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

Talks about Clifton Corridor transportation project continue

Residents packed a conference room at the 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 to Cheshire Bridge Road, , and the .

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 , 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.

JonC October 26, 2011 at 07:01 PM
I think this is a great route for a transit link, and I can't wait to see what the final outcome will be. We are in desperate need of more east-west transportation connections.
Matt McW October 26, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Videos provided courtesy of the Livable Communities Coalition and Fair Share for Transit. Listen to roundtable members' comments from the Oct. 13 Atlanta Regional Roundtable meeting. http://soundcloud.com/fairshare/roundtable-chairman-bucky http://soundcloud.com/fairshare/dekalb-ceo-sees-strong http://soundcloud.com/fairshare/decatur-mayor-buoyed-by
Matt McW October 26, 2011 at 08:19 PM
The effort to generate a final project list nearly fell apart at the Oct. 11 Atlanta Regional Roundtable meeting. http://livcomm.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/regionalism-makes-a-comeback-at-oct-11-roundtable-meeting/
Frank English March 28, 2012 at 09:25 AM
I think anything besides doing NOTHING is great. I would prefer to see Heavy Rail as far as Emory/CDC so it would not require a change of trains, but the use of Light rail from there on to Avondale Estates and possibly even on further. Light rail makes sense where volume isn't going to be quite as high and where long term needs make it easier to build and cheaper to maintain. Heavy Rail is a much smarter choice for the first few miles of this line. I think a switch to more economical neighborhood friendly Light rail could take over from there. This combo would make a very good choice !

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