albeit slowly - Houston Chronicle

The system we have got now is not infinitely scalable,” said David Ellis, a senior researcher with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. “That is not to say we do not need to add all the capacity we can afford to add, because we do. But it is still not enough.”
Ellis and others briefed the Texas Transportation Commission Wednesday following a detailed presentation from the state demographer’s office. Texas is growing rapidly, something a blip in the oil and gas market isn’t likely to slow for long.
Houston, along with every metro area in the state, is experiencing the brunt of that population boom. In many cases metro areas are expanding on the suburban fringe while increasing density in established areas closer to the core.

Tryon Lewis, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission
Tryon Lewis, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission

“When you get to certain population density, we have to think about what will transportation look like and what must it look like,” said Tryon Lewis, chairman of the transportation commission and a former state representative from Odessa.
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:03 PM
bu2
 
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And Kyle Wingfield echos some of what I think about Atlanta's system as well:

Plane crash in Atlanta shows fragility of region’s highway network | Kyle Wingfield

He has comparative maps of Denver, Dallas and Houston.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
23,015 posts, read 17,014,852 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
And Kyle Wingfield echos some of what I think about Atlanta's system as well:

Plane crash in Atlanta shows fragility of region’s highway network | Kyle Wingfield

He has comparative maps of Denver, Dallas and Houston.
We don't need more freeways, but an adequate arterial highway system is needed.
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