Streetcars, Secession and Elections

Today's post will be a little long winded but there's a lot of exciting news out there right now.  We're starting to hear a lot more about transit in our region.  Unfortunately, Roswell has been on the periphery up until now.  One of this installment's headlines is about the upcoming vote on the North Fulton Transit Plan.  I find it amazing how much mis information and divisiveness is out there on transit.  My biggest complaint is that people don't realize or admit that our road system is significantly more subsidized and expensive than transit.  The other idea that transit should somehow have to turn a profit is misguided at best.  Do our roads turn a profit?  The only way that can happen is by installing a toll and we all love those don't we??


Roswell to Vote on Transit Plan - AJC

The vote will occur during Monday's City Council meeting and will determine whether to adopt the North Fulton transportation plan that was put together by the Atlanta Regional Commission and Kimley Horn & Associates after workshops were held in the area asking citizens what their transportation needs are.  Last week, Milton became the first city in North Fulton to sign off on the plan.

Roswell City Council Calls Meeting for Land Purchase - AJC

I'm not sure what they are going to do with it exactly but it's looking like the old dilapidated apartment building near the intersection of Oxbo and Hwy 9 will be razed to help re-route Oxbo.  Not sure what will happen to the hardware store.

Roswell Wired for Free at City Hall and Three Area Parks - AJC

This is great.  Does the library do this as well?  If not, they should.  The even better thing is that the city has found a way to minimize the cost on this project. 



Streetcar Project Gets Green Light from the Feds - Saporta Report

The feds are planning to kick in $47 million and the city and state are going to pick up the rest of the $70 million price tag.  Notable Excerpt:

Located in the heart of Downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Transit Connector Project which will run a span of approximately 2.6 miles will connect Peachtree Street with Sweet Auburn Avenue shuttling more than 4.7 million tourists each year and a large mass of local residents through the area.cerpt:

Streetcar Money Breaks Atlanta Transit Losing Streak - Jay Bookman AJC 

Jay's posts always seem to draw the ire of the commenter.  There is a good map of the route as well.  Notable Excerpt:

In terms of transportation and economic development, though, the line in question makes a lot of sense, linking some of the city’s major tourist attractions and its major downtown hotel district. As the city’s application noted, it will also “reconnect the eastern and western sections of Downtown Atlanta, which were effectively separated by the construction of Interstate 75/85 in the mid 1950s.”

I do love this project from a new urbanist point of view as it is reconnecting neighborhoods and areas that were separated by bad planning decisions of prior generations.

Neal Boortz: Trolley Nothing but Fanplex on Wheels - AJC

I can't say that I completely disagree with Neal here.  Notable Excerpt:

The real issue with this streetcar is the routing. Is it going to run up Peachtree Street to the Arts Center or maybe even to Buckhead? Nope. I guess tourists really don’t want to travel between Midtown and Centennial Olympic Park.

No, this street car is going to run between Centennial Olympic Park and the King Center. Are there throngs of tourists hovering around Centennial Olympic Park on any given day trying to figure out how to get to the King Center?

Report: Metro Atlanta's Traffic is 15th Worst in Nation - AJC

This study, Driven Apart: How Sprawl is Lengthening Our Commutes and why Misleading Mobility Measures are Making Things Worse, takes a slightly different view on traffic.  It actually looks at traffic from two perspectives, time spent on clogged roads as well as distance of commute.

Dekalb Mayors to Consider Joining Circle of One-Cent Transportation Tax Critics - Creative Loafing

More cracks are starting to show in the logic of HB277.  We need to fix this before 2012 or Fulton and Dekalb will not successfully carry the region and our transit deadlock will continue well into the next decade.

The Atlanta Beltline Provides a Prescription for a Healthy City - Saporta Report

Valarie Wilson, Executive Director of the Atlanta Beltline Partnership, makes the case that the parks and transit components of the Beltline will help the city increase physical activity thus reduce overall health care costs.

Notable Quote:

Among physically able adults, average annual medical expenditures are 32 percent lower for those who achieve physical activity targets than for those who are sedentary.

City Hall East to get $180M Facelift -

Great news for development along the Beltline.  Just another one of those liberal transit boondoggles :)  The plan is currently for about 20% retail and the rest split between office and residential.

Wheels Turning on Transit Hub at Downtown 'Gulch' - AJC

I'm really excited to see the plans.  To bad they won't be out until May '11.  Currently 5 developers are expected to submit projects for the planned transit hub that will link MARTA rail and bus, Regional Express bus systems and future passenger rail as well as streetcars.  

Toll Lane Proposal for I-75, I-575 to get Public Input - AJC

Maybe we're on our way to fixing this boondoggle of a 'free'way system that we have now.  Something tells me that this isn't going to fly.  At least we're not looking to widen this stretch of 'free'way to 23 lanes anymore (for now).  Reversible lanes might be in the future though.

Live Work Play Coming to Buckhead - Atlanta Business Chronicle

Moving in the right direction... Notable Excerpt:

The new standards encourage more street-level retail and improved streetscaping in an area centered in the Buckhead Village near the planned $1.5 billion Streets of Buckhead but also including major intersections along Peachtree, Piedmont and Roswell roads.

Sidewalks, Not Streetcars - Sunday Paper

Lots of people are making the argument these days that the city could more wisely invest the money that is being thrown into the Atlanta Streetcar project.  This piece recants a story that the writer covered in the mid '90s about a young girl who was killed by a hit and run driver along a road that did not have sidewalks.  It's worth a read and will remind us that there are simple things that can save lives that should get more attention.  Notable Excerpt:

Sidewalks are only one of many basic public needs that are ignored by Atlanta’s city government as its politicians pursue more glamorous monuments to themselves.

Broke and Broken: Fixing Sidewalks Should be City's Responsibility - Saporta Report

Here's another piece on sidewalks from Sally Flocks of PEDS.  The unbelievable piece of this that I had no idea of until I read it was that the city is actually not responsible for the maintenance of sidewalks.  Notable Excerpt:

The 2008 State of the City’s Infrastructure report estimates that 18 percent of the City’s sidewalks need to be repaired or replaced, at a cost of $79.4 million.

Now, sidewalks are part of the public right of way.  The maintenance thereof will never be covered by a private entity on a consistent basis.  We need to look at Charlotte, DC, Boston and Chicago for an example of how to work on this one.  Just another example of how the city puts pedestrians at the bottom of the totem pole.  No wonder we're so obese.

Perimeter Residents Feel "They Have it All" - AJC

I admit that its nice in Perimeter.  The location is great for access to Atlanta's amenities.  There is access to Transit.  But really, the traffic is choking and there really isn't much of a 'town' atmosphere.  Sandy Springs is doing good things but you still can't really walk to much of anything if you live there.  I think in 10 years, they will have come a long way just as they have in the 10 years since I lived there.

Transportation Referendum Prompts Calls for Secession - AJC

Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix is calling for secession from the 10 county Atlanta region due to his perception that Fayette county will not receive a fair shake out of the penny sales tax if approved.  This has since been voted down by a 3-2 vote.

Georgia Tech: Atlanta 'Testbed' for Reusing Urban Spaces

It probably helps that Ellen Dunham-Jones, an influential new urbanist and co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia, was the dean of the GT College of Architecture.  The college has worked on projects such as Atlantic Station and the Beltline and is now working on the old Ford plant in Hapeville that is slated to become Aerotropolis.