• Atlanta Light Rail Streetcar & Beltline Project

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

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by Balerion
 
Atlanta approves Streetcar expansion plan -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta City Council has approved a new Streetcar System Plan, which includes five crosstown routes in addition to 22 miles of streetcar service along the Beltline.

All totaled, the plan consists of a 50-plus mile streetcar system throughout the city. The document will serve as a framework for a potential Fulton County referendum in 2016 seeking approval from voters to impose an additional penny or fractional penny sales tax to fund transportation projects. Having the plan in place also enables the city to apply for large scale federal transportation funding.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Streetcar may be shut down: MyAJC
State threatens to close Atlanta streetcar
...
In a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed and MARTA CEO Keith Parker on Monday, the Georgia Department of Transportation gave the city until June 14 to submit plans to address 60 outstanding problems outlined in the reports. If those plans are not sufficient, GDOT said, it will order the streetcar to shut down immediately.

The city and MARTA share responsibility for the $98 million system that runs in downtown Atlanta. State and federal law requires GDOT to oversee the safety and security of rail operations like the streetcar, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said.

The problems with the streetcar include poor maintenance procedures, inadequate staffing and a failure to properly investigate accidents.
And ridership is not what was expected:
After offering free fares for a year, the streetcar started charging $1 in January. Ridership plummeted. About 91,000 people rode the street in the first three months of this year – 48 percent less than the same period in 2015.
  by litz
 
If I had to guess, a deal will be struck to prevent a shutdown.

Anyone who is surprised that ridership at $1/ride is a fraction of what it was when it was $0/ride is delusional.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Expansion on the table, but Beltline supporters disappointed: MyAJC.com

Brief, fair-use:
MARTA transit plan includes 21 miles of light rail

MARTA and Atlanta have proposed building 21 miles of light rail lines and other transit improvements with the proceeds of a sales tax approved by city voters in 2016.
But it’s not enough for advocates of the Atlanta Beltline, who say the project is getting shortchanged.

The list of projects recommended by the city and MARTA - obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - includes the Clifton Corridor light rail line, plus a system of other rail lines snaking through downtown and along Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta.
...
But the proposal includes only a third of the light rail envisioned for the Beltline loop. Also missing from the list: A heavy rail extension along I-20 west, several other light rail lines and a bus rapid transit route along I-20 east.
...
Since then, employees have evaluated dozens of potential projects that would cost a combined $11.5 billion. The proposed final list includes:
...
A light rail system stretching from the Clifton Corridor to Campbelltown Road in southwest Atlanta. The network includes the northeast and southwest portions of the proposed Beltline Loop, plus a connecting link through downtown along the existing Atlanta Streetcar route. The streetcar would become part of the light rail network.
Clifton Corridor topic: http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.ph ... 34&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Jeff Smith
 
https://www.myajc.com/blog/commuting/ma ... TZEYqNP6H/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
...
*Campbellton Line: Five miles of in-street light rail service along Campbellton Road between Oakland City Station and Greenbriar Mall. An arterial rapid transit line has been established. It will be upgraded to bus rapid transit and then to light rail in the long run. $263.7 million (light rail only).
...
*Beltline Loop – Northeast: Three miles of in-street running light rail service from Ponce City Market to Lindbergh Station along Atlanta Beltline. $174 million.

*Beltline Loop – Southwest: Four miles of in-street running light rail service along Atlanta Beltline from roughly I-20 to Oakland City Station. $196.2 million.

*Crosstown Downtown West Extension: Three miles of in-street light rail service from the Atlanta Streetcar to the Atlanta Beltline – Southwest. $171.6 million.

*Crosstown Downtown East Extension: Two miles of in-street light rail service from the Atlanta Streetcar to Ponce City Market along Atlanta Beltline – Northeast. $189.8 million.
...
  by Jeff Smith
 
https://atlanta.curbed.com/2019/12/9/21 ... e-eastside
A $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to help Atlanta Beltline and MARTA leaders figure out how to link downtown’s underutilized streetcar circuit to multi-use trails on either side of the city.

The city’s Streetcar Downtown Crosstown Extension project, part of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Improvement Plan, is ultimately expected to stitch together the Beltline’s Westside Trail with its Eastside Trail by way of light rail snaking through destinations like the Atlanta University Center and Georgia State University.

“The work funded by the $2.8 million will include geotechnical and utility surveys to clarify impacts and costs of the preferred alignment,” Beltline spokeswoman Jenny Odom tells Curbed Atlanta. “It will also provide data that can help determine potential station locations.”

Essentially, which path the rail lines will take is undetermined, but Beltline officials said during a community meeting last week the Eastside Trail connection would be at Ponce de Leon Avenue.
...
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Atlanta should be putting any and all available funds towards extending MARTA rail into Cobb County and away from more "Lexus Lanes". I know "they don't want it", but really, they best get it.

author's note: author owns a Lexus, drives to Atlanta twice yearly, has a valid toll X-ponder (Florida Sun Pass), but has NEVER used a "Lexus Lane".
  by Jeff Smith
 
But like you said, Cobb has to ask for it first. Very similar to MNRR; counties have to opt in. I've taken the toll lanes south of the city because it's well worth it.

Cobb won't be LRT in any case, and I think I've got a thread on here about them giving CSX a lease on very favorable terms on ROW that they own, agreeing to not consider passenger traffic.
  by MattW
 
Actually Jeff, the last news is that some sort of provision for passenger rail was preserved:
The contract preserves CSX’s exclusive control over freight access but also reserves Georgia’s right to install passenger rail at a future date.

The implementation of passenger rail is subject to several caveats, including a prohibition on “high-speed” rail. The contract includes a stipulation that the introduction of passenger rail be subject to a “mutual agreement” between the state and the company on safety, planning and engineering.
https://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt--po ... wsP5s30uK/

Actual documentation in the Federal Register (do a CTRL+F for "passenger"):
https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... c-railroad
  by Jeff Smith
 
Good deal! The corridors (75/85 and downtown connector) are so jammed right now, 24/7 just about, that they need something ASAP.
  by Jeff Smith
 
https://saportareport.com/affordable-ho ... rts/david/

https://saportakinsta.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... unding.pdf
...
Twenty years after the Atlanta BeltLine idea was presented to city leaders, not a single mile of track on the
22-mile rail and trail loop connecting to MARTA rail has been laid. MARTA says it will be 2027 before the
first tiny 1.4 mile segment is operational. The rest of the project is 25-30 years out under the best scenario.
Atlanta’s leaders – its Mayor and City Council – have lost sight of the complete BeltLine vision, particularly
the affordable housing component’s connection to transit. Today, neither Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms nor
the City Council considers the rail portion of the BeltLine a top priority.
...
  by electricron
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Tue May 15, 2018 10:20 am https://www.myajc.com/blog/commuting/ma ... TZEYqNP6H/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
...
*Campbellton Line: Five miles of in-street light rail service along Campbellton Road between Oakland City Station and Greenbriar Mall. An arterial rapid transit line has been established. It will be upgraded to bus rapid transit and then to light rail in the long run. $263.7 million (light rail only).
...
*Beltline Loop – Northeast: Three miles of in-street running light rail service from Ponce City Market to Lindbergh Station along Atlanta Beltline. $174 million.
*Beltline Loop – Southwest: Four miles of in-street running light rail service along Atlanta Beltline from roughly I-20 to Oakland City Station. $196.2 million.
*Crosstown Downtown West Extension: Three miles of in-street light rail service from the Atlanta Streetcar to the Atlanta Beltline – Southwest. $171.6 million.
*Crosstown Downtown East Extension: Two miles of in-street light rail service from the Atlanta Streetcar to Ponce City Market along Atlanta Beltline – Northeast. $189.8 million.
...
Are these "in-street" light rail lines in their own dedicated lanes, "in-street" light rail lines in shared lanes like streetcars, or "in-street" light rail lines with the trail's payment being the street? I'm sorry, but all those references to "in-street" is very, very, very confusing!!!!
  by MattW
 
They would be a mix. The Campbellton line is likely going to be mixed. The NE Segment would be dedicated RoW until right at Lindbergh. The SW segment should be mostly dedicated RoW, the crosstown lines are likely mixed-traffic though. Ideally they'd have dedicated lanes unlike the current starter segment. I'd guess they only reason they say "in-street" is probably because that's the construction method they'll be using, and it won't be fully grade-separated, pedestrians and bikes/scooters will be able to cross the lines like they cross the trail now. But it shouldn't be like the trains are running on the paved trail in the same space used by pedestrians, bikers, etc.