• Gwinnett county, GA light rail proposal

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by madcrow
10 bucks says this never happens. I lived in that area back in the 90s and unless the entire mindset and philosophy of the area has changed, the people in Gwinett County make even the citizens of Los Angeles look like rabid public transit advocates...
  by gt7348b
Atlanta and its suburbs can change a lot in 10+ years. They have standing room only express buses and then a new poll shows support not only for rail but also for paying an extra penny sales tax for it:

http://wsbradio.com/localnews/2009/12/p ... -rail.html

I've also seen the cross tabs and the 50% mark is reach across the board for transit and paying for it with a sales tax by age, race and political affiliation. Poll was conducted by InsiderAdvantage a local Atlanta based (in Gwinnett) polling firm.
  by superbad
yes this place is more disfunctional than LA, but. ... this project is not associated with anything in atlanta so thats the first big step is that fulton county and dekalb county politics have no say. the non-binding vote for marta last year came within the margin of error if i'm not mistaken. but the marta place was not as elaborate as this. people in gwinnett do not want marta because there is fear that the money for marta that comes from gwinnett would go everywhere but gwinnett..

and yea, gwinnett has changed big-time over the last 10 years economically and demographically.
  by electricron
Per Wikipedia, Gwinnett county population in 2009 is 800,080, the second most populous county in Georgia.
Denton county in Texas population in 2007 was 612,357, and it has it's own transit agency building a 21 mile commuter rail system. So, I believe Gwinnett coounty is large enough to support it's own transit system.

The DCTA 21 mile commuter rail terminates at a DART light rail station in Carrolton, where DCTA and DART riders can transfer. If this works in Texas, it should work in Georgia too.

While it is inconvenient forcing commuters to transfer, it requires everyone to transfer, including bums suburbanites unjustly fear. As a previous responder stated, keeps Gwinnett county transit tax dollars in Gwinnett county.
  by Patrick Boylan
Spend locally can be shortsighted. Is there fear that for example their money might be spent on improvements on sections their line traverses, or their passengers travel to-from-through?
The best example of that type of shortsighted thinking:
I lived in Philadelphia
the route 11 streetcar runs from center city Philly to the suburb Darby
The transit agency did major trackwork on the rt 11 inside Philly
a Darby politician complained that none of the money was being spent in Darby
He apparently though his constituents rode only within Darby's borough limits, and didn't consider that the money spent in Philly could result in improvements to the entire route's service.
  by gt7348b
Just as an FYI - this segment is part of a longer term, adopted vision for an LRT system in Atlanta. And adopted by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (ARC), GRTA (A state planning agency) and MARTA. Also, right now all the political focus is on letting the 10-county + Atlanta region have able to levy a regional tax.

Map of the Plan (called Concept 3) here: http://www.tpb.ga.gov/Documents/TPB/Aug ... %20map.pdf

More info on the plan, etc here: http://www.tpb.ga.gov

In other words, there is some recognition that a Gwinnett County LRT system needs to connect and interface with a regional system since residents and workers in Gwinnett don't just stay in Gwinnett. One of the big reasons for pushing this is that no developers are willing to touch an old Lucent plant that is shutting down in Gwinnett County near I-85 and Jimmy Carter Blvd because it has no transit access.
  by superbad
valid point. gwinnett place is probably the same deal, however its in my opinion that gwinnett place needs some modifications, in otehr words, level it to the ground.. there is too much retail space sitting vacant in gwinnett and the old indoor mall is quickly becoming a thing of the past. atlanta has fallen so far behind the rest of the country in terms of rail transit that it really does look un appealing to the rest of the country.
  by gt7348b
Though the Global Mall at Jimmy Carter seems to be doing ok - nice place to get Indian Style Chinese food. On another point, I think we tend to forget that Atlanta does have a major rail investment in MARTA. It is nothing to sneeze at with 50 miles of rail and carrying over 250,000 on rail alone on a weekday. That's more than Dallas, Denver, etc that we all tend to focus on because they're new and shiny. Atlanta has a good base to work from when the politicians here finally let us have a voice.
  by superbad
I think that the atlanta area has hit a point of "do something or die".
  by superbad
I have been doing some brainstorming to the "preffered route" for this light rail line.. there might actually be some logical thought in gwinnett after all.. the lucent site is already served by rail and the whole mechanicsville area is a spegehti(spelling I know) bowl of used and unused tracks owned by NS, including one that goes right up to the main NS line and lots of railroad right of way. the light rail can run up the NS right of way to the split off f the line to the industrial parks.... marta already owns ROW up to the gwinnett/dekalb line on the one side of NS(correct me if I'm wrong).. the line will then run up NS ROW to where the line into the mechanicsville complex is.. it will then follow existing track/ ROW to the lucent site.. if i'm not mistaken the preffered routing after that is a hotshot up the side of I-85 to gwinnett place where it will then run again up the side of I-85 or up sattellite Blvd to the gwinnett arena.. if you look at this routing it is using almost eniterly already existing rail right of way or some sort of already publically owned easment.. this drops the condemnation issues and would probably make the entire porject move along faster from the planning perspective.
Now, gwinnett is smarter than most metro atlanta counties.. these are probably plans they have had in some dust bin for 10 years already and not some concept they just pulled out of their bag in late 2008..
  by gt7348b
Mr. Superbad, the plans up to Gwinnett Place roughly following the 1990 MARTA referendum, though the Gwinnett Village and Gwinnett Place CIDs have been doing most of the work updating the plans including the reroute through the old OFS/Lucent plant. In 2007 MARTA also conduct a re-examination of the 1990 referendum (I'll try to find a picture) routing. The extensions up to Discover Mills/Satellite came from the Concept 3 Transit Planning Board working with the CIDs.

Also, MARTA owns much of the ROW up to the Gwinnett County line, but not all. It also owns land around Oakdale Road and Buford Highway outside of I-285 that was originally intended to be the Doraville Station. They moved the station location sometime in the 1980s.
  by litz
Light rail up the W&A, then the Hook 'n' Eye to Canton is pretty much unfeasible ... too curvy, too much freight, and two railroads who likely have no inclination whatsoever to cooperate ...

Freight currently operates max speed of 45mph on the W&A up to Marietta, and 10mph on the GNRR's trackage ... and even if you rebuilt the GNRR track to perfect standards, I doubt you could get much over 20-25, and you'd need seatbelts for that.

Their best bet is new-build, and that's basically the lesser of two evils :

1) try and acquire ROW (very expensive; it's pretty much ALL developed land)
2) build down the middle of the interstate and drive 1/4th of the city nuts with the traffic jams that would create ...

Frankly, if they're gonna build down the middle of the interstate, uncap MARTA's tunnel, and just extend the NW line that was part of the original planning. Shoulda happened years back as part of the pre-olympics planning IMHO ...

'course for ANY of this to happen, the state government has to manage to actually put together some kind of realistic rail goal/plan, something that's sorely lacking (and less likely).

- litz
  by superbad
I was talking to one of the biggest proponents of this project this week, who is running for county commissioner for the district that most of this line would cover. He told me that a lot has already been done and that the biggest obsticle now is pretty much the morons in the gold dome not being able to draw up a state transportation funding plan.. nothing will happen this year, it is an election year. we might end up with the former governor being governor again and if so, roy barnes is very pro transit.. and a lot would have happened in GA if he had been re-elected in 2002. basically our lovely current governor has done anything and everything to trash everything that was in development and a whole bunch of other things not transit related too.. basically 8 years were wasted under the perdue administration, and now GA will be playing catch-up like never before..
  by gt7348b
I think I can answer some of the questions on the LRT.

On Canton - the reason it is LRT is that it was recognized that the W&A was infeasible and in the written description it would follow the I-575 corridor, not the W&A. One thought was that the NW segment from Cumberland to the Town Center area would function more like an LRT trunk line, with trains only continuing North to Canton on a less frequent basis. It is somewhat modeled after tram-train networks in Germany (with the idea that maybe you could even use a dual mode electric/diesel LRT like Alstom produces for Canton and avoid having catenary north of Town Center area).