Commuting Nightmare Expected To Get Worse Before It Gets Better
In the wake of the I-85 collapse, hundreds of thousands of commuters in the Atlanta metropolitan area were forced to find alternate travel routes to avoid the gaping hole in the road. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) anticipates the problem will get worse starting Monday, April 10, when schools reopen after Spring Break. According to ajc.com, officials predict the traffic problems increasing by 30% when teachers, students, administrators, and other educational personnel return to work. Roads like Piedmont, Peachtree, Northside, and Cheshire Bridge have been bad, and the experts anticipate the traffic on those roads will worsen.
What Are The Alternatives To Using Those Roads Already Jammed With Cars?
Estimates show that many commuters are using I-285 as the primary alternative route around I-85. Ajc.com suggests that the road from I-285 to I-75 has the highest amount of traffic volume in the area. Commuters have and will continue to travel this way as the bridge repair and reconstruction continues. Motorists who chose this path eagerly anticipate I-85 reopening on or about June 15, 2017. Until then, commuters must be willing to accept traffic volume worse than normal or find other ways to get to work.
A viable alternative to driving to work is using the MARTA system. Numerous people chose this option within a few days after the I-85 collapse. Ridership increased significantly in those first few days. The growing number of passengers created a severe parking issue in and around many MARTA stations. By the end of the morning commute, most parking lots connected to MARTA stations were either at or very near capacity. MATRA officials were seeking to accommodate the additional riders by asking local business for help with parking as well as asking commuters to carpool or get rides to the stations. MARTA also added trains to its already busy routes and added more personnel to meet the increased demands of the subway system.
A genuine test of the rail system will be Monday morning when Spring Break ends. In response to the anticipated increased in passengers, MARTA was able to open around 1,200 parking spots at or near the five busiest stations. Additionally, MARTA is using a website to keep commuters informed of the parking situation. MARTA has encouraged riders to use its website for up-to-the-minute information on the parking scenarios at a number of parking structures on MARTA's busiest lines. This information will allow commuters to find parking and make plans to get to vacant spots instead of trying to cram into a filled parking lot. The innovation, hopefully, will save time and aggravation for motorists who are already stressed out because of the situation.
MARTA has not just added more parking spots and a new website. The agency anticipates encountering more first-time riders than normal. Accordingly, MARTA will have more personnel available to assist riders, and they will have an increased police presence in and around train stations.
GDOT has performed yeoman's work trying to reopen roads choked off with traffic and easing the burden on commuters to the greatest extent possible. GDOT claims that it has 30 engineers working full-time to open up roads like Piedmont to traffic and reassess the traffic light situation. The engineers have to reconfigure the traffic light pattern to permit the increased traffic to flow more efficiently.
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Sources: Cited in the article
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