Residents gathered at the Wednesday night to express concerns and get clarification on the proposed Clifton Corridor Transit Initiative project.
The project is a partnership with MARTA and the Clifton Corridor Transit Management Association which would bring new transportation options linking the Centers for Disease Control, Emory University and to Atlanta’s regional mass transit system.
After a brief introduction, participants were asked to go around the displays asking questions, examining their options and voicing their opinions about the project.
Jeremy Freeman said he lives off Lenox Circle where he fears a light rail may be the choice for the area behind his house.
"First and foremost they should be talking to residents because they're concerned and don't know what's happening in their neighborhood," he said.
There are three proposed options with different track locations. Heavy rail operates underground like current MARTA trains. Bus rapid transit would operate similar to the design of express buses in New York City. Designated lanes, high speeds and pre-paid fare speed up the process. Finally, the option Freeman fears, a light rail, would operate similar to a streetcar, above ground.
"They're not telling you that this has to be 100 feet from CSX lines," Freeman said.
Because CSX owns and operates freight trains along the existing tracks in the neighborhood, the proposed rail transit option may not use those same lines. In addition, new rail lines may not even be in close proximity to existing lines per federal regulations. This distance may mean the difference between having a train in your backyard or not.
Business owner John Cyphers said the proposal would have a train on top of his business which he feels would affect traffic flow.
"They're going to take over my property," he said.
After clarification and further examination of the proposal, it was shown that plans actually hope to utilize heavy rail in the option. This would mean an underground alternative that would not cut through Cyphers' lot.
This discussion was the ultimate goal of the meeting, said Jason Morgan, a regional planner for MARTA.
"Those that live next to CSX are worried about their property and those a couple of blocks away are worried about access," Morgan said.
Although the project would not break ground for at least six years, the ultimate goal of the analysis is to get comment and feedback for route options.
"This is Stage 1," he said. "We don't know the kind of technology yet or how to position the stations."
If all goes as planned, Morgan said the lines may be available to commuters as early as eight years from now.