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Use the tracks already installed along the parkway as a comuter train to the civic center. The infrastructre is already in place and park and ride stations could be installed due to the fact that the powerlines are already there with no development. You could also lease the track that runs out towards the airport and have stops for UAH and the airport. Something I have been thinking about for years as the public transport in this town is beat. I looked at different case studies and trains are way more cost effective than busses and the biggest cost is in the installation of the infrastucture.

Submitted by James Bilderback 8 months ago

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(latest 20 votes)


  1. The idea was posted
    8 months ago

Comments (7)

  1. I may be mistaken, but I believe the tracks and land are owned by Norfolk Southern. Whether or not they would lease time on those tracks would probably be the first obstacle. Although the tracks through Madison are quite busy, I don't think I've ever seen a train running along Memorial.

    I'm 100% for a commuter/light trail system, although without connectivity onto and around the Arsenal I don't know how successful it would be.

    8 months ago
  2. I'd much prefer to add a Bike Path next to those railroad tracks. That would add need N/S connectivity by bike to all locations that currently can't be reached easily by bike. Then Huntsville could sponsor a city bike ride similar to the recent Nashville tour. Check it out here.


    8 months ago
  3. This idea has been discussed for the past several years since the line is used only once a week. Light rail public transportation is good for so may reason. Imagine the ability to park, walk or bike to a station and travel downtown for concerts, to Ditto Landing and the river, to shopping and dining areas, reducing pollution, road congestion, parking lot expansion, and numerous other positive effects. For several reasons, the concept has not found traction for many different reasons, for financial, others physical. Unfortunately there is only one line. A light rail needs at least two for any reasonable operation. The line ins on TVA right of way under the power lines. Plus, there are more than 20 crossing grades along the L&N line. Each would require either cross guards or that the line be elevated. The first would cause major traffic problems and other dangers. Elevating the line would be extraordinarily expensive. Alabama nor the city has money for new road projects or to even keep its roads well maintained. State fuel and road tax money cannot be used for public transportation purposes constitutionally. (Affordable transportation for the poor might allow them to find better paying jobs else where, perhaps?) As long as our state is burdened by the antiquated 1901 Constitution and revenue source that is so variable and inconsistent as sales tax, many of the concepts that other communities have used to enhance and better their communities, (Denver's light rail for example) will not be possible.

    7 months ago
  4. A bike path from the Depot downtown to Ditto though is much more feasible safety wise, financially, and quality of life.

    7 months ago
  5. Thanks for the explanation, ymclain, I'd always wondered. I totally suppot the light rail and bike path ideas! More mobility besides crowded car traffic is what the city needs. Excited to see what can and will be done in the coming years!

    6 months ago
  6. I disagreed with this idea because I don't think the Huntsville ridership would support this limited train route. Yet I do believe an adjacent bike path from Ditto to Downtown would work. There are some places along the route that would be wonderful. For instance, under Martin road, that deep cut will insulate our would-be bikers from the noise and traffic. All the neighborhoods of south-east Huntsville will be instantly connected to Downtown. Plus riders working at MSFC would have an easy transition to Martin Rd on their way to work. I took a walk down the tracks at Martin Rd and photographed the bridge area. I also sketched in a likely path the bike route would take. Check it out.

    6 months ago
    1. dave.j.cousins attached: Martin-Rd-bridge-over-the-RR-tracks-w-path-42b31c.jpg - Bike path under Martin Rd. connects all of SE Huntsville to downtown and all the businesses along the parkway. 6 months ago
  7. Currently the City of Huntsville maintains the North south line going to the river. The only customer left is St Gobain off of 219 Cap Adkins Road off of Hobbs Island Road. The City has one locomotive and engineer to pull cars from the main line next to downtown to the plant and back. Unless the plant stops using rail the line will have to stay operational. I like the idea of it being made into a bike path/greenway if it ever is closed down.

    6 months ago