Archive for the ‘Traffic/Commuting’ Category

takin’ marta? you are climbing stairs

as all of you know, i am just about a daily marta commuter. and a few weeks ago, i started noticing that more and more escalators were going offline. now, just about every marta escalator is out. the reason: apparently marta was the victim of fraud and mismanagement perpetrated by a contractor.

i am sure this will do wonders for ridership. i know how it goes, someone will ride marta for the first time, have to climb some stairs and say “f it” my car is better than this exercise thing.

poor marta, it seems they just can’t win for losing.

it’s easy to just point the finger and marta, shake your head and say, “man, they can’t run anything.”

the real problem with marta, of course, is not bad management or waste. it is politics. everything about marta, from it’s board, to it’s absurd state oversight committee to it’s funding structure is political. people in atlanta complain all the time about not having a world-class transit system like dc or boston.

we really only have to look at ourselves.

35 is the new 35

Thirty-fiveUnless you too are car-less and in temporary exile in southwest Cobb County, you might not have noticed the gaping hole in public transportation coverage out here. I’m staying with an extraordinarily generous friend in a subdivision off Oakdale Road, which is, in turn, off Veterans’ Memorial Highway. Veteran’s Memorial is the name Bankhead Highway/Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway (DLH) assumes once it crosses 285. MARTA service used to run as far up DLH as Bankhead Courts, but since Bankhead Courts closed, it now stops almost a mile further east, just before DLH crosses 285. So, anyone out here who needed to get to a transit station had to drive to or be dropped off at Bankhead Station or H. E. Holmes. Until now, anyway.

On Jan. 4 Cobb Community Transit added the new CCT Route 35, which (PDF) starts at Wellstar Cobb Hospital, ends at the H.E. Holmes MARTA station and runs 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Route 35 also serves Mable House Amphitheatre, Six Flags, downtown Austell, and the South Cobb Government Services Center.

Unrelated side note: I catch the #35 at the intersection of Discovery Boulevard (the name Oakdale Road takes on after it crosses Veterans’/Bankhead/DLH) and Veterans’, just past Pizza Bar and right in front of a new, ostensibly mixed-use development bearing the name “The Walk At Legacy.” The Walk At Legacy’s most prominent feature, other than a near-complete lack of tenants, is the acreage of parking lot splayed in front of it. I guess “The Drive and Park At Legacy” lacked the desired cachet.

Anyway, this isn’t an area that people move to if easy access to transit is high – or really, anywhere – on their list of important features in a neighborhood, so the creation of the new route certainly wasn’t driven by residents of the “Enclaves” and “Plantations” along Oakdale Road. I’m going to try to get in touch with someone at CCT to see if I can find out more about what went into the design and planning for this route.

what is this beltline thing anyway?

a meeting of the study group for area 10 master plan launch?

a meeting of the study group for area 10 master plan launch?

i used to be really up on the beltline. if you remember, and if you don’t who can blame you, the beltline is supposed to be a network of transit, parks and trails utilizing old train tracks and right-of-ways to create a circle around the city, or a “belt”, get it?

i have kind of given up on the beltline, which is supposed to run right by my house, but it seems like every few weeks i get an email from whatever city office is running this thing, where i am once again invited to some planning meetings, or community meetings, or task force meetings.

so i guess now the beltline isn’t really a network of transit, trails and parks anymore, it’s just a bunch of emails and meetings. today i got an email inviting me to a study group of a master plan launch for subareas 10 and 8. is the communist party of the soviet union running this thing?

on the homepage of beltline.org it says “the beltline is coming!”

which is suppose is true if by coming you mean coming to a study group for a master plan launch for subarea 8.

sad. and the reason why nothing gets done about transit in this city.

no will. no will at all to do anything about the problem.

oh well.

will the legislature fix marta or will jerry keen (r-disney world) rule the roost?

paging david ralston - fix this

paging david ralston - fix this

longer waits during non-peak times on trains. service modifications to bus routes. whole bus routes cancelled. for me that is the legacy of the 2009 georgia legislative session.

failing to secure an alternate funding measure to ensure marta’s operations glenn richardson and jerry keen let the legislature leave town with a big f-you to atlanta commuters. keen was rumored to have quipped that he was closer to disney world than the city of atlanta (my own feelings on the majority leader can be found here.) in fairness the casey cagle-led georgia senate did pass a bill that would have sustained marta’s operations by removing the onerous reserve restriction on marta’s sales tax funding.

well glenn is gone, although jerry keen is still hanging around, and the reprehensible jill chambers, who actually seems to be anti-public transit is still leading the state marta oversight committee (ask yourself, btw, if the state contributes ZERO dollars to marta’s budget why they have any oversight) but one can hope that the new leadership in the house might consider actually trying to do something to fix marta’s funding.

let’s hope.

the people i ride with every day deserve a world class transit systems from their leaders. at the very least they deserve one not tottering on the brink of bankruptcy every six months. and before you give me the “marta is just run poorly” tripe consider two things; first, marta makes cuts all the time, spends little money on marketing or other bottom line expenses and second, reliably transports a whole lot of commuters with absolutely zero funding from the state.

look i am a libertarian, but this is one thing the government SHOULD do.

so fix it, david ralston. this is your chance to make a break with the past and show us that georgia republicans care about the city of atlanta and its residents.

begging you.

ridesmart ridin’

okay, my friends over at the clean air campaign passed this along and i loved it, so i just had to take the opportunity to share it.

basically, the story is that one of the clean air campaign’s carpool groups was riding to work one morning and heard a rap song. basically all the carpoolers thought the lyrics were ridiculous, so one of the carpoolers decided to write a song about carpooling, since he said “you could right a rap song about anything.”

the folks at the clean air campaign loved it and decided to produce a video for it, and here it is.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X-kWdpP1Ck[/youtube]

pretty clever. and makes you ask yourself, what are you doing to ride smart these days?

Oooooh! You know what we need?

Amidst the constant clusterfu¢kery getting in and out of the Whole Foods on Ponce, you’re about to have another inanimate object to cuss at and all the “which way should I go, George” drivers that will come with it: they’re putting in a CVS.

Seriously?

We were just musing this weekend what a PITA it is to escape Midtown Promenade (Midtown Landmark Cinema, Apres Diem, The Highlander) and how they should really put a short, steep cut through to WF/Home Depot in – you know – just an alternate escape route.

Because the universe heard me and hates me, it decided to help make things worse instead of better.

Traffic in that area will be an even bigger treat than it is today in 3…2…1…

marta service reductions go into effect tomorrow.

dammit.

it’s finally here. the consequences of the state legislature’s failure to act to secure additional funding from marta are finally here. i do very much hope this is not the beginning of a death-spiral where decreased service leads to decreased ridership leading to decreased revenue and repeat.

also, i dream of a day when our leaders realize vibrant public transportation is a key component of a truly world class city, and by extension a prosperous georgia, and that is should exist as a public good not a money-making endeavor and fund it appropriately.

sigh, okay /soapbox.

anyway, marta service cuts are scheduled to begin this saturday, tomorrow, including the elmination of a the #23 and #182 bus routes and cuts in frequency to many bus routes and train service. especially hit will be off-peak train service.

you can check here to see what routes are affected and how.

fortunately for me at least, both of my main bus routes have survived intact for now.

We Rule the Highways

Admittedly, this little ramble has more to do with the state of Georgia than the city of Atlanta, but whatevs. I like to bend the rules.

The Man Friend/Partner for Life/Love Monkey and I just finished a 994mile (one way) jaunt to the wiles of Omaha, Nebraska for reasons I won’t bore you with. What’s relevant here is that in order to get from A-Town to O-Town in his adorable, shiny, nimble Mini, we had to pass through the following states: Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and lastly – Nebraska.

First, I’ll point out that we have more potty stops than any other state. This rules. This especially rules when you’re finally starting to consume your RDA of H2O. Yeah. Hello, gerbil bladder! I didn’t know you were coming with us!

Second, I’ll say (and my body can corroborate what my mind is churning out) that our highways are smoooooooove compared to other states. Especially St. Louis, MO where we thought we’d hit a musk ox but it turned out to be a gap between cement segments. Our smoooooveness rules when you’re in a tiny car with tight suspension, have bewbs and didn’t wear a jog bra for the trip.

Lastly, I’ll point out that we have better signage and indicators that there’s a COFFEE SHOP, BY GOD I’M ON A ROAD TRIP HERE, PEOPLE.

So that’s it. We pretty much rule. Our highways are superior. Get out there, let your butt feel for itself.

Stinkin’ Up the Joint

With a nod to the EPA, there’s an anti-idling law in Atlanta for buses and trucks. It states that they can’t idle for more than 15 minutes, and that if they do, there’s presumably a minimum $500 fine.

I’ll give you this: it’s not green, and it’s certainly not good for tiny – and not so tiny -pedestrians wandering around downtown Atlanta with no clue where they’re going who are obliviously huffing the invisible clouds of emissions into their otherwise pink lungs. While I have my own opinions about how this applies to a trucker trying to get a good nights rest in 30 or 90 degree temperatures, that’s not the point of my post.

My point is this: the dozens of buses that line up along Centennial Olympic Park in various shapes, sizes, colors and with a veritable cornucopia of passive-agressive propaganda and marketing dripping from their sides: sitting there for hours on end, oozing emissions while their inhabitants frolic in the spray of the dancing rings or ambush the CNN Center food court or are pressing their dirty little hands up against the glass of the whale tank at the aquarium.

There’s an exemption for weather as well as for passenger loading and unloading, and I ask you: at what point does Atlanta not have “weather”?

With all of the Segway-riffic ambassadors, suck-it-up machine drivers, lawn watering monitors and are we left without funds in the coffers for enforcement officers visit these drivers and enforce the law?

Once again I’m scratching my wee noggin and asking: what’s the point of establishing a law if you (seemingly) have no means or plans to enforce them?

I’m tempted to ask if this is just me being old and crotchety, but I’m fairly certain I already know the answer.

tomorrow is ride marta day.

in an effort to show support for atlanta’s beleaguere but absolutely vital public transit system, a grassroots movement has organized around the idea of having a “ride marta day” tomorrow.

it’s really easy to participate. you just ride marta. that’s it. nothing more.

seriously, just plan one trip on marta that you might have normally taken in a car. a strong turnout will show out “leaders” that we atlantans care about having a vital public transportation system.

this issue is of course deeply personal to me as someone who rides on marta every day and loves the system, the people that operate it and ride on it. so i am personally asking for you to support ride marta day.

and one other thought – try riding a bus if you never have. i know many people really dislike the idea of riding a bus, but give it a whirl. you might be surprised.

you can find more information on the ride marta day web site including a list of supporting organizations.

also the citizens for progressive transit’s a-train trip planner is a great resource for planning your marta trip tomorrow.

happy riding. if you see me on the #9, the north-south line, or the #140 say hello.

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