Friday, February 9, 2007

Transit Space Race Update: Atlanta

I missed these articles but it is a good example of whats going on in the space race, specifically that folks in Atlanta are worried that other southeastern cities are going to eat their lunch.

A recent article in the Gwinnet Daily Post claims other cities are leapfrogging Atlanta for transit supremacy in the Southeast.

While Atlanta’s inner core has been served for decades by the MARTA rail system, efforts to connect the city with its more distant suburbs via commuter rail service have languished. As a result, smaller Southeastern cities like Nashville and Charlotte, N.C. — which now features light rail — have moved ahead of Atlanta in offering commuters an alternative to driving on clogged highways. "They’re beginning to outstrip the transportation hub of the Southeast,’’ said Emory McClinton of Atlanta, a member of the State Transportation Board and longtime proponent of commuter rail.

In December, the former king of Road Warriors in Atlanta had this to say in an Op-Ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

How then does Georgia expect to compete for industry and jobs against cities such as Miami, Charlotte, Nashville, Dallas, Denver, and Orlando, whose transportation alternatives are more than a decade ahead of Georgia's? Commuter rail just started operating in Nashville. Denver, Dallas and Portland have light rail in operation, while Charlotte is in the advanced stages of comprehensive regional alternative transportation planning.

Hopefully Atlanta wakes up from its congestion creation machine soon. They do have some interesting projects going on including the Beltline, The Brain Train, The Peachtree Streetcar and the embattled Lovejoy Commuter Rail. Those will help but a possible expansion of MARTA along with other improvements would go a long way.


DSK said...

I don't think that Atlanta is in any danger yet of having their lunch eaten in the mass transit arena. Like you mentioned, there are several interesting projects trying to get off the ground. But it is true that *Gwinnett County* is in more serious trouble. I imagine the impetus for that article is that it goes along nicely with the new push for reserved-guideway mass transit in Gwinett. They majorly missed the boat in 1990, and they have a lot of catching up to do. The economics and demographics of Gwinett have changed drastically since 1990, so I think the support is there for approving a good reserved-guideway solution - IF they can wrangle the money for it.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Yeah i saw an article recently about expanding MARTA. Also i read the OTA report from 1970 on the politics behind MARTA. It's rediculous that they didn't build out the system. It would have been on par with Washington Metro but i guess we won't know until they build out.