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Old 11-28-2017, 08:04 PM
 
10,974 posts, read 8,802,488 times
Reputation: 3419

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Georgia DOT: Why building free lanes won’t solve metro Atlanta’s traffic mess | Spinning our Wheels

Quote:
...many wonder: Why doesn’t Georgia just build more “free” lanes (the state calls them “general purpose lanes”)?

The Georgia Department of Transportation’s answer: Free lanes won’t solve our traffic problems.

In a recent interview with the AJC, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said many motorists avoid crowded stretches of highway, finding alternative routes.

“Then when you build more free lanes, people come right back to them and they’re congested right away,” he said.

McMurry said building free lanes also adds capacity that – for much of the day – goes to waste.

“It’s a supply and demand issue,” he said. “During the peak times, you need them. The rest of the time, you don’t need so many lanes.”

McMurry cited I-75 in Cobb County as an example of how ineffective free lanes can be. Above the Perimeter, I-75 is already up to 15 lanes wide in spots, and traffic still backs up at rush hour...
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
6,863 posts, read 4,501,712 times
Reputation: 4764
As far as our freeway system in GA, I'm very much for permanently doing away with all general purpose/free lanes. Just like it costs a $2.50 fare to get on the MARTA train, it should cost a $2.50 fare (toll) to get on the freeway. Then $2.50 to return. $5 round trip. And you can load it up for the month, just like MARTA.

And with free transfers, also just like MARTA. So once you pay $2.50 to get on I-85, you can then get on I-285 or any other freeways from there as needed, for free. You'd only pay a toll upon entry to the connected freeway system. And it's free for transit, incentivizing riding commuter bus.

And then all the various HOV and Peach Pass and express lanes on said freeways (incl. the upcoming NW corridor lanes and 285 express lanes), would be $7.50 to access (still free for transit), or $5 to access if you're entering them from already being on the general freeway (already paid $2.50). With no HOV-restrictions, just tolled express lanes (for cars only, no freight of course). And they would be flex post barrier'd (except at entry/exit points).

That would help to manage congestion on the freeways, while also raising the billions we need for transit expansion and commuter rail and whatnot, without needing to raise taxes. 100% of the collected freeway toll would go to transit.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:39 PM
 
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Agreed primaltech. We very much need something like that. There will simply never be enough road space in a major city no matter how wide the highways if they are free to drive on.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
6,863 posts, read 4,501,712 times
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I like both cars and transit, and would like to see them both treated the same way. 1:1 everything. 1:1 tax funding, 1:1 fare.

That way, for every massive interchange improvement project, there would be a new commuter rail line built, too. Because we need both. Not one or the other.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:08 PM
bu2
 
18,935 posts, read 9,956,395 times
Reputation: 8353
Fire this guy. He doesn't drive in it.

Building mass transit doesn't solve the problem.

Building more lanes doesn't solve the problem.

Building HOT lanes doesn't solve the problem.

That doesn't mean you don't do any of them.
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:11 PM
bu2
 
18,935 posts, read 9,956,395 times
Reputation: 8353
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Agreed primaltech. We very much need something like that. There will simply never be enough road space in a major city no matter how wide the highways if they are free to drive on.
I will say that once you get beyond 5 or 6 lanes in each direction (not counting entrance and exit ramps), you shouldn't build more general purpose lanes. The North section of 285 is already there as well as large parts of 75 and 85. The far left lane doesn't get used much because you can't get across the traffic to the exits. Then you need express lanes, presumably HOT lanes.
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:19 AM
 
Location: Ono Island, Orange Beach, AL
10,589 posts, read 11,014,240 times
Reputation: 6675
Quote:
Originally Posted by primaltech View Post
As far as our freeway system in GA, I'm very much for permanently doing away with all general purpose/free lanes. Just like it costs a $2.50 fare to get on the MARTA train, it should cost a $2.50 fare (toll) to get on the freeway. Then $2.50 to return. $5 round trip. And you can load it up for the month, just like MARTA.

And with free transfers, also just like MARTA. So once you pay $2.50 to get on I-85, you can then get on I-285 or any other freeways from there as needed, for free. You'd only pay a toll upon entry to the connected freeway system. And it's free for transit, incentivizing riding commuter bus.

And then all the various HOV and Peach Pass and express lanes on said freeways (incl. the upcoming NW corridor lanes and 285 express lanes), would be $7.50 to access (still free for transit), or $5 to access if you're entering them from already being on the general freeway (already paid $2.50). With no HOV-restrictions, just tolled express lanes (for cars only, no freight of course). And they would be flex post barrier'd (except at entry/exit points).

That would help to manage congestion on the freeways, while also raising the billions we need for transit expansion and commuter rail and whatnot, without needing to raise taxes. 100% of the collected freeway toll would go to transit.
Is the gasoline tax not the "fare" for road use?
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:21 AM
 
Location: Ono Island, Orange Beach, AL
10,589 posts, read 11,014,240 times
Reputation: 6675
Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
Fire this guy. He doesn't drive in it.

Building mass transit doesn't solve the problem.

Building more lanes doesn't solve the problem.

Building HOT lanes doesn't solve the problem.

That doesn't mean you don't do any of them.
I think we should ask President Trump to build a wall around Atlanta to keep out all of the folks moving here, taking up our ER and clogging our roadways. Then we don't have to worry about more traffic, transit and all of that other such stuff.
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Old 11-29-2017, 12:57 AM
 
8,475 posts, read 3,895,149 times
Reputation: 6488
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Agreed primaltech. We very much need something like that. There will simply never be enough road space in a major city no matter how wide the highways if they are free to drive on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by primaltech View Post
As far as our freeway system in GA, I'm very much for permanently doing away with all general purpose/free lanes. Just like it costs a $2.50 fare to get on the MARTA train, it should cost a $2.50 fare (toll) to get on the freeway. Then $2.50 to return. $5 round trip. And you can load it up for the month, just like MARTA.

And with free transfers, also just like MARTA. So once you pay $2.50 to get on I-85, you can then get on I-285 or any other freeways from there as needed, for free. You'd only pay a toll upon entry to the connected freeway system. And it's free for transit, incentivizing riding commuter bus.

And then all the various HOV and Peach Pass and express lanes on said freeways (incl. the upcoming NW corridor lanes and 285 express lanes), would be $7.50 to access (still free for transit), or $5 to access if you're entering them from already being on the general freeway (already paid $2.50). With no HOV-restrictions, just tolled express lanes (for cars only, no freight of course). And they would be flex post barrier'd (except at entry/exit points).

That would help to manage congestion on the freeways, while also raising the billions we need for transit expansion and commuter rail and whatnot, without needing to raise taxes. 100% of the collected freeway toll would go to transit.
Freeways are not "free" to drive on, we pay for them every day through gas tax, and state tax. Toll them and that gas tax becomes reduced as they will no longer be eligible for tax funding, however; in a sense this will accomplish nothing. I already pay up to $13.00 in tolls one way just to commute from GA-316 to I-285 and I expect to need to pay that when using I-85 ... does that magically change the things I need to do for any given day? Will it keep me off the road? Not by a long shot. I will compromise other things in my life maybe, but I will still definately be using my car if I had no other alternative. Did $4.00 per gallon reduce the amount of commutes in Atlanta? maybe alittle...but not by anything significant... So this $5.00 round trip will only be seen as a mild annoyance if anything... If there were a train out here, then sure I'd take it - but there isn't...so yes..I'm going to pay $5.00 (which in a sense will cost me nothing additional because of the reduced fuel tax that would also be implied)

Seriously. Look at how expensive it is to drive in Chicago. It costs about $15 one way to drive between Indiana and Wisconsin (or the Chicago suburbs) in tolls. New York is even higher especially if you try to cross a bridge... That didn't change their need for driving...and driving through either of those cities is a HECK of alot more chaotic than driving in Atlanta.

As for adding more lanes? I'm not for it or against it. I personally do believe there are roads that need additional capacity regardless..but I do not believe every Interstate needs to be 8 lanes each direction. I will say that I-75 in the south metro does need to be atleast 4 lanes each because it carries alot of intercommercial / vacation traffic - or basically...traffic you cannot put on a mass transit system.

I will also say that even with the most adequate mass transit system, you will ALWAYS...have traffic... adding capacity on ANY SYSTEM, not just freeways; will attract growth and development along that cooridoor.. it's when you neglect that growth, like Atlanta has been doing since the 80's, that you run into the problems we have today...

You all say how Freeways just add more traffic and how they cause suburban sprawl but the argument doesn't hold its weight regardless through which scientific means its been proven because Atlanta has entirely proved this to be incorrect. Atlanta has about a quarter of the freeways of Houston, and especially DFW, likewise Chicago, and even Denver CO has a more efficient system than we do..yet Atlanta STILL sprawled to nearly the size of Houston...and doesn't have anywhere near the freeway coverage..so where is the logic in that?

Anyway...
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:19 AM
 
4,010 posts, read 2,999,229 times
Reputation: 1967
Did they really need a study for that?
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