As part of SSRI's ongoing community education mission, Marketing Communications attended numerous meetings and reported on various plans and projects  that might impact the future redevelopment of Sandy Springs.  Among these planning initiatives was the ARC Marietta-Lawrenceville/I-285 Corridor Study, which looked at various solutions including light rail to relieve traffic congestion in the busiest transportation corridor in the Atlanta region. 
Four CIDs, three counties and the state of Georgia* joined forces in July of 2002 to fast track implementation of transit improvements for  the I-285/Perimeter and I-75/Northwest corridors. 

*Above l-r:  Ralph Daniels representing Fulton District 4 Commissioner Tom Lowe;;  GRTA Executive Director Dr. Catherine Ross;  Fulton-DeKalb Perimeter CID President Yvonne Williams;  Rob Simms representing Fulton Chairman Mike Kenn;   and Roger Blichfeldt, Vice Chairman of Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc.   Also participating:  The City of Atlanta, Cumberland CID and Town Center CID.

 

Links:

Perimeter CID:  www.perimetercid.org

ARC:  www.atlantaregional.com/i285transit/

ARC Marietta-Lawrenceville Study ~ I-285 Corridor Transit Feasibility Study

 From the Sandy Springs Revitalization web site February 2002

 

With the unprecedented explosion of growth in north metro Atlanta, mobility – especially east-west travel – has become a daily challenge.  Studies show that suburb-to-suburb commuting has been steadily increasing and will continue to increase.  But while Atlanta’s Regional Transportation Plan includes several improvements to the north-south transportation facilities like the GA 400 widening and MARTA rail extension, there are few improvements that address east-west travel needs.

 

In early 2000 the Atlanta Regional Commission with consultant team URS initiated a detailed study of the corridor between Marietta and Lawrenceville to determine what transportation improvements would be needed over the next twenty years, and which kinds of improvements would make the most sense.  The study focus was on reducing reliance on the single-occupant vehicle and on developing transportation options.  The study area included portions of east Cobb, north Fulton, Sandy Springs, DeKalb and central Gwinnett counties as well as portions of the cities of Marietta, Roswell, Alpharetta, Duluth, Norcross, Doraville and Lawrenceville.  The consultant team was tasked with evaluating various combinations of transportation improvements such as roadway expansion, high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, busways, light rail (LRT), intelligent transportation systems (ITS), travel demand management and bicycle/pedestrian facilities. 

 

In May of 2000, Sandy Springs Revitalization, Inc. staff and volunteers participated in a region-wide Visioning Workshop held at the Dorothy Benson Senior Center.  After a series of background presentations, participants broke into smaller groups for an interactive transportation/land use exercise.  Using a large table-size map of the study area, they marked up the map with suggested routes and transportation facility types.  At the end of the break out session, each group presented their vision to the rest of the workshop participants.  Nearly all of the groups identified a northern corridor (roughly SR 120) and a southern corridor (roughly 1-285 through Sandy Springs).  Enhanced bus or guideway transit were among the improvements suggested for the corridors. 

 

Results of the consultant activities and public meetings were synthesized into a policy plan which established a comprehensive approach for transportation and land-use improvements for north metro Atlanta.  Key elements:

 

(1)  Enhance local and express service, signal upgrades, intersection improvements, safety and access improvements near SR 120, State Bridge Road, Pleasant Hill Road, Holcomb Bridge Road, Johnson Ferry and the Abernathy Road corridors;

Evaluate bus rapid transit, rail or  fixed-guideway transit within the I-285 corridor from Cumberland to Doraville.

 

(2)  The Marietta-Lawrenceville Policy Plan was endorsed by the Atlanta Regional Commission in March of 2001, and kicked off a new phase of the study called the I-285 Corridor Transit Feasibility Study.  This portion of the study was completed in December of 2001.  This study identified possible transit stations along the I-285 corridor:

  • Cumberland

  • Galleria

  • Powers Ferry Road

  • Northside Drive

  • Roswell Road

  • Hammond Drive/Georgia 400

  • Dunwoody (connection to MARTA)

  • Perimeter East

  • Shallowford Road

  • Doraville (connection to MARTA)

 

The study predicted that light rail transit would serve approximately 35,000 riders per day in the year 2025, while bus Rapid Transit would serve approximately 40,000 riders per day.  The estimated cost of the construction for transit along the corridor is estimated between $35 million and $57 million per mile.  This translates into a total cost per rider of $2.80 for Bus Rapid Transit and $5.20 for Light Rail Transit.  The stations proposed along the corridor are located in areas that are moderately or highly developed with either commercial or residential uses.  The study determined there is potential at stations for additional new development or redevelopment of existing uses.  The study cautioned that that care must be taken to minimize impacts at the Chattahoochee River and Chattahoochee National Park area.

 

The next phase of the project is the I-285 Transit Corridor Project.  See the Atlanta Regional Commission web site for updates.