Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

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. Later, we …

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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 proposals for …

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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 competition …

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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 of …

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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 and home …

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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 Transfer …

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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 change …

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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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