Archive for March, 2012

Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative Announces Locally Preferred Alternative

by Jane P. Rawlings, LLCC Transportation Coordinator
 

MARTA Planning staff has completed the review of community feedback and technical analysis and have finalized a recommended locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the Clifton Corridor. The LPA is the alternative that, based on technical analysis and stakeholder input, would most effectively address the needs of the corridor and goals and objectives of the project.

The recommended LPA includes 8.8 miles of new light rail transit (LRT) service connecting the Lindbergh MARTA Station to the Emory/Clifton Corridor and beyond to the Avondale MARTA Station. The recommendation for the locally preferred alternative includes several tunnels and one of those tunnels extends from an area west of Lenox Road to an area just west of Briarcliff Road.

MARTA Planning staff will present the LPA recommendation to the MARTA Planning and External Relations Committee on March 26 at 10:00 a.m. and to the MARTA Board on April 9 at 1:30 p.m.  There will be a public comment period prior to the Board meeting only.  Both meetings will be held at:

MARTA Headquarters, 6th Floor Board Room, 2424 Piedmont Road, Atlanta, GA 30324.

Upon MARTA Board approval, the agency will present the LPA to the Atlanta Regional Commission for adoption and incorporation into the long-range transportation plan. Afterwards, the LPA will be advanced through the next step in the federal project development process which is the completion of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). This study will go into much more detailed level of analysis as compared to the Alternatives Analysis (AA).

The Lindbergh LaVista Corridor Coalition (LLCC) in conjunction with the Morningside Lenox Park Association (MLPA), and the Woodland Hills Neighborhood Association (WHNA) hired Heather Alhadeff, Senior Transportation Planner with Perkins + Will, to assist us in disseminating information to the public, collecting this input, and preparing a formal document for inclusion in the AA. This document which includes a summary along with all results and comments from our surveys is included. To view this report click HERE. Inclusion in the report best positions our communities in the federal process moving forward.

The Fact Sheet recently released by MARTA has concerned some in our community as it did not mention tunneling of the project or a Morningside station. The purpose of a Fact Sheet is to comment ONLY on the alignment and technology preferences for the project. It is not intended to address the project in great detail. For this type of information one will have to review the study document. I have reached out to Jason Morgan, Project Manager, for the CCTI requesting additional summary details regarding the second segment (from Cheshire Bridge to Briarcliff) as I have received emails with questions. I share below his comments in an effort to address some of these matters and provide clarity to the public.

Email correspondence from Jason Morgan, Project Manager MARTA:

The fact sheet that has been distributed does not preclude the tunnel.  The tunnel is part of the proposal. In fact, there are three tunnels that are included with the proposal. The second and third tunnels are further east along the alignment. The fact sheet is not intended to go into the details regarding where every tunnel or elevated structure is located.  We have other materials which illustrate the specific station concepts and tunnel proposals. We have done our best to balance the comments from members of the community throughout the entire project corridor with our best technical analysis. The LLCC report has provided valuable insight into the perspective of residents in this section of the corridor, but the project team must consider cost and potential construction issues as well.

With that said:

  • A bored light rail tunnel is proposed to run parallel to and beneath the northside of CSX  right-of-way.
  • The tunnel depth will be a  minimum of 55 feet.  The specifics of the tunnel design will be  determined during the Environmental Impact Study which has been targeted to begin later this year.
  • Specific impacts and compensation are quantified during the Environmental Impact Study and in accordance with guidelines identified within the National Environmental Policy Act. Keep in mind, this corridor is 8.8 miles long and most of the potential impacts or displacements we can estimate at this stage are in areas where the alignment is above ground.
  • While a station at Lenox Road was requested to be examined, ultimately many residents expressed trepidation about having a station close to their homes.  In addition, there was a significant additional estimated cost associated with building a subway station at this location.  The suggestion from attendees at the October 25 meeting as well via many comments was to add a walking trail that would connect Lenox Road to the station at Cheshire Bridge.  This trail could be integrated with the South Fork of Peachtree Creek trail as well as others.

Revised station concepts and alignment concepts are currently being updated to the project website (www.itsmarta.com/clifton-corr.aspx). MARTA hopes to have everything activated by later this week.

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March 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm 2 comments

DeKalb County Addresses North Druid Hills Road Construction

By Jonathan Cribbs for North Druid HIlls – Briarcliff Patch

The widening project along North Druid Hills Road will cost $2.6 million and last about 15 months

A number of people have emailed me over the last few days about this construction on North Druid Hills Road. I got a response today from DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan, and, before I write a more detailed story, I figured I would pass his email along to you guys who want to know more about it.

Here is Brennan’s email to me:

The project will widen North Druid Hills Road from Briarcliff Road to Woodcliff Drive in order to extend the left-turn lane to Briarcliff Road southbound. North Druid Hills Road will also be widened from Briarcliff Road to the west, toward Interstate 85, in order to provide a third westbound receiving lane for the double left turn lane from Briarcliff Road northbound. Briarcliff Road will also be widened to provide an additional southbound through lane from North Druid Hills Rd to Sheridan Drive.

The project is expected to ease traffic congestion and reduce delays for drivers who use this intersection every day.  In addition, new ADA compliant sidewalks, upgraded traffic signals, and crosswalks will enhance the safety of pedestrians who pass through the area.

Funding for the project comes from revenue from the 2005 bond referendum for infrastructure projects. Construction is estimated to take approximately 15 months at a cost of approximately $2.6 million. The contractor for the project is Desmear Systems, Inc.

Now, does that mean motorists on that road can expect the same kind of delays for the next 15 months? I’m not sure. Either way, I doubt it’s going to be pretty considering how awfully congested that road is most of the time anyway. (It’s a primary reason I grocery shop at 1 in the morning.) It’s going to be split into phases, and Brennan is currently looking into that for me now. Like I said, I’ll have a more detailed story on it for you guys once I get all the information. This is for those of you wondering what the heck is going on out there.

UPDATE: Brennan just emailed me back regarding the phases.

Here’s his response:

It will be up to the contractor to decide how to phase his work.   However, he is not going to be working in the road all of the time, so  his impacts to traffic are going to be variable during the life of the  project.

March 14, 2012 at 9:45 am 2 comments

Long-awaited Buckhead interchange revamp starts

Barrier walls were due to go up Tuesday at the interchange of Interstate 85 and Georgia 400 in Buckhead, marking the start of a long-anticipated reconstruction project.

Contractors working for the Georgia Department of Transportation will build ramps that will let southbound motorists on 400 connect with northbound I-85 and southbound drivers on I-85 connect to 400 northbound.

Those ramps were not included when the interchange was built in the early 1990s.

“We are excited to get this project under way,” DOT District Engineer Bryant Poole said. “When it is completed, I think the public will be very pleased with the final product, as we get some congestion relief for the arterial roads in the area.”

No lane closures will be necessary in the early stages of the work. Later, lane closures will be permitted only during evenings and weekends.

The DOT awarded a $21.5 million contract for the project last year to Atlanta-based Archer Western Contractors Ltd. The project is due to be completed by the end of next year.

Staff Writer – Atlanta Business Chronicle

March 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm Leave a comment


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