Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Pro/Con: Paulding airport service

Planes on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. Bob Andres/

Planes on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. Bob Andres/

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The businessmen and local officials supporting commercial air service at Paulding County’s small airport continue to make their case for limited flights that will benefit local travelers, especially those who live on the north side. Their nemesis is Delta Air Lines which, they say, refuses to allow any competition whatsoever to Hartsfield-Jackson. Today we hear from tthe chairman of the company trying to establish service at Silver Comet Field, along with a Delta pilot who cites the advantages of keeping Hartsfield-Jackson as the only commercial Atlanta airport.

Commenting is open.

Atlanta needs what other major cities have

By Robert J. Aaronson

Recently, there has been a war of words – not to mention lawsuits, letters, grass roots campaigning, etc. – regarding the proposed commercialization of Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. To borrow a headline from …

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Pedestrian dangers

A dangerous stretch of Pleasantdale Road.

A dangerous stretch of Pleasantdale Road.

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Pedestrian deaths in metro Atlanta are rising, with nearly half the fatalities occurring near transit stops. Today, a local activist lists some reasons for the alarming fact that 29 people on foot have died already in 2014. On the flip side of this trend, we’ve seen a steady decrease in highway fatalities in Georgia. A state official attributes that success to several developments, but adds that motorists need a greater share-the-road mentality regarding bicycles and pedestrians.

Commenting is open.

Alarming death rate

By Sally Flocks

Think about it. Transit is the middle leg of two walking trips. Pedestrians who travel regionally use transit for much of their cross-town travel. Rather than walk between activity centers, people walk to transit, take trains or buses and walk to destinations. In 2010 a regional survey showed that some three-fourths of transit trips begin and end with walking.

Yet many …

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Protected bike lanes for Atlanta?

Rebecca Serna is executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

Rebecca Serna is executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A national bicycle foundation recently chose Atlanta to participate in a two-year project to help build “protected” bike lanes — those separated from traffic by planters, curbs or posts. A People For Bikes spokesman tells why Atlanta was selected for its Green Lane Project; he cites Memphis as a role model for how a Southern city can become bike-friendly. Atlanta Bicycle Coalition chief Rebecca Serna writes about how her group targets local streets to make them safer.

Commenting is open.

New Southern stereotype: great cities for biking

By Michael Andersen

Some Atlantans are perhaps familiar with the phenomenon in which people make sweeping generalizations about the American South. “Braving the Deep, Deadly South on a Bicycle,” The Atlantic magazine shuddered in a headline last month.

In some sense, true enough. Georgia, for example, ranks 42nd of 50 states in estimated bike …

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MARTA and the gas tax

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Georgia General Assembly recently passed a bill that allows MARTA a bit more flexibility in planning its future. Today, the transit agency’s leader writes about the various ways that components of that bill can help MARTA build on its mission, perhaps even to Clayton County. In our second column, a group of transportation and business leaders talk about the importance of finding an alternative to dwindling motor-fuel tax revenues, in order to keep state and national highways and bridges safe for drivers.

Commenting is open.

Some tools to build with

By Keith T. Parker

When Georgia lawmakers approved most of MARTA’s 2014 legislative agenda last week, it seemed to signal a hopeful vote of confidence in the progress we’re making to ensure metro Atlanta’s transit system continues to improve.

H.B. 264, better known as “the MARTA bill,” included key initiatives the agency wants to implement but which first required legislative action. Overall, …

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Streetcar boom

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Today, we hear from a major Atlanta Streetcar sponsor, who’s feeling good about the capital investment the project is bringing downtown — even before the vehicle does its test runs. An executive from Siemens, the company building the streetcars, writes how rail is reinventing U.S. city centers. We also reprise comments from critics who have weighed in on what they say is the streetcars’ ineffective mobility and outlandish expense. Note: There are three columns today.

Commenting is open.

Downtown growth sparked by streetcar

By A.J. Robinson

As the last of the Atlanta Streetcar rail is laid, the project has already attracted significant interest and investment to the corridor. Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District have been leveraging the streetcar by encouraging redevelopment along its route. As a co-funder, the Downtown District expects the project to do much more than just improve transportation mobility and …

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Taxis vs. Uber still a hot topic

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

House Bill 907 did not make it over to the Senate on Crossover Day last week, so legislation to regulate “rideshare” car services such as Uber is stalled. But the debate continues. Should Uber be regulated? Should taxis be de-regulated? Or both? Here are columns from an Uber user – and driver – and cab operator.

Comenting is open.

City allows theft of taxi market share

By Scott McCandliss

Because House Bill 907 is no longer active, Uber’s unregulated and irresponsible taxi service will continue to operate throughout Atlanta — thumbing its nose at the city’s longstanding public safety requirements for taxis.

There have been a number of articles in the media recently regarding the so-called “new ideas” in personal transportation. Unfortunately, most contain as much misinformation as information.

The word “taxicab” comes from “taximeter,” not the other way around as many think. Taxicabs diverged from livery cabs after they began …

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Cars vs. trains?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

So much of the transportation conversation in metro Atlanta these days frames a highways versus transit argument. Today, Beltline mastermind Ryan Gravel writes that transportation diversity — cars and trains — is what’s needed to reduce our vulnerability to winter storms, rush hour, accidents or worse, terrorism. In our second column, an IBM executive says the cars-trains argument soon could be irrelevant, as technology allows us to create smarter vehicles such as driverless cars that act more like trains.

Commenting is open.

A need for more choices

By Ryan Gravel

On Sunday, I braved the mobs of smiling people on the Atlanta Beltline by bike to pick up some groceries with my kids. Our short sleeves at sunset made the region’s two-inch snow debacle back in January seem a distant memory. But it’s important to understand what went wrong.

At first we blamed meteorologists, as if they were also accountable for our response to their predictions. …

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Money for unclogging Atlanta

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grants provide federal funding to planning organizations like the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for projects that relieve traffic snarls and reduce air pollution. Today, we hear about the distribution of grants from the ARC’s executive director, while a highway proponent takes issue with some of the commission’s decisions. We also break out the new spending.

Commenting is open.

An ‘exciting’ chance to reduce congestion

By Doug Hooker

Few things are more important to the economy and success of the Atlanta region than its transportation network. But in a world of dwindling gas tax revenues and budget cuts, the opportunities to plan for new transportation projects are rare. In fact, more than 70 percent of available funding is needed just to maintain the existing network.

Because of the limited dollars available for added capacity, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) was excited to accept …

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Taxis vs. Uber

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

In the name of public safety, according to its sponsors, House Bill 907 in the General Assembly aims to regulate “transportation referral” car services such as Uber and Lyft, which use smartphone app technology to attract customers. Local cab companies support the legislation, saying it forces these new competitors go through the same permitting process, and red tape, as them. I spoke with the CEO of an Atlanta cab company for today’s column, while a local Uber manager gives that service’s side of the story.

Commenting is open.

Taxis: Level the playing field

By Tom Sabulis

As a third-generation cab company operator, Rick Hewatt of Atlanta Checker Cab spoke last week about a bill pending in the Gerogia Assembly that would regulate Smartphone app-driven car services such as Uber and Lyft:

On the new competition: I’ve worked here 30 years and I’ve seen competition come and go. By far this has been the most aggressive competition. Most other …

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Will commuter rail help?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

With another winter storm forecast for metro Atlanta today, we present alternate views on what a commuter rail network could do for the region, and whether the state should find the money — and consensus — to implement one.

Commenting is open.

Commuter rail an obvious fix for region

By William Tomlin

Georgia needs to look at its 2009 State Rail Plan and begin deploying commuter rail in metro Atlanta immediately.

Less than three inches of snow should never shut down a major American city and leave thousands of motorists stranded on frozen roads over night; but that happened in Atlanta Jan. 28-29.

When people, not used to driving in snow, tried to be responsible and get home before too much accumulation occurred, bad road management combined with the lack of any transportation alternative to create gridlock.

But the trains kept running.

Georgia boasts one of the most extensive freight rail systems in the country. According to the Georgia Department …

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