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Old 12-21-2014, 08:22 PM
 
27 posts, read 28,082 times
Reputation: 28

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Wow. Can you imagine what the MARTA bus system could have done with that $100 million? Better stops, more frequents routes, perhaps even a dedicated bus lane or two around town. The argument against the downtown streetcar and future build outs of mixed-traffic streetcars isn't so much about the viability of this technology, but about the massive opportunity costs of forgoing more flexible and proven alternatives.

That's the thing with light rail. When it works, it works fantastically. The (future) Beltline transit plan will be an amazing and useful addition to this city. It will create greater diversity for travel options and actually build convenience for commuters and city dwellers alike. This justifies the expensive cost.

The downtown street car, on the other hand, has boondoggles written all over it. Mixed-traffic light rail simply won't work in a city so auto dependent. There are two basic advantages often tallied about:

1) Spurs an increase in private investment along the line that would otherwise not be there
2) Creates connections with the future streetcar/light rail expansion in the city

This first advantage seems to me to be a specious claim, and ignores the whole opportunity cost aspect of these things. Additional bike lane construction and increased and improved bus service would also increase private development. Developers want a level of permanency? Fine, create permanent bus stops with ticket kiosks and schedule displays. Increase marketing for the buses. Create a separate bus line to market directly to millennials. DC did this and it worked great. There are plenty of options.

The second advantage can easily be done by buses at a more reasonable cost. Atlanta will never be able to effectively utilize their heavy rail system (and future light rail options) without a significant increase in the usage of the bus system. Buses cannot be beat when it comes to flexibility of usage and cost. Every major city in America has a bus system heavily used by their citizens. I loved taking the bus in DC. Plus, buses are equitable: they serve a greater swath of the population and are far less politically volatile. The process of mixing streetcars with existing auto traffic creates handicapped buses, that cannot maneuver around inconvenient objects. This screws up the system for everyone.

Transit advocates need to stand up and take notice that these mixed-traffic streetcars are boondoggles. They're an almost complete waste of vital resources and they do very little to help the people that need a greater selection of transit options.

 
Old 12-21-2014, 09:04 PM
 
Location: North Atlanta
5,419 posts, read 3,817,421 times
Reputation: 2968
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohhsweetconcord View Post
Wow. Can you imagine what the MARTA bus system could have done with that $100 million?
Most of that $100 million came from a TIGER grant that the Feds would never have awarded to Atlanta had it been proposed for bus service.

Last edited by Gulch; 12-21-2014 at 09:20 PM..
 
Old 12-21-2014, 09:16 PM
 
Location: The big blue yonder...
1,998 posts, read 3,028,651 times
Reputation: 1013
Yeah... Sometimes it's embarrassing around here
 
Old 12-22-2014, 05:04 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
23,317 posts, read 17,490,739 times
Reputation: 5401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohhsweetconcord View Post
Wow. Can you imagine what the MARTA bus system could have done with that $100 million? Better stops, more frequents routes, perhaps even a dedicated bus lane or two around town. The argument against the downtown streetcar and future build outs of mixed-traffic streetcars isn't so much about the viability of this technology, but about the massive opportunity costs of forgoing more flexible and proven alternatives.

That's the thing with light rail. When it works, it works fantastically. The (future) Beltline transit plan will be an amazing and useful addition to this city. It will create greater diversity for travel options and actually build convenience for commuters and city dwellers alike. This justifies the expensive cost.

The downtown street car, on the other hand, has boondoggles written all over it. Mixed-traffic light rail simply won't work in a city so auto dependent. There are two basic advantages often tallied about:

1) Spurs an increase in private investment along the line that would otherwise not be there
2) Creates connections with the future streetcar/light rail expansion in the city

This first advantage seems to me to be a specious claim, and ignores the whole opportunity cost aspect of these things. Additional bike lane construction and increased and improved bus service would also increase private development. Developers want a level of permanency? Fine, create permanent bus stops with ticket kiosks and schedule displays. Increase marketing for the buses. Create a separate bus line to market directly to millennials. DC did this and it worked great. There are plenty of options.

The second advantage can easily be done by buses at a more reasonable cost. Atlanta will never be able to effectively utilize their heavy rail system (and future light rail options) without a significant increase in the usage of the bus system. Buses cannot be beat when it comes to flexibility of usage and cost. Every major city in America has a bus system heavily used by their citizens. I loved taking the bus in DC. Plus, buses are equitable: they serve a greater swath of the population and are far less politically volatile. The process of mixing streetcars with existing auto traffic creates handicapped buses, that cannot maneuver around inconvenient objects. This screws up the system for everyone.

Transit advocates need to stand up and take notice that these mixed-traffic streetcars are boondoggles. They're an almost complete waste of vital resources and they do very little to help the people that need a greater selection of transit options.
White peoplw in atlanta are not going to ride a bus, they will ride rail based transit.
 
Old 12-22-2014, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Orange Blossom Trail
6,416 posts, read 4,817,055 times
Reputation: 2635
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant131531 View Post
Anyone remember, "We'll have it opened and ready by Spring 2014.". I do.

Anyone remember, "We'll have it opened and running by Summer 2014". I do.

Anyone remember, "We'll have it opened by Fall 2014". I do.

Anyone remember, "We'll have it opened by November 2014". I do.

Anyone remember, "Well have it opened by Mid-December". I do.

Now Reed is saying he pledges it will be opened by the 31st. I'm so embarrassed for this city. This is already a win for the anti-transit folks. I'm willing to bet 6 months after opening, the numbers will be another win for them, if it ever opens.

It was a chance for Atlanta to finally show everyone that they're ready to begin expanding their transit. They just failed. Failed. They really can't open a tiny 2 mile streetcar line on time? Really? Okay, I can expect a delay or two...fine! We're almost the next year they promised. And I know the Atlanta boosters will give excuses for the city, but that's not going to be the thing that gets more streetcars on the streets of Atlanta.

Embarrassing. Congrats to the post-driving/anti-transit crowd. A big win for you. Atlanta NEVER does anything right. It's become a joke.
YAAAAY but...what do they win as a prize though??
 
Old 12-22-2014, 09:01 AM
 
2,407 posts, read 2,687,736 times
Reputation: 903
Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
White peoplw in atlanta are not going to ride a bus, they will ride rail based transit.
Good call. Blame white people for this disastrous misuse of funds.
 
Old 12-22-2014, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
23,317 posts, read 17,490,739 times
Reputation: 5401
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtcorndog View Post
Good call. Blame white people for this disastrous misuse of funds.
Its always the white mans fault.
 
Old 12-22-2014, 10:00 AM
 
Location: North Atlanta
5,419 posts, read 3,817,421 times
Reputation: 2968
Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
Its always the white mans fault.
 
Old 12-22-2014, 01:46 PM
 
27 posts, read 28,082 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
White peoplw in atlanta are not going to ride a bus, they will ride rail based transit.
This is wrong. White people across America have no problem with riding the bus. Washington DC, a predominantly black city, has great bus ridership. LA has great ridership too. The problem is convenience and quality of service.

The point is hypothetical - these policies from the federal government down are wasteful, that's the crux of the argument.

"Streetcars are cool" is not a very good reason to flop down this level of expenditure. 10 years ago, rail wasn't cool. MARTA stood for "Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta". Then MARTA improved service and started to change the imagine of the rail stations. Surely if rail can be brought back, can't buses?
 
Old 12-22-2014, 03:32 PM
 
Location: ATL -> HOU -> DAL
4,376 posts, read 3,540,645 times
Reputation: 3476
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