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Hall official keeping eye on Gwinnett Transit study
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The logo for the Gwinnett County Transit on a map at its park and ride lot in Buford on Thursday. - photo by David Barnes

Transit survey

Residents can express take a survey concerning Gwinnett County Transit at ConnectGwinnettTransit.com/survey. The survey will be available through August.

Phillippa Lewis Moss believes Hall County commuters clearly want to get to Gwinnett County and Atlanta, “and the reverse commute is also true.”

That’s why Moss, director of the Gainesville-Hall County Community Service Center that oversees Hall Area Transit, has been talking with Gwinnett officials and recently participated in one of the the county’s Connect Gwinnett discussion groups.

Just how future transit connections play out could be determined as part of a Gwinnett County Transit “top-to-bottom review of its current system,” known as Connect Gwinnett: Transit Plan.

“You only need to take a look at the vehicle license plates located at the Exit 4 Park and Ride lot to know that it is well utilized by both Gwinnett and Hall County residents,” Moss said.

The Park and Ride lot is off Interstate 985 at Buford Drive/Ga. 20, just miles south of Hall.

Driving Gwinnett’s study is the belief that the county just south of Hall could grow to 1.4 million people.

“We need to start working on transit solutions now to be prepared for the future,” said Charlotte Nash, chairwoman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners. “Improving mobility is important for our residents and our businesses.”

Once the comprehensive review and public outreach process is completed, “proposed plans for the short, medium and long term will be developed for presentation in late 2017,” a Gwinnett press release states.

“The initiative will involve extensive public input and education.”

The plan will address issues such as “matching Gwinnett’s needs with the right balance of transit modes, determining frequency of trips, ensuring coverage to different areas of the county and identifying funding,” the county says.

The first step is evaluating the existing transit system, “using input from the public, peer review, system analysis and field observations. That information will be used to optimize the existing system, which will form the foundation for medium- and long-term projects.”

In addition to expansion of the system, the study will explore the feasibility of commuter rail options using existing train tracks or parallel tracks “on shared right of way with stops three to five miles apart,” the release states.

Hall has been long been considered a player in rail. Amtrak runs passenger service through Hall and has a station at 116 Industrial Blvd. in Gainesville. And Oakwood has a commuter rail station as part of Oakwood 2030, a long-range development plan for the South Hall city.

Hall also is in the study area of high-speed rail connecting Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C.

Otherwise, regarding transit for Hall residents, “I think an express bus stop … in the Gainesville area is an ideal expansion location,” Moss said. “Which entity provides that service is yet to be seen, but either way, express bus service is not far off.

“At the end of the day, we will go wherever there is a demand and the money to match it.”

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