Jump to content

Atlanta's Regional Rail and Transit Systems.


monsoon

Recommended Posts

I feel if public transportation was made more sense and went where the people wanted to go then more people would ride. If the had a line that went from Gwinnett Place Mall to Perimeter Mall to Cumberland Mall, we would be cooking. The top end Perimeter is a definite hotspot.

Yes, I think that's the problem. People have been complaining since MARTA was built that it doesn't take you where you want to go.

To some degree, that situation has improved over the last 40 years, as more commercial and residential development has occurred around the transit routes. You can use public transit to get to work, but you have to both (a) pick a neighborhood that is served by the train or buses and (b) try to find a job that is served by the train or buses.

This isn't feasible for the vast majority of people in the metro area, even those in the most densely populated counties. Neighborhoods are spread out everywhere, and at least 80% of the people live outside the perimeter. My guess would be that most jobs are also widely dispersed, and that they are mainly outside the perimeter as well.

We probably need different models of public transportation for different areas.

Celeste, hasn't the DOT proposed building BRT lanes along the north section of the Perimeter between I-85 and I-75?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Here's what I think MARTA should do within the city limits:

-Add a station near Turner Field. (perhaps a line connecting stations on the South Line to stations on the West one from West End to King Memorial)

-Add the second airport station

-Add a line bridging the North and West lines across downtown from say Arts Center to Asby or Vine City.

Honestly.....adding these to Marta would do nothing for ridership.....not increasing it to sustainable levels. The Airport Station is very sufficent. My husband takes Marta to the airport 90% of the time. A Turner Field Station would be a total waste because it's sole purpose would be to serve fans of the Braves. To me, adding anything inside the city limits as far as HRT would not be a good idea. Especially with the Beltline coming online.

Marta's goal will have to be to reach as far out into the suburbs where a majority of the population lives and ironically where a lot of jobs are. Perimeter Center has more day time workers than most....yes I said most southern cities The Cumberland/Galleria can probably also claim such a title. Sure, you can cater to the few hundred of fans who ride Marta to catch a game every now and then to Turner Field but what about capturing the thousands of workers who daily must endure some of the country's worst commute times.

Yes, I think that's the problem. People have been complaining since MARTA was built that it doesn't take you where you want to go.

To some degree, that situation has improved over the last 40 years, as more commercial and residential development has occurred around the transit routes. You can use public transit to get to work, but you have to both (a) pick a neighborhood that is served by the train or buses and (b) try to find a job that is served by the train or buses.

This isn't feasible for the vast majority of people in the metro area, even those in the most densely populated counties. Neighborhoods are spread out everywhere, and at least 80% of the people live outside the perimeter. My guess would be that most jobs are also widely dispersed, and that they are mainly outside the perimeter as well.

We probably need different models of public transportation for different areas.

Very well said......

Celeste, hasn't the DOT proposed building BRT lanes along the north section of the Perimeter between I-85 and I-75?

Yes, I have heard that.....it was like 4 years ago I think. I have to admit I have not always been a fan of public transportation so I can recall it but I can pinpoint when it was proposed. :whistling: I still wish we had a state government with the foresight to help Marta....from years ago. Growth in Atlanta has not occured in the traditional way....it would have been nice to have a really dense urban core surrounded by nice suburbs but that's not Atlanta's reality. Let's just hope that things will change.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember watching the Jetsons when you were a kid. When are flying cars like the ones in the cartoon going to happen. That should ease traffic a bit.

Flying cars in Atlanta? That's last thing I need, some idiotic driver crashing into my second floor bedroom because they missed their driveway. :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Here's an interesting article about the woes of Boston's commuter rail system. If a system as extensive and culturally embedded as Boston's won't work, can we expect better results in a place as wedded to the automobile as Atlanta?

All of those improvements [to Boston's commuter rail system], however, may have little effect on how many people take the train, says David Luberoff, executive director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and coauthor of Mega-Projects, a book about transportation initiatives. Commuter rail, he says, must be so convenient and enjoyable as to overcome the hassles associated with it - the need to use two, maybe three modes of transportation (car, train, and subway) for one journey, or having one's routine dictated by the train schedule. And even if rail service manages to coax a significant number of drivers off the road, Luberoff says, other riders will take advantage of the improved traffic flow and jump on the road, replacing those who left. "Investing in transit is not going to reduce congestion," he says. "It's just not going to happen."
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andrea, as antithetical to this iste's purpose as it may be, I think some people here are stuck on the notion that putting a few tubes and trains under a city (along with building other means of mass transit) is the immediate, flawless solution to traffic and that almost everyone will ride it everywhere. (It's a hyperbole, but you get my point)

As much as it would be nice for at least part of that to be true, transit comes with it's own problems. Too many people riding it can create crowded trains/buses (look at Japan's subways) and I'm sure most would rather ride a car than face that. Also, there is the fact that EVERYONE rides it, which means that guy with the cold two seats down might be spreading it to you. The fact that the funding for the system (even for the ones with state support) might not always be adequate creating budget cuts in some areas can also put transit in dire straits.

You give people transit, and they will ride it. However, their spots on the freeway are only going to be filled up by others (in most cases), which would only recreate the gridlock.

I think it's best that we keep all forms of transportation (including roads) in a city and metro at their best possible performance.

You can't make everyone ride transit, but you should get as many as possible to.

----------------------------

On the good news side for everyone, I 'd like to announce that I found an uplifting article in the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Metro Atlanta Counties explore transit issues together.

ATLANTA - Government officials from across metro Atlanta will work together over the next two years to devise a regional approach to mass transit.

The region now has six transit systems that work independently of each another, but an 18-member board approved Wednesday by the Atlanta Regional Commission will study how to make their operations seamless.

It isn't much, but it's a good step in the direction of regional co-operation.

Edited by ironchapman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You give people transit, and they will ride it.

Well, yeah, IC, but I think that guy at Harvard is probably right -- they'll ride it *IF* it's more attractive, convenient and economcal than other forms of transportation. It's pretty hard to create a system that will address those issues in a town like Atlanta, where the vast majority of people live and work in low density suburbs.

Even a city like Boston, with a well developed and extensive commuter rail network, a long history of TOD and widespread public usage, finds itself in trouble if it cannot keep its system competitive with the automobile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This sounds promising, but I've always thought of a solution that is within reach of 10-20 years if it starts now. Simply extend MARTA service to include all of the large density counties. It's an Idea that was thinking about years ago, but really can happen now.

It's do-able, because all that MARTA would have to start with is merging with the existing lines outside of MARTA's Service. For Example, Merging all of CCT's lines, with MARTA, same for Gwinnett's transit system, as well as Clayton county's. (They do have one right?). MARTA already takes care of Fulton and DeKalb Counties, with enough lines, so that that's 2 counties out of the way. Once the merging with the outside lines is complete, the extend lines into Douglas, Henry, Rockdale, Forsyth, and Cherokee Counties.

Once that is done, Divide the service area into 5 zones: NW, NE, SW, SE Metro lines, then A or something like it as Atlanta City lines. Each zone will have it's own comand posts like NYC. Then later as counties outside of the new zones develop, population increases, more lines can be added, and counties to be included.

It's seems like a lot, but it can't be any more expensive than every county running their own system, and purchasing their own buses, and such. It seems like it could be done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember when I graduated high school in Savannah and couldn't wait to get to Atlanta. I was ready to be in the big city, riding marta to Stone Moutain then to 6 flags then to Mall of Georgia then to Clayton county beach then the oh...................THE MARTA GOES NO WHERE.

The problem with The Atlanta area is that the surrounding areas don't work together. It's like everyone has there own city and don't want anything to do with anyone outside the city limits. Now everyone wants to be a city. I mean towns with under 100,000 people are already getting their own skylines. Im surprised they aren't building walls around these little towns. The outside areas act like they don't even need Atlanta. They act like they are some other big city hundreds of mile away from Atlanta. Every county has their own transit, which is crazy. There is like a million counties and the MARTA goes in 2. I think the counties need to combine. Atleast some of them.I live in Cobb County. I hate ridin the 10 bus (CCT). Every morning it gets stuck in traffic. Then when it tries to go use the HOV lane, it takes so long to get over that it has to stop trying because the exit comes up.

Now, I hear they are tryin to build more lanes on the highways. I guess in a couple of years they'll try to add even more. Then Atlanta will be one big highway(Downtown already is).I wish that the counties would work together better.... a lot better. I wish The 5 or six surrounding counties would just get annexed by Atlanta. There are so many good things to do in Atlanta, no way to get there. It feels like the region is being held back.

County-New Name

Fulton-Atlanta County

Cobb-Northwest Atlanta County

Dekalb-East Atanta County

Gwinnet-Northwest Atlanta County

Clayton-South Atlanta couty.

Cherokee-North Atlanta County

In my dreams

Edited by SAV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's very true. But when the counties start choking on their own growth then they'll start caring about sharing transit with Atlanta. We're already trying to work on those communter train lines. I just hope we can accomplish it, and the beltline.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ The really big problem with the commuter rail project(s) is GA DOT & GA state senate. They are both actively attemtping to derail any & all commuter rail projects. Considering there is only 1 commuter rail project that has any real funding & it's future is still in doubt - I wouldn't consider it a sure thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ The really big problem with the commuter rail project(s) is GA DOT & GA state senate. They are both actively attemtping to derail any & all commuter rail projects. Considering there is only 1 commuter rail project that has any real funding & it's future is still in doubt - I wouldn't consider it a sure thing.

Is commuter rail the same as heavy/light rail? I don't have a ton of knowledge on rail transit but if I'm correct commuter rail only runs during peak periods, right? Considering how much traffic is on the freeways throughout daylight it seems as though there should be enough to build LRT or HRT in some of these areas. I read somewhere that Cobb County delivers more people to MARTA stations a day than any feeder MARTA route that doesn't go from one station to another. Maybe MARTA should've allowed the 3 that rejected to join for free and then threaten to stop service after an introductory phase that allowed them to see how useful rail lines are.

P.S. It's very true what SAV said about every county wanting their own city/skyline. I think Gwinnett approved high-rise construction, Stockbridge in who knows what county is building a condo tower and Cobb abandoned Marietta a long time ago for the pretend city of Cumberland and Vinings.

Edited by Hybrid0NE
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is commuter rail the same as heavy/light rail? I don't have a ton of knowledge on rail transit but if I'm correct commuter rail only runs during peak periods, right?

There are a few different kinds of rail transportation:

Commuter Rail utilizes existing (or new, but rarely) regular rail lines. These are usually shared with freight and other passenger (i.e. AMTRAK) rail lines. The concept with Atlanta's commuter rail system, is that it would be used to build up to a network of intercity rail lines. This would connect to other cities within and out of state. While the commuter rail portion of the system would be used for peak hours, the inter-city system could conceivably run at all hours of the day.

Heavy Rail Transit (HRT) is what we have in MARTA Rail. The older subway systems throughout the world tend to be Heavy Rail systems. They are more robust and faster than Light Rail.

Light Rail Transit (LRT) Systems are smaller and slower. They are, however cheaper than HRT. They still run on a dedicated right-of-way, though. The only thing in town that is close is the Airport People Mover. But even that is a bit lighter weight than most LRT systems. I think Dallas' DART system is LRT.

Streetcars (or Trolleys) are the lightest form of rail transit. They run in rails embedded in exisiting streets. They stop more often than the other forms of rail transit and are much slower. They have little advantage over a bus - at least technically. However, they are electric instead of fuel burning. The other advantages are that they have nostalgic appeal and their installation implies a permanent commitment to transit in an area. (Their nostalgic appeal means that business people are more likely to ride one to a lunch than a smelly bus.)

There, that should clear things up. If I have made errors, please feel free to let me know.

-E

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right. Most roads and highways don't generate revenue. Transit development shouldn't be held to a double standard. Besides, transit projects are generally less expensive to build per mile than roads. We're always going to have roads, but let's make the transportation options more balanced so people will have choices.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right. Most roads and highways don't generate revenue. Transit development shouldn't be held to a double standard. Besides, transit projects are generally less expensive to build per mile than roads. We're always going to have roads, but let's make the transportation options more balanced so people will have choices.

I can't help but agree with you here. This is the stance I like to take on the subject.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found this little tidbit buried in ajc.com's City Life feature:

http://www.ajc.com/print/content/epaper/ed...fd814900e8.html

"MARTA had projected to be running a $10 million deficit in its operating budget at this point, but the transit system is $9 million in the black for the period that ended Dec. 31."

:yahoo:

Sorry to be so blunt but all good things must come to an end.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Found this little tidbit buried in ajc.com's City Life feature:

http://www.ajc.com/print/content/epaper/ed...fd814900e8.html

"MARTA had projected to be running a $10 million deficit in its operating budget at this point, but the transit system is $9 million in the black for the period that ended Dec. 31."

:yahoo:

This is great news. Perhaps with the continued cost cutting from the MARTA board, we can realize more fiscal strength. This in turn could potentially lead to state funding for MARTA. Let's cross our fingers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
This article gives an update on the politics behind rail transit in GA. In this case it's commuter rail. It amazes me that politicians work so hard to stop projects and make alternative transportation projects so difficult to get off the ground. (It's like this in many states) Remember these politicians next time an election comes around.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.