Before moving on transit, we need to know where we’re going

I like transit. Transit is not a liberal or conservative thing, per se, in places like New York City or London. Or in Brussels, where I used to take a streetcar to work every day.

How transit is done — now that’s another story. It is the story we’re still writing in Atlanta, with MARTA and other systems.

Governance matters: Atlantans haven’t always believed their investments in MARTA were being managed well. Funding matters: MARTA covers less than 30 percent of its operating costs with user fees (see page 72 of the PDF), a ratio that needs to increase.

In tandem with governance and funding, however, is vision. That’s one thing we have in Atlanta, if stacks and stacks of transit plans count for anything. But, says Beverly Scott, entering her third year as MARTA’s chief executive, “We never seem to get past the vision and plans.”

MARTA may be the country’s ninth-largest transit system, but transit is irrelevant to most metro Atlantans. Suburban systems add some accessibility. But there are three types of people here: those who use transit, those who don’t, and those who can’t. The last group is still too large.

We have to talk about governance and funding. But as lawmakers consider new funding, perhaps by allowing a referendum on a 1-cent sales tax for transportation, citizens need to know which elements of which plan the tax would fund.

We need that explanation before any new law is passed. That’s where the vision is lacking, and that’s what I asked Scott about. MARTA isn’t the only part of this puzzle, but it is a critical one. Here’s what she told me:

After stabilizing the current system (a necessary but, in my mind, insufficient goal for new transit money) Scott wants to increase frequency for existing lines. She notes that buses in Old Fourth Ward — “and how much more urban can you get?” — run only every 30 to 45 minutes.

“That is absolutely ridiculous in a city the size of Atlanta,” she adds. MARTA has a 600-bus system but “could easily go up to 1,400 or 1,500,” she says.

Frequency is an issue for MARTA, although I have some doubts about more buses on surface streets. Can these roads handle more buses? Do people really save time if they end up stuck in traffic on a bus? Time is a key decision-making factor. We need to know whether more-frequent buses could attract enough new riders to reduce traffic.

Next, in parallel with the BeltLine, would be a streetcar network with the Peachtree corridor at its heart. But wouldn’t this duplicate one of MARTA’s best existing services, the subway line that roughly tracks Peachtree?

Scott argues that streetcars and subways have complementary uses. True, but her streetcar priorities sound like today’s roster of MARTA stations: Five Points, Civic Center, King Center. Buckhead, which has seen tremendous growth in office and residential space while downtown has stagnated, and which has little room to add road lanes, might “be revisited” only later.

That’s a mistake. Transit may aid economic development, but its purpose is to move people, not money. A system with capacity and funds to spare might take on development-oriented expansion. MARTA isn’t that system.

Last, there would be new connections — either light or heavy rail — up I-75 to the Cobb Galleria, east along I-20 to Lithonia, up I-85 to Norcross, and west from the H.E. Holmes station to I-285.

There would be other “build-out” projects, but these are Scott’s priorities. Citizens and legislators will weigh governance and funding decisions in part on whether these priorities line up with theirs. She better be right.

50 comments Add your comment

Misfit

November 14th, 2009
12:34 am

U may ask yourself, how did i get here?

Eric

November 14th, 2009
6:58 am

I’m certainly not convinced an additional 1-cent tax will achieve much of anything. Let’s hope this doesn’t pass! I think Atlanta has “maxed out” on growth–there is no shame in admitting that. Thus, our vision needs to be planning for sustainable quality of life rather than continued growth. What good are our efforts today if another five million people move here (ever see a dog chase its tail?). Legislative efforts should boldly encourage people to relocate to nearby cities such as Nashville, Birmingham, etc. to achieve balance rather than stress-out a region.

Gerald West

November 14th, 2009
7:19 am

Good article, Kyle. You shine when you take a break from the Republican “conservative” nonsense! The reason other developed countries have good transit systems (usually even better than Brussels) is that transportation is planned and managed by engineers, architects and responsible citizens, not politicians.

Politicians are not qualified to manage transportation, medical care, national defense, or the post office. That’s why parliaments and congresses should pass enabling legislation to set up and fund panels of experts and public corporations that can plan and manage. Legislators should set up, monitor, and correct the structure of the management, not the details of the management.

European countries have well-paid, prestigious, competent, non-partisan civil services that run their countries affairs under legislative oversight. By contrast, he US federal and state administrations are staffed with thousands of political appointees who are awarded their jobs as paybacks for political favors.

When and where do we start?

Tall

November 14th, 2009
8:14 am

When I moved to Atlanta in 1993 from New York City, I didn’t own a car.
The office that I worked in – at that time – was located above the Lenox Square MARTA station. I took the #5 bus line to the Lindbergh Station and then caught a train back up one stop to Lenox. I did this for 3 years until I finally bought a car. The MARTA system can work for you, but you really have to live on it and have a final destination that is near one of the stations.

Metro Atlanta doesn’t have the population density to make it work any better than it does. The best thing that MARTA has going for it, is the stations in the Airport and Five Points. In hindsight, all of the commerical office development that has taken place in the last 15 years, should have been located around the existing MARTA stations.
That still doesn’t guarantee that people will use MARTA, but they will
have a good alternative to sitting in traffic. Spending more tax dollars on transportation studies is fruitless.

R Pitts

November 14th, 2009
9:35 am

Your Q: “Where are we going on transit?” Nowhere thanks to Perdue. He has had 8 years and has done NADA. The man is not a leader, he’s a loser; he has ZERO ideas. We are exactly where we were 8 years ago, only there are now more folks in ATL!

Roscoe

November 14th, 2009
9:50 am

“You shine when you take a break from the Republican “conservative” nonsense! ”

Hey Gerald, do you say that to Bookman on his blog with his “Democrat liberal” nonsense? Yeah, thought not.

“The reason other developed countries have good transit systems (usually even better than Brussels) is that transportation is planned and managed by engineers, architects and responsible citizens, not politicians.”

WRONG, genius. If you’ve ever been to Europe/UK you’d know that over 75% of the population lives in urban areas. Not so here. Just look at Atlanta. Have you ever seen a Marta bus in north Fulton? Look in it – you’ll be lucky to see more than two people on it at any given time – an entire BUS.

Where do you think the majority of the greater metro Atlanta area’s population is located, inside or outside the perimeter? Mindless people like you comparing other nation’s transit systems to ours is a failed logic. We are a much more vast, sprawled, and spread out nation than other developed ones. There, that wasn’t so hard to think about, was it?

Let me guess: you are an Obama supporter.

David Axelfraud

November 14th, 2009
10:19 am

The best and only way to build a competent transit system is to burn the A T L to the ground and rebuild it on a grid system like Chicago or NYC. Trust me, Chicago has MAJOR problems with its transit system due to crappy government and corruption.

Bottom line: there is no perfect solution to this mess.

Repukes and DummyCrats are ALL Scum

November 14th, 2009
10:22 am

I own four vehicles, three suv’s and one sedan, all of which are fully paid and insured. I never use marta or cobb county transit, so why exactly should I pay anything for those two worthless (to me) government services? To you former GM and Ford workers out there, all my vehicles are foreign, your products were and are overpriced pieces of junk. Yet I have been forced to bail out your pension plans, heath care plans, and at least one of your corporations. I will never, ever buy a Government Motors vehicle, nor a Found On Road Dead piece of crap.

Del

November 14th, 2009
10:29 am

Gerald West,

I don’t know which way your politics lean but I agree with your comments about the ineptitude of politicians. That is why we can’t entrust 6% of our economy or healthcare to politicians. Roscoe, does make a good point regarding the disbursement of our population. While I’ve traveled the world extensively both as a civilian and in the military most of it has been the later, so I can’t comment on the overall efficiency of the Europeans.

Joan

November 14th, 2009
10:36 am

Seems to me that the best addition to the Marta situation might be a couple of lines radiating out of the end of the lines and into the way suburbs–like running from Cumming, as example, with maybe one stop in between, with lots of parking at those two stops just north of the North Springs station. An awful lot of traffic comes down 75 and 85 and then bottlenecks on the connector. Wouldn’t it make sense to give those people a transit alternative?

P. Coltrane

November 14th, 2009
10:36 am

Roscoe, you ever been let out of the trailer park….

booger

November 14th, 2009
10:44 am

I think Atlanta lacks the density necessary to have a really efficient system. I also am convinced trying to create high density cities, as Portland Oregon is attempting is a mistake. Whether we like it or not, the future for most cities in this country is sprawl. A few with natural boundaries such as New York, will survive as high density urban centers, but that is not the case for most other cities. There simply is no reason to live in a high density city for a large part of our population.

The explosion of easy communication choices makes the old model of “going to work” not necessary for many people today. I live in a small town in the mountains about 1.5 hrs. north of Atlanta, and there are people all over this area who work from home. Some go to a building occasionally, but some hardly ever. Lake Occonee to the east is also a haven for these people. I am retired now, but the company I worked for moved it’s headquarters from NY a few years ago because the old reasons for being in NY just didn’t exist any longer. They moved to Houston and since have closed one of their Houston campuses, because up to 50% of their employees now work mostly from home.

Whereas some people see this as bad, high density living also has its problems. Everyone is dependant on systems and govt. to make their world work. I lived and worked in Europe for six years. I kept an apartment in Paris for six months of that time, and you can never count on public transportation there because of unions and strikes. keeping a car is almost impossible as well because of parking, so you are at the mercy of the unions and the government to do almost anything.

Throwing money at the old centralized models of centers of commerce and high density living is a mistake.

GA DOTMan

November 14th, 2009
11:07 am

Enjoy your HOT Lanes Gwinnett….LOL Cobb, you’re next in line for HOT lanes, followed by North Fulton.You’re all getting what you asked for.

Repukes and DummyCrats are ALL Scum

November 14th, 2009
11:29 am

Fire all the lazy, crooked scum at GDOT, they are worthless, just like GA DOTMan.

DannyX

November 14th, 2009
12:34 pm

Lol GA DOTMAN. What a win win situation. The areas most stuck in traffic get their outdated just build more lanes approach. No new taxes! When the Lexus lanes get too crowded they kick some of you out by raising the price! Controlled supply and demand, the new American way. $10 a trip, ouch. What a country!

The suckers that pay the ransom give the state what it wants. The state won’t have to use a bunch of DOT money for suburban projects and can keep funneling 35% of your gas tax to rural Georgia. What a State!

The “lucky” companies that get to own your path home should sell lottery tickets. Call it “Get out of Traffic Hell Fridays.” I imagine a quick 75 mile an hour trip northbound from Atlanta to either Cobb or Gwinnett would be worth about 50 bucks a trip.

Lloyd Braun

November 14th, 2009
4:54 pm

I have taken MARTA from the airport several times after dark.

Apparently, I had the misfortune of catching the late-night miscreant express that carries lots of dodgy people that I though might want to steal my wristwatch.

Ghetto Grandpa

November 14th, 2009
7:31 pm

Any hope for sensible altenatives to single-occupancy vehicle transportation for most of metro Atlanta is past. It takes years of planning, study and construction to build effective transit lines. And despite what some of the more dim-witted posters above say, transit can work in suburban style areas. Phoenix and LA have recently opened transit lines that the right-wingers said would never work — in both cases ridership has exceeded expectations. That’s partly because engineers and planners built lines where it made the most sense.

A transit (or trolley) line from downtwon Marietta to Five Points, for example, would pass through a mix of high-density and medium density aeas. It would also provide an alternative to traffic choked roads and stimulate growth in old industrial areas. Under Roy Barnes GRTA studied the line — but it was solidly rejected by Cobb County.

I don’t think more study is the answer — GDOT and GRTA have been planning transit lines and options for years. Its just a paperwork excercise. We will not see any transit growth outside Fulton and DeKalb counties. Perdue couldn’t be bothered and the Republican GOP is positively loathe to tackle the issue — after all that’s how you demonize Atlanta. If you build a MARTA line to Gwinnett, ‘urban thugs’ will ride out there, steal and rob, and make their getaway on the train, right.

Kyle did you check Galloway’s recent audit MARTA recently received? How does that square with the right-wing mantra that MARTA cannot manage its funds? Especially when compared to your beloved Depart of Highways, I mean GDOT, with its “Enron-style accounting”?

Finally, did you know how much GDOT will spend to turn the HOV lanes into Lexus Lanes?

$110 million. That’s right. And that does not include constructing toll booths or actually separating the Lexus Lane from the other lanes. That’s $110 million for a bunch of cameras, signage, publicity campaigns and scanners. If you were truly a conservative that should make you howl.

So if the option is GDOT taking over transit, then no thank you. MARTA could be better, but GDOT isn’t the answer. I live and work near MARTA stations. It works fine for me. I own two houses and three cars and can dirive if I want to, but why bother?

If suburbanites want to sit in traffic and avoid having to interact with people that don’t look like them, well, OK then, I wasn’t planning on going to Cobb or Gwinnett counties anyway.

dorae

November 14th, 2009
10:06 pm

I think Marta needs to do a couple of things to build up ridership.
They need to increase their lines and how often they run. If you are not riding from point a to pont b and have to make a change then it can take you hours to get where you need to go when if you were driving it would only take 30 min.s to drive. Instead of reducing service they need to increase service.
Marta needs to work on it’s image. It needs to be a way of getting around that someone who has a choice on getting to where-ever whould choose to ride. Maybe, increase security so that if you are a rider you won’t be harrassed by other riders.

zeke

November 14th, 2009
11:03 pm

So NYC has a vast mass transit system. WOOPI DOO! Who cares! It was built as or before most of the city was and before it cost out the wazoo to get rights of way or property!
Unless it can be made “convenient”, “efficient” and “self supporting”, marta, mass transit in general, the beltline and the trolley needs to be abandoned! If the users cannot pay the fee, abandon it! YOU MUST REMOVE FROM THE TAXPAYERS THE RESPOSIBILITY OF PAYING FOR OPERATIONS OF THESE SYSTEMS, AND, PUT THAT RESPONSIBILITY ON THE USERS! BUILD AN OUTER PERIMETER, THEN BUILD DIRECT EXTREMELY LIMITED ACCESS FEEDERS FROM I75 TO I85 TO I20 TO I75 EAST OF ATLANTA, AND FROM I75 TO I20 TO I85 TO I75 WEST OF ATLANTA TO TAKE TRAFFIC NOT DESTINED FOR ATLANTA AROUND AND AWAY FROM ATLANTA AND NOT INTO IT! I HAVE AN ENGINEERING BACKGROUND, NOT CIVIL OR TRANSPORTATION, BUT, I ASSURE YOU I CAN DESIGN A BETTER ROAD/BRIDGE SYSTEM THAN THE IDIOTS AT THE DOT HAVE! EXAMPLE: THE I75/I285 MIXING BOWL IN COBB AND SPAGHETTI JUNCTION IN DEKALB! AND YES, IT IS A SOCIALIST SYSTEM THAT RAPES THE TAXPAYERS WHO WILL NEVER USE MARTA TO PAY FOR IT FOR THOSE WHO WILL ALWAYS USE IT AND NOT PAY BUT “ATOKEN” FEE! THAT IS SOCIALISM AT IT’S WORST! TAKING MONEY FROM ONE PERSON AND GIVING IT TO SOMEONE ELSE!

John

November 14th, 2009
11:26 pm

For all those who say we don’t have the population density – you’re right, but hte flip side is that because we have developed a low population density, all of our employment is concentrated in mainly 13 areas – Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Perimeter, Cumberland, Windward, Town Center, Norcross/Peachtree Corners, Discover Mills, Emory/CDC, Airport, Fulton Industrial Blvd, and Southlake. These areas represent less than 1% of our land area (ARC Regional Land Use Map), but have over 20% of all our employment. So yes – we have transit density – in employment density.

Michael H. Smith

November 15th, 2009
6:52 am

A little traveling music for desalinization and mass transit, Kyle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMq6uiP-buU

green cracker

November 15th, 2009
7:50 am

I worked in Brussels too.

I humbly remind our correspondent that Brussels is about 50 miles of wide of dense, dense city, then it suddenly ends. It is NOT comparable to the Atlanta sprawl-opolis of developer-run “metro area” counties.

If you live “in Brussels” you live in an apartment or attached or semi-detached housing, or, if you’re the king maybe you get a bungalow. Brussels’ public transport also could not serve an area as large as “metro” Atlanta.

However, I too am against transit because I don’t want anything to attract Yankees down here.

Carrie

November 15th, 2009
10:44 am

Marta is considered transit?

ornery

November 15th, 2009
11:37 am

I like the Georgia Xpress, simple, spacey and comfortable. Marta has declined to the point of being unrideable, it’s travel times, sudden stops, evacuations and delays is poor. The state should take over the Authority, disban the union and start from scratch. It would also help to reduce the fare to a more equitable $1.00 or a $1.50 at most. Also offer technologies such as wi-fi and convenience of food and vending to be taken on the train. I among many others have stopped taking Marta to Tech games because of its ineffectiveness as a transit. I am all for transit, but Marta is a dysfunctional, dying operation that has no allure to most of those outside the perimeter.

DannyX

November 15th, 2009
11:44 am

Marta is considered transit. 500,000 riders per day. Of course most people would understand that only if Marta were to shut down causing massive gridlock. Is sitting in hours and hours of car traffic everyday transit?

When you have absolutely no answers bash Marta. If Marta is not transit as many of you have implied, where have you and your Republican buddies been the past eight years? Kyle wants a plan. Sonny has had almost 8 years to develop a plan. Maybe transportation is a little to complicated for our DOT, they have no clue where they are or where they are going. They are busy re-organizing……again.

We get it you don’t want marta, how has repeating that 100 thousand times helped traffic?

Marta should be bought out by Delta Airlines, maybe then could they get some cooperation from the state. Our Republican leaders have gone overboard protecting Delta. Tax breaks and more. Yet Delta has been plagued by past bad management, and has been losing money for years. They have had union problems. They spend money frivolously on things like stadium luxury suites and naming rights, and Holiday parties. They pay millions to lobbyists. Two of their pilots just showed gross incompetence by playing video games on their laptops when they were supposed to be landing a plan! They have had several in air incidents lately. They have the one of the worst on time records in the industry. Their customer service has gone down hill. They have cut service.

Could you imagine if this were a tale about Marta! Our lawmakers and northern suburbian residents would never ever get over it. Marta is branded, humiliated and mocked with everything it does wrong.

Ha, 2 Marta train operators were playing on a laptop and missed a stop? Just a sign of everything wrong with……

Whoops, forget that whole thing ever happened, that was a Delta incident. In fact the incident must have been stressful for poor Delta. They need a big hug, or as our Republican friends in the Georgia statehouse call it, another tax break.

DannyX

November 15th, 2009
11:55 am

Wow, the Georgia Express is great. Its probably great because the state subsidizes it. Yep that’s right, the good old state of Georgia. The same state that does not give a dime to marta. You make a great point ornery. Why is the state subsidizing transit in Cobb and Gwinnett? Where is the Tea Party when you need them? Luxury seating at taxpayer expense?????? What an outrage!!!!

This is so typical. The government handouts are great when you are on the receiving end. Fulton and DeKalb have funded marta with a special tax. Yet Cobb and Gwinnett sponge of marta and get special rights from the government.

Cutty

November 15th, 2009
12:58 pm

The only change in transportation in 8 years has been those stop lights on the ramps when you get on the highway. And the republican legislature is afraid of allowing the people to decide if they want to increase their own taxes to fund much needed transportation projects. Now thats limited government you can believe in. I won’t even go into Sunday liquor sales as thats off topic in a sense. But the same outcome with transportation. NADA.

DannyX

November 15th, 2009
2:22 pm

If Marta did expand into the suburbs I sure expect Marta to get the Georgia Power deal.

The current deed holders of Marta, Fulton and DeKalb counties, want Gwinnett and Cobb county to start paying right now. That’s right. Ante up. Even though expansion is just a concept I’m sure Cobb and Gwinnett expect the same deal Georgia Power is getting. Pay now, ride later, maybe.

Oh thats right, Marta doesn’t get the same special rights as Georgia Power, Delta and Atlanta Gas Light. Special hindrance more like it. Just last year the state legislature blocked a simple deal that would help Marta with its finances. Cost to state, zero.

Click it or Ticket

November 15th, 2009
3:47 pm

Ladies and Gentlemen here comes the push from our local law enforcement to raise money. They claim it’s for safety but we all that’s BS.

This is revenue generation… PERIOD !

David Axelfraud

November 15th, 2009
6:42 pm

DannyX writes: Marta is considered transit. 500,000 riders per day.

Huh, that’s a funny number DannyX. That’s exactly the number of people who live in Atlanta.

Can you please show proof of these so-called 500,000 people who ride MARTA everyday?

Moronta

November 15th, 2009
7:50 pm

We should invest in fur buses for the masses….

Brain

November 15th, 2009
10:26 pm

Repukes @ 10:22, do you drive only on toll roads? No? I didn’t think so. The idiotic retardican notion that transit has to be self-sufficient while roads are all “for the common good” is so flawed in it’s logic, it’s embarrassing.
I don’t drive on your traffic-choked Cobb County roads to your crappy arse Weiland Homes cul-de-sac community. Why should I pay for them? Or I-75? Or I-285? I never use them.

You, sir, are a douche.

twawki

November 16th, 2009
7:23 am

Well why use public transport when cars will be fitted with electronic tags and tracked either by satellite or roadside beacon. Charges would rise at times of peak congestion to around £1.50 a mile. So they’ll know where you are and be able to charge you more as well.

http://twawki.wordpress.com/

Jubal

November 16th, 2009
7:50 am

All you folks who use transit to bash the outlying counties and the republicans are just making sure that cooperation will be pushed back another generation. You act like you want to find a solution but you just want to make political hay out of the situation. What a joke you are!

[...] Some opinion: Kyle Wingfield says that, before moving on transit, we need to know where we’re going. [...]

Carrie

November 16th, 2009
9:03 am

How can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. All we have to do is retrace the steps we took when we built that obsolete MARTA mostrosity, and undo it.

Michael Halicki

November 16th, 2009
9:09 am

Good thoughts. Thanks for furthering the conversation.

over-it

November 16th, 2009
9:11 am

Nice idea but you are what about 10 years too late? If the politicians would stay out then maybe you can get some movement…The busses run too infrequently and the connections are awful – so tired of running from a bus to a train or vice versa when it would be all to easy for MARTA personel to COMMUNICATE instead of leaving passengers stranded…..It takes over an hour to go 8 miles for me every day. And you also have the pan-handling on the trains and at the stations – where are the MARTA police? No where to be found – and forget the Customer Service people – they are all congregated talking amongst themselves rather than paying attention as to what goes on at the stations! But being that there is no competition – why should anyone care? You are held hostage by MARTA til you start driving a car to work/carpool or move.

Ward

November 16th, 2009
9:24 am

The problem with public transit is that it’s a boondoggle… a bureaucratic license to steal. The Beltline started out as a modest proposal to repurpose existing rail lines in the city and now it’s a massive urban renewal project. The busses I see routinely run around town practically empty; there’s a reason the successful entrepreneur bus lines on Buford Hwy. use much smaller busses and run more often. The MARTA trains have become inhospitable linoleum cattle cars that cost ever more to ride even as we see operators texting while driving. And for the poster that wants to see them run MARTA up to Cumming or Marietta? Hey, they plan to extend the North Line to Roswell by 2027! Streetcars? Another urban decoration for Peachtree Street, and little else. And John Oxendine wants to spend billions blasting more freeways through Atlanta neighborhoods so he can drive to the airport quicker.

Atlanta was built on cars and cheap gas and the time for some magic bullet to solve all our transit problems is over. We need to reimagine the entire debate on transit… like finding ways to make telecommuting more ubiquitous. But that will only happen when politicians find a way to tax it.

Blah blah blah

November 16th, 2009
10:49 am

Really? If the right weren’t so anti-everything maybe we could fashion a transit system that worked while being affordable to both riders and the state. But why make that sort of effort? It’s not like Atlanta has a traffic problem!

Blah blah blah

November 16th, 2009
10:53 am

You know what I mean?

David Axelfraud

November 16th, 2009
11:09 am

Kyle, for all of the A T L’S problems, just be very thankful that your city is not Chicago. I have lived here for 3 years now and this place is an absolute mess. The school board commish was found shot in the head and laying face down in a river this morning. It is said that he was going to come out and support the GOP candidate, Kirk.

Follow the trail of corruption and it all leads to Obama Hussein.

David Axelfraud

November 16th, 2009
11:17 am

Blah blah blah, cool, so you and your lefty buddies can pay for the whole thing.

David Axelfraud

November 16th, 2009
11:19 am

Blah blah blah, how come you leftys always complain about right wingers giving money yet you leftys never give any money of your own?

Example: U2 performs concerts for world hunger and poverty. YET, it is documented that U2 never gives their own money to charity. Bono has been in a lot of trouble for tax evasion.

Liberalism is all about how other people can do this and that. Do as I say not as I do.

Jubal

November 16th, 2009
11:46 am

I am tired of the folks demanding that we give them more money so that they can keep wasting it, Getting money from the state means oversight and control from the state. Funding without control is not going anywhere.
MARTA is in financial trouble although its reliance on sales tax for funding is no surprise ( I hope).
Metro Atlanta needs a comprehensive plan to address traffic that includes roads and transit.
Are you ok with working with all the people in the metro, or only with your solution?

Bryan

November 16th, 2009
12:43 pm

MARTA is only in trouble like it is because there is no support. MARTA has already proven that it can make good financial and received a clean bill for deals it made. How do you expect an agency to grow with no money? Everyone wants faster service but don’t want to pay for it. There is a reason MARTA “sucks” as some people say it’s because there is no state funding. How do you expect to generate ridership with 600 buses in an area that should have more like 1100? That is why buses run every 30 and 40 minutes during rush hour on most routes. That is entirely too slow for an area like this. I’m not saying they should be every 5 minutes but 12 to 15 is definitely acceptable.

The people complain that the train goes no where but then you vote against having rail in your area. This isn’t just for those in Cobb, Clayton, and Gwinett this is for people in town. Look at Emory with no rail service or the NE part of Dekalb or even the SE part. It makes no sense to complain about the lack of MARTA services but then you don’t want to see it expand or help pay for it. MARTA isn’t going anywhere poin, blank, period. It is the trasit option for the city of Atlanta. How many cities do you see just getting rid of their main transit option?

MARTA rail and buses should have been in the counties where there is no transit or where they have started their own. Those agencies would be nothing without the city of Atlanta and connecting to MARTA. CCT and GCT have their buses that run most frequent connecting to MARTA. CCT #s 10 and 30 and GCT #10 all run 15 minutes during rush hours. Why not just have MARTA trains out there? You don’t have to deal with traffic and atleast you know that it will be a set time rather than with traffic and “I might get there I might not” because you don’t know how traffic is going to be.

No ATL isn’t the most dense but transit works here if people support it. There are plenty of areas (Emory, Atlantic Station, Cumberland) where transit especially rail would work and other areas where if a station is on a main therofare that people can park and ride and of course there are going to be local buses that feed into the rail just like the current MARTA system not to mention developers and employers wanting to be near rail and efficient bus service.

People just have to pay. Cobb, Clayton, and Gwinett have to pay and to be honest the entire metro area AND the state of Georgia. So many people have the argument that “I won’t use the service so I should have to pay.” I’m sure there are thousands of streets I’ll never drive down but my taxes pay for them. Heck look at it like this we all pay federal taxes right? Look at how many transit projects other areas are getting done with ATLANTA tax dollars? In NYC the new T train line, in D.C. and Miami the expansion of their rail systems, new rail systems in Phoenix and Charlotte. That’s how we stay on top as the capital of the south by supporting services. We are falling all because of ignorance, racial prejeduce, and stereotypes about transit.

kyle

November 16th, 2009
7:43 pm

And of course, highways are roads are not subsidized by anything either. Right. AS IF anything to do with cars is fully paid for by the user! Federal and State taxes support the road system too. No, gas taxes don’t completely cover road expenses. I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you fall on, but transportation should be about choice, and right now, the only way to live a good life in metro Atlanta (one where you can visit all areas of the city) is if you own a car and drive all the time. Forget left and right, isn’t America about freedom to choose? For anyone who thinks public transit is socialism, please watch this video: http://www.streetfilms.org/williamlind/

jm

November 17th, 2009
11:04 am

beverly scott is an idiot. they have more money than they know what to do with, just awful management…

banks

December 18th, 2009
2:25 am

500,000 people do ride marta. the same as the city pop. but you forgot fulton has 1,000,000 people and dekalb has 800,000. dont forget about cobb bus stops at the art center

JohnAtl

December 18th, 2009
10:35 am

jm – Beverly Scott is NOT an idiot, and we are very lucky to have her here. Just so you know, her peers have made her the head of Americans for Public Transit, the Industry umbrella group for all North American transit agencies.