The NBA link is incorrect; it's about the APS trial.
Here's a correct link:
As has been alluded to over the last year about Marta station redevelopment, I hope shops, newspaper stands, etc. open both outside and inside the fare gates. Anything they can utilize, especially low hanging fruit, that increases convenience and applies best practices of systems like NYC's MTA, Japan Rail, etc will be a win-win. Here's another idea: why not sponsor a proper weekly farmer's market near one of the busiest stations, a la NYC's Union Square or Frankfurt's Konstablerwache? The more people hang around the stations, the more they will utilize them.
Regarding cleanliness, there are problems in both perception and reality. Many systems around the country (e.g. the NYC MTA, DC Metro, Miami Metrorail, SF Muni) are purchasing newer and better trains. They look great and feel clean, creating a positive impression and focal point. The Marta's rehabbed trains, while saving money, just look worn out and still break down sometimes. They remind me of the DC Metro's trains in the mid-90's. Combined with the tired, 70's-esque color scheme, faded signage, the bland concrete bunker feel of many Marta stations, etc, it's easy to perceive the system as out of date and unclean. The reality side is that easy improvements need to be made: pressure wash the stations, remove the weeds and vines along the system and at stations, apply fresh paint or tasteful color, fix the fare gates and signs, push for better advertising with wider appeal at stations / on trains than DUI lawyers and unplanned pregnancy workshops. For example, wouldn't event listings for concerts, sports, city events, campus events at GSU and GA Tech, etc. be more beneficial at stations like GSU and Midtown?
Also, customer service needs to operate on more rider-oriented hours, not just Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm. I once tried calling them at 5:30pm about an open broken fare gate at Inman Park, but since they were closed, had to email them and finally received a response 5 days later saying they'd look into it.
While they're doing a better job of keeping people from urinating in the stations, lack of security is still a problem. Besides the obvious safety aspect, I'm quickly seeing a return to people spitting and littering in stations, eating on trains, hawking junk out of their backpacks on the trains, listening to music loudly. All of those things drive choice riders away. Cleaning up the stations and enforcing good behavior gives people something to take pride in and will lead to cultural change sooner than later.
Regarding on-time performance, given that the rail system is basically a plus sign without multiple lines crossing at multiple stations and competing for platform space, there is no excuse for the trains not running on time, regardless of the frequency. The westbound Blue line is frequently late to the East Lake Marta Station, even though it's the only line at that station and there are only 4 stations before it. On-time performance could be improved by adding sufficient security to prevent people from holding the doors and maybe using some sort of incentive program (or threat of replacement) to reduce driver-based errors and maintain their schedules.
So far, we've learned from Deal that Carter isn't a "real" Georgian and that he doesn't care about Israel. I can't wait until complaints begin about Carter proposing ways to improve Georgia rather than take advantage of his position.
How's that ethics investigation coming along again?
According to the AJC article linked in the word "envisioned", there wasn't much interest in the site from life sciences companies and this is the first real offer. My guess is because pharmaceutical / medical companies would like to leave room for future expansion and a mixed-use development on the rest of the site puts a cramp in that.
Part of the initial allure of the takeover was the potential to develop around the Marta station. While film/tv jobs and services for the homeless are something, if this happens, I hope Atlanta turns the remaining 142 acres into a mixed-use town/community. Considering the 2.1 million sq. ft. Ponce City Market sits on only 16 acres, the sky's the limit with this space. Otherwise, they're wasting a great opportunity at an underutilized station.
The NS letter was likely just a front; it sounds like someone had already gotten to the Commissioners behind closed doors. The half-cent isn't intended to have support, Norfolk Southern and CSX are intentionally hard to work with and they have strong lobbyists; just ask Amtrak. My suggestion: build around them and keep going.
If the majority of Clayton residents do support the full cent, as reported, this sounds like a golden opportunity to replace some Commissioners in the next election...
FYI, here are the notes sent out on the watch party's Facebook page last night. #4 is especially important. Have fun!
A couple of notes:
1. Normal Piedmont rules are in effect. Coolers, chairs, blankets are OK. Glass is not.
2. We will have cold water at our tent (as long as it lasts) but you might want to bring your own.
3. Try to use public transportation as much as possible for tomorrow's watch party. Parking will be limited, the Atlanta PD will be directing traffic. So take MARTA if at all possible. Midtown Station is closest. Just walk east on 10th Street.
4. This is being put on by a COMPLETELY volunteer organization. We will have to personally pick up every scrap of trash. Anything you can do to help us leave the park clean would be appreciated.
5. If this is your first experience with Terminus Legion, we welcome you! Please take a look at our website and ENJOY! If you like what we are about, feel free to join on our website.
6. This will be a fun event. Be kind to your neighbor on the lawn. We plan to stand, cheer, chant, sing, and enjoy. Be respectful and we will all have a great time.
Along with the usual suspects (Brewhouse, Midway, Der Biergarten...), Big Sky Buckhead will be holding a viewing party, too.
Thomas or anyone else: Has anyone seen clarification about what you can or can't bring to the Terminus Legion event tomorrow, ie food, drinks, chairs, etc? I realize the Park Tavern is there, but imagine the crowd will be well spread out over the park.
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