Thursday, January 29, 2015

Atlanta's Transportation Barriers

Atlanta has had an issue with freeways for a long time.  Just yesterday an article from Curbed Atlanta reported out how freeways tore apart the fabric of the city in the 1950s.  (Also see the Institute for Quality Communities for some fun time series maps)

But that was just the start, it's been a long slow devolution in a region of highways, sprawl, and ridiculous county boundaries for a long time.  I remember in college reading Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full and thinking that the region was crazy, with lots of development leapfrogging and questionable deals.

The place sprawls like no other city and is hard to serve with transit due to freeway blockages and absent a grid or rationally organized street network.  Seems like MARTA CEO Keith Parker is working to fix it, but it's a long, very winding, road even if they end up reworking all the transit routes.

And the region could be the archetype for Chris Leinberger's favored quarter where much of the jobs march North as the Southern parts flounder. When I was at Reconnecting America, I did some work in Atlanta and for kicks made the chart below.  While not as stark as I thought it might be when I started pulling the numbers, it still shows the imbalance between jobs and where workers live.  Many low and moderate workers live in the southern part of the region while the vast majority of the jobs are above I-20.

And then look at where people who make low wages live...
And where they work...

VS. Where High Wage Workers Live
And where they work...

That to me is the biggest transportation issue.  Connecting low wage workers with low and moderate wage employment.  I wonder if the next SPLOST will address this more.


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