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Reversible lanes being discussed in I-85 study

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A grandiose idea to relieve traffic on Interstate 85 may be closer than many thought earlier this month, when Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle floated the possibility of reversible lanes.

Transportation officials confirmed last week the idea has been discussed as part of a study of options along the I-85 corridor.

The analysis is a component of a 2-years-long look at an extension to Ronald Reagan Parkway, which could be funded by tolls.

"The (Ronald Reagan Parkway) feasibility study has determined that a direct connection to I-85 is complex and should account for conditions not contemplated in the original study scope," Gwinnett DOT Acting Director Kim Conroy said in an email. "Referred to as the 'Interface Project,' it will consider how best to optimize the RRP access point with full consideration of the existing interchange network, including the possibility of reversible lanes on I-85."

A year ago, the Georgia Department of Transportation agreed to pay $750,000 to work on the interface project, being performed by Skanska USA, so the extension could link to I-85's toll lanes.

County officials said reversible lanes have been a part of the discussion among members of a citizens advisory group. They declined to say what other options are being studied or to go into specifics of the reversible lanes before the report is complete, which could happen in March.

During a recent event, Cagle described the reversible lane concept. He said he wants to add movable barriers to the interstate, which would convert northbound lanes into southbound for the congested morning commute. The effect would reverse in the evenings, adding more capacity during rush hour.

Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said she is unsure about the engineering of such an idea but said attention needs to be made to the congested corridor.

"Obviously, anything that can be done to help improve the traffic flow on I-85, especially during peak traffic times, I'm for that," Nash said. "I'm glad people are thinking about different ways to approach that."

Comments

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

The reversible lanes in this study would most likely be elevated lanes added over the right-of-way unlike the idea that Lt. Gov. Cagle discussed which would involve moveable barriers that would not be possible unless each bridge over I-85 were to be rebuilt to remove the rows of central supporting columns that also divide northbound and southbound lanes of traffic so as to make way for the moveable barriers and the machine that would move them twice daily.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

The state should just give up the idea of adding carpool and toll lanes because every idea just seems to be cost ridiculously more than they're worth paying for.

It makes no sense to pay hundreds-of-millions of dollars for minimal, if any congestion relief or, as in the case of the I-85 toll lanes, projects that only make congestion WORSE.

What is the need to pay hundreds-of-millions of dollars for high-priced toll lanes that very few, if any, people will use and will do nothing for traffic?

The state should just leave it alone, because they only thing that they seem to be good at is making things MUCH WORSE than they already were.

The way that traffic was before now seems almost dreamy compared to how it has been after the idiots in state government ran out the two-person carpools and put tolls on the I-85 HOV lanes.

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Lex_Scott 2 years, 10 months ago

The incumbents in state government are not necessarily idiots because of the current congestion issues on I-85. All three major interstates in the region converge in Downtown Atlanta. I-75 and -85 even overlap through the portion with the densest population. Trucks carrying freight throughout the southeast must take I-85 because there is no other option. That was poor planning by the federal DOT and previous state administrations, not the state officials currently in office. Furthermore, the decision by Gwinnett county voters not to extend passenger rail into a county with explosive population growth was not mandated by state government. While many Gwinnett residents would never take Marta, some would, and that would reduce congestion for those who commute as the only occupant in the vehicle. Ask your employer if you can report and depart from work outside of the rush hour windows. You may want to find something productive to do near work before or after your shift. Why do we want to spend millions to expand roadways when those expansions are only need a few hours a day? Blaming government is the natural thing to do. But the root cause is us. Traffic is congested because we as individuals are making it happen.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

"Furthermore, the decision by Gwinnett county voters not to extend passenger rail into a county with explosive population growth was not mandated by state government. While many Gwinnett residents would never take Marta, some would, and that would reduce congestion for those who commute as the only occupant in the vehicle."

MARTA in it's current highly-dysfunctional and completely mismanaged state definitely is NOT the answer.

Back in 2008, MARTA officials said that they could extend bus and rail service into Gwinnett County....no earlier than 15 years after they were to start collecting tax revenues from Gwinnett County taxpayers. Gwinnettians said thanks, but no thanks, to MARTA's oh-so-gracious offer of payment for non-service, of course.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

"The incumbents in state government are not necessarily idiots because of the current congestion issues on I-85."

Yes, they are. I didn't see people out in the streets demanding that the government make traffic WORSE by ending two-person carpools in the HOV lane, the same two-person carpools that they, the government, had been literally BEGGING and PLEADING with people to participate in for the past 10-20 years.

Now, those two-person carpools which were found to have been helping traffic tremendously after they were banned from the carpool lane, are suddenly no good?

Government may not be the only cause of the problem, but in this case, government IS the problem, especially in the case of the I-85 HOT Lanes, which have only made traffic WORSE.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

"Trucks carrying freight throughout the southeast must take I-85 because there is no other option. That was poor planning by the federal DOT and previous state administrations, not the state officials currently in office."

Not necessarily, or rather, not completely.

When I-85 was completed through the area in the late 1960's the population of the Atlanta Region was only about 1/5th of what it is today, while the population of Gwinnett County was only about 1/12th of what it is today.

There's no way, even with the Feds wildest projections, that they could have known that the Interstate system through the Atlanta Region and North Georgia would be handling as much local and interstate traffic as they handle today and are expected to handle in the coming years.

Plus, I-85, I-75, I-20 & I-285 were designed and built primarily to handle INTERSTATE traffic, carrying traffic from state-to-state.

Even with all of widenings, redesignings, adjustments and modifications, the Interstate System was not intended the bulk of continously increasing local traffic.

We all get caught up in how these interstates function locally, especially during peak hours, but we tend to forget that I-85 is a very major freight route that connects the heavily-industrial Gulf Coast (Texas & Lousiana) with the heavily-populated Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.

We also tned to forget that I-75 is an even more very major freight/vacation route that connects a major resort area, Florida, and one of the World's busiest seaports, the Port of Savannah, with the still-heavily populated (for now) Great Lakes Region.

Having Interstates 85, 75, 20 & 285 come through Atlanta is almost like having I-5 in L.A., I-95 in N.Y., I-10 in L.A. & I-405 in L.A. all come through the same town as Interstates 85, 75 & 285 are literally three of the busiest roads on the entire planet. I even think that those three Interstates rank in the top 10 busiest roads on the North American continent.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

"Why do we want to spend millions to expand roadways when those expansions are only need a few hours a day?"

Because it's called INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT, something that is a necessity where the right-of-way exists to do it.

Although, one major problem is that south of Old Peachtree Road, I-85 is pretty much completely built-out horizontally with no more room for expansion without condemnations of property that lines both sides of the right-of-way.

Condeming property to further widen I-85 is something that the county government would be against because doing so would result in the loss of a large of amount of property tax revenue from some high-dollar commercial and industrial properties that pay a lot into the county's property tax digest.

So any widening (horizontal expansion) of I-85 south of Old P'tree is pretty much out of the question because of the harm that might be done to the property tax base. The potential loss in several millions in property tax revenues was one of the reasons why the state backed-off from widening I-75 to as many as 25 lanes through Cobb County a few years ago.

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jack 2 years, 10 months ago

Hmmm...interesting ideas. Perhaps if more studies were conducted..........

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Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

@ Jack You mean more money wasted. As for Lex our company moved our starting time form 7 AM to 6AM during the Olympics and has worked out fine from Old Peachtree to Chamblee Tucker cut about 30 minutes off our comute. left work, if we did not work OT, at 2:30PM. The night shilt also liked the new hours.We are still on that schecule today.

Of all the reversible lane that we have seen is that the median wall moves. If that be the case then a lot of what was just installed would be removed. Would that make up another toll lane? Can you imagine the construction night mare that will cause.

As for Ronald Regan: extending it to I-85 would be a good idea. To make it a toll road may not. Remember GA 400 was to have the toll booth reemoved after it was paid for. Deal even made a camapign promise on that . Now they will go in 20 years. This is the same thing with the Regan parkway. these toll booths will never close.

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R 2 years, 10 months ago

It’s great when you think about … How much was just spent to eliminate the left lane entry of traffic or MERGE to I-85 south from 316? So now we pay big bucks to study the SAME structure – but it’s OK because it will be from a tolled road?

WTF! (Winning the Future) sure applies here.

This is what happens when county leaders are busy taking things for themselves then trying to cover it up and avoid indictments. Gwinnett will be paying for the recent foolishness for a decade – longer if these concepts aren’t stopped soon.

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M 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm just glad to finally being able to leave Gwinnett County! I've lived here for nearly 30 years & I've seen the best county in the state turn into the same old political money grabbers as the other counties in Georgia!! It's time 'we the people' take a stand & take back our rights! The DOT could have solved this problem on I-85 & I-75 years ago by putting in the outer-perimeter, but then they couldn't line their pockets with taxpayers money, could they? They should all be ashamed of themselves!!

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

GDOT did try to put in the Outer Perimeter back in the late 90's and early 2000's, but was stopped by angry voters who thought that the state was only trying to help developers line their pockets with taxpayers money by profiting off of the spread of the kind of post-suburban sprawl that counties like Gwinnett and Cobb struggle with.

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LilburnLady 2 years, 10 months ago

The Citizens Advisory Group for the Ronald Reagan Parkway has never discussed reversible lanes. The group has not held a meeting for almost a year now. The reason given was that the Federal DOT refused to allow the RR Pkway extension to connect to I-85 because that area of I-85 is already congested and any new interchange would only add to the congestion in that corridor. The Citizens Advisory Group meetings were suspended so that Skanska could conduct yet another study to see if there was a way to connect the RR Pkway extension to the HOT Lanes. The extension will be tolled and the tolls collected by Skanska so it won't be profitable for them unless the traffic is free-flowing.

So the taxpayers will pay to create reversible HOT Lanes so that Skanska can make a profit collecting tolls. The Citizens Advisory Group has not been a part of any part of the reversible HOT Lanes study. Currently, it is envisioned that the extension of Ronald Reagan Parkway will be three miles of elevated four-lane highway from it's current end at Pleasant Hill Road and it will cross above Steve Reynolds Boulevard through the Gwinnett Place area. The extension, which is currently estimated to save three minutes of commuting time for the average commuter, will cost (current estimate) $300 million dollars (that's $100 million dollars per mile).

Never mind, that the Pleasant Hill/I-85 interchange is currently slated to be completely redone, to alleviate congestion for commuters. The race is on so that Skanska can set up this extension to soak the taxpayers with yet another toll. By the time it's all over, these projects will increase congestion on I-85 and your only alternative, will be fork over $5 to $10 each way for your daily commute.

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cwkimbro 2 years, 10 months ago

My main problem with this article and giving so much credit to Lt. Gov Casey Cagle (of course this isn't mean to say anything negative or positive about him) is that this IS NOT a new idea!

The Georgia DOT has researched this and had this plan for a few years now, except when they did their future conditions analysis and cost comparisons they decided to put into their long-term plans that is is better to have 2 HOT lanes on each side (meaning 2 -additional- lanes are added to the existing 2 HOT lanes). This has been posted on their website publicly for some time. They did run an evaluation for the reversible lanes as well!

http://www.dot.state.ga.us/informationcenter/programs/studies/managedlanes/Documents/Corridor%20Evaluations%20and%20Recommendations.pdf

http://www.dot.state.ga.us/informationcenter/programs/studies/managedlanes/Documents/FINALREPORT.pdf

adding two lanes.... vs. adding two additional shoulders and a barricade isn't always that much more costly and can make traffic flows less complicated. Sometimes it makes sense... sometimes it doesn't.

Adding two lanes is an extra 24 ft width of roadway (12 on each side of the current divider)

Creating the reversible lanes requires rebuilding the current divider, building a new one ( 4-6 feet of width), and building 2 additional shoulders... one which is consider -outside- must be 4 ft wide and one is -inside- and must be 10 ft wide... so 18-20 ft more width in roadway. So the reversible lanes saves about 4-6 ft in width to the roadway, but requires much more costly restructuring.... which requires some areas with on/offramps to the lanes to be even wider than 24 ft to make way for these ramps and reversible safety gates.

With that said... at least until their is a better engineering analysis done... I like the current GA DOT recommendations to make it 2 HOT lanes on each side... not reversible. Either way... the real catch... is how do we get these things moving faster to add more capacity.

Just a side note: Click the second link I provided... the GA DOT created a HOT Lane system for the whole Metro Atlanta region, which often includes building new lanes (unlike what they just did for the first phase of I-85). The build plan is in 4 tiers. In tier 3 I-85 N gets 2 extra lanes (1 each way) added. It allows for further growth, but also improves access from other parts of town getting to Gwinnett businesses.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

"My main problem with this article and giving so much credit to Lt. Gov Casey Cagle (of course this isn't mean to say anything negative or positive about him) is that this IS NOT a new idea!"

Cagle is not in the loop on much, if any, of the transportation stuff down under the Gold Dome these days, so reversible lanes are a new idea for him. Despite being the Lt. Gov, I doubt that he is even remotely aware of what goes on inside of GDOT, because if he was, I doubt that he would made those statements like they were brand new cutting edge ideas that no one had suggested or studied before.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

The cancellation of the I-75/575 Northwest Corridor proves that GDOT's proposed HOT Lane network is nothing more than a $16 BILLION-plus delusion of grandeur, at best and a purely psychotic hallucination, at worst.

GDOT could not even come up with the original $300 million state taxpayer funded portion of the $1.2 billion cost of the I-75/575 project, an amount that is more than the state's entire roadbuilding and maintenance budget. So when the private companies that the state was supposed to "partner" with demanded that the state come up with $200 million more to make the project viable and profitable for them, the state knew it was too much and had to pull the plug on the project, which the state claims that it is going to look for other ways to fund with money that does not exist and, barring a MASSIVE increase in the state's gas, ad valorem and property taxes, will not exist anytime soon.

The only reason that the I-85 HOT Lanes "project" was completed is because the idiots in state government got a $110 million grant from the Feds who had declined to give the state the money on a couple of separate occasions before. Otherwise, if the state does not get the $110 million grant from the Feds, the I-85 HOT Lanes don't exist.

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cwkimbro 2 years, 10 months ago

My problems with opinions like these is too many people throw this stuff around in haste... just to fit their preconceptions.

The annual budget of the GA DOT is around $2-$4 billion, depending on tax collections and federal money that comes in. Of course even more money is combined with local governments and local CIDs for some projects as well.

Too often people forget what these huge freeways and roadways actually cost! It is expensive and always has been, but we can't do nothing and we can't waste money on a project. We also have to realize that state DOT does have money spend. A recent audit showed there were over $1 billion in unspent, unappropriated DOT money laying around the legislature must appropriate it's use. (but I'm not arguing it should go here... I'm just pointing out the state does have a sizable budget and huge freeway projects usually do cost a ton (and always have).)

Also, remember higher prices projects are built over time. The $16 billion plan is over a 35 year period and also includes use of the toll revenue (estimated to be near half the cost), so all the sudden $7-8 billion over 30 years when the state usually has a $4billion/year budget is much more manageable. IF.... we choose to move in this direction. (Personally, I like commuter rail. It is actually cheaper than the new freeway lanes and interchanges and in the long run more people can use it).

but anyways... like it... don't like... everyone is allowed their opinion, but lets keep our head in the game, be realistic about what things actually cost (for proper comparison), and not make things up.

When we make 30+ year plans... We need to remember that currently the GDOT is projected to have $86 billion available over 30 years. Now that includes operations, maintenance, and existing infrastructure money... so it can't all be used for capital improvements, but we have to decide how to best spend $86 billion over 30 years to keep us and our economy moving.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

"The annual budget of the GA DOT is around $2-$4 billion, depending on tax collections and federal money that comes in. Of course even more money is combined with local governments and local CIDs for some projects as well."

The GDOT budget for Fiscal year 2012 is $2.14 billion, of that roughly $920.5 million comes from state motor fuel revenues and the rest comes from Federal funding.

Assuming that the Federal funds are divided up the same way as the $920.5 million in state motor fuel funds are divided up, 19%, or $406.6 million of the total $2.14 billion, will go towards road maintenance for the entire state.

"but anyways... like it... don't like... everyone is allowed their opinion, but lets keep our head in the game, be realistic about what things actually cost (for proper comparison), and not make things up."

No one is making anything up. The estimated $500 million that the state would have had to have spent to make the I-75/575 NW Hot Lane project viable for private investors is more than the state's entire road maintenance budget ($406.6 million) for one year.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Now assuming that toll revenues cover roughly half, or $8 billion, of the $16 billion-plus cost of the proposed 285-mile network of HOT Lanes over 35 years, the cost of building out the proposed network would be $228.57 million, per year, on average in 2011 dollars, not figuring in the inflation that will more than likely occur over the 35-year buildout of the network.

The $228.57 million average cost per year of building out the HOT Lane network is equal to roughly 10.6% of the Fiscal Year 2012 budget of $2.14 billion. That 10.6% is also nearly as much as the 11% of the FY '12 budget allocated for Local Maintenance & Improvement Grants.

That $228.57 million, or close to 11% of the budget that will be required to buildout the HOT Lane network will have to come from somewhere, so where will it come from?

Will the 11% of the budget required to build the HOT Lane network be taken from the 11% of the budget currently allocated to LMIG (Local Maintenance & Improvement Grants)? Will the 11% come from the 18% allocated for General Operations? Will the 11% come at the expense of the 19% of the budget currently allocated for routine maintenance?

Where will the 11% of the budget that will be required to buildout the HOT lane network come from?

It's a very legitimate question seeing-as-though such a sizeable chunk of the transportation budget will be required to go towards building a project where the results and the effects on overall traffic congestion have been negative so far.

Is it really worth it to spend more than one-tenth of the transportation budget, on average, on a massive project that has only proved so far to make traffic worse?

Is it really worth it to spend more than one-tenth of a constricted transportation budget and allocate so many scarce resources on a massive project that is projected to have little, if any, positive effect on traffic congestion and is even projected by those inside of state government to possibly make traffic even worse?

The short answer is NO!

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JHogan 2 years, 10 months ago

We're just now finishing up removing the reversible lanes from Hwy 78, and now the LtGov wants to install reversible lanes on I-85? The reversible lanes came off 78 because they were a huge headache. Now we have 3 lanes in both directions with turning lanes interspersed along the road, and traffic flows much more smoothly, with much less confusion and many fewer accidents.

We need to build the "Northern Arc" which would connect I-85, through I-575 and on to I-75. It got shot down because of opposition from the "NIMBY's" along the route and as a result ALL of us who use the interstates are suffering from the increased congestion that has built up on the existing roadways.

We aso need to build an extension of the rail system that could eventually connect Athens with Carrollton, Griffin with Woodstock. and other cities in a wheel-spoke pattern.

Barring some catastrophic event, metro Atlanta will be so big and so congested in 50 years that those of you who'll be around then may have to walk to get anywhere. These thing take a long time to build (how many of you remember, as I do, when work first started on the Interstate Highway System back in the 1950's?)

And time's a-wasting.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

I completely agree that a "Northern Arc/Outer Perimeter" bypass/outer loop would help relieve a tremendous amount of traffic stress off of I-85 and local interstates.

The only problem is that the Outer Perimeter, ESPECIALLY, the Northern Arc portion of that proposed road is about as dead as a proposed road can be, a declaration that in and of itself is a vast understatement.

Except for Gwinnett County, which has preserved its part of the right-of-way of the Northern Arc for an under construction extension of Sugarloaf Parkway, in Forsyth & Cherokee Counties, where there was the most staunch opposition to the first Northern Arc, most of the right-of-way of the proposed Northern Arc has since been filled in with extensive exurban residential development since the road was killed for good by Sonny Perdue shortly after he took office in 2003.

Back in 2007, there was some very brief talk by GDOT of reviving the Northern Arc under a new, less politically negative name and running the road to the north of Lake Lanier, a proposed route that would be even less viable than the now-cancelled route of the old Northern Arc because of the even more fierce opposition that would arise to running the road through pristine mountain ranges of the very southern reaches of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

"We need to build the "Northern Arc" which would connect I-85, through I-575 and on to I-75. It got shot down because of opposition from the "NIMBY's" along the route and as a result ALL of us who use the interstates are suffering from the increased congestion that has built up on the existing roadways."

Part, but not necessarily all, of the increased congestion on the roadways has been as a result of the state refusing to invest in a well-managed and expertly-operated passenger rail-anchored transit network.

(And when I say well-managed and expertly-operated I don't mean the continuing organizational trainwreck that is MARTA.)

As we are continuing to find out, first hand, there's no way that a population center of nearly six million people can continue to function without very heavy investments in either road infrastructure, rail infrastructure or both roads and rails. Over the last 15 years, the state of Georgia has increasingly made virtually neither.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

@ cwkimbro:

"(Personally, I like commuter rail. It is actually cheaper than the new freeway lanes and interchanges and in the long run more people can use it)."

I agree that commuter rail would be MUCH more effective at helping traffic than a network of expensive and pricey HOT Lanes that so far, have only proven to make traffic worse for a very high cost.

Though there are some theories that abound that there are plans to use the HOT Lane concept as a way of eventually forcing single-occupant vehicle (SOV) motorists onto future rail transit lines that don't yet exist, just implementing an effective and well-thought out commuter rail network without the HOT Lanes would be all that would be needed to get people out of their cars on a perpetually-congested I-85 NE outside of I-285.

High-frequency commuter rail might also be a better way to go because of the lack of right-of-way available to further widen I-85 south of Old Peachtree Road.

Seeing as though it is not possible to widen I-85 anymore south of Old Peachtree Road, it is (way past) time to add high-frequency commuter rail service on the existing Amtrak/Norfolk Southern rail line that runs parallel to the west of I-85 & I-985 between Atlanta and Gainesville and on the CSX/Brain-Train rail line that parallels Hwy 29-316 between Atlanta and Athens (NOT Marta) as a way of helping traffic on I-85 that is only going to continue to get worse with time.

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Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

MARTA wants Gwinnett for only one reason, to bail them out of the finincial mess that they created. There used to be rail passenger service on Southern railroad, as Norfolk Southern was known back then,between Atlanta and Gainsville. Trains would stop in Norcross, Duluth Buford, and other cities.along the tracks. There were parking lots for cars as most rode the train. Southeren offered rail service before MARTA came along with Seaboard railroad,now CSX. Dekalb and Fulton said no we will build and operate it for our selves. Now you see what they created. It would be cheaper to build on existing rail lines than build from scratch. An idea worth looking into.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, you are all-too-correct as MARTA isn't looking to expand their "service", just the territory that they can collect revenues from for their bottomless pit of funding misallocations and organizational mismanagement.

Fortunately, MARTA is entirely too dysfunctional to be able to ever physically expand their unique brand of (dis)organizational incompetence outside of Fulton and DeKalb Counties on their own.

Although, short of double-decking I-85, which is probably even less likely to happen than the completely impossible and improbable appearance of MARTA buses and trains in Gwinnett, we had likely better do something that is actually useful at helping to pull local traffic off and reduce congestion on I-85 and Atlanta-area interstates sooner rather than later.

And when I say something useful, I do NOT mean more HOT Lanes and MARTA.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

The people is charge of state government should be (but probably aren't in the least bit) ashamed of themselves for the way that they have let transportation infrastructure in this town, the nations NINTH LARGEST metropolitan area, degenerate into such a horrific mess.

GDOT spends several years and hundreds-of-millions of dollars of public time and money putting together an elaborate multi-billion dollar plan of toll lanes that they openly admit will make traffic WORSE (the $16.2 billion, 285-mile HOT Lane network) and would likely not be able to even remotely come close to being able to even help pay for itself anytime soon, if ever.

While MARTA has degenerated into one of the worst most poorly-run, operationally dysfunctional and undependable transit agencies in the nation (ranked #91...out of 100 cities in a recent survey at last count).

Gee, with the way that governmental transportation agencies like GDOT and MARTA have been run (into the ground), it's no wonder that this town finds itself on the cusp of almost literally wondering around aimlessly lost out in a dark and foreboding transportation and economic wilderness.

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kevin 2 years, 10 months ago

The idea of mass transit is just a lot of hot air. Thanks to whoever did all the planning in Atlanta and metro-Atlanta, no extension of mass transit will ever work. Why? Because our planners gave in to developers for the almighty buck. Atlanta is way to spread out for a large amount of people to take mass transit. First you have to get to a location to take a bus or train. Then when you reach a drop off point, what due to do next to reach your destination? Walk 2 miles, take a taxi the rest of the way to work, or what? Mass transit will NEVER work for the masses. With a car, you leave from your front door and arrive exactly at where you want to go. If any politician can give me a better senario, then please post one here for all to see.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Kevin:

Atlanta's not as far gone as many people seem to think.

Even the big transit-heavy Northern cities like NYC, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, have lots of suburban and exurban sprawl.

The thing is that in the suburbs and exurbs of those transit-heavy Northern cities, mass transit is a "Park-and-Ride" proposition, meaning that those who ride trains and buses from the far-out suburbs and exurbs into the city don't catch a bus in front of their suburban and exurban home, but they often drive to a train station or an express bus or bus rapid transit station where they park their car and ride a train or bus into the city where they might walk if where they work is nearby or transfer onto a local bus or, as you described, they might have to catch a cab to ride if where they work at is a few blocks from the train or bus station or bus stop.

And even in cities with lots of mass transit options, like a Toronto, which arguably has THE BEST mass transit system in all of the Americas, LOTS of people still choose to and HAVE TO drive to and from work, especially if they don't work in a high-density employment center within the densest part of the city, like a Downtown, or a Midtown, or a Buckhead, or a Perimeter Center.

Despite being so EXTREMELY transit-heavy, Toronto still has the busiest section of freeway in the Americas and on what might be the entire planet as the Hwy 401 freeway that runs through the Near-Northside of Toronto carries more than 500,000 vehicles per day and is the busiest freight-truck route in the entire world.

The implementation of (better) mass transit doesn't mean that people still won't have to drive because as you correctly stated, buses and trains can't go EVERYWHERE, but if managed and operated properly, better mass transit can help pull A LOT of local traffic off of the roads.

Even with 500,000 vehicles per day using that Hwy 401 in Toronto, there is no way that freeway could be functional during the busiest parts of the day if Toronto didn't have an extremely heavy mass transit option that makes room on the freeways for the exceptional amount of truck traffic by pulling an extremely heavy amount of local automobile traffic off of the freeway system.

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