Your morning jolt: Think about a new interstate through east Atlanta, says Oxendine

While examining the Atlanta mayoral race yesterday, I picked up a call from a friend who was more interested in the Republican contest for governor.

The topics merged when I was told that state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine had figured out a way to neutralize many of the Democratic votes that come out of the city year after year after year.

It’s very simple. You pave over them, by building another interstate through Atlanta’s east side, roughly parallel with the current Downtown Connector.

Manuel’s Tavern, of course, would deserve its own exit.

With a laser pointer, Oxendine explains his thinking in a video on his campaign web site, at about the 4:30-minute mark:

Oxendine’s Transportation Solution from Team Ox TV on Vimeo.

Says the Ox:

”One thing we’ve got to address is the [Downtown] Connector. Everyone agrees the Connector is beyond capacity.

“You cannot widen the Connector. Some people say we should double-stack it. Some people say we should tunnel under it.

“I think we should study and look at the possibilities of actually doing a parallel connector.

“If you look here at the map, you can actually see we could build a connector — a parallel connector — running from the 400/85 corridors, going through this area…

“This area,” according to Oxendine’s laser point, is most of east Atlanta. But to continue:

…cross over I-20, let people come into Turner field or Downtown Atlanta and also go down here to 285, to swing into the back door of the Hartsfield airport.

Now, that is going to be very controversial. There are a lot of people living in some of those areas.

This is something that, we’re simply saying, we need to sit down and honestly look at it. We to explore and see how feasible is this. DOT did studies on this decades ago, and it was mothballed.

But such a new connector, Oxendine said, would have the advantage of giving North Georgia access to the state’s largest airport without a messy trip through downtown Atlanta.

On another topic, the Associated Press is reporting that Thurbert Baker has a new deadline:

Georgia’s attorney general has until Oct. 10 to file a written response to an appeal by the lawyers for Troy Davis.

This latest action by a U.S. district judge signals it could be several months before the high-profile death row inmate gets a court hearing on his claims of innocence.

Since being convicted of killing a Savannah police officer in 1991, several witnesses have recanted testimony in the Davis-case. Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court ordered a federal court in Savannah to hear the Davis claim of innocence.

A couple years ago, Baker got crossways with many African-American leaders when he insisted that his legal duties wouldn’t allow him to drop his pursuit of appeals against Genarlow Wilson, who was sent to prison for, as a 17-year-old, engaging in consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.

One wonders if Baker will be under similar pressure in this case.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Black agenda’ memo stirs mayor race.
  • Nearly six in 10 Georgia banks are in the red.
  • GOP candidate for governor finishing 1,000-mile trek to Capitol.
  • AARP Georgia to hold town hall on health reform.
  • Ga. Power cleared to shift funds to bottom line.
  • Social services workers face furloughs.
  • Women mugged near Georgia Tech campus.
  • City replaces ‘Marin’ Luther King sign.
  • Troy Davis case treads new legal ground.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Jim Wooten begs: Please don’t come tax my co-cola.
  • Two small businessmen worry — but disagree.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • Access North Georgia: Deal addresses ethics complaint again.
  • And beyond:

  • WP: Obama keeps Bush’s search policy for travelers.
  • NYT: Abuse issue puts the CIA and Justice Department at odds.
  • WSJ: Reversal on Senate succession stirs a Massachusetts storm.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    139 comments Add your comment

    GoOx

    August 28th, 2009
    9:29 am

    Thats leadership from my man Ox. Once again he is looking out for the ordinary citizens of Georgia. Just like he does by keeping his office open until 7:00. Real practical solutions for real problems.

    He doesn’t line his own pockets, like Deal, Real Steal. Even Wooten agrees with me on Real, Deal, Steal

    good grief

    August 28th, 2009
    10:09 am

    “He doesn’t line his own pockets,”

    Yes, yes he does.

    Agent007

    August 28th, 2009
    10:10 am

    Ox doesn’t explain why he prefers building roads instead of alternatives like rail, which would be more economical and less polluting in the long run. Building even more roads seems insane and would only fill up with cars and add more congestion very quickly, especially if they aren’t tolled.

    Another counterpoint to a statement he made in his video: the residents along 400 and I-85 *could* take the subway. They’re forced to take the highway.

    Agent007

    August 28th, 2009
    10:11 am

    Correction to previous comment: I mean they’re *not* forced to take the highway to the airport.

    GoOx

    August 28th, 2009
    10:11 am

    GG, false accusations hurled at the front runner in this race. My man Ox holds himself to the highest moral standard.

    Dash Riptide

    August 28th, 2009
    10:12 am

    Pave over densely populated areas of Atlanta for the sake of those just passing through?

    It’s as if Barnes is paying Oxendine to run.

    frank

    August 28th, 2009
    10:12 am

    Thats funny, if they think that the people who can afford to live in the historic areas of L5P, Candler Park, Inman Park, Midtown, the Highlands and the rapidly changing EAV, Kirkwood and East Lake will let this happen they have another thing coming. My wife is an attorney and almost every attorney she knows lives in these areas. Every Emory Alum we know has moved into these areas. We live in one of these areas and the reason we do is because of the traffic OTP. More roads are not the solution. I ride my bike to work and if they think that razing neighborhoods so the exurbanites can continue to waste gas is the solution they are mistaken. Wasnt this attempted before? Isnt it now the park and trail system that surrounds the Carter Center? Shouldnt we finish the beltline and do something to benifit the taxpaying residents of these areas instead of tearing down there homes?

    GoOx

    August 28th, 2009
    10:13 am

    007 – My man Ox knows people will not ride rail, show where it has worked as a viable alternative for transportation, and has not required massive subsidies.

    frank

    August 28th, 2009
    10:16 am

    GoOX-You havent noticed the huge road, car and oil infrastructure subsidies that this country takes part in.

    Kotter

    August 28th, 2009
    10:19 am

    Everything old is new again. Go through the archives, wasn’t this idea proposed in the 70’s. I-385 or something? there was a large swath of Morningside which was razed and ultimately used for high voltage power lines.

    Reid in EAV

    August 28th, 2009
    10:21 am

    It’s official. I hate this man with everything in my being. I am going to show up at his campaign rallies to yell obscenities at him at the top of my lungs.

    Reid in EAV

    August 28th, 2009
    10:22 am

    Also: Adding roadway capacity to “cure” congestion is like letting out your belt to “cure” obesity.

    jcatl

    August 28th, 2009
    10:26 am

    He’s on crack if he thinks he’s going to raze high dollar in-town neighborhoods for a new highway that will be filled beyond capacity within 2 years. The politicians in this state keep bringing knives to a gun fight. We need transit vision beyond more paving and more lanes. Sure tunnel underneath the connector but use it for more Marta lines that actually go somewhere.

    L5Pdweller

    August 28th, 2009
    10:27 am

    The OTPers are just jealous of the gentrification of the east side of Atlanta. Other than the Liberals it’s a great place to live! We don’t have problem with traffic and have an abundance of amenities. Where else in the city can you walk from your house to your choice of restaraunts? Where else in the city can you easily bike to open green space like Piedmont park and Freedom Park?

    sbg

    August 28th, 2009
    10:30 am

    Oxendine is crazy if he thinks another connector is the solution. I’m rooting for a different John… John Monds… http://www.VoteMonds.com

    Let the private sector come into play a little bit here and show the government how things can really be done. I would bet plenty of people would be willing to pay a toll to bypass Atlanta from 85 to 75 or vice versa, or various other bypasses as well. Or let a private company double stack the freeways and charge a toll to travel on the upper or lower level or whatever.

    Glenn

    August 28th, 2009
    10:30 am

    Why doesn’t the AJC have a conservative answer to Luckovich? The guy is such a tool of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy that it isn’t even funny.

    Agent007

    August 28th, 2009
    10:31 am

    “GoOx”: I also meant that rail to be used for transporting goods instead of big rig trucks on new highways. Why do you think Warren Buffet bought shares of rail companies recently? Besides, the large numbers of folks in East Atlanta won’t want their homes and neighborhoods destroyed simply for another highway either.

    CommonSense

    August 28th, 2009
    10:34 am

    If he wants an idea everyone can get behind it would be a MARTA station at Turner Field. If wants to make it easier to get to the Airport, why not put an Airport in Dunwoody?

    Or how about double stacking the connector, but have NO exits, only entrance ramps. Get on and get out of town.

    Dash Riptide

    August 28th, 2009
    10:36 am

    It’s not nearly as nice as L5Pdweller suggests. Everybody here actually wishes they lived in Duluth. Honest.

    PS to L5Pdweller – Ix-nay!

    Reid in EAV

    August 28th, 2009
    10:36 am

    OK, I apologize for the ad hominem, but this just has me unspeakably angry.

    And yes, the DOT did study that extensively in the 60s. The original plan was to link what is now 400 with 675 via a separate north/south right of way through East Atlanta / West Dekalb and tie that up with an East/West corridor from downtown to Stone Mountain via a huge stack interchange.

    The land that was cleared for the East/West route, of course, is now Freedom Parkway, Freedom Park and the Carter Center. Jimmy, God bless him, killed the original plan by dropping his presidential library (aka The Carter Center) right where the spaghetti-junction-style interchange was supposed to go. Can you imagine an even MORE sprawled out and freeway’d Atlanta?

    Anyway, this is just bluster. For as organized as Morningside and Va-Hi and Druid Hills were in the 70s and 80s (when the Presidential Parkway was killed), there’s even more organization, activism and money there now (which is probably why this GOP tool wants to pave it.) Not ever gonna happen.

    Perplexed

    August 28th, 2009
    10:37 am

    If Mr Oxendine thinks that putting a highway through the east side of atlanta is really a good idea then I question how in touch he is with the pulse of Atlanta and altogether question his credibility as a civic leader. They tried doing this same thing in the 70’s by running a highway through the highlands that would connect to 400. They even started clearing land and demolishing houses for it. Its why we now have freedom parkway and the carter center where they are. It languished in the courts for years and was stopped dead by a grass roots effort of intown residnts and eventually killed by Jimmy Carter (then governor) by decree. That was at a time when intown neighborhoods had fallen on hard times and property values and political will were were both at all time lows. Just try putting a highway now through a vibrant, affluent, politically active and culturally important area and see what happens.

    AtlantaFan

    August 28th, 2009
    10:43 am

    More Roads. More Roads. More Roads!!! When will the Republicans learn this is NOT the answer. I have to believe their voters also agree with me here. That more roads will just increase more traffic. Please! Get this train off the ground, the rails are already there. Pour money into that. More trains, less cars , less smog! Please voters, do the right thing. I can’t take 4-8 more years of GOP rule in this state. Test scores have went from bad to worse, traffic is horrible, furlough days are running rampart.

    atlpaddy

    August 28th, 2009
    10:47 am

    And how about we put a methane plant where Ox’s house is? Just make sure the dumb@ss is still in his house when the demolition crew shows up.

    Herb

    August 28th, 2009
    10:49 am

    Oxendine must not have heard about the battle that intown neigborhoods fought and won against the GA DOT in the 70’s and 80’s over a freeway passing through the very area he is referring to. Why would he think that it would be an easier go now?

    CommonSense

    August 28th, 2009
    10:50 am

    “Test scores have went from bad to worse”? “running rampart” You’re obviously not qualified to speak about the quality of education in the state.

    [...] to Jim Galloway) var linkwithin_site_id = 36181; (function () { var elem = document.createElement(’script’); [...]

    [...] to Jim Galloway) var linkwithin_site_id = 36181; (function () { var elem = document.createElement(’script’); [...]

    Will Jones - Atlanta

    August 28th, 2009
    11:01 am

    Oxendine:

    “people don’t want to come to a state that has some of the worst transportation in the entire country, and that’s what we have right here in the State of Georgia.”

    Actually, those of us who regularly drive on the highways and byways of Atlanta and Georgia know our roads and transportation are superior to any other of the 48 states, and likely infinitely better than Maine or Alaska, of which I have no experience.

    Oxendine:

    “we can’t pit one part of the state against another part of the state”

    He then spends the majority of his presentation arguing against driving to or through Our State’s Capital City: Atlanta, and for paving much of one-half of it.

    What a clown!

    It is no mystery that he pronounces “either,” incorrectly, in the monarchist/papist manner proscribed, for good reason, by the lexicographer of the American language, Noah Webster.

    The “rail system” of which The People of Georgia should soon make “Sirens and Lights” Oxendine, a poor, corrupt fool with the emotional I.Q. of an eight-year-old, “intimately” familiar, is the one upon which he should be placed to be “run out of town.”

    Any who thinks Oxendine “good” or a “man,” is neither.

    Will Jones - Atlanta

    August 28th, 2009
    11:03 am

    errata “47 states I’ve traveled” not “48 states”

    Rail

    August 28th, 2009
    11:04 am

    Maria Saporta talks about rail today:

    http://saportareport.com/blog/?p=1643

    RJ

    August 28th, 2009
    11:32 am

    Ox lines his pockets with insurance industry money. The man is incredibly dishonest. The new highway idea makes as much sense as redrawing the GA-TN line.
    Do you want real solutions while securing the nation? Promote alternative transport. Get people out of their petrol-burning cars and get them in trains and on bikes. Real leadership to achieve these goals is what’s needed. Thus far, no gubernatorial candidate possesses that ambitious vision.

    Steve

    August 28th, 2009
    11:32 am

    Briliant! Exercise eminent domain over some of the most expensive real estate in the city and further bankrupt city coffers when it comes time to pay road contractors, compensate residents for the “right” to displace them, and respond to their neighbors’ lawsuits – all for the “noble” purpose of making it easier for all the losers in Gwinnett to get to the airport and Turner Field.

    Too bad there’s no cure for Oxendine’s brand of myopia.

    Dave

    August 28th, 2009
    11:37 am

    How about we just make it that much harder to get a driver’s license? Perhaps even make it so that you actually need to learn how to read? That would eliminate roughly half the drivers in Clayton, DeKalb, Douglas and Rockdale Counties, and about three-quarters of those who live between i-20 and Fairburn (why do they need to drive anyway? It’s not like they have jobs they need to get to!).

    Donald Baxter

    August 28th, 2009
    11:38 am

    At least the people of Atlanta will NEVER have to really worry about this proposal getting off the ground. The last inner city freeway was built in Los Angeles 20 years ago (I-110) and there will surely be no more. Thankfully our shameful legacy of destroying our inner cities by community destroying highways is over. And Oxendine, his brain transplanted in a bumblebee–the bee would fly backwards.

    20 Years in ATL

    August 28th, 2009
    11:39 am

    When I moved here 20 years ago I wondered why the connector existed. Why didn’t 75 and 85 have a straight path North and South. With a cross section patterns of roads or small high ways between the two. I now know that there are communities that would be demolished. The answer was and is expand MARTA and light rail. Everyone in this corridor must learn to leave their cars at home. Cut down emissions and use rapid transit when they arrive at their destinations.

    Josh

    August 28th, 2009
    11:39 am

    ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL DAY IN BLACKLANTA!!! THANK YOU THUGS.

    Another robbery near Georgia Tech campus
    2 mugged at same intersection less than 24 hours before latest incident. 10:03 a.m.

    Girl, 4: ‘My whole family is dead’ 9 mins

    Shooting victim fights for life 9:00 a.m.

    Boy, 5, hit by car in Marietta 9:42 a.m.

    Kidnapped girl hidden 18 years | Photos

    3rd arrest in violent invasion 9:48 a.m.

    2 teens shot at bus stop 8:31 a.m.

    Dan Dawg

    August 28th, 2009
    11:44 am

    This guy is a joke. He even talks/sounds like a weasel.

    I agree on two points, but they’re not his ideas:

    - Build a northern arc north of Lake Lanier. This would benefit the carpet mills in Dalton and the chicken processing plants in Gainesville.

    - The Fall Line Freeway. Make it I-18, since it’s the first east-west interstate south of I-20. Extend it to Montgomery (or to Auburn, then 18/85 to Montgomery) and then to Meridian, which would create a true I-20 alternative.

    The other ideas here are a joke.

    Mike

    August 28th, 2009
    11:46 am

    So finish I-675 as originally proposed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_675_%28Georgia%29

    That’s not innovative thinking. That’s old-school thinking. 30 years old school.

    Also, if anyone remembers the fight over “I-485″ (which became the greatly scaled down Freedom Parkway) in the 80s, this fight would make that look friendly. Bad idea from a politician who’s only interest is securing votes form the base in the suburbs over those of us who live in the city that makes the whole region work.

    And the cost? If property owners are to get fair market value, even in the depressed economic climate today, it would still have to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Jeffisonline

    August 28th, 2009
    11:46 am

    From Wikipedia, “At one time, Georgia 400 was to connect to Interstate 675 in southeast DeKalb county; however, residents in northern DeKalb did not want the highway to cut through their neighborhoods, and a freeway revolt ensued, ending when Jimmy Carter had the plan terminated while he was governor of Georgia. This freeway was to be known as Interstate 475 (a number now used for the Macon bypass), a parallel route to the Downtown Connector which is just a few miles or kilometers further west through downtown and midtown. The point where this road would have had its interchange with the also-doomed Interstate 485 (now Freedom Parkway and Georgia 10 to Stone Mountain Expressway) is now the site of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. A later routing of I-485 would have had that number running from the Downtown Connector (I-75/85), west to the current library, then up what is now 400.”

    Hats off to Jimmy Carter.

    Fred

    August 28th, 2009
    11:51 am

    Oxendine is beyond stupid. He is off the scale. Once the public hears his tweety voice in a campaign he’s dead as a candidate.

    True grit

    August 28th, 2009
    12:02 pm

    Oxendine is leading in every poll. He has the largest grassroots organization in the state. He is the only candidate to announce a comprehensive Contract with Georgia.

    LB

    August 28th, 2009
    12:05 pm

    The parallel connector idea won’t be allowed, and its not a good idea. However, getting more trucks away from Atlanta is a great idea, especially if we are to have more manufacturing elsewhere in the state. Getting the trucks away from 285 and other routes will make the connector more open and accessible, and it will be help traffic in the north and east metro generally. The two biggest traffic factors are trucks and exit only lanes. These issues can be addressed without building more highways ITP or in the immediate OTP. The ideas of the West Georgia connector and Mid State Fall Line Connector would greatly help traffic in Atlanta, and then the focus there can be on mass transit.

    David

    August 28th, 2009
    12:09 pm

    I’m rooting for John Monds, the Libertarian. Ox is a joke.

    I live in Alpharetta… it seems to me that I can get on 285 to BYPASS Atlanta pretty easily, or I can hop on MARTA at North Springs. Is he really sure I only have one route that I can take?

    Billy

    August 28th, 2009
    12:10 pm

    He’s obviously never been to any of these neighborhoods or met any of residents.

    Donald Baxter

    August 28th, 2009
    12:13 pm

    More like a comprehensive contract *against* Georgia. The place has so much going for it and so much wrong at the same time I’m pretty sure it won’t stand Oxendine. Oxendine will certainly kill the place off… he’ll be your Mark Sanford.

    bbb

    August 28th, 2009
    12:13 pm

    I don’t love Marta…but using common sense and going to other large cities..we need to expand our rail use. We need stations in conventient places, commuter trains, and bike and green paths, not more highways. This same thinking is what has made Atlanta one of the worst commutes and ugly with 10 lane highways. Trains, trains, trains…that go somewhere!

    I should be running for governor

    August 28th, 2009
    12:20 pm

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein

    You’re transportation plan won’t alleviate Atlanta’s transportation nightmare. Interstate building is what brought on the nightmare. This proposal is like a reoccurring nightmare that we have to hear every four years. You’re proposal will include more paving over our communities, more congestion, more pollution, more blight and result with a tremendous piece of road infrastructure that will cost us dearly.

    And a SECOND connector? It’s obvious the first one worked so well! I believe Atlanta learned its lesson with the first Connector. Perhaps we should build a 14 lane connector through your hometown of Lilburn. Are we building our cities for people or for cars?

    Rather than wasting money on more of the same, we should be building commuter rail in Atlanta, connect our major cities by high speed rail and expand MARTA. There’s a real transportation solution. You want to go make Georgia the economic capital of the country? Go visit NYC, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and copy what they’re doing in the field of transportation. You’re proposal looks like you drew it up yourself.

    Any transportation planner will tell you that building more roads and interstates won’t reduce demand, rather it will increase it.

    Zeb

    August 28th, 2009
    12:37 pm

    Sounds like Oxendine is pandering to powerful road builders, developers, and contractors, who have basically run the state for decades and who probably support Barnes. Road building is fixated in the minds of Georgia’s retrograde politicians as the ultimate goal and highest purpose of government. Nevermind the fact that building more roads is now so costly that it is almost impossible. Where will the money come from in a state that has to furlough it’s teachers and has one of the highest unemployment rates (and bank failure rates) in the country? Do they expect the feds to cough up the billions when the U.S. is already in hock up to it’s eyeballs? This state cannot even afford to cut the grass on the highway medians now, and here is Oxendine promising pie in the sky highway projects. He and the rest of the backward thinking politicians need to fly to Spain, Singapore, Japan, China and witness 21st century transportation systems based on efficiency and rational thinking. Also, there is a basic fallacy–repeated endlessly as the mantra of “economic development” –that attracting millions of new residents to Georgia (often low paid laborers who compete with GA’s existing work force) is somehow a good thing. Uncontrolled growth is not the solution to all our problems, it is the cause of all our problems.

    George Dienhart

    August 28th, 2009
    12:48 pm

    This is yet another example of finding a GOOD solution that doesnt involve buying more trains that nobobody rides- way to go team Ox
    http://atlantapoliticsonline.blogspot.com/2009/08/transportation.html

    Name One

    August 28th, 2009
    1:05 pm

    Hey GoOx, even very conservative cities such as Salt Lake, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Houston are building or have built commuter rail and light rail. Our main competitor for business, Charlotte, is building rail.

    Guess you’ve never been real cities, like Chicago, Portland, Boston. We can’t road build our way out of gridlock. Yep, it would be fought against by the big road building companies like CW Matthews who own our state rep’s and state senators. CW Matthews and the other road builders expect huge contracts from GDOT. It’s just another form of welfare, corporate welfare.

    John Oxendine, if you want to fix transportation in Georgia, rail is much more important than just more capacity.