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Trolley Trail or Commuter Rail

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I had a thought while repling in another area. The Columbus gov't is planning to convert an old rail right-of-way to a Trolley Trail. They had promised that in a SPLOST and decided internally to downgrade to just a walking trail. But City Manager Isaiah Hugley said, 'no, we promised a Trolley and that's what we should do.' But is even that short-sighted?

Marta in ATL is enjoying new popularity with developments that take advantage of that mode of transportation, like developers have done with Interestates since the 60's. Atlantic Station and Terminus Atlanta and others are developing as mixed use development and actually market their proximity to Marta as an amenity. Imagine that.

What if Columbus were to plan for the trolley to be upgraded to commuter rail in the future. If TADs are the right mechanism, go ahead and encourage developers to look at Terminus-style true mixed-use developments along the corridor. The Jordan Mill site would be ideal. Certainly a better use than just another suburb-style apartment complex or subdivision... If a visionary gets hold of the rail yards, it will become Columbus' Atlantic Station. (Let's hope it's not named something lame like River Station...)

Can we learn from the Atlanta's and Charlotte's that have gone before us?

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I had a thought while repling in another area. The Columbus gov't is planning to convert an old rail right-of-way to a Trolley Trail. They had promised that in a SPLOST and decided internally to downgrade to just a walking trail. But City Manager Isaiah Hugley said, 'no, we promised a Trolley and that's what we should do.' But is even that short-sighted?

Marta in ATL is enjoying new popularity with developments that take advantage of that mode of transportation, like developers have done with Interestates since the 60's. Atlantic Station and Terminus Atlanta and others are developing as mixed use development and actually market their proximity to Marta as an amenity. Imagine that.

What if Columbus were to plan for the trolley to be upgraded to commuter rail in the future. If TADs are the right mechanism, go ahead and encourage developers to look at Terminus-style true mixed-use developments along the corridor. The Jordan Mill site would be ideal. Certainly a better use than just another suburb-style apartment complex or subdivision... If a visionary gets hold of the rail yards, it will become Columbus' Atlantic Station. (Let's hope it's not named something lame like River Station...)

Can we learn from the Atlanta's and Charlotte's that have gone before us?

Wonderful idea -- however the money problem is the hurdle. It was money that got trail reduced from trolley to walking. Encouraging that trolley may still be viable (tho in what timeframe). Commuter rail would be astronomical. Ples I am not sure whether existing right of way is wide enough to allow for parallel tracks.

I like the idea of rail-less trolleys (rubber wheels) which could run on paved route with staions at designated intervals. Cheaper, less noisy, more maneuverable, etc. Could be tied into use along riverwalk (up and down use for whitewater) for comprehensive commuter system.

Tying to passage of TAD referendum would be smart. As you point out SPLOST pretty clearly promised trolley (unlike ambiguity regarding "park" at library). Getting TAD passed based on possible developments along route of trolly commuter line (railyard, Med Center/Ashley Station/Jordan Mills, Hilton?Blue Cross/St Francis, CSU, Cooper Creek, Flat Rock and into the burbs) is something to consider.

This may be too visionary for the existing Columbus political climate. But then the ambiance of Columbus is so much different and better these days than in teh past, it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.

take a look at trollies I have in mind @

www.trolley.com

Edited by gah

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Wonderful idea -- however the money problem is the hurdle. It was money that got trail reduced from trolley to walking. Encouraging that trolley may still be viable (tho in what timeframe). Commuter rail would be astronomical. Ples I am not sure whether existing right of way is wide enough to allow for parallel tracks.

I like the idea of rail-less trolleys (rubber wheels) which could run on paved route with staions at designated intervals. Cheaper, less noisy, more maneuverable, etc. Could be tied into use along riverwalk (up and down use for whitewater) for comprehensive commuter system.

Tying to passage of TAD referendum would be smart. As you point out SPLOST pretty clearly promised trolley (unlike ambiguity regarding "park" at library). Getting TAD passed based on possible developments along route of trolly commuter line (railyard, Med Center/Ashley Station/Jordan Mills, Hilton?Blue Cross/St Francis, CSU, Cooper Creek, Flat Rock and into the burbs) is something to consider.

This may be too visionary for the existing Columbus political climate. But then the ambiance of Columbus is so much different and better these days than in teh past, it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.

take a look at trollies I have in mind @

www.trolley.com

Those types of trolleys are something to consider too. GA Power actually promised $250,000 toward purchasing an electric motor driven rubber tire trolley based on the trams used at the '96 Atlanta games which were based on technology developed in the UK mines... I think that's how it went, that was a while back... but some sort of non-gas power should definatly be used, don't you think. Electric is very quiet or natural gas even.

Regarding ROW width. The ROW is 100' wide in some places.

Commuter rail is ambitious, extremely so. But it's a plan for the future. The main thing is not to give up an inch on that ROW. And not to get 50 years down the road and wish we had thought of it way back when... and maybe reserve easements from DT to UT** (Bibb City) to go north, or convert 1st or 3rd for rail or commuter trolley.

** I really like the idea of Bibb as Buckhead and Midtown as Midtown. I've decided to call downtown 'downtown' and Bibb City 'uptown'. 'Cause that's really what it is and how it should be, based on these ideas and discussions.

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The time is right for Columbus to pursue a light rail. With the Federal funds that are about to be available, it's a golden opportunity to meet housing demands associated with BRAC, not to mention a ready an willing student ridership. With TOD's (Transit Oriented Development) incentives along the rails path, Columbus could enter a new era as a leader in the Southeast.

Some examples of TOD:

TOD_planning.jpg

This one in Augusta, GA

pols_feature16.jpg

mainestreetstation.jpg

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Im sorry but columbus will never have a trolley train columbus is to poor columbus dont have enough money for a trolley train what makes you think that columbus will get a trolley train columbus is poor with no money columbus is so poor that columbus can not even work on downtown getting it fixed up.

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And if columbus did have the money to get a trolley train and if columbus had the money to get downtown worked on and fixed up and if columbus built highrise condos and hotels downtown then I think I would be in shock and I would be surprised and happy.

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And if columbus did have the money to get a trolley train and if columbus had the money to get downtown worked on and fixed up and if columbus built highrise condos and hotels downtown then I think I would be in shock and I would be surprised and happy.

I'm, well, speechless. :huh:

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And if columbus did have the money to get a trolley train and if columbus had the money to get downtown worked on and fixed up and if columbus built highrise condos and hotels downtown then I think I would be in shock and I would be surprised and happy.

Well Clarksville Tennessee... is in worse shape financially... but that didn't stop it from growing. It's been rated several times as one of the fastest growing cities in the country. So surely with BRAC coming in and the city's transportation network becoming clogged with vehicular traffic in the next two-three years, Columbus has that option to bring this issue forth with the U.S. Government so that appropriate provisions can be made. You can't just shove 30,000-40,000 more people in a city that was designed for 190,000. If Clarksville can be in debt but pulling in all kinds of growth, so can Columbus and it's tight budget. It's up to the council members to stop being so stubborn and create the conditions to support mixed use, high density, and efficiency and convenience in our transportation network. :thumbsup:

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Im sorry but columbus will never have a trolley train columbus is to poor columbus dont have enough money for a trolley train what makes you think that columbus will get a trolley train columbus is poor with no money columbus is so poor that columbus can not even work on downtown getting it fixed up.

I do believe that you are very very mistaken when you say Columbus is poor and has failed to fix up downtown. The city of Columbus actually does very well financially. There is more to showing revenue than just building highrise. In most cities those come as private investments not public investments anyway. For example of downtown being fixed up look at all the multimillion dollar projects that have been built to renovate the downtown area in the past years to include the civic center in the late 90's the broadway streetscape project as well as venues like the new skate park, , the multi million dollar renovations of the convention center, The Rivercenter, ect...

Also people are quick to say Columbus is a poor city that is very false. Columbus is one of the best financially supported cities in Georgia. Of all major public traded companies in Georgia Columbus is home to the headquarters of more than any other city in the state outside of Metro Atlanta. Columbus big companies include; Aflac, Carmike, Synovous Finincial, TSYS, ect... Columbus still remains home to several companies that are not publicly traded including Toms Foods, Char-broil(Still headquartered in Col despite shifting production operations overseas), ect...

By no means is Columbus poor a trollery system is a possibility for the city and I see it becoming a reality within a few years (5-10 after BRAC complete). City leaders have had plans for a trollery system since the late 1990's in the city. Columbus continues to grow and after the BRAC additions of more than 30,000 new residents by 2011 new means of public transportation will have to be provided. In addition, as Columbus' further surburbs of Auburn & Opelika,AL grow closer and closer to Columbus the system will have be expanded over counties lines much like MARTA in Atlanta.

On a seperate note leaders in the Chattahochee Valley need to start looking at implemting a new means of public transportation for the area or the Columbus area will face a problem much like Atlanta faces with several different public transportation systems services the area. Example fulton/dekalb counties: MARTA, Clayton cty: C-tran, Cobb County-CCT, Gwinnett County, Gwinnet Transit, ect.. VICE VERSA Columbus area now: Columbus/Muscogee: METRA, Phenix City: PEX, LEE County/Auburn/Opelika/Smiths: LETA, Talbot County: Talbot Transit. The bad thing is that it is 4 different systems for transportation, but all of them do eventually connect to the Bus Transfer Center near Downtown Columbus. Wouldn't a Trolley system or one bus system make this easier?

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I do believe that you are very very mistaken when you say Columbus is poor and has failed to fix up downtown. The city of Columbus actually does very well financially. There is more to showing revenue than just building highrise. In most cities those come as private investments not public investments anyway. For example of downtown being fixed up look at all the multimillion dollar projects that have been built to renovate the downtown area in the past years to include the civic center in the late 90's the broadway streetscape project as well as venues like the new skate park, , the multi million dollar renovations of the convention center, The Rivercenter, ect...

Also people are quick to say Columbus is a poor city that is very false. Columbus is one of the best financially supported cities in Georgia. Of all major public traded companies in Georgia Columbus is home to the headquarters of more than any other city in the state outside of Metro Atlanta. Columbus big companies include; Aflac, Carmike, Synovous Finincial, TSYS, ect... Columbus still remains home to several companies that are not publicly traded including Toms Foods, Char-broil(Still headquartered in Col despite shifting production operations overseas), ect...

By no means is Columbus poor a trollery system is a possibility for the city and I see it becoming a reality within a few years (5-10 after BRAC complete). City leaders have had plans for a trollery system since the late 1990's in the city. Columbus continues to grow and after the BRAC additions of more than 30,000 new residents by 2011 new means of public transportation will have to be provided. In addition, as Columbus' further surburbs of Auburn & Opelika,AL grow closer and closer to Columbus the system will have be expanded over counties lines much like MARTA in Atlanta.

On a seperate note leaders in the Chattahochee Valley need to start looking at implemting a new means of public transportation for the area or the Columbus area will face a problem much like Atlanta faces with several different public transportation systems services the area. Example fulton/dekalb counties: MARTA, Clayton cty: C-tran, Cobb County-CCT, Gwinnett County, Gwinnet Transit, ect.. VICE VERSA Columbus area now: Columbus/Muscogee: METRA, Phenix City: PEX, LEE County/Auburn/Opelika/Smiths: LETA, Talbot County: Talbot Transit. The bad thing is that it is 4 different systems for transportation, but all of them do eventually connect to the Bus Transfer Center near Downtown Columbus. Wouldn't a Trolley system or one bus system make this easier?

WHAT... I didn't even know all of those other things outside of METRA existed! :o How does the Phenix City's PEX look like? It MUST be new... and where do they get the revenue? I'm not trying to offend Phenix City, but seriously... how are they able to keep up the funds to continue operating a city transit system, when the vast majority of the Chattahoochee Valley shops, dines, and goes to entertainment venues in Columbus and Auburn-Opelika?

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Im not trying to put columbus down and im not trying to say bad things about columbus I love the columbus area I was born here and raised here but I feel that columbus is way behind on all kinds of projects and things like the highways and interstates in columbus and I think columbus is also way behind on downtown. columbus is way behind the reason why im saying that the highways and interstates in columbus are way behind is because when brac comes here to fort benning I no everyone will not move here at once everyone will slowly make there ways into the columbus area but when everyone does move and make their ways into the columbus area the highways and interstates in columbus are going to be back up with traffic and with wrecks happening because the roads, interstates and highways in columbus are to small to hold all of that traffic there are two major fast pace highways or interstates in the columbus area and they are jr allen parkway highway and there is I185 highway that goes threw columbus these two major fast pace highways in columbus are going to need to be bigger and widder to hold all of this traffic that is going to be traveling down these two highways or interstates in columbus. I think the jr allen parkway highway is going to need an extra lane added on the whole north bound lanes of the jr allen parkway highway and also on the other side of the highway that is the south bound lanes of the jr allen highway is going to need an extra lane added on the whole south bound lanes of the jr allen parkway highway also so that the jr allen parkway highway will be big enough and widder enough to hold the traffic. Ok next is the I185 highway that goes threw columbus I see that there already working on the I185 highway at the end of it right before it goes in to fort benning I think there suppose to be added an extra lane there in the area at the end of the I185 highway right before it goes in to fort benning I am happy and proud that there doing this so when they get done adding the extra lane to the area at the end of I185 right before it goes into fort benning then I185 will be done and I185 probably will not need anymore work done to it. Ok next is downtown columbus downtown columbus needs alot of work done to it the roads in downtown columbus need to be fixed and paved because there is cracks and holes in the roads in downtown columbus. The roads in the whole downtown area of columbus need to be fixed and paved again. Ok next is the skyline of downtown columbus downtown columbus needs a better skyline I wish columbus could build some highrise condos and highrise hotels downtown to give downtown a skyline and to attract more people downtown.because with columbus having almost 200,000 thousand people living in columbus downtown columbus needs to be bigger and needs to have a better downtown and a better skyline because the only tall building in downtown columbus that gives it a small skyline is the government center building columbus needs to build some highrise condos or highrise hotels downtown that are the same height as the government center or they need to try to build the highrise condos and highrise hotels a little bit taller than the governemnt center may 2 or 3 stories taller than the government center so that downtown columbus will have a bigger and better skyline columbus probably needs to build only about 2 or 3 highrise condos or highrise hotels downtown to give downtown a skyline. And if columbus does build some highrise condos or hotels downtown then columbus will have a bigger and pretty skyline because columbus would then have 3 or four tall buildings downtown because you would have the governemrnt center that is 13 stories high then you would have the highrise condos or hotels also. thank yall very much and I hope yaw understand what I am talking about

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WHAT... I didn't even know all of those other things outside of METRA existed! :o How does the Phenix City's PEX look like? It MUST be new... and where do they get the revenue? I'm not trying to offend Phenix City, but seriously... how are they able to keep up the funds to continue operating a city transit system, when the vast majority of the Chattahoochee Valley shops, dines, and goes to entertainment venues in Columbus and Auburn-Opelika?

My apoligies on taking a minute to get back at you. I haven't been on in a few days, but the buses have been in the city for some years now They are shorter buses a little longer than the CSU Transit buses. They are red and brown and say PEX on the side of them. It is not a major bus system like Metra I think they only run like 4 or 5 buses through the city at a time. They run throughout Phenix City and also drop off at the METRA transfer station on Linwood Blvd. in Columbus I have never had the pleasure of riding one, but I do see them often when in Phenix city. I guess the revenue comes from all the bogus tickets PCPD writes to people on 280 and 431 thats several million annually. Phenix City also generates alot of revnue from taxes although property taxes are lower than in Columbus Sales tax are higher and Phenix City does have major retailers like Home Depot, Wal-mart, and K-mart present in the city as well as several grocery stores and such. A majority of people do not go into Columbus from the rural areas of eastern Alabama, but rather come into PC to shop and those tax dollars do add up greatly. Phenix City also pulls alot of revunue from areas outside of the city limits that are annexed including: Ladonia, Portions of southern Lee County, and Russell County.

I'll try to get a photo of a PEX bus next time i'm in PC

Edited by mitchella81

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My apoligies on taking a minute to get back at you. I haven't been on in a few days, but the buses have been in the city for some years now They are shorter buses a little longer than the CSU Transit buses. They are red and brown and say PEX on the side of them. It is not a major bus system like Metra I think they only run like 4 or 5 buses through the city at a time. They run throughout Phenix City and also drop off at the METRA transfer station on Linwood Blvd. in Columbus I have never had the pleasure of riding one, but I do see them often when in Phenix city. I guess the revenue comes from all the bogus tickets PCPD writes to people on 280 and 431 thats several million annually. Phenix City also generates alot of revnue from taxes although property taxes are lower than in Columbus Sales tax are higher and Phenix City does have major retailers like Home Depot, Wal-mart, and K-mart present in the city as well as several grocery stores and such. A majority of people do not go into Columbus from the rural areas of eastern Alabama, but rather come into PC to shop and those tax dollars do add up greatly. Phenix City also pulls alot of revunue from areas outside of the city limits that are annexed including: Ladonia, Portions of southern Lee County, and Russell County.

I'll try to get a photo of a PEX bus next time i'm in PC

My apoligies on taking so long to post this I've had this photo for weeks. This is a photo of a Phenix City Transit Bus (The PEX) I'm not sure how the routes run, but I do see them all over Phenix City

reWERV6viV.jpg

I've also heard rumors that Russell and Lee Counties are looking to combine their transit systems into one that will serve all towns and cities in both counties.

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My apoligies on taking so long to post this I've had this photo for weeks. This is a photo of a Phenix City Transit Bus (The PEX) I'm not sure how the routes run, but I do see them all over Phenix City

reWERV6viV.jpg

I've also heard rumors that Russell and Lee Counties are looking to combine their transit systems into one that will serve all towns and cities in both counties.

And so the orientation of Russell/PC to Opelika-Auburn continues...

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This project is on the list to receive $625,000. That's $625,000 of SPLOST money that can't be used for anything else. Why not move forward with a first phase of light rail. Why not put Columbus on the map with some visionary planning?

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That would be cool if columbus could get a light rail trolley train and you said in your post that you posted that the trolley train is still on the list to receive 625,000 dollars. I think they should to also just go ahead and go forward and see if they do get the 625,000 dollars to build a light rail trolley train in columbus and if columbus ever gets a light rail trolley train I hope its a nice one and not a ragged out light rail trolley train.

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NRN, a National Research Network for retail summarized recently suggesting to retailers and developers how to address demand for 'walkability'.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Accommodate this new walkable urban demand in all future plans. Site selection for new sales venues, including master planned communities, should include calculation of town walkability to ensure consumer appeal and satisfaction. Areas closest to public transportation should be favored over those that rely on the automobile for access. Retrofitting suburban sales venues to be mini- walkable urban oases should also be considered.

So the question is, will communities that have the infrastructure (transit, spatial walkability) in place fare better in attracting new retail development than those that don't?

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Left off again... first Interstates and now high speed rails...

The new plan - website here -

rail_map_blog.jpg

Well based on this plan... it won't do anything for Columbus. It's reminiscent of the time when the interstate act was passed into law. There was initially two interstates to pass THROUGH Columbus, until the rich families stopped it... limiting it to just a single strip that begins and ends in Columbus. This time, they're not even going to bother bringing a line through here and the same has been done to Augusta.

Why do Macon and Savannah get everything? Macon has interstates... Atlanta Metro has several proposals to bring a commuter rail through Macon. Savannah has interstates, an international airport... both of the downtown areas are being developed into urbanized areas, integrating mixed use developments into a grid that was established decades ago. I'd love to give the entire city council the boot and put fresh innovative minds in those seats.

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Well based on this plan... it won't do anything for Columbus. It's reminiscent of the time when the interstate act was passed into law. There was initially two interstates to pass THROUGH Columbus, until the rich families stopped it... limiting it to just a single strip that begins and ends in Columbus. This time, they're not even going to bother bringing a line through here and the same has been done to Augusta.

Why do Macon and Savannah get everything? Macon has interstates... Atlanta Metro has several proposals to bring a commuter rail through Macon. Savannah has interstates, an international airport... both of the downtown areas are being developed into urbanized areas, integrating mixed use developments into a grid that was established decades ago. I'd love to give the entire city council the boot and put fresh innovative minds in those seats.

I think the first part of your comment answers the second part. Macon and Atlanta have established themselves as important distribution centers, thanks to the Interstate access. Savannah has the ports. Understanding that we're talking about transporting people and not cargo, I think this provides a good foundation for future population growth. Yet, the rail planners are overlooking other factors, in my opinion.

Macon, especially north Macon, might be better served by existing plans to tie in with the Atlanta regional rail along with Athens. the ARC is, after all, just one county away from Bibb (Macon now). Running the express rail through Columbus could create a link to Tallahassee. Columbus may not generate enough traffic right now for a stop, but it could in the next 20 years, I believe. The existing metro airport might be converted into a train station with just enough runway for corp jets/planes.

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No news, just pretty pictures to show what could have been (and maybe still could?)

Imagine a station like this in Manchester to take the rail to work or shopping in Columbus...

WinterPark_CommuterRail_Before-After.jpg

And dare to dream... how about a vision like this of a new urban development in the Medical District where healthcare professionals work and live.

Montgomery_Tram_Scene_02.jpg

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No news, just pretty pictures to show what could have been (and maybe still could?)

Imagine a station like this in Manchester to take the rail to work or shopping in Columbus...

WinterPark_CommuterRail_Before-After.jpg

And dare to dream... how about a vision like this of a new urban development in the Medical District where healthcare professionals work and live.

Montgomery_Tram_Scene_02.jpg

Awesome pictures! That is a beautiful vision that could very well be attainable by the city... I don't see why they shouldn't pursue it. With all the growth, you would think that they would have at least given it some consideration.

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Awesome pictures! That is a beautiful vision that could very well be attainable by the city... I don't see why they shouldn't pursue it. With all the growth, you would think that they would have at least given it some consideration.

Not only growth, but money. They got stimulus funds to help pay for the Bike Trail. Lack of money was the original excuse for not pursuing it.

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Love these illustrations. I spent some time in Harris County and believe this is totally doable.

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