MARTA Rep.: ‘We’re at the end of the beginning’

October 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

Talks about Clifton Corridor transportation project continue

Residents take a close look at possible transit options in the Clifton Corridor.
by Jaclyn Hirsch for Virgina-Highland/Druid Hills Patch

 

Residents packed a conference room at the Emory Conference Center Hotel Tuesday night to have one final discussion about transportation options in the Clifton Corridor area.

Although MARTA project manager Jason Morgan said the end of the public input process is “the end of the beginning,” residents were eager to study the three options that would bring rail or bus service — or a combination of both — from Lindbergh Center in Buckhead to Cheshire Bridge Road, Emory University, and the Centers for Disease Control.

Some options would extend the line to the Avondale Estates MARTA station and connect North Decatur and Clairmont Road and DeKalb Medical to the line.

This final public meeting gave residents the opportunity to hear from project managers and have one-on-one discussions with those working on the project.

Morgan said the team has been working to balance the needs of residents and commuters in the area and reminded residents that they have a long way to go on the project. Conversations about the project began more than two years ago with 36 options on the table.

“This process is not done,” he said. “This is a journey, essentially, and a partnership.”

The project would cost roughly $700 million and no plans for funding have finalized.

The Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable voted earlier this month in favor of a $6.14 billion list of transportation investments, which included the Clifton Corridor project. Projects on the list would be funded by a penny sales tax — if voters approve — when it’s placed before them on the 2012 elections ballot.

Druid Hills resident Ken Gibson said regardless which option gets chosen, he wants to see action soon.

“I feel strongly that something needs to be done and the longer we wait, the harder it gets,” Gibson said Tuesday night.

Morgan said rumors that MARTA plans to “bulldoze” Briarcliff Animal Hospital on Johnson Road in Morningside are false. He said there are no plans to level any businesses at this time, and only the city and county would have the authority to do so if it became part of the plan.

He also said all transportation options on the table involve building tunnels that will go under Lenox Road.

Morningside resident Carey Aiken said he supports the light rail option and feels the heavy rail option would create “a big transportation mess in an area that’s already congested.”

“Good quality of life would be ruined,” Aiken said.

He said the light rail option is “the vision of the future” and could see himself using that line instead of driving to the 10th Street MARTA station or Lindbergh Center.

Morgan said he expects the MARTA board of directors will approve one of three options in December and urged residents to submit comments and feedback by Nov. 8. Residents can submit comments on the MARTA website.

The options

The three transportation options include bus service, light rail service and heavy rail service.

The 8.3-mile bus service would connect Lindbergh Center to Avondale Estates with stops in Cheshire Bridge, Sage Hill, CDC/Emory, Emory Clairmont Campus, North Decatur/Clairmont, Suburban Plaza and DeKalb Medical Center.

This route would serve about 15,300 riders daily and create about 15 jobs per acre.

The 8.3-mile light rail option would link Lindbergh Center to Avondale Estates with stops in Cheshire Bridge, Sage Hill, CDC/Emory, Emory Clairmont Campus, North Decatur/Clairmont, Suburban Plaza and DeKalb Medical Center.

This route would serve about 17,500 riders daily and create about 15 jobs per acre.

The final option, a 4.7-mile heavy rail line, would connect Lindbergh Center to Cheshire Bridge, Sage Hill, CDC/Emory, Emory Clairmont Campus and North Decatur/Clairmont.

This line would provide direct service to Airport, Doraville and North Springs stations without transferring at Lindbergh. Local bus service would be available to connect to Avondale Estates.

This line would see roughly 18,400 rides daily and create 17.6 jobs per acre.

All three options have an optional station in Morningside.

For more information on the Clifton Corridor project, visit the Clifton Corridor portion of the MARTA website.

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