Friday, January 7, 2011

The Belt Line and Rail Traffic in Atlanta’s Urban Core

Via Friends of the Belt Line

The purpose of this paper is to address concerns that the Belt Line and efforts toward an efficient and effective regional freight and passenger (or commuter) rail network are mutually exclusive. They are not. In fact, if Atlanta is to remain a great city, it must, and can, have both. The concerns are based on a few key decisions that must be made about how the two systems can coexist. Friends of the Belt Line is producing this report in order to help clarify these key issues so that both concepts can move forward.
There are 4 main issues:
1. Use of CSX’s active Seaboard Air Line Railroad as the northwest quadrant of the Belt Line
2. The route of Amtrak’s Southern Crescent
3. The Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) Corridor and the configuration of the downtown Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal (MMPT)
4. The ability of CSX to route freight around downtown Atlanta Each of these issues are addressed in detail in the following report. In summary, Friends of the Belt Line makes the following recommendations: 

1. With an appropriate agreement with CSX, the northwest corridor can be shared with Belt Line transit. The trail component is more challenging from a liability standpoint, but there are several options for accommodating it.
2. If rerouting Amtrak’s Southern Crescent line into the downtown MMPT requires use of the Decatur Street Belt, then the Amtrak line should remain on its current route. There are several options for a North Station that would complement the downtown MMPT.
3. If phasing of the downtown MMPT begins with East/West oriented platforms as currently proposed, it should be recognized that this does not accommodate the Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) Corridor without use of the Decatur Street Belt. Since use of this belt is not advisable for heavy passenger rail, it should also be understood that in order to accommodate the SEHSR Corridor, North/South oriented platforms will also be needed at the downtown MMPT.
4. Reinstating through-freight service on either of the two southern belts is virtually impossible due to both physical and political constraints. Their use for the Belt Line is much less challenging, and much more appropriate.

Feels like home, Atlanta, photo by chick_pea_pie

Read more articles about Atlanta:

Neighborhoods: Is East Atlanta Losing Its Soul?

Tomorrow is Another Day for Atlanta’s Sustainable Transport

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the report.
    I really hope ATL can sort this out.
    One of the core concepts in new urbanism is accessibility. Looks like there is still a bit to be worked out.