4/17: MultiModal Passenger Terminal

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

After years of speculation, the proposed MultiModal Passenger Terminal downtown, slated for the corroded canyon known as the “Gulch,” finally has some life.

Major developers are drawing up a master plan and laying the groundwork for cooperation with the freight rail companies that use existing tracks.

But advocates warn that failure to pass the July 31 referendum on a regional transportation sales tax — even though the terminal is not on the project list — could damage its chances for federal funds.

22 comments Add your comment


April 17th, 2012
7:03 pm

Oh scare the public again “we won’t get anymore funding from the Federal Government” tactic.
This whole “its just a penny” is a scam to funnel money into a few hands.
Do not vote to tax yourself, the governments at all levels have plans to raise our taxes due to massive debt.


April 17th, 2012
5:58 pm

@Allen: It doesn’t matter if cars get 100 MPG, they still clog the roads. So what’s your answer to relieve TRAFFIC?

And you can still have a car, but I think car sharing is going to get bigger and bigger in the new world we are building. zipcar anyone?

You want a real solution, that includes more cars on the road? Double-deck all the major highways. Problem solved.

Oh, but wait, the cars have to exit somewhere…and that might lead to a traffic jam…hmmm…

Like it or not, Atlanta — and almost all major cities — will be a version of New York sooner or later. The population numbers practically dictate that they will become that.



April 17th, 2012
5:09 pm

The car companies did in the railroads? That’s a unique point of view. Americans craved freedom, cars were more reliable than ever, and people bought them. Roads were built to keep pace.

If anything did in the trains, it was the progress created by Boeing and McDonnell Douglas in building jets and ever more efficient planes.

Another example: I-85 and Delta can serve all the daily point to point traffic between Atlanta and Charlotte far more efficiently, with more safety and less environmental distress than any train known to mankind. (There isn’t much point to point traffic, and there never will be; all those people on I-85 are going through Atlanta and through Charlotte to other places and couldn’t care less about a train.)

Look it up. And that’s cheap, low cost technology we have right now, in place, without the billions to build /rebuild a train line.

One more time: low emission natural gas cars, more telecommuting, and more planes, if needed.

You can question the auto idea all you want, but there’s no question that planes beat trains in every way possible.


April 17th, 2012
3:52 pm

@SAWB: I agree, we don’t need an Atlanta version of Grand Central Station. However, go look at a few of the links in the original piece. My impression is the big expense will be in rerouting tracks to allow the double-stacked freight trains to proceed as well as allowing MARTA to come in and out.

And once you undertake re-routing of tracks to get those two lined up, it makes sense to go ahead and figure out the likely permanent track/ingress/egress needs down the road (imagine tearing out your drywall to fix the plumbing, then having to tear it out again to fix the moldy insulation and the antiquated wiring)


April 17th, 2012
3:41 pm

I agree that the Five Points MARTA station is not the center of transportation in Atlanta. I realize people are much more likely to live in Snellville and work in Dunwoody, so an expensive elaborate central transportation terminal makes little sense at this point.

However, I fail to see what would be so difficult about paving some of the “gulch” area, throwing up a cover to get folks out of the rain/sun and installing a few restrooms. Then all the various buses can drop off folks at the pavilion and they can walk up to the MARTA station and be on their way. If AMTRAK or Greyhound want stations in that area it is up to then to provide the funding.

The problem is that a lot of our leaders want these grand designs when all we need is a place for buses to drop folks off.


April 17th, 2012
3:25 pm

@Allen: The “answer” to what is better automotive technology? More efficient cars will not resolve the simple truth that you can more efficiently move more people from point A to point B, with less net capital infrastructure, using transit versus cars. It’s a lot easier to add extra capacity on a transit system (an extra car, tighter arrivals per station) versus adding an additional lane of traffic to an Interstate.

Plus, look at the 75-85 merged stretch; it has reached its physical capacity (and then some) during rush hour; how are we supposed to get more people to/from work?

While more of the city population is North versus South Atlanta, and the true ‘center’ is probably Sandy Springs/Buckhead, the area is already well-developed, with pretty high density, and with prohibitive land costs. And we haven’t talked about political opposition there.

Focusing on the West side, where there is low level density, has a relatively easy access into/out of the rest of the city core, and is just aching for further economic redevelopment… It just makes too much sense. Look at downtown Indianapolis, with the development around Lucas Oil stadium, and how the whole DT area is very walkable and accessible. That’s the model I guarantee you the private developers and the city is looking at


April 17th, 2012
3:20 pm

“After generations of hauling Americans from coast to coast, passenger trains disappeared for a reason: they were inefficient, expensive, and did not serve the needs of the public.”

The fact the big three auto makers colluded to kill public transportation in the 40s & 50s had a lot to do with it.


April 17th, 2012
3:11 pm

Still can’t get over the idea that 100-year-old rail technolgy is the answer to 21st century issues. Let’s throw in some stables as well, and make horses and buggies part of this magic new solution too.

Also, smarta, when you give up your car, what you give up in ’savings’ is more than offset by costs to the government. There is no free lunch. Those costs exist, it’s just a question of how they’re paid for – by the individual using them, or by the gorvernment.

Oh, and one more thing give up your car, and you also give up your freedom. You’re bound by a rigid, fixed transporation system that can literally track your every move.

Not me.Never.


April 17th, 2012
3:05 pm

yes sir, Smarta, I want the brain trust at Marta to control my every move.

The answer is better automotive technology, not massive federal boondoggles. We can make a clear air, 50-mpg car that runs on natural gas from the good ‘ol USA. It’s time we did it.

Your idea that 5Points/Downtown is central to the metro area is wrong. For example, even 10 years ago, there were double the number of jobs on the I-285 arc between I-75 and and I-85 on the Northside as they were downtown. And since then, the city has shifted even further North.

“Build it, and they will come…” isn’t great logic for spending untold billions of taxpayer dollars borrowed from China.


April 17th, 2012
2:57 pm

@ED: Multimodal at the airport doesn’t make sense. Five Points/Downtown is CENTRAL to the metro area. Voting no to TIA 2012 is not going to help us dig out of the mess we are in. it is not perfect, but it is placing us on the right path to do something about the traffic that chokes this city — and its business opportunities.

Everything you mentioned can be solved over time. It’s not supposed to be car friendly necessarily, and I don’t think it should be. It’s supposed to move people, not cars, so you have a wide variety of MARTA stations and park-and-ride lots to choose from, you don’t have to drive there.