Building BAMA

Joe Gregorio

William Gibson's first three novels take place in the Sprawl, aka BAMA, the Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis, a fictional future mega-city that extends from Boston down to Atlanta. Now we're about half way there today as BosWash already exists. I've now seen some recent signs that the southern extension is happening.

The first and most obvious is the rapid growth in the Raleigh-Durham area; we've been adding 3,000 people a month for the last several years. The second is Namolis, a new pizza place just up the road from our house, advertised as 'New York' pizza, and let me tell you, it is; the whole restaurant smells like New York, and the place is wildly popular, there's regularly a line at the register and all the tables are filled. We have a large enough population of BosWash emigrees now that we can support restaurants and the other services we miss from our former lives - I fully expect a real bagel shop to open up any day now. The final sign is that Amtrak is proposing a high-speed limited stop line that will connect D.C., Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta to open in 2017, thus making the whole of BAMA just a train stop away.

The Charlotte-Atlanta run is still a big trip through nowhere. Speaking to the spread of "Atlanta" though, I expect in the near future Chattanooga and Birmingham to basically become part of Atlanta anyway. Since Adairsville is now basically a suburb of Atlanta and Dalton of Chattanooga, there is only a few miles separating each metro. Just given the commute patterns, it seems like going to Charlotte would be a bad idea for Amtrak. If I were going to connect cities, I would certainly go ATL->Chat->Knox->RDU->Richmond. Charlotte is a big air hub, yes, but there is a lot more regular movement in the GA-TN direction and that is the current growth direction of the Atlanta metro.

Posted by kebernet on 2008-08-07

Charlotte already has two Amtrak runs, thank you.

Posted by joe on 2008-08-07

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