Yes on public transport, no on Atlanta streetcar

I’ll admit to not having pored over the data about the alleged benefits of the Atlanta streetcar. To me, it seems like another bad idea for downtown aimed at our city’s favorite demographic — tourists.

How many Atlantans traverse between the King Center and Centennial Park? About as many who visit such downtown institutions as the Hard Rock Cafe and Hooter’s.

Is there any evidence the streetcar will alleviate traffic? Projections, maybe, but such estimations tend to be wildly optimistic. A claim that a streetcar will create “more than 5,600 jobs over the next 20 years” has already been debunked.

Hopefully I’m wrong, but, considering the recent history of downtown planning, you’d have to be naive not to be skeptical.

 

Meh-lanta

A sobering thought for anyone who cares about Atlanta:

An expert in land use and urban development, Leinberger outlined how metro Atlanta has fallen out of favor nationally as a business hub and is now competing with cities like Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Dallas, cities once overshadowed by Atlanta.

My hometown, competing with Orlando West, Romenyville and the city that houses George W. Bush’s presidential library? Next stop Birmingham, and we’ll get there sooner than you think if the tea party’s campaign to defeat the imperfect Transportation Investment Act is successful.

Streetcar skepticism

I understand the Atlanta streetcar is part of a broader transportation plan including the Beltline. Hopefully it all comes together. But I remain skeptical of the city’s promises, and its priorities.

The streetcar, which links Centennial Olympic Park to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, is, like most everything else downtown, aimed at tourists. Remember when Shirley cracked down on panhandlers in the “tourist triangle?” Those who actually lived and worked downtown were left to fend for themselves in favor of conventioneers and SEC football fans.

PolitiFact recently debunked the claim a streetcar will create “more than 5,600 jobs over the next 20 years.” We’ll have to wait and see whether it revitalizes struggling downtown neighborhoods (though Edgewood is rebounding quite nicely without it).

That’s what they said when the new Olympic stadium was built. Fifteen years later, Summerhill is in worse shape than ever, though it does have a nice miniature golf course gathering dust, at taxpayer’s expense.

If only it was located in the tourist triangle.

Again, I hope I’m wrong. Unlike Fanplex, the streetcar project has some merit. How much remains to be seen.

Enduring Clusterfuck

Atlanta’s symbol should be a red light, our slogan: “Welcome to Atlanta, the anti-Germany.”

As in anti-efficiency. I was on the road much of the day, ostensibly driving. In reality I was sitting at traffic light after bloody (as in red) traffic light, dreaming of 100 uninterrupted yards of pavement.

The Georgia Department of Transportation, taking a break from the 5,000th repaving of the Downtown Connector, is reportedly “actively synchronizing traffic signalization along state routes in the metro area.” Could’ve fooled me.

GDOT even boasts of national recognition for its work in this area. Recognized by whom, the anti-synchronization lobby?

Atlanta also has an initiative to coordinate roads in the city — just like they had an initiative to fix all the potholes.

Perhaps it’s time to buy a bike.

Courtesy of Delta

Delta Air Lines is responding to a firestorm of criticism emerging from an incident on Monday in which a group of U.S. soldiers returning home from deployment in Afghanistan was charged $200 each for extra bags on a connecting flight to Atlanta. …

In the video posted on YouTube, O’Hair explained that his fourth bag was a weapons case for a grenade launcher, rifle and pistol.

Perhaps Nathan Deal will surprise us

He’s been shady but, judging by his inaugural speech, Nathan Deal may not be a total *Sonny after all.

“For violent and repeat offenders, we will make you pay for your crimes. For other offenders who want to change their lives, we will provide the opportunity to do so with Day Reporting Centers, Drug, DUI and Mental Health Courts and expanded probation and treatment options. As a State, we cannot afford to have so many of our citizens waste their lives because of addictions. It is draining our State Treasury and depleting our workforce…..”

Highway congestion, especially in the Greater Atlanta area is a deterrent to job growth in the region. If we do not solve this problem soon, we will lose the businesses who want to expand or locate in our State. I am dedicated to working with all elements of government to improve our transportation system and I call on all Georgians to join us. We must put aside some of the regional differences of the past and work for the common good of our State.

*Sonny: A corrupt, ineffectual governor

Obama ate my homework

Gov. H. Dumpty, who’s fattened his wallet but accomplished little else in two terms as Georgia’s chief executive, says President Obama is to blame for the state’s incoherent transportation policy.

Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office said he wasn’t responsible for any transportation shortcomings.

“It is clear the Obama administration has its operatives traveling the country in a last-ditch effort to try and find someone to blame for their failed policies,” Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said. “While the blame game may be alive and well inside the Washington, D.C., Beltway, Georgia voters are smart enough to recognize a con job when they see it.

Next he’ll be blaming Obama if the fish don’t bite at the state-funded “Go Fish Center” being constructed down the road from Perdue’s Houston County home.

The good news? Georgia’s most ineffectual governor ever has only a few months left to, well, do nothing. Unfortunately, odds are good his replacement will be worse.