Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

MARTA service

Keith Parker is general manager of MARTA.

Keith Parker is general manager of MARTA.

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Within the week, the wait for MARTA trains and many buses won’t be so long. The transit agency will introduce a much-anticipated service bump designed to increase frequencies and reduce customers’ wait times. I sat down recently with MARTA CEO Keith Parker to talk about the issue of frequencies (or “headways,” in industry parlance), the subject of today’s lead column. I then spoke with riders to get their opinions about how MARTA can improve customer service.

Transit agency looks to gain speed

By Tom Sabulis

I came across an interesting note the other day on the website for Washington Metro, the transit system in Washington D.C. It read: “Due to the high frequency of service, timetables for peak hours … are not available.”

I did a double take. You mean service there is so fast, they don’t even bother publishing a timetable? I checked to make sure.

“Your assumption is correct,” spokesman Dan Stessel emailed me. …

Continue reading MARTA service »

Behaving on the Beltline

Lecrae Moore (right) rides his skateboard as his son David rides his bike down the path along the Atlanta Beltline Trail on Saturday, April 12, 2014. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL

Lecrae Moore (right) rides his skateboard as his son David rides his bike down the path along the Atlanta Beltline Trail on Saturday, April 12, 2014. JONATHAN PHILLIPS / SPECIAL

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

As the Atlanta Beltline grows in length and popularity, it’s building a public-space culture with a definite learning curve. Runners, walkers, bikers, dog owners and skaters need to acquaint themselves with the rules, and challeges, of the trail. Today, a Beltline leader offers a look at how best to use the trails in a spirit of cooperation and selflessness, while a transportation executive reflects on her Atlanta childhood and the potential the project has for personal as well as urban renewal.

Commenting is open.

Beltline’s emerging etiquette

By Ethan Davidson

Something is happening in Atlanta. On the surface it doesn’t seem extraordinary, but upon further reflection, it is. When you visit the Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail, two miles of what will be a 22-mile streetcar …

Continue reading Behaving on the Beltline »

Clayton MARTA, Northern Arc fixes

C-Tran riders line up at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to board one of the last Clayton County buses to Riverdale in March 2010. Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com

C-Tran riders line up at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to board one of the last Clayton County buses to Riverdale in March 2010. Johnny Crawford/jcrawford@ajc.com

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Enough time has passed: A Clayton County transit advocate today says county commissioners need to listen to voters and schedule a binding referendum in November that will allow citizens to cast ballots on a sales tax increase to fund transit and bring in MARTA. (Commission Chairman Jeff Turner declined an invitation to write on this topic for this page.) In our second column, a Dunwoody resident puts forth his ideas for solving the gridlock on the northside Perimeter, from Gwinnett to Cobb counties.

Commenting is open.

If not now, Clayton, when?

By Roberta Abdul-Salaam

If the citizens of Clayton County are not given the opportunity to vote on a binding referendum to restore public transportation in this November’s general election, when will we have another opportunity?

You may …

Continue reading Clayton MARTA, Northern Arc fixes »

Worth sticking with one airline?

VINO WONG / VWONG@AJC.COM

VINO WONG / VWONG@AJC.COM

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Recently, Delta Air Lines shook up it SkyMiles frequent-flier program, saying it will begin awarding free flights based on dollars spent, rather than miles flown. The move rewards higher-spending customers, while hurting bargain-hunting travelers who earn thousands of miles by flying long distances across the country on cheap fares. Delta vows the changes will make it easier to redeem miles for flights. Today, two air-travel consumer experts weigh in on Delta’s changes.

Commenting is open.

Frequent flier programs scam travelers

By Christopher Elliott

Loyalty programs may be the single greatest scam pulled on the traveling public. Want to segment customers into castes of “haves” and “have-nots”? Create legions of blindly brand-loyal passengers? Lift your profits to avaricious new heights? Nothing does it like a clever frequent-flier program.

Yet as a consumer advocate, not a day goes by that I don’t receive a despondent email …

Continue reading Worth sticking with one airline? »

Pro/Con: Paulding airport service

Planes on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. Bob Andres/BAndres@ajc.com

Planes on the tarmac at Silver Comet Field in Paulding County. Bob Andres/BAndres@ajc.com

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 The …

Continue reading Pro/Con: Paulding airport service »

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 pedestrians …

Continue reading Pedestrian dangers »

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 …

Continue reading Protected bike lanes for Atlanta? »

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, the bill’s …

Continue reading MARTA and the gas tax »

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 access; …

Continue reading Streetcar boom »

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 using taximeters. Livery …

Continue reading Taxis vs. Uber still a hot topic »