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The Initial Muti-Modal Passenger Terminal Design Concepts, Illustrated & Explained

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[The three draft concepts presented last night by GDOT and the development team working on the MultiModal Passenger Terminal are draft concepts, and may not resemble what will actually get built. Renderings courtesy of GDOT.]

If you only glanced over the trio of renderings released yesterday by the team behind downtown's proposed MultiModal Passenger Terminal, you might have missed some crucial differences. All three depicted downtown in glowy watercolor with a new glass and grass mega structure dominating the foreground, but perhaps you didn't notice the new street, or the specific number of bus levels required in each scenario. It goes without saying that some big decisions need to be made before anything beside dreams rise out of the Gulch. The public presentation held last night at the old headquarters of the AJC hit that point home many times over.

After some discussion of the site's engineering and transportation programming (which will be a Herculean effort, to say the least), John Schuyler of FXFOWLE got down to what everyone wanted to know: what did those pretty pictures mean? First and foremost, he stressed that the renderings were purely illustrative and probably didn't look like what would end up being built. At this point, the plan's more important than the architecture.

Concept A places the entire structure on a single block bounded by Spring Street, Centennial Olympic Park Drive and extended versions of Alabama Street and Wall Street. (There was also talk of a new north-south street parallel to Spring Street). This would put the whole thing a block away from the Five Points MARTA Station, but street level and underground pedestrian connections would be provided.. Like in the other schemes, structured parking, a green roof, and possible residential/office structures would top off the bus and rail spaces; Concept A contains a single "heroic hall" á la Grand Central Station.

Concept B changes things up by creating two great halls on a pair of blocks that would flank an extended Alabama Street, which would also be built over. With this proposal, only two levels for busses would be required. Alabama Street would become more of a "Main Street" that would form that crucial connection to Five Points. As with Concept A, it seems as though the controversial demolition of the Atlanta Constitution Building could be prevented with this configuration.

Concept C also takes up two blocks, but this time it bumps right up to the Five Points MARTA Station, providing the most direct connection to that transit hub. A Main Hall would complimented by a smaller one to the east. In this plan, only one level would be needed for busses.

Whichever option they move forward with, it'll include: 80 bus bays, 5 rail platforms, car parking, streetcar platforms, taxi drop-offs, bike facilities, and integration with the existing freight lines. How long the platforms meant to serve commuter, intercity, and high speed rail will sit unused is a question for another day. The next steps: refining of the design alternatives, and another public meeting sometime this fall.

· The MultiModal Passenger Terminal [GDOT]