GRTA Proposes new Xpress Route – Dacula to Downtown



Proposed Xpress Route 416 – Dacula to Downtown

The Georgia Department of Transportation, the State Road and Tollway Authority, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) and Gwinnett County are cooperating in the I-85 North Congestion Reduction Demonstration.  The intent of the three-year demonstration is to manage the highway capacity in the I-85 north corridor through congestion pricing (charging a toll for a reliable traffic-free trip on the current HOV lane) and the expansion of transit services. To implement this, during the summer of 2011, the existing I-85 HOV lanes will be converted to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.  The exact date for the project opening will be announced soon.

GRTA is responsible for the project’s transit elements including five new commuter routes with two of the routes planned for the US 316 corridor.  The new Xpress routes will originate from a new park and ride lot at Hamilton Mill near the Wal-Mart, a leased park and ride lot at the Mall of Georgia, an expanded park and ride lot in Buford at I-985 / GA 20 and a proposed park and ride lot at Cedars Road and US 29.  The lots at I-985 / GA 20 and Hamilton Mill will be ready this summer.  Unfortunately, we have been unable to get the Cedars Road property ready for construction.

So that the new Xpress service in the US 316 corridor can start at the time as the HOT lanes open, GRTA needed to review other options for a temporary park-and-ride lot until the Cedars Road lot is ready for build-out.  Thus, GRTA has found a willing partner  in the Hebron Baptist Church, from whom GRTA will lease  four hundred parking spaces.  GRTA and the Church have negotiated a lease agreement for the church’s parking lot,  which is similar to parking lot leases GRTA has with four other churches in other parts of the Atlanta region.   GRTA is now in the development stages  for a new route that will likely be called Route 416 Dacula to Downtown Atlanta.

Proposed Route 416 – Dacula to Downtown Atlanta
To Downtown Atlanta To Dacula
Depart Hebron Baptist Church Arrive Downtown Depart Downtown Arrive Hebron Baptist Church
5:20 AM 6:20 AM 3:25 PM 4:50 PM
5:50 AM 6:50 AM 3:55 PM 5:20 PM
6:20 AM 7:20 AM 4:25 PM 5:50 PM
6:50 AM 7:50 AM 4:55 PM 6:20 PM
7:20 AM 8:20 AM 5:25 PM 6:50 PM
7:50 AM 8:50 AM 5:55 PM 7:20 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia State Seal

Georgia State Seal

At the April 13 GRTA Board meeting, the Xpress staff will propose our first set of recommendations for service changes including the new Dacula Xpress route.  A description of all of the proposed service changes will be posted on the GRTA web site on April 13. We will reach out to stakeholders and citizens through the  public comment period from April 25 through May 25th.  The GRTA Board is expected to decide on the Xpress service changes including Route 416 on June 8th.  If approved, the new service will start in late June or early July.

We are planning minor improvements to the Hebron Baptist Church west lot so that ADA customers will be properly accommodated.  The proposed service will use “over-the-road” commuter coaches operated for GRTA by American Coach Lines of Norcross.    To get from the Hebron Baptist Church park-and-ride lot to I-85, the coaches will traverse along  Fence Road between US 316 and the Church.  We are not planning to use any other streets in Dacula.  Rules signs will be placed in the Church lot prohibiting overnight parking and we plan to install way-finding signage which will be coordinated with the City of Dacula.

We expect that ridership will grow on the route over the next three years.  If gasoline prices continue to increase, the ridership may grow more quickly.  If the first route to Downtown is successful, an additional route to Midtown may be added.

For questions about the proposed service call Jim Ritchey, Chief Regional Transit Operations, at 404 463 2035 or email at jritchey@grta.org.