Archive | March, 2011

Green means “Go”

28 Mar

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The paper is off the windows, the art is up, the furniture is in and the lights are on at Scene Cafe.

These photos were taken Friday night, just after 11:00.  It looks vastly different from just a couple of weekends ago, when I stopped in and talked to the owner, Samuel, while he was working inside. He said that the work stoppage during the summer was because of a death in the family and that the place was just a few weeks from being ready to open.

When I remarked that the building’s yards of glass had stayed improbably intact during his absence he said that people in the neighborhood knew his father – who owned the store that once occupied the building that is now Scene Cafe – and  “looked out for the place.”

Maybe ruin and wreckage aren’t the rule on Pine Street after all.


Unexpected Company

25 Mar


Before “Jack and Diane” and “Runnin’ on Empty” came thundering from across the street well before sunrise last Sunday, I’d mostly forgotten about the Georgia Marathon.

The music was soon accompanied by a voice with that simultaneously enthusiastic and professional quality cultivated by announcers at big athletic events.

Turns out that the first water station for the race was in front of the Civic Center, which placed it just across from my building.

After about an hour of one-sided banter from the announcer accompanied by more Top 40 hits of the 80s, the first wheelchair racers came flying down the hill along with race volunteers on bikes. Several minutes behind them came the lone leading runner, pursued by several tiny packs of others.

Then the groups of runners got bigger and bigger until they were deep enough and wide enough to fill the block.

Then it was time to go back to sleep.

Public comment meeting on MMPT proposals is March 30

17 Mar

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Although the Georgia Department of Transportation announced its choice for the development group for the MMPT project Monday, the agency has scheduled a public comment meeting on  March 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. at GDOT headquarters at North Avenue and W. Peachtree Street.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, contact GDOT about the project here.

H/T to Creative Loafing.

If you’d like to see the full presentation the slideshow images were chose from, it’s here [PDF].

“How much longer?” Technology’s role in retaining new transit users

17 Mar

Implementing real-time travel information technology could go a long way toward mitigating the feeling of loss of autonomy that keeps potential riders from trying transit, according to a study by Next American City and Latitude Research:

“The results of the study indicate that, while users value the freedom and control a car provides, mobile information solutions could replicate this sense of autonomy without needing to own a car—primarily by helping users to make informed, in-the-moment decisions about what’s available near them and the best ways to get around. ‘Real-time and personalized transit information has the ability to make public transit a more flexible, equitable, and enjoyable experience, thus minimizing the perceived experience gap between car ownership and other modes of transit typically thought less convenient or accessible by would-be users,’ explains Marina Miloslavsky, study lead and Senior Research Analyst at Latitude.”

One massive advantage DC’s Metro system has over MARTA is the availability of exactly that kind of information. Metro’s bus and train arrival time information saved me untold episodes of wondering how quickly I needed to make it to a station or whether a long wait for a bus meant I’d missed it or it was late. Metro also has mobile versions of its arrival time and trip-planning services.

While it’s possible – by much pressing of buttons – to get automated MARTA schedule information by phone, and Google Maps features schedule and trip-planning service, people care much less about when something is scheduled to happen as when it will happen.

Having that kind of information readily available is certainly helpful for daily transit users, but this study indicates that it’s especially important in shaping the impressions that new users take away from their experiences. Those experiences can leave new riders with a greater appreciation of all the options available for getting around, or as is often the case with less tech-savvy transit agencies, anxious to get back to their cars.

Gulch redevelopment proposals: Summing up the summaries (Updated)

16 Mar

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The three development teams short-listed to develop the multi-modal passenger terminal (MMPT) in the downtown “gulch” area have submitted their proposals to the Georgia Department of Transportation staff, the AJC reported Friday. The DOT posted summaries of the proposals in the MMPT section of their Web site.

The summaries are pretty short on details, but I pulled out a few highlights.

Continue reading

South Fulton County transportation survey for HB 277

15 Mar

Between e-readers and the availability used books for almost nothing online,  many of us don’t spend much time at public libraries any more. So, you could easily have missed the south Fulton County transportation survey that’s linked from the Atlanta-Fulton County Library home page. The survey’s purpose is to gather residents’ opinions on transportation project  priorities.  (Here’s a link to the PowerPoint presentation that the library’s site mentions.)

The “Transportation Investment Act of 2010,” also known as HB 277, requires each of the state’s 12 regions to vote next year on whether to assess themselves a 1 percent sales tax for 10 years to fund local and regional transportation projects. Residents will vote on the sales tax during the primary election in spring or summer of 2012. If the new tax is passed,  funds should become available for use in 2013.

Catching up: A TSPLOST primer, mobility banks and City Hall East

9 Mar


This photo, taken as a cloud hovered over the Bank of American tower on North Avenue, isn’t related to today’s content at all, but art has been a bit sparse lately.

Heartier, more nutritious posts are in the works, but for now:

  • If you still haven’t quite gotten a grip on the whats and whys of the proposed 1-cent sales tax for transit that will be up for a vote next year, there’s a concise but detailed explanation of it in this post at MARTA Rocks!


  • From The Urbanophile: Jens Ludwig and Steven Raphael at the Brookings Institution propose the creation of  “mobility banks (PDF)” to assist unemployed or underemployed people who are shackled to an upside-down mortgage or who lack money to move to an area where their skills are in demand. The bank would function much as federal student loans – repayment is deferred until borrowers have secured employment.


  • Green Building Chronicle has a few details from Green Street Properties’ (long, long,) long-awaited adaptive reuse renovation of City Hall East. GBC reported that Green Street Properties President Katharine Kelley expects that the developers will finalize the purchase of the property from the City of Atlanta within a month, with clean-up and demolition to begin in early spring. H/T to Creative Loafing.

Braves Shuttle back from the not-quite dead? Plus, more bus route changes

3 Mar

In a move that’s likely to surprise about six people, MARTA is considering reviving the Braves shuttle. The free shuttle, which runs from Five Points Station to Turner Field on Braves game days, was a casualty of service reductions the agency undertook last fall to address a large and long-running budget gap.

“Putting the money into the shuttle instead of some other service can seem unfair to some…” Citizens for Progressive Transit’s president Ashley Robins told the AJC. “This is not life line service” that would provide needed access to employment or healthcare-related destinations.

MARTA will solicit riders’ input on the shuttle’s fate as well as service changes on bus routes 2, 87, 99 and 181 at hearings on March 21 and 24. (MARTA’s notice says “Monday, March 21” and “Monday, March 24,” but March 24 is a Thursday.) The proposed bus route changes would go into effect June 18.

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