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Old 09-08-2016, 07:10 PM
 
205 posts, read 106,245 times
Reputation: 321

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Cobb should join MARTA. No doubt.

But I think most metro Atlantans like the idea of MARTA more than they like using it. Just my observations from 10+ years, living in Brookhaven, sandy springs, Highlands, morning side, and now East Cobb.

And give me a break with those who blame current Cobb residents for MARTA vote decades ago. Complicit by paying property taxes? Get real. So is everyone in highlands, morning side, Emory village, west midtown, etc etc by that logic. And everyone who lives somewhere that MARTA can't get them to most of their destinations (I.e. The vast majority of Atlantans).
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Old 09-08-2016, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Vinings
5,940 posts, read 2,908,227 times
Reputation: 3178
Quote:
Originally Posted by back2atl View Post
But I think most metro Atlantans like the idea of MARTA more than they like using it.
Yeah, and I think that's because MARTA is barely useful, and it's only truly useful and a (voluntarily) better option than driving, for a select very few % of people. Besides the few transit enthusiasts, like cqholt.

I lived in Fulton for 4 years up until this Feb. Legitimately used the train maybe 20 times total? Somewhere in that ballpark. Rode the bus I think twice total, and that was because I was just trying it out of curiosity. It's just not convenient or a good option, when your work in in Alpharetta.

I can walk to the Cumberland Transfer Center now, where MARTA does come, and I still haven't tried that, though I plan to at some point. Because the bus route is just ridiculously slow and long. I'm only usually going to the city on the weekends and sometimes on week nights, and Uber has been totally great for that. I'm fortunate that I can afford to regularly use Uber. I like it a lot better than having to find/ pay for parking.

If I had a magic wand that I could fix MARTA with, I'd have all 5 counties be paying the 1%, and the state matching that amount, for a funding equivalent of 2% in 5 counties.

Then you could have the funds to build, and operate, a truly useful system. Obviously we need a lot more metro transit built out, and it also needs to have great frequency and service levels, and I believe everything should be 24/7/365 operation.

With double the funding level, plus 2 new (wealthy) counties joining the system, all that could be achieved.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Downtown Marietta
1,062 posts, read 689,947 times
Reputation: 1334
Quote:
Originally Posted by back2atl View Post
And give me a break with those who blame current Cobb residents for MARTA vote decades ago. Complicit by paying property taxes? Get real. So is everyone in highlands, morning side, Emory village, west midtown, etc etc by that logic. And everyone who lives somewhere that MARTA can't get them to most of their destinations (I.e. The vast majority of Atlantans).
The argument is a tad inexact, as people living in those areas are indeed paying taxes to fund the system, even though they don't live in areas that have anything resembling viable service. But, yes, overall I agree with you... It's absurd to blame those who choose to live in Cobb today for votes that took place over 40 years ago.

I lived in Midtown in the mid 90s, as an intern, and worked in a large office tower about 10 blocks away. There was no parking space available for me at the office, so for the first week of work, I walked. Seeing that I was in a full suit every day and it was July, I quickly decided that I didn't like arriving at my desk soaking wet with sweat, so I started to walk 3 blocks to a MARTA station every morning instead. It seemed rather silly to ride for just one stop, and the service was, quite frankly, rather unreliable, but it saved me from the heat for the most part, and I came to appreciate and even enjoy it.

Fast forward a year, and I got a full-time job at another company, coincidentally also in Atlanta. I asked my boss-to-be where I should live if I wanted to take MARTA to work. He laughed, and said that although he had lived in Boston and was an avid user of the T, it just wasn't practical to take MARTA to our office, and that no one did. So, I scouted around, and it turned out that the best combination of amenities, affordability, safety and reasonable commute to my office was in Vinings, in - gasp - Cobb County, and so that's where I ended up. And you know what? Despite my liberal leanings and interest in having better transit access, I loved it. Bought a place after a year, and stayed there for 15 years. After I got married and my wife settled on a job that she liked pretty well, we decided that we wanted a bigger, newer place that we could afford, in a location that would provide a reasonable commute for the both of us, with the kinds of amenities we enjoy. Factoring in all of that, it was pretty clear that staying somewhere in close-in Cobb made sense, and so we settled on Marietta Square. And we love it even more than we did Vinings.

Would we support MARTA expansion into Cobb? Absolutely. Is it a shame that it hasn't happened yet? Again, absolutely. Are we to blame for it? The notion is ridiculous. In nearly 20 years in this county, I have never once been offered the chance to vote on it, nor have I seen anything in the way of a serious proposal from MARTA to do so. I do hope it will happen, but blaming ALL of those who live here for it not having happened yet is asinine. How do people who believe that think it's ever going to happen if progressives like us don't move out here? Indeed, one could turn the argument right back on them: THEY are to blame for not moving out here with us. You want MARTA in Cobb? Me, too. So, why don't they just come out here and join us? If enough of them did, we'd have MARTA here tomorrow. Ridiculous? No more so than you blaming us for choosing to live here for many, many valid reasons.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:53 PM
 
28,132 posts, read 24,652,789 times
Reputation: 9534
Before we get into another round about how backwards Cobb was for not voting for MARTA and how progressive the city of Atlanta was, we ought to remember that the first time around the city of Atlanta also voted against MARTA.

In 1968 the vote in the city was 53,660 (58%) against, and only 38,675 (42%) in favor. And that's out of a population that was as large or larger than it is today.

Four years later the city voted for it, but only by a margin of 55-45. Fulton gave it the okay by 51% and DeKalb okayed it by 52%.

So it's hardly as if hordes of sophisticated urbanites were racing to embrace mass transit.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Downtown Marietta
1,062 posts, read 689,947 times
Reputation: 1334
Quote:
Originally Posted by primaltech View Post
Yeah, and I think that's because MARTA is barely useful, and it's only truly useful and a (voluntarily) better option than driving, for a select very few % of people. Besides the few transit enthusiasts, like cqholt.
Agree entirely. I wish that it worked better; if it did, I would probably use it more often myself, even though it's not very convenient for me. I am glad that it has gotten accolades for having improved tremendously in the past couple years, but I am still trying to figure out just how revolutionary the improvements have been. My most recent experience with the system reminded me too much of the "old" MARTA, unfortunately:

In April, my wife and I went to the Duran Duran concert at Philips. (Fantastic show, by the way.) I had heard that traffic in town was lousy, so after leaving Marietta, I decided that we would be good citizens (and maybe save ourselves some annoyance) so we hopped on 285 and drove over to Medical Center station. (285 was wide open, by the way.) We waited about 15 minutes for a train at Medical Center, which wasn't terrible, but frankly was all the same pretty annoying considering that it was at about 6:30 pm on a weeknight. The ride was fine... Took about 35-40 minutes, including the transfer at Five Points. Certainly we could have driven it more quickly, but then we would have had to pay for parking and whatnot, so we were perfectly content to have ridden.

After the concert, around and 10:30 or 11 pm, however, was another story. The East-West trains were running very infrequently, and we waited at least 20 minutes for one to come along and take us the one stop to Five Points. The transfer took another 10-15 minutes. Then we, along with throngs of other people, had to get off at Lindbergh and wait for a red line train to take us the rest of the way. You know where that red line train was? Sitting on a siding about a hundred yards south of the Lindbergh platform. We could see it sitting there, with a driver in it. It sat there for 20 minutes before finally inching its way up to the platform to pick us up. What an incredible waste of resources and manpower. When all was said and done, it took us an hour and a half from the time we entered the station at Philips to the time we reached Medical Center. This, on a night of a big event at Philips where it was obvious that use of the lines late at night would be particularly high. So, yes, at the end of the evening, I was extremely frustrated, and found myself wondering if this was emblematic of the "new and improved" MARTA. I really want to like the system, and really want to see it expand into Cobb County, but there's still room for many step functions of improvement even on the current network.
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Prescott, AZ
5,401 posts, read 2,730,106 times
Reputation: 2159
Alright, i'm back at my computer now, so I can flesh out how all of this is unfounded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay57 View Post
I'm not talking about hiring people.

I'm talking about funding and other challenges within MARTA's existing service area.Clayton obviously needs work.
I suppose. In general the roll out has been on target. As far as I am aware, there were no promised numbers of bus shelters in the contracts. Yeah there aught to be more, but there aught to be more system wide, and having Gwinnett or Cobb join does nothing to change that in any way.

As far as bus routing is concerned, Clayton could use more direct routing, but, again, so could the rest of the system. If anything, Clayton getting the articulated buses means that they HAVE better service then a lot of the rest of the system.


Quote:
South DeKalb and North Fulton don't have anything other than regular bus service.
And they had their chance to do something about that. Their own politicians screwed that up for them. Not MARTA's fault. Again, Gwinnett or Cobb joining doesn't do a thing about this. In fact, those counties joining would open up additional options for the existing network service areas, not only paying for new service in their counties, but in Fulton and DeKalb too (like commuter rail and heavy rail and BRT that crosses into/through Fulton and DeKalb).


Quote:
Elements of the bus and train fleet are aging.
And the buses are being replaced, with new types of buses joining the overall fleet. The trains have a life-extension and replacement RFI out, and are beginning the process to replace.

Cobb or Gwinnett joining doesn't do anything about this. In fact, their heavy rail extensions might fund part of the overall fleet replacement.


Quote:
What about track and equipment maintenance?
Tunnel ventilation is being/has been taken care of. Similarly with the train control system. Track maintenance is ongoing. Cobb or Gwinnett joining doesn't do anything about this.


Quote:
There's a crying need (based on what I read here) for more transit within the city of Atlanta.
And the city is about to fund a MASSIVE expansion to take care of a LOT of that. Cobb or Gwinnett joining actually makes all of the in town expansions more useful, building the whole network effect. More people would have more access to more places from more places.


Quote:
What's up with paratransit?
What about paratransit? It's still up and running, just contracted out. Cobb or Gwinnett joining doesn't do anything about this.


Quote:
How about updated and enhanced bus routes?
MARTA has their general plan on how they will / would roll this out. A lot of their plan hinges on increased funding. CoA will get a bit of this with their expansion vote this November. Fulton and DeKalb had their chance and their leaders decided to back out.

Otherwise, MARTA is doing what they can, buying articulated buses, testing double-decker buses, trying out electric buses, etc.

Cobb or Gwinnett joining would actually bring funding to implement versions of MARTA's current plan, just in the new counties.


Quote:
Etc., etc., etc.
Everything you said was either unaffected by Cobb and Gwinnett joining, or actively made better by the two counties joining.

'MARTA having too much on its plate' is simply NOT a real reason to not have the last two counties join the system.
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Old 09-08-2016, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Vinings
5,940 posts, read 2,908,227 times
Reputation: 3178
Quote:
Originally Posted by evannole View Post
Agree entirely. I wish that it worked better; if it did, I would probably use it more often myself, even though it's not very convenient for me. I am glad that it has gotten accolades for having improved tremendously in the past couple years, but I am still trying to figure out just how revolutionary the improvements have been. My most recent experience with the system reminded me too much of the "old" MARTA, unfortunately:

In April, my wife and I went to the Duran Duran concert at Philips. (Fantastic show, by the way.) I had heard that traffic in town was lousy, so after leaving Marietta, I decided that we would be good citizens (and maybe save ourselves some annoyance) so we hopped on 285 and drove over to Medical Center station. (285 was wide open, by the way.) We waited about 15 minutes for a train at Medical Center, which wasn't terrible, but frankly was all the same pretty annoying considering that it was at about 6:30 pm on a weeknight. The ride was fine... Took about 35-40 minutes, including the transfer at Five Points. Certainly we could have driven it more quickly, but then we would have had to pay for parking and whatnot, so we were perfectly content to have ridden.

After the concert, around and 10:30 or 11 pm, however, was another story. The East-West trains were running very infrequently, and we waited at least 20 minutes for one to come along and take us the one stop to Five Points. The transfer took another 10-15 minutes. Then we, along with throngs of other people, had to get off at Lindbergh and wait for a red line train to take us the rest of the way. You know where that red line train was? Sitting on a siding about a hundred yards south of the Lindbergh platform. We could see it sitting there, with a driver in it. It sat there for 20 minutes before finally inching its way up to the platform to pick us up. What an incredible waste of resources and manpower. When all was said and done, it took us an hour and a half from the time we entered the station at Philips to the time we reached Medical Center. This, on a night of a big event at Philips where it was obvious that use of the lines late at night would be particularly high. So, yes, at the end of the evening, I was extremely frustrated, and found myself wondering if this was emblematic of the "new and improved" MARTA. I really want to like the system, and really want to see it expand into Cobb County, but there's still room for many step functions of improvement even on the current network.
Well, I think the management of MARTA definitely isn't the issue at hand. I think they're working the best they can with what funds they have, making tough trade off decisions every day, more or less making probably all the right ones. Doing the best they can with everything. The issue is that there's simply not enough funding to make the system something that could actually be impactful in the region, combined with the very limited geographical service area, that also does not cover the metro area/population because of county lines.

The only solution to it is going to be a lot more funding, and more counties as part of the system, particularly those 2. If we did that, if we poured $54 billion into regional transit like Seattle is doing, then we could reap all the benefit out of that.

As it is though, MARTA is just not highly impactful on metro Atlanta transportation, which is a sad state all around. Atlanta technically has transit, but a relative few % of people can actually use it, or ever do use it, especially on a regular basis. Of those, fewer still are actual choice riders.

I say let's either get rid of it all and not have transit at all (and save our tax money), or let's do it right as a region, and at least get the kind of decent metro area total ridership numbers that a system like DC gets (and not just in Atlanta proper, which is only a fraction of Metropolitan Atlanta). This teetering-on-bare-bones existence of such an overall useless transit system has always been a questionable justification for even freaking existing at all.

There are so many people who have lived their entire life in this region, who have basically never used MARTA ever. And not because 'eww public transit', but because they likely live, work, play, shop, conduct their lives- nowhere near MARTA.

And even if you have a bus stop, it's probably only coming every 40 minutes, or worse. And who knows how many stops just to let 1 person on or off, or what kind of crazy loopy route the bus takes. So, I do not blame people for not taking MARTA. A car is so much better in every way, is the simple flat out truth in this metro that is designed for cars.

I'd just like to have some options, especially if I could use the transit system to commute to work. What a simple request.

And that was the whole vision, the whole point of MARTA in the first place. That's the sad thing. It was meant to connect the region's residents to the region's jobs, and other amenities like sports teams and the airport. In a way that allows us to bypass the traffic congestion, and not contribute to the traffic congestion. That's supposed to be the entire point of MARTA, but that has been the daily reality for so few people I've ever known, and I've lived in this area all my life.

Fix it, or delete it. And the .5% tax increase in the City of Atlanta only (if it passes), is great but is only going to help a very little bit, regionally speaking. The train stations in the city have been there all of this time. All my life. But we've never been able to ever really take advantage of that, since the train does not come to most suburbs, where people live.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
22,159 posts, read 16,157,856 times
Reputation: 4894
Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay57 View Post
I'm not talking about hiring people.

I'm talking about funding and other challenges within MARTA's existing service area. Clayton obviously needs work. South DeKalb and North Fulton don't have anything other than regular bus service. Elements of the bus and train fleet are aging. What about track and equipment maintenance? There's a crying need (based on what I read here) for more transit within the city of Atlanta. What's up with paratransit? How about updated and enhanced bus routes? Etc., etc., etc.
MARTA should not use of it's Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton taxpayer collected money on studies or planning for Cobb County, until they have jumped the first hurdle and there is more of an internal push for this from local leaders (similar to how Clayton did)
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Old 09-09-2016, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood
22,159 posts, read 16,157,856 times
Reputation: 4894
Quote:
Originally Posted by evannole View Post
Agree entirely. I wish that it worked better; if it did, I would probably use it more often myself, even though it's not very convenient for me. I am glad that it has gotten accolades for having improved tremendously in the past couple years, but I am still trying to figure out just how revolutionary the improvements have been. My most recent experience with the system reminded me too much of the "old" MARTA, unfortunately:

In April, my wife and I went to the Duran Duran concert at Philips. (Fantastic show, by the way.) I had heard that traffic in town was lousy, so after leaving Marietta, I decided that we would be good citizens (and maybe save ourselves some annoyance) so we hopped on 285 and drove over to Medical Center station. (285 was wide open, by the way.) We waited about 15 minutes for a train at Medical Center, which wasn't terrible, but frankly was all the same pretty annoying considering that it was at about 6:30 pm on a weeknight. The ride was fine... Took about 35-40 minutes, including the transfer at Five Points. Certainly we could have driven it more quickly, but then we would have had to pay for parking and whatnot, so we were perfectly content to have ridden.

After the concert, around and 10:30 or 11 pm, however, was another story. The East-West trains were running very infrequently, and we waited at least 20 minutes for one to come along and take us the one stop to Five Points. The transfer took another 10-15 minutes. Then we, along with throngs of other people, had to get off at Lindbergh and wait for a red line train to take us the rest of the way. You know where that red line train was? Sitting on a siding about a hundred yards south of the Lindbergh platform. We could see it sitting there, with a driver in it. It sat there for 20 minutes before finally inching its way up to the platform to pick us up. What an incredible waste of resources and manpower. When all was said and done, it took us an hour and a half from the time we entered the station at Philips to the time we reached Medical Center. This, on a night of a big event at Philips where it was obvious that use of the lines late at night would be particularly high. So, yes, at the end of the evening, I was extremely frustrated, and found myself wondering if this was emblematic of the "new and improved" MARTA. I really want to like the system, and really want to see it expand into Cobb County, but there's still room for many step functions of improvement even on the current network.
Wait... You consider a Duran Duran concert at Philips Arena to be a 'big event'?
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:00 AM
 
992 posts, read 516,615 times
Reputation: 571
THAT is what Holt takes from that post?. You can see how people here discount the MARTA pushers.
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