The Northwest Connectivity Study focuses on a corridor centered on US 41, I-75 and the W&A (CSX) Railroad. The corridor boundaries are roughly defined by mid-town Atlanta on the south, Power Ferry Road on the northeast, Georgia 280† (Hamilton E. Holmes Drive/James Jackson Parkway/South Cobb Drive) on the southwest and Town Center on the north.
The study formally began in February of 2002 and is scheduled to conclude in 26 months.
There are four phases to the work, some of which overlap;
The first phase focuses on community out reach and involvement, which continue throughout the project.††† †
The second phase will determine the present transportation resources, needed improvements in the corridor, mode alternatives and selected routes.
The third phase determines the locally preferred alternative.
The fourth phase will include conceptual engineering and the environmental impact /analysis work.
At this time we are in the first and second phase, and quickly approaching the third.
There is additional information at www.grta.org.
On 8/26, there were 11 alternative presented that range from essentially doing nothing, to a regional commuter rail system from 5 points to Towne Center. Although the details of each alternative are somewhat vague, there are two that would obviously impact the Marietta St. Artery.
Alternative #5 is a Light Rail Transit system that would run from North Avenue and proceed along the railroad right-of-way. Again, GRTA is being vague about exactly where the station would be, but Iím pretty sure it means a station where North Ave goes under Marietta St. The goal of this alternative is to connect the upper part of the corridor to Tech and Coke-a-Cola Corporate offices.
Alternative #7 is a Light Rail Transit system starting at that same North Ave. point and proceeding along US 41 to the railroad corridor, then at Cumberland, back onto US 41. This would also run along the railroad right-of-way. The goal of this alternative is to connect Tech and Coke with the Vinings area.†††††
For anyone who is not intimate with mass transit terms, like me, hereís a bit of clarity.
A Light Rail Transit (LRT) ††††††††††††† Stations spaced 1/3 to 1 mile apart†††††
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Limited at-grade intersections
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Most trains would stop at all stations
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Frequent park and ride opportunities
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Max speed 60MPH
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 170 persons per vehicle
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Electrically powered by overhead wires
The presenters were non-committal as to whether the LRT could run along the existing track or whether new track would need to be placed along side existing track.
I have information outlining the other alternatives and The Northwest Connectivity Study, but I wonít go into them at this time.
The Vinings and Moores Mill Road residents were extremely vocal about mass transit affecting their quality of life. They werenít quite a lynch mob, but give them a torch and a match and they could work themselves into one. On the other hand, the Bolton Road group was very supportive of the MARTA extension alternative that was presented for their neighborhood.†
My take on the meeting is that GRTA has already decided which of the alternatives they support and they basically test the waters during these get togethers. I think that if we truly wish to impact the outcome, we should do it outside of these community gatherings. Itís pointless to try to get anything accomplished with all the complaining going on.† I spoke with Sylvia Greer, the GRTA State and Community Affairs Director for a while and I think that sheíll be a good resource and the person we should voice our opinion to, prior to the next GRTA meeting. Her phone number is 404-463-2430, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.†††
The next GRTA meeting is in early November. At this meeting the alternatives are to be pared down from 11 to 3-5. I think that it very important for us to let GRTA know where MSAA stands prior to that meeting.
This could be a great opportunity for our neighborhood, but only if itís done with the communityís involvement.
So, what do we do from here folks? Being rather new at this, I have no idea how similar situations have been handled in the past.†††
Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Meeting Report ; Attended by Suzanne Bair