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Old February 13th, 2012, 04:57 PM   #21
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The streetcar in Atlanta is being roundly panned by many critics, and I'll admit the particular corridor seems soft. I'm hopefuly for it's success, but not prepared to wager on that.

We do need more such options within burgeoning cities, though, as people tend to react much more favorably to smaller, fixed routed. The free shuttle buses running their loops around Chattanooga, for example, don't get near the same fear and hesitation that a traditional passenger bus, so hopefully this type of transit service will get more folks moving in Atlanta.

As for the larger HSR effort, I think there simply needs to be steady investment in the simple straightening and double tracking of the existing network. Right now it takes an overnight run to get from Atlanta to DC, no shorter than driving. A lot of that is the myriad of turns and bends that prohibit even slightly higher speeds, scattered throughout the route. Currently there are no plans for "smoothing the lines," just maintaining the norm, and that's foolish. Little investments here and there can eventually add up to 10 minutes shaved here, 15 minutes there. Eventually we can be at higher speeds that reduce the trip by hours.

There also needs to be a greater push for coordination (competition) with air travel. We'll always need air service but it's become too costly to run shorter flights, which is exactly where rail can be most effective. If we can get one of NC or FL to show ANY improvements in passenger service, I've little doubt that will start the dominoes for GA and the rest of the southeast:

- Upgrade the access and service between Raleigh and DC, then the rest of NC will be even more vested.
- Get anything going from Orlando to Miami
- With bookeneds in place GA and Atlanta will press even harder to get on board, rather than be bypassed. Plus it would alleviate the growing demand for a 2nd, national-level airport.
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Old February 14th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #22
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- Get anything going from Orlando to Miami
Not gonna happen until our current governor is out of office. He is vehemently against any transit plans other than roads. He even appoints anti-transit politicians to transit boards. Best case scenario 3 more years...worst case another term. Worst. Governor. Ever.

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Old February 16th, 2012, 03:51 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by GunnerJacket View Post
The streetcar in Atlanta is being roundly panned by many critics, and I'll admit the particular corridor seems soft. I'm hopefuly for it's success, but not prepared to wager on that.
I agree. I can't imagine paying $2.50 (or more by the time it's completed) for a ride on it. I hope it helps create a nightlife corridor downtown, but I'm as comfortable as you are when it comes to betting on its success.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 07:42 PM   #24
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Six-month-old Norfolk light rail beating expectations!!

Some impressive numbers for the first 6 months of operation.


http://hamptonroads.com/2012/02/sixm...g-expectations
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Old February 20th, 2012, 04:47 PM   #25
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Good for them. I'm surprised many people still push back so aggressively against rail, when traditionally fixed-route transit fairs well and ultimately yields the land use adaptations desired to make urban densities much, much more affordable and efficient. Here in GA we're hoping VA and NC realize these benefits soon enough that we can begin to seriously think about linking the east coast together.

Way to go, Hampton Roads!
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Old February 20th, 2012, 04:51 PM   #26
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I've got to get down there to check it out. I've seen the line under construction and it really changed the city, visually, in a good way. It's good to see that it is doing well, sad to read all of the negative comments. We hate our cities here in Virginia
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Old February 20th, 2012, 08:41 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunnerJacket View Post
Good for them. I'm surprised many people still push back so aggressively against rail, when traditionally fixed-route transit fairs well and ultimately yields the land use adaptations desired to make urban densities much, much more affordable and efficient. Here in GA we're hoping VA and NC realize these benefits soon enough that we can begin to seriously think about linking the east coast together.

Way to go, Hampton Roads!
NC wouldn't be much of a problem, would it?

CLT - Greensboro/Winston-Salem - Raleigh/Durham, The I85 Corridor, wouldn't be so anti rail, would it? I believe even our Republican leaders generally like Rail. I may be wrong.

I thought it was Georgia & Florida who was against Rail.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 09:22 PM   #28
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From in between it's always seemed like Fla and NC are routinely in a tug-of-war among the supporters and detractors, both featuring times of bold plans and some progress as well as times of major supression. (Can't imagine what it would be like today if the FOX had taken off!) GA, meanwhile, has never gotten farther than a cursory plan for possible commuter routes and destinations, without even funding formalizations studies for more than two routes. And none of that has been addressing the idea of increasing the speeds for interstate travel. Alas.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 09:41 AM   #29
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I know that Birmingham has begun its study for a HRS corridor to Atlanta.
I think the study began about a year and a half ago. A Birmingham/Nashville/Atlanta triangle (or perhaps chattanooga instead) would be a great boon to the Southeast. Also an edge over the rest of the country.

Atlanta's progress with the high-speed rail is because the CNU chapter in Atlanta (and Ellen Dunham-Jones in particular) has a lot of strength there. I was in Atlanta in March and was really impressed with the good design of all the recent/current construction. Very "new urbanist" and stuck to good principles.
HRS will only be a boost to the groundwork there.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 06:28 PM   #30
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Atlanta also has strong representation on the federal level. In contrast, Nashville's has had notoriously horrible representation in Congress. Our current Congressman Jim Cooper is often derided as just someone who takes up space in Congress, and that comment came from a close friend of mine who is a Democrat representative from Virginia.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 12:40 AM   #31
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Ah, that's a good point. Good federal representation is important for grants and all kinds of infrastructure projects in general.
I hope you aren't confusing CNU with congress in general (I'm not sure if you are, just saying). The Congress for the New Urbanism is just a nonprofit organization. It's very large and has a lot of influence, though. Some members in the Atlanta chapter are very influential in the org and the chapter has a lot of influence in the city.
The CNU is a group of professionals in architecture/urban planning/urban design/real estate that push for better urban design in our cities. They support things like mass transit, mixed use development, walkable neighborhoods, fighting urban sprawl and stuff like that in general. I'm a member (though I'm a college student, not a professional in the field) and I just support their views/stances on urban issues. I'd recommend checking it out and learning about new urbanism to prettymuch any American or Canadian SSC user.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 04:05 PM   #32
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Not directly HSR related, but...

Regrettably the transportation sales tax referendum currently on the summer ballots in Georgia is muddying the waters with regards to public perceptions of transit and rail. Included on the list of projects are several rail initiatives in metro Atlanta, including some first forays into the henceforth exclusionary suburbs. If everything passes there's real hope that downtown Atlanta finally sees the infamous gulch converted into a multi-modal hub, the long-proposed "grand central station" for the city.

Alas, the zealots from all sides have come out and buried any thoughtful discussion of the measure. For some the idea of any new tax is a no go (Tea Party), for others it's far too transit heavy (suburban officials), and for others it's not doing enough for transit (Sierra Club)! Basically everyone has called imperfect and therefore publicly voicing opposition, never mind that there is no plausible Plan B at this time. (For ther record I can go either way provided the public is relatively unanimous in their decision and lives with the consequences. Worst outcome is a 51-49 measure that features continuous bickering and half-a**** implementation because of it.)

Anyway, if it does succeed GDOT and Amtrack have pledged to work more aggressively towards improving rail service to/from Atlanta. This would include better long-term appraoches to improving the capacity and allowable speeds on passenger tracks. Here in northeast Ga their eyeing areas for track straightening, and the hope is in my lifetime we'll see improved regular service to Birmingham, Macon, Savannah, Greenville and Charlotte.

Lot will depend, however, on what happens this summer.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 04:25 PM   #33
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Columbus City Council approved a $300,000 grant yesterday from the GDOT to study a commuter rail between the city and Atlanta.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 02:53 PM   #34
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They'd best be quick; That same corridor is also being touted for a rails-to-trails project! That's the problem for Columbus, as they're not along one of the primary routes being considered between Atlanta and the top slate of destinations. If Ontgomery had more pull, maybe.

The best chance they might have would be if Griffin becomes the pass-through on the way from Atlanta to Macon, and they could spur off to Columbus from there as well. But that particular Atlanta-to-Macon route has a big sweeping bend around Barnesville that slows the run down, so GDOT may opt for the line on the other side of 75 instead.

Frankly, I wish we'd stop paying for all these studies and simply use the money to go ahead and upgrade track.
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Old May 24th, 2012, 09:43 PM   #35
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Frankly, I wish we'd stop paying for all these studies and simply use the money to go ahead and upgrade track.
Haha, you said it. HRS studies and then the grant applications take years, though, and then you have to deal with all the political opposition. I think the opposition will quiet substantially as every line gets finished and they see how awesome it is. It gets you places faster than cars! And you can do whatever you want on your trip, you're not the one driving! It seems like everything's connecting to Atlanta but I think Birmingham has an opportunity I be fairly central itself here, too. We could connect to Atlanta, Memphis, Chattanooga and the Gulf directly.

Btw, what places along the Gulf have launched HRS studies? I would drool over a trans-gulf coast rail line from Houston to Tampa Bay. In Obama's original HRS plan, there was going to be a connection to Mobile which would have been great for Baldwin county.
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Old May 25th, 2012, 03:40 PM   #36
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It seems like everything's connecting to Atlanta but I think Birmingham has an opportunity I be fairly central itself here, too. We could connect to Atlanta, Memphis, Chattanooga and the Gulf directly.
For now Atlanta has the benefit of a larger resident populace, the array of federal offices in town and Hartsfield International Airport. It will be a lynchpin in any eventual southeastern HSR plan.

But yes, eventually there will be a variety of spurs that most of the cities we're discussing will/should be linked.

Quote:
Btw, what places along the Gulf have launched HRS studies? I would drool over a trans-gulf coast rail line from Houston to Tampa Bay. In Obama's original HRS plan, there was going to be a connection to Mobile which would have been great for Baldwin county.
Everything I've seen suggests it's a much lower priority than the north-south corridors. Basically the national plan hinges on expanding westward and southward from the northeast (NYC and DC) and then southward from the midwest. Not only are they seeking to link the volume of major metros but also attract northern travelers escaping wintery weather. They'll need both to supply the ridership needed to make it viable.

A southern east-west route (like the old Silver Comet) to connect those 3 main N/S runs would then be in order, and yes reaching from Houston to Fla. is among the proposals. Houston, NO, Mobile, Tallahassee and then heading wherever Fla runs their legs, be it Tampa, Orlando or both. But this is still easily 2 generations away I would assume.

A shame the FOX never got going.
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Old June 24th, 2012, 07:04 PM   #37
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Study finds high-speed trains across South would work

http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingha...ns-across.html

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A study prepared for Georgia transportation officials concludes that high-speed passenger trains connecting Atlanta with Birmingham, Jacksonville, Fla., and Louisville, Ky., would be economically feasible.
According to the Associated Press, consultant HNTB presented the study's findings to Georgia's State Transportation Board on Wednesday.
The study identified possible train stations in Griffin, Macon, Savannah and Brunswick on the route from Atlanta to Jacksonville, with a potential station in Anniston on the route from Atlanta to Birmingham.
Btw, Birmingham has just cooperated with Montgomery and Mobile to launch a study about connecting the three cities with new passenger rail.
I really wish Huntsville would get in on this because it's a pretty important location. Still, I'm glad to see some good progress being made overall. Huntsville is probably too sprawled right now to make a train line feasible anyway. They've had a lot of "new urbanist" kind of developments going up ther recently, though, so I think that they'll be building rail within the next 5 years.
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Old June 24th, 2012, 08:33 PM   #38
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Miami's Metrorail extension to the Airport opens 7/28/2012

The Orange Line will run between Dadeland South Metrorail Station and the new MIA Metrorail Station.
The Green Line will comprise the existing Metrorail line from Palmetto to Dadeland South Stations.
You’ll be able to transfer free between the Orange and Green lines at any station serving both lines as long as you remain within the Metrorail paid area.
To get to the new MIA Metrorail Station from north of Earlington Heights Station, board a southbound Green Line train, exit the train at Earlington Heights and board a northbound Orange Line train to the new MIA Metrorail Station.
At the new MIA Metrorail Station, follow the signs to the MIA Mover to ride directly to the airport terminal in less than five minutes.
Metrorail service will double in frequency between Dadeland South and Earlington Heights Stations (the stations that will serve both the Orange and Green lines).
Metrorail fares and hours will remain the same: $2 per trip and 5 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.




Link: http://www.miamidade.gov/transit/mia...rt-station.asp

This is the first of the three Rail options to open at the $2 Billion dollar Intermodal station with construction underway for new stations to house AMTRAK & the Tri-Rail commuter rail system which serves the tri county area. Estimated completion date is 2014.



pics of the new Airport station :







image hosted on flickr


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Old July 3rd, 2012, 06:46 AM   #39
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Very cool!
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 06:47 AM   #40
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Atlanta

Possible sites for new multimodal station to be unveiled on July 11

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By Maria Saporta

A new transportation center for downtown Atlanta is moving from the idea stage to the design stage.

On July 11, the Georgia MultiModal Passenger Terminal team will provide the “first look” at the three alternative sites under consideration for the location of the proposed multimodal station.

The team will present different design sketches for the station, including elevations and street crossings at the public meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. at the City of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management at 72 Marietta St. NW (the former home of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), which is adjacent to where the station would be located.

At the meeting, the team will discuss what makes the different options feasible. They also will talk about the process of planning the station, public participation and the next steps. The public also will be able to make comments about the various alternatives.

The speakers and the team members who will participate in the meeting are:

· Jim Richardson, senior vice president/project manager for master developer FIC – Forest City Enterprises, The Integral Group and Cousins Properties Incorporated (transit and redevelopment)

· Ed Campbell, assistant vice president, Parsons Brinckerhoff (rail systems)

· Rob Ross, project manager at Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. (bus and transportation network)

· John Schuyler, principal/architect, Cooper Carry (architecture and urban planning) in association with FXFOWLE (station design and urban planning)

The meeting also will have other members of the master development team who will be able to answer questions about the project. The station will be “a vital hub for various forms of transportation, including high-speed rail, commuter rail, streetcar, Greyhound, MARTA, pedestrians, cyclists and other current and future forms of transit,” according to a release announcing the meeting
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