Peach Bites

We haven't posted a Peach Bites column in a while so we have built up quite a backlog.  There has been a lot of buzz about water and transit over the past month and we've tried to capture the highlights in today's post.   
 
Georgia to Appeal Water Ruling - Who didn't see this one coming?  We'll see what happens but one thing I know for sure, the federal government will not cut millions of people off from their water source.  Well, I'm not 100% sure about that but politicans want votes and thirsty people don't vote for the politicians who let them go thirsty... - GPB
 
New Reservoir Proposed for North Georgia - I don't know what to think of this one.  On one hand, I say it may be a good idea since it will set aside 8,000 acres of the 10,000 acres of wilderness that the city owns in the Dawson Forest.  However, the other tells me that $650 million to build a dam that will disrupt natural habitat is insane when we haven't exhausted our water conservation efforts.  Atlanta Business Chronicle
 
Clayton County Among Nation's Most 'Water Wise' Counties - American Rivers recently named Clayton County one of the nation's most "water wise" communities.  The wetland filtration system that Clayton County created years ago is integral to its ranking.  While keeping wetlands in tact, Clayton County was able to maintain a 230 day drinking water supply at the height of the drought while Lake Lanier was as low as 90 days.  This is a win for the environment and for the people of Clayton county. - Atlanta Business Chronicle
 
Half a Penny for Metro Transportation Just Not Worth the Trouble - If you've ever been in sales (or politics), you learn quickly that compromise rarely means mean win-win.  Moving from a penny sales tax to a half-penny sales tax increase is a compromise that panders to political pressure and doesn't follow logic or the spirit of the tax.  It's boring stuff but worth a read if you are interested in the future (or lack thereof) of transit in Georgia. - Saporta Report
 
MARTA Could Run the Beltline - Sure... Let's see if MARTA can run MARTA first...  I have my thoughts on MARTA and it's future but that's not for a Peach Bite comment.  I'm sure it's inevitable and it would make for the most seamless transit experience but MARTA just has so many issues.  There is a better way and I'll touch on that in a later post. -  AJC
 
Atlanta Streetcar Makes Pitch for Public Funding - I'm a huge proponent of the Peachtree Streetcar.  Unfortunately, I get the feeling that the only reason other people are excited about it is because it is really the only 'shovel ready' transit project in Atlanta that affords us the opportunity to get some government cheese.  If we do build it, my prediction is that it will be wildly successful.  Expect to hear something from the Feds by Feb 2010. -  Saporta Report
 
Atlanta-Chattanooga MagLev Rail Gets Dose of Cash - This could be one of the first steps taken in the south to connect the region with a 21st century transit system.  The Federal Transit Administration is providing $14.2 million to pay for environmental and engineering studies on a MagLev train that could connect the two cities.  Imagine zipping to Chattanooga in 30 minutes. This would be good for business, recreation and image. - AJC
 
MagLev Train Shuttle to Braves Stadium? - Okay... Do I really think we need this??  NO.  But, it would be crazy cool.  Stepping back to reality though, let's take that money and move it to the Beltline.  Or just build a regular train service.  MagLev is totally unnecessary for this type of shuttle system.  Let's focus on the Atlanta-Chattanooga MagLev.   - Atlanta Unsheltered
 
Beltline Names New CEO - Brian Leary, vice president of Atlantic Station, was recently named the new CEO of Atlanta Beltline Inc.  This looks to be a good move.  With this though, I am predicting a change of the northwestern path of the Beltline to now cut through Atlantic Station instead of going to the north and west of it.  We shall see.. - Creative Loafing
 
Beltline's Feasibility Rides to Forefront - The worrisome thing about the Beltline is that the financial plan around securing funding is primarily based on increasing property tax revenues.  The plan was devised prior to the real estate market crash back in 2005 and hasn't been changed.  Finding $1.7 billion from property tax revenues might prove impossible in the new environment.  Personally, I believe that the project is integral to the city and the 'leadership' will find a way to make it happen regardless. - AJC
 
Metro Atlanta Needs a Metro Solution to Transportation - Jay Bookman gives some very interesting insight on the history of transportation planning in the state and the current and future needs.  A really notable fact is that the state of Georgia ranks 49th in per capita dollars spent on transportation.  The other was that metro Atlanta accounts for ~28% of transportation spending.  I wanted to see if that was proportionate to the population and found that it is significantly below.  Approximately 60% of the residents of GA live in the metro area.  We need to let to politicians know that change is needed. -  Jay Bookman (AJC)
 
MARTA Wins Solar Energy Grant - Marta is planning to use $10.8 million in federal grants to put solar panels on top of bus canopies.  The panels will be installed at the Laredo Bus Maintenance Facility in Decatur. This will be the largest PV system in GA. - Atlanta Business Chronicle
 
Atlanta Bests San Francisco for Green Building - For some reason, Atlanta doesn't seem to get the respect it deserves in this area.  We're good but we could be better.  Right now, we're 5th in the nation in LEED certified buildings at 53.  Chicago has 88, Portland has 73, Seattle has 63 and DC has 57.  San Fran is right behind us at 50. - San Francisco Chronicle via Chicago Tribune
 
Lovett's New Green Middle School - The unfortunate thing is that most Atlantans can't afford to send their kids to Lovett.  But, the school's commitment to sustainability and environmental issues is something to be commended.  The new facility is seeking LEED Gold certification and has a green roof and rainwater harvesting system among other features. - WSBTV
 
Going Green Pays Off - Man, I hate the phrase "going green."  What does it mean?  It seems to me that it's up to anyone's interpretation.  Am I 'going green' because I use CFLs or bring reusable shopping bags to Whole Foods for my groceries??  Well, that's not the point of the article.  The exciting thing that I took from this article is that the Westin downtown will finally be replacing the windows lost during the tornado.  And... those windows will be thicker, darker and better insulating.  There are a few other buildings that are highlighted like 1180 Peachtree and the Emory University Conference Center Hotel. - AJC
 
Don Wells Named Atlanta's 2009 Cox Conserves Hero - Mountain Stewards, Wells' non profit organization, will receive a $5,000 donation from Cox Enterprises. - Trust for Public Land

 

Recycling Pick-Up Back On in the City of Atlanta - How exciting!  Recycling!  Wow!  How are other cities going to compete with us now that we have recycling again? We are truly 'going green' here in Atlanta. -  The Buckhead Blog

Stay tuned for next week's installment of Peach Bites.  Feel free to send me any articles or stories that you come across at michaeldhadden@gmail.com