Ive got 99 problems but...
A problem that a hip hop artist has, that I also have and can relate to...
is not one.
I dont know why anyone is concerned about the safety of downtown. There is an army of highly trained hospitality and security specialists patrolling the streets on battery powered chariots.
City of Atlanta event spent an extra $2,000 to equip each Segway with extra cargo space to hold blankets that have been confiscated from the dangerous vagrants that roam and sleep on our streets.
"And this is the point in a post where we look at the word count and say, "Maybe the other news tidbits we learned should be discussed in a later post."
Considering this 148 page document was approved this morning, Id say Mr. Wheatley did a great job summarizing and encapsulating into one article for us readers to enjoy by close of business today. Good journalism as always, CL
You seem to be in favor of MARTA winning the contract to operate the Atlanta Streetcar. But maybe MARTA involvement in the streetcar project thus far has been more of a curse, than a blessing. From the link above: "MARTA so far has been heavily involved in the project’s engineering and design"
We know the project is already at least 6 months behind, and millions of dollars over budget. We also know MARTA has a difficult time ending up green on their financial reports.
Yes, in most cases transportation companies benefit from economies of size and scale. But look at the airline Jetblue, which has remained profitable over the years despite existing as a fraction of the size of other airlines, while still offering premium amenities.
Perhaps, and I reiterate, PERHAPS... MARTA's bid for the streetcar contract was the most competitive, and the City of Atlanta leveraged MARTA's competitive bid to negotiate the private contractor's bids in the city's favor.
Regarding your question about poor passenger convenience and operating efficiency as a result of an unconsolidated and balkanized public transit system, with three major players (MARTA heavy rail/bus, Atlanta Streetcar, and Beltline) going in different directions- consider this perspective:
when shopping for a car and negotiating a price with the dealership, you always get a better deal when you buy two or three cars at once. Not that I possess the wallet for such a transaction, being a 24 year old recent college graduate with an exorbitant amount of student loan debt. However I've heard stories about the wealthy getting ridiculous discounts on new vehicles at the dealership, simply because of their purchasing power and willingness to buy 2-3 cars at once.
"The city has purchased four streetcars, but current plans call for operating only two of them during service hours"
Might I suggest that the City of Atlanta is executing a long term strategy here. The city bought four streetcars at once in order to achieve a lower per-unit price. The additional two streetcars will eventually be used by the future Atlanta Beltline light rail transit project and can be utilized as spares before the Beltline needs them. The City of Atlanta will "pilot" or "test drive" a private contractor to operate the Atlanta streetcar for the next couple years. When the Beltline light rail transit project is ready, the city will have the flexibility to exercise two options:
1. Dump the private contractor and hand over streetcar and Beltline operations to MARTA.
2. Expand private contractor's role, allowing them to operate both streetcar and Beltline transit (Only if they do a good job from 2014-2016+)
If scenario #1 plays out, the city has 1 operator and there is no balkanization or fragmentation issues that could result in operating inefficiencies or passenger inconvenience.
If scenario #2 plays out, public transit will only be fragmented into two divisions- Marta and private contractor, with little to moderate risk for operating inefficiency and passenger inconvenience, but certainly not as risky as the triple operator scenario you portrayed in your original comment.
"This looks like another short-sighted and inexplicable decision by the City of Atlanta"
Maybe our dear elected officials and bureaucrats up at 44 Trinity Avenue are more business savvy than we give them credit for. However I do recognize and appreciate the importance of a "question man" like yourself, because without a watchdog holding business leaders and politicians accountable, we end up with a city like Atlanta.
I grew up in the suburbs, Roswell to be exact. There were three black people in my high school graduating class.
I was on the football team, and we used to travel in-town to play schools like MLK and Crim. State troopers escorted us into the visitor's locker room. There were metal detectors at the stadium gates. The scent of marijuana drifted down to the field from the stands. The home team's band played outkast songs.
That was the moment I realized, where I grew up WAS NOT Atlanta. Why then, did I tell everyone I met that I was from Atlanta, even though I had no clue what made Atlanta culturally unique from other places? It was a desperate attempt to find something, anything, that I could proudly call "home", somewhere historically, culturally, and economically relevant to "be from" and represent.
The suburbs suffer from a dysfunctional and humiliating identity crisis. I live inside the perimeter now and you couldn't pay me to go back. If anything, we should pity and sympathize for the poor suburbanites - they truly live a miserable existence, where the highlight of Johnny Suburb's weekend consists of getting the corner booth at olive garden for all-you-can-eat breadstick night. On the way home he instagrams a picture of a large wooden chicken with rotating eyes and a mechanical beak along the side of cobb parkway. He gets 1 like from his obnoxious hairy neighbor who just moved here from New Jawsey because of a job transfer to a Sherman Williams distribution center. One time, Johnny Suburbs tried explaining the reason why Atlanta has lots of distribution centers, because the good transportation infrastructure and abundant low cost warehouse space, only to be interrupted with a story about how back in Jawsey, a flock of seagulls dropped a dead cat in the advanced stages of decomposition on grandma's Cadillac. Sigh....
"anyone have a good precedent or novel idea that could work in the Ted graveyard?"
Lets build a 14 story building made out of solid marble, with no winders so cant nobody see whats a'goin on inside.
Then across the street from that, lets haul in a great big trailer home and stick it up on cinder blocks so cant nobody see the drainage ditch underneath it. The official State of Georgia Department of Driver Services can use the trailer as an office! They can help all their fellow Atlantans with their friendly services, such as printing drivers licences and stuff.
Then next to that, lets build a bright green Holiday Inn Express, with free continental breakfast in the mornin time.
Oh wait, all that stuff is already there. Along with an Olympic torch that got there somehow.
"what about connecting Medical Center or Dunwoody station across the top end to South Cobb? The "density gap" is much smaller on this route -- there's roughly 3 miles of low-density development between Roswell and New Northside Drive."
Your suggestion regarding an east-west line accross the north end is very enticing, especially when you look at the potential for a rail station at Roswell rd and 285 intersection. The area is home to a massive lower-middle class hispanic/latino community, who already utilize the MARTA bus lines. Plenty of daily ridership potential and high density residential development at this intersection to support a rail line.
I agree that it could alleviate 285 east/west congestion as well - more so if said rail line would begin at Doraville station to the east, run through medical center or Dunwoody, and end at the new ballpark site/cobb parkway/cumberland mall area. (Another high density area with availability of "daily riders", not just those commuting to and from Braves games.)
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