3,240 acres for Metairie is WAY off.
Metairie has generally been defined as being bounded by the lake on the North, the Orleans Parish Line on the east, the Kenner city Limits on the west and the Illinois Central Railroad tracks on the south (south of that you are in Jefferson, Elmwwod, the city of Harahan, or River Ridge). This more-or-less conforms to zip codes 70005, 70001, 70002, 70003, and 70006 ( there are some deviations on the Kennner line side).
Using those boundaries and some back-of-the-envelope calculations, you have a straight line of 6.62 miles on the southern edge, and about 4.2 on the western edge (Kenner city line) and 3.78 on the Orleans Parish edge. Average the western and eastern edge, and you get an average length of 4.01 miles. 4,01 miles (21,172.8 feet) X 6.62 miles (34,953.6 feet) = 740,065,582.08 sq. ft. , divided by 43,560 sq. ft. in an acre, leaves you with 16,989.57 acres.
That's almost 17,000 acres, more than 5 times the figure quoted.
Good and correct breakdown of the different types of rail systems, Bob Mann.
The problem is, no one wants to (or knows how to) pin down exactly what they want. For example, a true light rail from the airport to downtown could be feasible, but what happens is everyone wants a stop in their jurisdiction/council district/neighborhood, and you wind up with a glorified streetcar making stops every few blocks. Similarly, as the article states, you could have commuter rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, but if every jurisdiction wants a stop, that is inefficient and it becomes a train on existing rails operating like a light rail line. Conversely, you could have the commuter rail line, from BR to NO, with a stop at LANOIA which would give you decent airport-to-downtown rail access, but it wouldn't be a light rail line.
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