Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Storm response

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

In the aftermath of last week’s winter storm, which paralyzed the region, metro Atlanta transportation and business leaders write to assess their performance and prepare for the future. MARTA CEO/general manager Keith Parker writes about where the transit agency succeeded and fell short, and Perimeter businesswoman Yvonne Williams suggest ways local business groups can coordinate to form new strategies for the work force.

Commenting is open.

Proud of work, fixes needed

By Keith T. Parker

Last week’s crippling snowstorm is thankfully behind us. Long before the next storm arrives, however, MARTA executives and employees are assessing our performance and reviewing kudos and criticisms from our customers that will help make us better.

By many accounts, our employees did a remarkable job keeping the transit system running. From the first snowflakes on Tuesday until roads and highways became more passable on Thursday, MARTA transported roughly 400,000 …

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Storm fallout: Transit, planning needed

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

In the wake of this week’s storm and historic gridlock come renewed arguments for bolstering our regional transit system, building and reinforcing our network of roads and highways, and reminding drivers (and officials) that truckers are not to blame for the congestion that hampered storm recovery. The theme? A stronger focus on preparedness and infrastructure is the best way to prevent this mess from happening again.

Note: There are three columns today. Commenting is open.

Real regional transit would have helped

By David Emory

The winter storm that wreaked havoc across metro Atlanta on Tuesday highlighted both the best and worst our city has to offer. Throughout the region, stories of good Samaritans coming to the aid of stranded fellow citizens were an inspiration to us all. That goodwill, however, played out against the backdrop of a regional transportation system that had broken down on an unprecedented scale.

Going forward, there will be no …

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Atlanta Streetcar and mobility

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

This spring, streetcars are expected to roll through Atlanta once again, offering residents and visitors another transportation option for getting around downtown. Today, the Atlanta Streetcar’s executive director writes about how these electric vehicles will add connectivity for many folks along the line from Centennial Olympic Park to the King Center. Our second columnist says the streetcar will be impractical — too restricted, too slow, too inconvenient.

Commenting is open.

Streetcar will ease city’s mobility

By Tim Borchers

Streetcars are an integral part of the story of Atlanta. The first streetcar line, which connected Peachtree Street with what is now Spelman College, opened in 1871. During the early 20th century, Atlanta’s population tripled as streetcars helped expand the city limits to nearby suburbs, creating a vibrant and easily accessible metropolis.

Today, Atlanta is the center of the fastest-growing region in the United States …

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MARTA’s line to Cobb

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

I live about 50 yards from a MARTA bus stop, enabling me to conveniently catch a ride on the #12 bus when I need to. As it turns out, the route also serves Cobb County; the northbound leg ends not far from where the new Braves stadium will be built. My column today focuses on the origins of this minor MARTA move into Cobb and what it might mean for the future. Our second column disputes figures used to bolster the popular cars-to-transit trend in major cities.

Commenting is open.

The seed of future collaboration?

By Tom Sabulis

I took MARTA to the new Braves stadium in Cobb County the other day.

I got on the #12 bus in Midtown and rode up Northside Drive to Cobb Parkway and Cumberland Mall. True, the stadium is still on the drawing board. It doesn’t exist yet. But when Cobb’s field of taxpayer dreams is finished in time for the 2017 baseball season, assuming things remains the same, the northbound terminus of MARTA’s #12 bus, at the Cumberland …

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MARTA board leader on the future

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

MARTA has a new board chairman to go along with its still relatively new GM/CEO, Keith Parker, who has been on the job for a year now. Robert Ashe, an Atlanta native, today writes about the transit agency’s determination to make train and bus commuting a more viable and attractive option for residents. In our second column, North Fulton leader Brandon Beach, a state senator, writes about the new regional transit website that will help coordinate services of MARTA, GRTA and the Cobb and Gwinnett bus lines.

Commenting is open.

MARTA pushes for new riders

By Robert L. Ashe III

This year, MARTA marks its 35th anniversary as a combined bus and rail transit system, a significant historical milestone that we’re proud to celebrate. But even as we honor MARTA’s past, we’re taking steps to ensure we will be able to serve our community for the next 35 years and beyond.

MARTA’s Board of Directors recognized several years ago that we urgently needed to …

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Let GDOT run the show

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A big part of metro Atlanta’s transportation muddle, writes a concerned citizen, is that the problem has never been adequately defined. A couple of things are clear, though: Georgia needs to increase revenues for expanding roads and transit, most likely though increased motor fuel taxes. Then, the state should let the Department of Transportation coordinate all the myriad local efforts now in place to prioritize solutions. In our second column, a Washington-based writer looks at how rail invariably increases pedestrian traffic for merchants.

Commenting is open.

Let’s define the problem first

By Joel Smith

Any discussion of metro Atlanta transportation solutions requires that we first define the problem, secure agreement on problem definition, and then develop solutions.

For example, is the problem traffic congestion? Or is it that cars are destroying the planet? Is the problem that people have a need to move more conveniently and quickly in all …

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MARTA bus drivers talk jobs

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

MARTA bus operators can be as different as their routes. Jeffrey Watkins is retired from the U.S. Air Force, a former police office,r and now pastor of a small church in Douglasville. He began his driving career in the service and then took charters to casinos. Michael Majette, who referees high school football and basketball in his spare time, started driving furniture trucks in his native North Carolina. Watkins likes driving the longer MARTA routes, while Majette has been on same neighborhood-oriented route for 12 years.

Commenting is open.

Q&A: Life of a MARTA bus operator

By Tom Sabulis

Two veteran MARTA bus operators, Michael Majette and Jeffrey Watkins, 54, offer opinions on their job, their customers, their routes and the transit agency. Majette drives the #13 route, from Five Points to Westlake MARTA rail station. Watkins usually drives the #3 route, from H.E. Holmes rail station to Candler Park station.

What’s the most challenging part …

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Delta’s AJC column makes the WSJ

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Wall Street Journal published a story today about why Delta Air Lines is so nervous over the development of a tiny second airport for metro Atlanta in Paulding County. The Journal reporters quoted statements penned by a Delta executive in a Nov. 26 Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion column. Here is that column in full:

Second airport saps power of primary

By Holden Shannon

For more than seven decades, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been metro Atlanta’s most powerful economic engine. Since its beginnings in 1925 as a small airfield constructed on an abandoned racetrack, it has evolved into the world’s busiest airport. It has more flights and destinations than any other major U.S. airport, bringing an estimated $58 billion annually in total economic benefits to the region and supporting tens of thousands of jobs statewide.

The airport is home to Delta Air Lines’ largest international hub, where we connect passengers from around …

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Cobb confident on Braves traffic

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A rollout of a billion dollars in mobility improvements over the next few years will alleviate traffic problems for those heading to the new Braves baseball stadium, writes the Cobb County Commission chairman. In our second column, a citizen leader says new transit technology should be considered, too. Ultimately, however, taxpayers will have bigger concerns than traffic.

Cobb mobility plans clear road for Braves

By Tim Lee

The Atlanta Braves’ decision to locate in Cobb County can be directly attributed to the county’s transportation planning efforts and infrastructure improvements. With close to a billion dollars in mobility improvements being rolled out in the next several years, Cobb’s planning has paid off.

The Cumberland district is blessed with economic assets, two decades’ worth of infrastructure investments and a long history of visionary leadership. Already, the future stadium site has a well-developed network of 14 existing access …

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MARTA’s new momentum

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A year after taking the top job at MARTA, Keith T. Parker can point to a number of accomplishments aimed at getting the transit agency back on track regarding its finances and ridership. He writes about those today. In our second column, House Rep. Mike Jacobs, chairman of MARTA’s legislative oversight committee,  says Parker’s progress may signal a new era in state relations with the agency.

Commenting is open.

A year later, improvements show

By Keith T. Parker

After a comfortable early morning train ride, I started my first day at MARTA one year ago talking with employees about the need to transform the agency. The challenges facing MARTA were (and remain) huge.

Due to declining revenues over the previous four years, the agency had eliminated 40 of its 131 bus routes, cut rail service, shut down more than half the rail-station restrooms and raised fares by over 40 percent, while most employees had only received one pay increase in the previous …

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