Feds, MARTA Studying Clifton Corridor Light Rail Line to Avondale Station

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TSPLOST may no longer be a household acronym, but apparently the Clifton Corridor light rail line is by no means dead.  From the Atlanta Business Chronicle…

The Federal Transit Administration and MARTA are moving forward with a study of a possible new light rail transit line that would run through the Clifton Corridor, two years after metro voters defeated a tax that would have funded the line.

The proposed 8.8 mile line would extend from the Lindbergh MARTA station through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) headquarters and Emory University and Emory Hospital campuses to the Avondale MARTA station.

Atlanta Business Chroniclereported last January that the CDC is considering an expansion over 10 years at its campus near Emory University that could lead to a 30 percent increase in workers and the construction of a big new laboratory and parking deck. At a public hearing on March 20, area residents expressed concerns that such an influx of new commuters would be too much for the already congested corridor.

Map courtesy of 2013 Clifton Corridor Steering Committee Presentation

25 thoughts on “Feds, MARTA Studying Clifton Corridor Light Rail Line to Avondale Station”


  1. What does LPA stand for? I think it means light rail but can’t figure out the acronym stands for.

      1. Well, now I’m totally confused but I’ll wait until this gets a little closer to reality before I worry about the details.

        1. Worry now – the “Locally Preferred Alternative” is part of the end of 1st of 3 phases for DOT funded projects. “This phase is complete when local and regional decision makers select a locally preferred alternative, and it is adopted by the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) into the region’s long-range transportation plan.”
          See http://www.fta.dot.gov/12304_2607.html for details.

      2. It should be “Little Planning Available” – having rail service at grade on combines the traffic issues of a bus, with the routing flexibility of rail. The could be overlooked if it’s cost prohibitive to tunnel a bypass to avoid street traffic, except that there is a serpentine route of tunnel leading to the “planned” grade and if stretched strait would avoid any street level rail. LPA is just a bad idea.

    1. Agreed, at grade on Clifton is another bad idea, they should use the right-of-way already established for (Norfolk Southern?) rail for the new rail and bypass the traffic of Clifton. That road is already bad with the volume of cars in and out of the CDC, Clifton School, Emory University, EUH, CHOA, and Houston Mills connecting them.

      Link shows better detail of the tunnels, elevated, and at-grade rail for LPA.
      http://itsmarta.com/uploadedFiles/About_MARTA/Planning/Clifon_Corr/Clifton%20Corridor%20Adopted%20LPA%20Fact%20Sheet%20-%209-17-2012.pdf

  2. I think the Six Flags buckets would work more awesomer here. Is it just me or is this a lot of turns for a light rail installation?

  3. Why can’t they just stick with a elevated train over the RR tracks all the way under the N. Decatur road overpass near the McDonalds and come out over where the tracks cross DeKalb Avenue by the East Lake Marta station. Merge with those Marta tracks there and then continue using the existing rail. Seems like that would provide lower costs and easier access, while not adding to the traffic problem they are trying to fix.

    1. “Merge with those Marta tracks there and then continue using the existing rail. Seems like that would provide lower costs and easier access, while not adding to the traffic problem they are trying to fix.”
      This is the other issue with the LPA – and really all the alternatives they have listed – is that they are proposing the use of LRT (Light Rail Transit) and the existing MARTA system is HRT (Heavy Rail Transit) but LRT and HRT are not compatible – meaning that they cannot share rail, train-yards, or even tools, technicians, crews, and operators without additional reoccurring training.
      The advantage of LRT is a lower per-mile capital cost, but I believe the greater cost is in the maintenance and additional real-estate for train yards.

      1. You are correct. I figured that the stretch coming out of Lindbergh used the existing Marta tracks, but the synopsis use the term “parallels”. I guess we can’t “parallel” the East West line when it tunnels under Decatur.

  4. Go to Superior and Scott Blvd. Look around. Do you see any room for a train station? Anyone? Anyone?

    1. Which is why I think it should be completely tunneled under Scott instead of popping above ground for a mile or so. Plus, can you imagine rush hour traffic if Scott were 2 lanes?

      1. Wasn’t that studied as part of TSPOLST, yielding a conclusion that such tunnelling would cost billions?

        1. I don’t think so, but I could be wrong. I think it was discussed, but I don’t recall ever seeing a definitive statement or actual numbers – this whole thing was still in the planning phases at the time of T-Splost.. And even if it does, I don’t care. Either they should find a way to pay for it, they shouldn’t move forward or they should make Emory and CDC foot the bill. Reducing lanes on Scott essentially makes their traffic problems mine and everyone else’s who travels Scott daily. Plus, if Scott gets worse, what do you think happens to Church, N. Decatur and the numerous residential streets in the area? I think the Clifton Corridor has great potential and is overall a good idea, except for this one part.

        2. “Wasn’t that studied as part of TSPOLST, yielding a conclusion that such tunnelling would cost billions?”
          Perhaps, but the LPA already has a stretch of tunnel proposed that does a Rube Goldberg maneuvering underground leading up to Scott – if that proposed underground section were stretch strait, then it would be hidden, out of site, and avoid the streets, street traffic controls, and street congestion, and the traincars could travel at a faster rate as they would not need to break for the hairpin turn at the west side of Scott, much like the tunnel that was made for the original east west line going under the Swanton Hill neighborhood in Decatur. That whole neighborhood was bought out and redeveloped into townhouses.

      2. I’m all for reducing Scott to two lanes. It’s time residents of Tucker and Stone Mountain stop using Decatur as their short cut to work. If you want to live OTP, you need to take the interstate like everyone else. Scott Blvd has a number of residential homes, a public park, and an elementary school on it and yet I’ve seen drivers speed by at what has to be 50+ mph.

        1. well it is a US highway and the speed limit is 45 MPH. and a direct connection between Tucker and Atlanta. so there’s that.

          1. This comment illustrates one of the problems with the speeding traffic on Scott–the speed limit is 40, not 45.

        2. First, no one who lives OTP has to take the interstate. Scott is a state highway.

          Second, I think reducing it to two lanes would make speeding worse for inbound traffic, especially in front of the elementary. After people have been sitting for an extra 20 minutes, they will floor it once they cross Clairemont.

          Third, if Scott becomes more congested, do you think people are going to drive miles out of their way? Or do you think they will start using N. Decatur, Church and the various residential streets in the area. You wouldn’t be able to put enough speed bumps on Garden Lane, Lamont, Vidal, the Great Lakes, etc. to stop the cut through traffic. We should be diverting traffic onto major highways, not the other way around.

          1. I agree we should be diverting traffic onto major highways, that was entirely my point. Being classified as a “US highway” does not turn Scott Blvd into I-85.

            It’s had homes and schools on it for 60 years and it wasn’t until the Stone Mountain Freeway debacle (the freeway was only partially completed due to Druid Hills opposition and it now dumps out all traffic at Scott & N Decatur) in the 1970s that it became a commuter route for people who live OTP. The traffic on Scott Blvd is a direct result of the suburban, car dominated infrastructure planning of the mid-twentieth century and it’s about time we rectified that. That is, unless you enjoy watching kids at Westchester dodge cars and trucks speeding by at 45+ mph as they walk to school.

            1. “Dodge cars and trucks?” You make it sound like a game of Frogger. Isn’t it more accurate to say they are crossing at intersections or marked crosswalks with the benefit of street lights and/or crossing guards?

              1. I live directly on Scott not far from Westchester. The school is not directly at an intersection and the crossing guards are only there at certain times. I’ve seen more close calls between cars and pedestrians than I care too. And some really nasty two-car accidents.

    2. Good point unless they are planning to purchase one of the properties on the corners.

      Just in case it would be useful: I volunteer to sell my property for a station at oh, say $800,000 or so. It’s kind of nearby. Neighbors might consider it an improvement.

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