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Old 01-30-2020, 10:39 PM
 
5,386 posts, read 2,137,070 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
GDOT had recently proposed to expand the GA-20 roadway between Cumming and Canton (which is mostly 2-3 lanes) to a divided 6-lane roadway.

Many (if not most) local residents seemed to be strongly opposed to almost any type of widening of the GA-20 roadway (except for maybe the addition of some extra right and left turn lanes where most needed, and/or maybe a center-turn lane) out of an intense fear that adding travel lanes to GA-20 will attract the type of heavy development that has been built in and helped to almost completely urbanize once seemingly far-flung closer-in metro Atlanta suburban areas like North Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, DeKalb and Clayton.

… This in an area (in Forsyth and Cherokee counties) where many residents seriously continue to think of themselves as living in the Appalachian/Blue Ridge foothills region of North Georgia.

The many residents who are loudly opposed to any type of significant expansion of the GA-20 roadway between Cumming and Canton intensely fear that adding more travel lanes to GA-20 will bring about the destruction of the exurban/rural Appalachian/Blue Ridge foothills character and lifestyle that they so enjoy about living in the area and that they seem to be willing to fight fiercely to protect.

In that context, almost any type of expansion of GA-20 is likely to be rejected by the residents of Forsyth and Cherokee counties who remain strongly opposed to expanding the GA-20 roadway between Cumming and Canton.

Here are a couple of links from a previous discussion here on the Atlanta Forum in early 2017, after GDOT had proposed to expand GA-20 into a 6-lane divided surface highway, that might provide some more background on that issue...

Residents push back against widening of Hwy 20 to six lanes in Cherokee and Forsyth counties (City-Data Atlanta Forum, 2/28/17)

Residents push back against six lanes on Highway 20...
Concerned residents in Cherokee County are pushing back against a plan to widen Highway 20 from two lanes to six lanes. GDOT officials say the project will relieve congestion and improve safety.
(WXIA-TV/11Alive Atlanta, 2/27/17)
That's a tough animal for certain.

There is no easy win.

The traffic on GA-20 can be nightmarish and it is in serious needs of upgrades or alternatives. It's too far from the city to be less car-dependent and the area is still growing despite the lack of infrastructural upgrades. If they choose not to upgrade it, they will eventually lock themselves into a congested nightmare. But if they do upgrade it, it very well could attract certain venues to establish nearby it, especially near major interchanges like I-75, I,575, GA-400.

In reality though with the amount of people moving to Atlanta metro it is unrealistic to have the expectation of keeping out growth and development by blocking infrastructure without incurring considerable consequences in the functionality department. If they neglect the road, the area will still grow, just without sufficient infrastructure to support the growth. If they widen it, it may grow much faster which will in turn draw more growth into the region and need for additional infrastructure.
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Old 01-31-2020, 01:15 AM
 
6,695 posts, read 6,308,107 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Need4Camaro View Post
That's a tough animal for certain.

There is no easy win.

The traffic on GA-20 can be nightmarish and it is in serious needs of upgrades or alternatives. It's too far from the city to be less car-dependent and the area is still growing despite the lack of infrastructural upgrades. If they choose not to upgrade it, they will eventually lock themselves into a congested nightmare. But if they do upgrade it, it very well could attract certain venues to establish nearby it, especially near major interchanges like I-75, I,575, GA-400.

In reality though with the amount of people moving to Atlanta metro it is unrealistic to have the expectation of keeping out growth and development by blocking infrastructure without incurring considerable consequences in the functionality department. If they neglect the road, the area will still grow, just without sufficient infrastructure to support the growth. If they widen it, it may grow much faster which will in turn draw more growth into the region and need for additional infrastructure.
Those are excellent points, including in the bolded.

Despite largely having only 2 travel lanes across the northern exurban and outer-suburban tier of the Atlanta metro area, commercial development has already been attracted to and sprung up at and around GA-20's junctions with major north-south routes.

Significant clusters of commercial development of various sizes (from smaller to large) have already sprung up at GA-20's junctions with major north-south roads like US-41, I-75, I-575, GA-400, I-985 and I-85.

There is also much commercial and residential development that continues to spring up along the GA-20 corridor in between the developed areas at the aforementioned junctions with major north-south routes.

… Which is something (that along with GA-20 being used as an alternative route to I-285 for trucks traveling east and west across the state between the I-85 Northeast and I-75 Northwest corridors) is generating the rising amount of traffic (and traffic congestion) on an otherwise exurban/rural east-west route like GA-20.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Georgia
5,845 posts, read 4,785,112 times
Reputation: 3551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Need4Camaro View Post
That's a tough animal for certain.

There is no easy win.

The traffic on GA-20 can be nightmarish and it is in serious needs of upgrades or alternatives. It's too far from the city to be less car-dependent and the area is still growing despite the lack of infrastructural upgrades. If they choose not to upgrade it, they will eventually lock themselves into a congested nightmare. But if they do upgrade it, it very well could attract certain venues to establish nearby it, especially near major interchanges like I-75, I,575, GA-400.

In reality though with the amount of people moving to Atlanta metro it is unrealistic to have the expectation of keeping out growth and development by blocking infrastructure without incurring considerable consequences in the functionality department. If they neglect the road, the area will still grow, just without sufficient infrastructure to support the growth. If they widen it, it may grow much faster which will in turn draw more growth into the region and need for additional infrastructure.
GA-20 needs to be expanded to four lanes there. It is a major east-west corridor, and leaving it as a two-lane road is dangerous.

But six lanes is too many.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
2,923 posts, read 2,672,440 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulch View Post
I drove on that very segment a few weekends ago, and it was awful.
I agree, it is a river of concrete that killed all the adjacent businesses and I think it has a bus lane in the middle that's pretty much wasted.

US74 in Charlotte has been an ongoing failed experiment for 2 decades.

NCDOT is planning to partially convert US1 in North Raleigh to something similar because it is maxed out in the number of cars and easily is the most congested highway there. I hope it's not similar to US74. which may have been relieved by the new Tolled Monroe Bypass and Charlotte's I-485 Outerbelt completion.

I predict one day that Charlotte will demolish all that concrete and return it to a more livable street.
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Old 01-31-2020, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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I attended the open house yesterday and basically those GDOT employees have no clue of how awful what they're planning to do will be.

They don't realize how awful their finished projects are compared to Express Lane projects all over the country.

They don't realize the ramifications of shoving so much into an existing right-or-way, which will be a total loss of tree buffers on both sides of I-285 which will expose all of the warehouses, etc. that are wonderfully hidden now.

They have no planters or shrubbery indicated in the medians of all these roads right beside each other, hello more heat island effects without cooling, air cleaning, plants, trees.

Just the fact of seeing a river of concrete hundreds of feet wide without any trees, landscaping that's required for parking lots shows how inept and short-sided these people are. That contradiction to what code requires for parking lots hasn't probably ever dawned upon them.

I kept asking which group was associated with overhead signage placement etc. and got a different answer every time, but basically no one was there who would admit to have any knowledge or say so about that subject, and I was overly polite and patient with everyone.

One engineer talked like using the existing right of way was a good decision and adequate for our future mobility needs.

At that point, I had to remind the young 30 yr. old from Coastal NC, of the real reasons Atlanta is limited in what can be done today.

A tall 50-60yr. old man from Texas started nodding and saying Georgia was the worst about planning ahead for transportation needs in the entire country, which I've always said.

He then went on to explain how Texas, upon building Houston's third outer loop, would build foundations for future ramps and overpasses so that they could be added in the future as they were needed.

If I-285 ends up tree-less, with medians full of debris and trash, and algae covered concrete viaducts shading the highway below....

I guarantee you that Atlanta's appeal with ultimately be lost. Combine that with corruption, horrible traffic, and a state far behind the others in providing the services so much in property taxes is supposedly paying for, not to mention 80 degree night time lows in the metro from all of the absorbed heat during the daytime, and what will be the payoff for living here?
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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Here are my suggestions that I submitted yesterday. They had a court reporter I guess to prove in court the meeting and comments were received for what will be plenty of lawsuits in the future.

--------

I-285 Express Lanes Open House Jan. 30, 2020

-Please PRIORITIZE AESTHETICS! Two Metro Interstates have been uglified inpto the most cluttered, messy freeways in America. All unecesarily. Virginia’s I-95 Express Lanes are gorgeous with minimal clutter. Very high standards that make you proud of America. The sloppy mess in Georgia with leaning overhead signs, letters in all different sizes, single overheads supported on both sides of the road are embarrassing.

Limit the number of overhead sign gantries. I-85 and I-75 have 3x too many & it’s ugly! 22 full spans over the wide freeway hold up 1 sign!

-Mount overhead signs and gantries to be VISUALLY LEVEL, Every other state can do this why not Georgia? Leaning overheads look like something on HEE-HAW! Equip them with levels with a bubble of water!

-SPEND ON LANDSCAPING to beautify the medians and shoulders of so much concrete, PLANT TREES, SHRUBBERY that doesn’t need much maintenance, because the trash doesn’t even get picked up on our interstates which makes the state look like a DUMP!

-NO CORRUGATED METAL SOUND WALLS, use nicer materials like concrete or brick.

-MAINTAIN TREE BUFFERS ON BOTH SIDES--TREES are Atlanta’s beauty---They are why people move here----REPLANT ALL THAT ARE LOST! Atlanta is nothing without green trees.

-DRIVE THROUGH OTHER STATES to see how much nicer interstates can look. Florida, NC, Virginia are gorgeous without all the clutter that’s ruined Atlanta’s freeways.

-TOUR OR STUDY OTHER STATES’ DOTS like Florida, NY, or NC. They have long histories of practicing high standards and it shows in their infrastructure that makes citizens proud of America, not embarrassed.

-Flyovers look awful with segments of straight precast girders. Curved Steel looks so much more elegant. Please splurge for this since I-285 is losing its existing beauty with this project.
__________________
METRO MAINTENANCE ITEMS

-The tiny, cheap overhead lane signs at interstate junctions in Georgia should be replaced with large overhead guidance signs like the top tier states. And if not, PLEASE REPLACE THE THOUSANDS THAT ARE FADED AND NEGLECTED like at every I-285 junction, all along Jimmy Carter Blvd, Stonecrest Mall….

-The overhead signs to and from the airport need updating to give visitors a good impression of Georgia. Currently there are multiple styles, typefaces, and plenty of substituted letters that don’t match. Why did the replacement campaign stop before doing the South Side? The state is judged as a whole, and I-20 West for all visitors coming from the West gives a horrible first impression of Atlanta and the state. PLEASE PICK UP THE TRASH ON I-20 SHOULDERS!

-With Altanta’s congestion such an albatross decreasing everyone’s quality of life,,,why can’t you separate Southeastern thru-state traffic away from Atlanta traffic? A RURAL I-75 BYPASS along the Alabama border would help everyone and be cheap to build. Avoid the metro all together or build a turnpike style toll road with no local exits! We have the same freeway layout from the 1960s and must share that paltry system with out of state travelers! It’s absurd! Tractor Trailers back up for 10 miles everyday waiting to get on I-285 West

-Start designing parallel alternates to the interstates and remove all left turn signals and modify these thoroughfares to move as much traffic as possible. Our basic freeways are insufficient for millions of people to depend on solely. 3 million North Metro residents have only I-285 to go East/West and that’s shared with out of state traffic. Another East/West high speed artery is beyond necessary.

-Can the algae and discoloration on the concrete of all our interstates be cleaned off or painted over? It’s a blight.

When are you going to extend the ramp for I-85 South exit on the Buford Spring Connector and return it to a double lane exit to get cars out of the way so that thru traffic isn’t blocked everyday, almost all day? Supports for a rail line overpass will need to shift, but this is an easy fix to a daily problem that delays thousands of people!

-PLEASE DON’T SETTLE FOR 11’ LANES on a new construction project. This ruined all sense of comfort on I-85 when the HOV lanes were added. It has caused more accidents & is not ideal for the next 50 years.

ACCOMPANIED PHOTOS WILL COME SOON AFTER I UPLOAD THEM TO FLCKR.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
2,923 posts, read 2,672,440 times
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3 by Stephen Edwards, on Flickr

2 by Stephen Edwards, on Flickr

1 by Stephen Edwards, on Flickr

7 by Stephen Edwards, on Flickr
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
2,923 posts, read 2,672,440 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulch View Post
These lanes will not generate enough money to pay for the construction of the projects (most of the funding is coming from gas tax revenue)



Debt?



Where does GDOT have a $6 billion/year budget?



ALL of these projects should be canceled just on the cost/benefit alone, though aesthetics would more affect the immediate homeowners along these corridors than the entire state.



Don't you live very, very ITP anyway?

You're not compelled to reply when you don't have anything constructive to add to the conversation.

GDOT states in their handouts that they will partially depend on revenue generated from the Express Lanes.

An entire system built out and charging $17-18 per trip during rush hours like I-85 does now will be a lot of money coming in.

I just repeated their claims, no one thinks what they're saying is absolute and that the toll revenue will actually be all they have to spend.

GDOT used to spend about $ 2 billion per year to maintain the highways. That included the Federak Gas tax allocation I think. We ranked 49th in transportation spending per capita in the US.

Governor Deal successfully got the state gas tax rasied 10 cents per gallon and I think it's now indexed to inflation so it will try to keep up with that.

So factoring all of that with the fact that gas prices are equal if not more than gas prices in NC, where their DOT maintains all roads, over 80,000 miles, compared to here where just the state roads are overseen by GDOT,

I assumed that they were about on par with per year revenue and spending as NC.

Georgia no longer puts 25% of gas tax revenue into the general fund as in the past.

Florida spends $13 billion or more on its roads and the population is only double that of Georgia.

I hope I live to see Georgia raise its standards to make the highways here look like the high caliber of the top-tier states.

The cost/benefit of the Express Lanes? they will ultimately pay for their construction costs and then keep generating revenue.

I don't like them per say, but at this point there's only so much they can do, the consequence of not planning/building for the future during the last 30 years despite witnessing Atlanta's population more than double.

Most other states spend far more on roads and don't toll them. It's expected because people want to live in nice, competitive places with growing prosperity.

Public assets like infrastructure, especially roads are utilized by everyone and every industry, an their benefits indirectly benefit everyone in the state, including raising the value of their homes, luring jobs to the state, and increasing gross domestic product.

Do nothing has caused our mobility problems.

I think young people and industries keep moving here because of the surface beauty of the landscape and big city aspect, and don't yet see the deep shortcomings of our state compared to all the others.

Whether they all stay here, I don't know, but many young people do not permanently.

Last edited by architect77; 01-31-2020 at 05:20 PM..
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:11 PM
bu2
 
13,418 posts, read 7,792,238 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by architect77 View Post
After 20 years, a well-explained proposal for new highways that bypass the metro altogether or a persuasive argument for a Northern arc might get a totally different response from today's citizens....
Yes. But we need leadership.

In any event, I think the Northern arc is the least needed part of an outer loop. How many vehicles go from I-85N to I-75N? Basically just commuters. So those Cherokee, Forsyth, North Fulton people who fought the Northern arc are the ones who would most benefit and most suffer from its absence.

On the other hand, a Western bypass, eastern bypass and to a lesser extent, a southern bypass would all pull long distance traffic out of the core, especially truck traffic.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:13 PM
bu2
 
13,418 posts, read 7,792,238 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwkimbro View Post
You're missing one critical part.

The toll lanes are priced to keep moving at peak speed, rather they are priced for peak efficiency (ie. the most cars using it per hour).

The idea is as a lane gets congested it hits a point where fewer cars per hour can use it at a single point, because it isn't flowing well enough.

The idea of the toll lanes was to ensure that any new lanes (or converted HOV lanes...) keep flowing at peak efficiency no matter how bad it gets.

We aren't ready for it by a long shot, but I think there is a decent argument to made that anything above 4 lanes width should be HOT. When Gwinnett gets their new HOT lane (in the original long-term plans), I think there is a decent operational argument to have 3 HOT lanes + 4 GP lanes over 2 HOT + 5 GP. I know it won't happen, but there is some reasoning and math behind it.

Whereas if every new lane is GP, then those fill up so much in the future that they too will operate less than efficient at peak hours and actually carry fewer cars per hour than if the HOT lanes existed.

The other issue is you bring up Mass transit as open to everyone, but the HOT lanes are usable to Mass Transit vehicles, which are open to everyone as you argued. To what extent we build mass transit infrastructure around it is to be seen, but commuter buses are used. There is a hotspot near Sugarloaf @ 85N in Gwinnett where usage is high and that is one way people use the lanes without directly paying for them. There is something worth studying there. Something about that distance makes the more used. Any closer and people are more likely to drive, any further away and not enough people are commuting that far.
They should be HOT lanes, not just express toll.
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