Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Public hearings at MARTA, GDOT and ARC


Tomorrow, March 24, MARTA is holding three public hearings   – two in Atlanta and one in Decatur – to gather input on bus route changes as well as tenative plans to revive the Braves Shuttle. The shuttle, which usually runs from Five Points Station to Turner Field on Atlanta Braves game days, was axed during last fall’s service cuts. Bus routes affected by the proposed changes are:

  • Route 2 – Ponce de Leon Avenue/Moreland Avenue
  • Route 87 – Roswell Road/Morgan Falls
  • Route 99 – Boulevard/Monroe Drive
  • Route 181 – Buffington Road/South Fulton Park & Ride

Here’s a map (PDF) detailing the proposed changes to routes 2 and 99. Here’s one for routes 87 and 181. The service changes, if they’re adopted will go into effect June 18.


Next week, on March 30, the Georgia Department of Transportation is holding a hearing for public input regarding the Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal (PDF) project that’s planned for the downtown “gulch” area. GDOT announced last week that it had selected a development team led by Cousins Properties to build the potentially transformative transit project, but proposal summaries from all three of the short-listed development teams are still on the GDOT site.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, use the online comment form.


Still not enough civic engagement for you? The Atlanta Regional Commission is inviting metro Atlantans to an “online public meeting” to offer opinions on draft transportation recommendations  for “Plan2040,” the agency’s plan to “accommodate economic and population growth sustainability over the next 30 years.”  The online meeting is open until April 30.

Zero Dollars for Biking in Atlanta?

Ah, crap, I’m a little last-minute on this, but this one’s it’s worth ten minutes of your time!  As reported earlier, the transportation legislation this year has divided the state up into 12 regions, and each region will vote (yea or nay) on a list of transportation projects and their accompanying 1% sales tax. TODAY is the last day to submit your comments to the Atlanta Regional Commission, who has developed the first bit of the first bit of this list. See details here, and the criteria for the list here (PDF).

My concern, which is cited more eloquently and with more detail at the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition here and here, is that they’ve set aside a whopping 0-5% to use on non-motorized projects.

Record numbers of Atlantans are hopping on bikes.  25% of our trips are made within a mile of the home and 40% are made within two miles – these are distances that, barring extreme temperatures, we should almost always bike. Or at least they are distances for which we should have the option to safely and comfortably bike.  Each of the 25 or so bicycles locked up outside my office represents one less car, less wear and tear on the roads, less pollution, more vibrant communities, healthier citizens, and less sprawl. I cannot imagine not encouraging this sort of transportation.

The culture is changing, and we need our infrastructure to keep up! All this to say that a 0-5% allocation for bike and ped programs is not acceptable for the Atlanta region to do so. Other cities (with which we are competing for jobs and investment) are adding bike lanes, installing bike racks, and encouraging alternative means of getting to work, and I worry that Georgia is stuck in a paradigm of an unsustainable, auto-focused transportation network. I ask you to check out the criteria the ARC has posted, and consider sending off a quick email to let them know how you feel about the future of transportation in Atlanta.

(I recognize that this may be as simple as “Don’t tax us anymore!”, which is another correct opinion. Make your voice heard!)

Dare I say it … Progress on the Transportation Front?

I sincerely hope that Metblogs isn’t your sole source for local news, but just to catch up any readers who may be a few days behind: last night the Georgia Legislature (on its third-to-last day of the 2010 session) passed the “Transportation Investment Act of 2010.”  Great news!

photo Vino Wong,

But first, a nod towards a little bit of background: On Tuesday MARTA staged a rally and “publicity campaign,” dramatically marking huge red X’s on a third of their fleet to represent the buses and trains that would be taken out of service later this year in order to help fill a $120 million budget hole.

The kicker (well, one of the kickers) is that MARTA has money – not a lot, but what they do have they weren’t allowed to use. By law, they can only spend 50% of their revenues from sales tax on operations. That’s why, I assume, we have all the brand-new fancypants black buses driving around in a time of rate hikes and service cuts.

There are obviously about 50 layers of issues here that I’m not going to pretend to know about and/or can’t get into, including the fact that MARTA is the only major transit system in the country without state funding, that leadership supposedly wants state funding but not state oversight, that the legislature has been debating a transportation funding bill for three years, and so on. (and on).

BUT! Last night we made progress! They’re going to let us tax ourselves! Hooray! A bill passed last night that will divide the state into 12 regions, and let each region vote in a referendum to thumbs up or thumbs down a list of transportation projects in the region, along with a 1% sales tax to fund them. Money has to come from somewhere, I suppose, and it’s better than nothing. HB277 also lifts that restriction on MARTA’s operations funding, though just for 3 years.

The bill just passed last night, and is on the Governor’s desk to be signed (he technically has 40 days past the end of session to sign it, I believe), so it’s not final yet. And nothing will actually happen for another couple of years (referendums would take place in 2012).  But I am allowing myself to hope, just a teeny bit, that Atlanta might eventually be, in my lifetime, a place where people ride a train or take a bus and it’s a quick, reasonably priced, perfectly normal means of getting from one place to another. Hoping this is a good step.

More info on the legislation – bill itself here, CL’s fresh loaf here, GPB Lawmakers here, AJC here .

MARTA Observations

When I can, I take MARTA a few days a week into work. It’s a fun ride. Here are a few observations I’d like to share.

1. MARTA is an art gallery for graffiti. East, west, north or south, you’ll see a collection of Atlanta’s finest taggings. It’s all on display for you. Enjoy.

2. MARTA time is faster than normal time. Today my commute took about an hour and it went by quickly. It didn’t feel like an hour. 20 minutes in my car can feel like an hour. An hour of MARTA time feels like 20 minutes in a car.

3. MARTA is good for you. Most, if not all, of the escalators are out of service forcing you to take the stairs. That is good for you. It’s good for your heart and body. Taking the stairs gets your blood pumping and energized as you start the day. Not only that, you have to walk to get where you’re going. MARTA is a good health alternative to driving.

4. MARTA gives perspective. You will see beautiful views of Atlanta you will never ever see driving.

5. MARTA saves money. Sure driving is way more convenient but it’s way more expensive. You can make a tank of gas last many days longer.

Try it out and see for yourself.

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 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.

marta service reductions go into effect tomorrow.


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.

i still heart hartsfield.

take this, o’hare, heathrow, frankfurt, jfk and other assorted mega-hubs.

monday morning i showed up atlanta’s hartsfield airport to catch a flight to florida. the security line was backed up all the way to through the atrium. but, the top-notch outfit that is atlanta’s tsa squad had every xray machine open, at least a dozen id check stations and we got through the whole thing in TEN MINUTES.


the tsa is something i should roll my eyes at and most places i do, but here in atl, they do incredibel work.

can we lay off the complaining about our airport please?

well, i do reserve the right to complain about the cops ;-)

update: your "leaders" speak about the marta situation.

the ajc reports on the response of yours an my elected leaders on the financial crisis at marta.

for his part the governor just seems torqued that nobody asked for his help, which makes sense seeing as he and his staff are so effective at getting legislation passed (sarcasm intended.) he then said, “It’s always unfortunate when people who depend on MARTA have their service cut, and I hope they (MARTA) can find a way …. to make it through the end of the year.”

translation – sorry, losers without cars. hope someone figures this out, but don’t ask me. not my gig.

thanks sonny. we appreciate your concern.

the lite governor, well he is a little more concerned.

cagle, pressed about marta cutting a day of service apparently said, “that could be hurtful.”


he went on to add, “MARTA is a vital part of what gets done in metro Atlanta, particularly with tourism and the convention business.”

no word on whether the lieutenant governor thinks the 100,000 plus people that ride marta to work every day are a vital part of what gets done in metro atlanta or not.

still no word from the dunce from dallas.

clowns. all of you.

keep up the phone calls.

governor perdue – 404-656-1776
lieutenant governor cagle – 404-656-5030
speaker richardson – 404-don’t-waste-your-breath.

a letter to the georgia republican party.

dear georgia republican party,

f you.

i am about the last guy you could have afforded to piss off. well maybe not exactly, but i am an rnc donor, volunteered for mccain, voted for sonny and casey a few years ago.

i believe in limited government and lower taxes. i believe charity is best left to private sector. i believe that government ought to stick to functions where there is a societal need and the market isn’t capable of providing a competing service. in short, i am your voter.

let’s go back to that last piece though. one of the places where it has been proven, over and over again, that government is needed is municipal mass transit. a strong mass transit system relies on government funding and is necessary to a good urban quality of life. and yet, despite this , the jokers in the georgia republican party that run this state decided to say fu to public transport.

so as a marta commuter, i say fu right back.

the funny thing is marta wasn’t even asking for new money. all they were asking for was to be able to use all of the money that is collected through sales tax in fulton and dekalb for operations. read that, not a state sales tax, a sales tax in two counties.

for those of you who don’t know about this, marta is forced by it’s absurd enabling law to put aside 50 percent of it’s sales tax regulation into a captial fund. no other transit system has to do this. just marta. why you ask? simple, the legislators at the time wanted to keep marta poor so it couldn’t offer free rides. that’s it. no other reason.

and despite all that, you couldn’t find a way to release this money so marta can keep operating. i ride marta every day. how many members of the martoc, including it’s inept chairwoman, jill chambers, can say the same? i ride it and more than 100,000 other people depend on it to get to work. and you are letting it starve.

why? i really don’t know. i don’t understand the legislative chicanery that led to this, but i know that there should have been a way to get it done. and you failed.

there is no telling what marta is going to have to do now. close bathrooms, eliminate weekend service, cut back bus routes? who knows. you could had prevented it, and you didn’t.

so screw you.

in my opinion you have no proven that you are completely incompetent to run this state. i will continue to vote for republicans at the national level, but next time i see a georgia office i am voting for the libertarian.

hope you got a few votes out of butts county out of this, because you lost one in fulton.


james hervey

marta on the ropes?

things are bad at marta right now. really bad.

the ajc is reporting that marta’s budget shortfall is growing every day as the economic crisis worsens. no before you go all crazy on marta, you have to know that marta gets the bulk of it’s funding from a sales tax in fulton and dekalb. if people don’t buy, marta doesn’t get money.

some of the measures being considered are drastic to say the least. eliminating weekend service, cutting bus routes, raising fares.

i also know that most of you don’t ride marta and you probably could care less, but consider this, if marta eliminates my bus route, i might just be back on the streets with you trying to get to work, as will all these other people on the bus with me right now (yup, i am writing this from the bus.) some of them may not be able to even commute to their jobs.

if you live in atlanta, a strong public transportation system helps you big time, whether you ride or not.

and don’t start to bitch about how marta’s problems are of their own making. for the crap funding they get, they do a pretty damn awesome job. you can get anywhere in fulton or dekalb, safely with (most of the time) a smile. marta has done a lot to clean up it’s act too. our own ben did a good job of making this case here.

the state can help. they can give marta money, or at least ease the restriction that forces marta to tie so much money up in a captial reserve. either would help.

jill chambers, who most of you have never heard or, heads the marta oversight board. please contact her and tell her that marta is good for all georgians and the state NEEDS to step in.

you can find her info here.

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