Archive for the ‘News’ Category

MARTA…not necessarily Smarta

Just a reminder…MARTA’s recent cuts go into effect tomorrow, September 25, 2010. Cuts include up to an increase of five minutes in wait time between trains, no more weekend train service before 6 am and the elimination of 2700 bus stops. For more detailed information on the cuts, you can visit the MARTA website here. In addition to these cuts, the token phase-out and pass fare increases will begin in October.

I’ll admit, as an OTPer, I only use MARTA occasionally for sporting events, conferences, etc. But, I still empathize with the thousands of ITPers who will be severely affected by these cuts. What will this do for commuters who use MARTA everyday to get to/from work? Will their jobs work with them?

When will Atlanta realize what all other big cities have? To truly be a big city you need REAL mass transit.

Reading the paper

Most mornings I sit down in front of a computer screen and have an entirely unproductive 20 minutes while the coffee is steeping and getting cold. Then the day is peppered with emails and tweets and newsflashes and blog checkings, all of which are definitely 100% work-related. Still, though, I’m surely missing something – I’m just curious to see if there’s a good source of information for Atlanta culture and goings on.  What blogs should I be paying more attention to?  Is there a google calendar someone put together floating around out there? Does your friend have a hilarious weekly email that he sends to 30 people?  Where do you guys get your Atlanta-based intel? I’ll go first.

I love Scoutmob, like Thrillist (as a stingy female I’m not their primary demographic), and read Creative Loafing blogs and features pretty religiously for things to do/buy and cheap places to eat.  I read CL’s Omnivore blog (love Cliff) and actually go to the AJC for John Kessler’s food column.  For business news I turn to the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Global Atlanta, for Georgia politics I skim Peach Pundit, and I click through Paste Magazine for music and various culture (not Atlanta-specific but based here and such an awesome publication). For neighborhood news I’m on a listserv or two (I think most of the intown neighborhoods have these) and look to the EAV Buzz as well.

What say you guys?

Vote or Die (just kidding!)

Historically, midterm elections do not see the turnout of a presidential election year. But for those that do go to the polls, pundits and the media alike usually think the outcome provides a commentary on a sitting president’s job performance so far.

Whether you agree with this or not, it’s time to go to the polls. The midterm primary is upon us. Next Tuesday, July 20, voters will go to the polls across the country and cast their ballot. Here in Georgia, primaries are being held for the majority of statewide offices and quite a few local offices as well. But, you do not have to wait until next Tuesday to vote. Advance voting is available in each county through this Friday, July 16. Contact your local Board of Elections for details.

Whether you vote early or vote next Tuesday, please just vote!

BP: Beyond Pissed

Cross-posted from my blog, because I haven’t written anything in a while.

This BP oil leak debacle has broken my heart more than a lot of events in the last decade. For example, as bad as it sounds, I was very detached from 9/11, because at the time I had never even been to New York; I may as well have been watching a movie. Same with Hurricane Katrina; back then, to me New Orleans only existed in theory. But watching this is like being kicked in the stomach. The Gulf coast is like a second home to me. I was born in Tallahassee, FL, and grew up close to it; from the time I was a baby I spent every summer on the Florida panhandle. They are not the prettiest nor the most glamorous beaches in the country (in fact, Panama City is referred to as “the redneck Riviera”) and most people treat the coastal South with the kind of disdain reserved for the most backwater, podunk, culturally and economically stunted parts of the US. On the other hand, in my eyes the Gulf coast is absolutely beautiful, and has a special place in my heart– which is why this whole event is so painful to watch.

The green is Google maps’ tracking of where oil in the water has been reported. The star is Mexico Beach, where my family would always spend a few weeks every summer. When I was growing up, we’d find tar balls on the beach all the time, but they were always small (maybe at most 2 inches in diameter) and hard like rocks. Meanwhile, I have seen some still and video footage of the tar balls pulled out of the water near Pensacola in the last couple of days.

It makes me think of:

But seriously, y’all. Pensacola is only about 130 miles from Mexico Beach. How much longer before the entire panhandle is affected? I always thought that maybe when I’m old I would find a bungalow on some deserted stretch of sand along the Gulf, where I could spend my twilight years sunbathing, listening to the waves, and avoiding cold winters. Now I have to wonder what these beaches will look like when I’m in my 70’s. In four decades’ time, perhaps through human effort and the earth’s natural method of recycling, the oceans, estuaries, and bayous will have returned to something resembling “normal”– Conversely, in 40 years this planet may be so polluted to the point where this mess looks about as serious as a grease spot in your garage.

A lot of my friends have been supporting the “boycott BP” campaigns floating around, and while their hearts are in the right place, I don’t think simply avoiding BP gas stations is going to make much of an impact, especially when every other oil company has an equally bad track record of human rights violations and environmental destruction. I would love to simply stop buying gas altogether, but even if I could feasibly get around without a car (which is very difficult to do in the South)… Everything nowadays is made with some kind of petroleum byproduct. Everything. Plastic? Good luck boycotting that. I think the real issue here isn’t the oil spilling, but the fact that our society is so heavily based around oil to begin with.

I don’t think most Americans are going to be as outraged about this for the same reasons I did not have an emotional reaction to 9/11 or Katrina… This clusterfuck is not taking place in their backyard. I can’t honestly be too surprised if most people just don’t care. But for those of us who grew up in the coastal South, it’s like someone is taking a shit on our front lawn.

clayton county residents to be screwed by bad government yet again.

c-tran, the beleaguered bus system of clayton county will shut its doors wednesday. it’s sad because c-tran of course serves the people who often most need access to public transportation to get to and from work (thomas wheatley adds it up in the cl fresh loaf here.

there is lots of blame to go around, and a lot of it should be directed at the people who purport to “represent” clayton county. the governor and state leaders of course did their usual disappearing act when it comes to urban commuters who live within 20 miles of the urban core.

what it really speaks to of course is a lack of a central transportation vision for the region. a governor committed to the metro could probably do it if they had the stones to. a house speaker who cared more about the people he supposedly represents could do it. a strong dot with an interest in ALL modes of transportation could probably do it.

of course, Georgia has none of these. and so c-tran riders will be stranded come Wednesday.
11 alive has some good tips here for those c-tran riders screwed once again by their elected officials.


According to an article I read this morning, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education announced yesterday that fifteen Georgia high schools graduated at least 85 percent of their students in 2008, improving their graduation rates by at least 10 percentage points over a five-year period. Georgia is known for its particularly low graduation rate so this is good news for Georgia educators.

Seven metro Atlanta schools were on the list including Grady, Mays and Redan high schools. I actually have a childhood friend who teaches at Grady and has nothing but good things to say about the school. He even went so far as to leave UGA, where he was working on his Ph.D., and transfer to GSU, so he could return to teaching at Grady, because he loved it so much.

As the graduate of a public high school, I’m always happy to hear public schools get good press. They tend to be the scapegoat for all that ails education in this state. While I did graduate some years ago, I never once thought I received a bad education. And I still don’t. But maybe I was one of the lucky ones given that I grew up in suburbia (Marietta). Either way, I think a public school education and diploma is nothing to scoff at and I commend these schools for their efforts.

Rare TIGER escapes, derails streetcar

The Atlanta Streetcar might be stuck on the drawing board for a while yet. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the recipients of federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants on February 17 and the streetcar project wasn’t on the list. The city of Atlanta, MARTA, Central Atlanta Progress and Midtown Alliance partnered to apply for TIGER funds for the transit project, which is projected to cost $298.3 million.


Atlanta wasn’t the only city that TIGER got away from. None of the other 32 Georgia communities that applied for grants received funding either.

If built as planned, the Atlanta Streetcar project would include a route on Peachtree from Five Points station to Savannah College of Art and Design and an east-west loop from the Centennial Olympic Park/Georgia Aquarium area to the King Center. An alternative plan, also included in the partnership’s application, proposes options for building the streetcar in phases if it can’t be funded all at once.


MARTA goes for “Gold”

Midtown Station

MARTA CEO Beverly Scott announced Thursday that the transit agency’s Yellow Line will be renamed the Gold Line. MARTA is making the switch in response to complaints from some Asian-American advocacy groups who said that the word “yellow” still carries the connotation of a racial epithet.

The route was known as the Doraville Line until October 2009, when MARTA changed its rail line names to colors to make them easier for riders to navigate. 2000 Census data put the percentage of residents of Doraville and neighboring Chamblee who identified themselves as “Asian” at 12.7 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Scott told the AJC that the re-renaming will be phased in over an as-yet-unspecified time period. Electronic train arrival boards in stations already reflected the change Friday while the agency’s Web site still refers to the “Yellow Line.”

You can’t win ’em all

It may be the world’s busiest airport, but, in a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates (side rant: is there a study out there they don’t conduct?), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ranked 10th out of 19 large airports in airport satisfaction. The airport has slipped 2 places since the last study was conducted in 2008.

The study was based on passenger surveys in six areas: airport accessibility, baggage claim, check-in and baggage check process, terminal facilities, security checkpoints and concessions. It appears, however, that the study failed to take into account that some of these areas are not maintained or controlled by airport administration but by the TSA and other agencies. Hartsfield’s main problem was in the area of airport accessibility which includes passenger pick-up/drop-off, traffic flow, and parking to name a few. Ya think?

I’ll admit that I probably spend as much, if not more, time shuttling people to and from the airport as I do flying in/out myself. But, I am by no means an expert on Hartsfield. I do agree that the area of accessibility does need some work but I don’t have any clear suggestions on how to fix the problem.

For those of you that travel on a regular basis, what do you think about Hartsfield and the problem areas the study points out?

For medicinal purposes only

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of the current healthcare debate that has taken the nation by storm. I’d like to bring it down to a local level and actually remove the insurance portion of the debate entirely.

My grandmother is currently in an unnamed local Atlanta area hospital. She appears to be on the mend, so no need for alarm, but it got me to thinking about the state of Atlanta’s hospitals and medical centers. The care she is receiving appears adequate so I’m not here to complain. However, having only frequented a hospital 3 times in my entire life (including once for a tonsillectomy when I was 5-my only overnight stay), I wanted to see what everyone else thought of the current state of affairs in the Atlanta medical community.

What’s your favorite emergency room at 3 am on a Saturday night? Who has the cutest nurses? Would you avoid Grady even if you were on your deathbed?

Inquiring minds want to know…

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