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Old 10-17-2018, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Decatur, GA
4,907 posts, read 3,704,919 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
We can (and have) debated the line between public and private roles in operating in the transportation industry. But a lack of opportunities for transit connected real estate development is not a problem Atlanta has.
Actually it is. Only a narrow strip from Buckhead down through the airport is truly transit-connected. We go through this every time they build a new building near a Perimeter station, or talk about the Brookhaven TOD. Yes, those are all technically "transit connected" but they aren't "transit useful" since the vast majority of people will be driving to or from them due to the lack of transit connection elsewhere. Take the State Farm building at the Dunwoody Station. Most of the people working there are likely to come from Cobb, N. Fulton and Gwinnett. Most of those people don't have any practical transit connectivity to PC. Whatever token buses Xpress is now running to PC are little better than just sitting in traffic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthwarden View Post
A lack of workable right of way is, though, for anything other than the BeltLine, and that's where the costs will overwhelm private options.

Brightline is something of a novelty situation in the U.S., where you have a combination of a saturated freight market, a freight company with extra line-capacity despite that saturation, and a fairly demanded travel market. That means that FEC doesn't have to go about acquiring new right of way for the vast majority of its routing, and the section it does need to do so is government-owned land designed with adding rail in mind.

Passenger service and the accompanying real-estate is just a way to work more value out of a freight system that's hit its peak. If FEC could grow the freight market instead, it likely would have, since the returns are better.

The Atlanta metro's railroads, by comparison, are quite congested and only expected to get more so. There's a real lack of additional capacity, and growing freight markets throughout the country mean that the rails will likely only see more tonnage moved. The ever-growing Port of Savannah is proof enough of this.

So, beyond the BeltLine, where new transit will have to build entirely new lines, even if they are in parallel to existing right of ways, the costs will grow high enough as to likely overshadow any realistic TOD-based financing system.

If I'm wrong, then great, but I know neither Norfolk Southern nor CSX are going to give up the more profitable freight services, nor are they going to give up track-rights. New services will need new track, at least within the core-five counties, and thus will be so expensive as to go beyond the same mechanisms that Brightline is using.
The only note I have here is that CSX has significantly downgraded service on its lines through Atlanta. The W&A to Chattanooga used to have 20+ trains per day and now has just 10-15. The Abbeville line (Tucker-Athens) used to have 10-15 trains per day, now has just 4 through trains and a few locals out of the major yards (Atlanta, Palmer, Athens). They also haven't substantially downgraded the infrastructure. When they re-signaled the Georgia sub (Decatur-Stone Mountain-Augusta) they did downgrade some of the signaling around Hulsey, but that's a minor technical detail more of interest to use railfans than anything significant.
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:01 PM
bu2
 
8,968 posts, read 5,658,755 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
But that section of the article specifically says not not think of it as US version style commuter rail. The example they use, RER in Paris, is a regional / metro hybrid. It operates elevated and underground lines. It uses overhead power lines.

Here is RER trains at the airport:



The title of that section is "Using Existing Space" in reference to rail corridors which is exactly what the Beltline is doing.
I've been on the RER. It works as the long range rail outside the core. I didn't really remember what type of power they used. Its central Paris stop has a pedestrian tunnel connecting to the Paris metro. You can tell they used existing ROW as its a LONG walk for such a transfer, at least 1/4 mile.
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:08 PM
bu2
 
8,968 posts, read 5,658,755 times
Reputation: 3529
Quote:
Originally Posted by fourthwarden View Post
Right of way acquisition alone would sink most of that. Even the current freight railways had massive government land-grants set up to make them possible in the first place.


I agree that Atlanta is in a solid position to set up new TOD, and to great effect, but I really doubt that the math would work out to make private-operation a real possibility for a network. The best that would likely happen is significant boosts to agencies' base budgets from lease payments.
In Houston they are doing studies on a rail by-pass to the west to both make it easier for trains and for cars inside the core. The state of Georgia does own that Cobb line. Its possible it could be feasible to create or facilitate alternatives that reduced freight traffic on that line, making passenger rail to Cobb much more affordable.
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Old 10-18-2018, 07:53 AM
 
9,907 posts, read 6,891,298 times
Reputation: 3012
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattCW View Post
Actually it is. Only a narrow strip from Buckhead down through the airport is truly transit-connected. We go through this every time they build a new building near a Perimeter station, or talk about the Brookhaven TOD. Yes, those are all technically "transit connected" but they aren't "transit useful" since the vast majority of people will be driving to or from them due to the lack of transit connection elsewhere. Take the State Farm building at the Dunwoody Station. Most of the people working there are likely to come from Cobb, N. Fulton and Gwinnett. Most of those people don't have any practical transit connectivity to PC. Whatever token buses Xpress is now running to PC are little better than just sitting in traffic.
You are only highlighting a lack of transit. Not a lack or real estate to have a successful private transit + real estate development.

Keep in mind back when we had privately run transit in Atlanta we had rail transit running up into Cobb. So it can be done and it can be done here.
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