Archive | April, 2012

Things You Never Knew You Wanted to Know: MARTA’s Lost and Found

28 Apr

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In a small office at the north corner of the Forsyth Street side of Five Points Station, through a door next to a set of glass-partitioned windows, sit a pair of huge suitcases, at least seven bicycles, umbrellas, jackets and backpacks by the dozen, knee-high piles of books, scores of sets of keys, a saxophone and two baby carriers. They’re among the more than 500 items that will be left in transit stations, trains and buses this month and eventually find their way to MARTA’s lost and found.

  • Most frequently lost items: Keys, phones, book bags, glasses, books
  • Full-time lost and found staff: Zero. The staff at the reduced-fare office also run the agency’s lost and found –  logging, sorting and storing the items, maintaining the lost and found database, attempting to contact the owners of lost IDs and fielding calls and emails from people looking for their belongings
  • Eight bicycles were left on MARTA in the last 30 days, four of them just this week. Most were left on bus bike racks.
  • Conventions, festivals and major sporting events don’t generate spikes in the number of lost items. What does? New Years Eve and weekends.
  • Chances that a lost item will be claimed by its owner: Pretty low. The average claim rate so far this year is 17 percent. The average claim rate for fiscal 2011 was less than 12 percent, and less than 20 percent for fiscal 2010.
  • Average number of items turned in per month: 560
  • Items most likely to be claimed: Phones, wallets, laptops and other electronics
  • After 30 days, usable unclaimed items are usually donated to the Red Cross, Salvation army, church outreach organizations and shelters. Unclaimed keys are turned over to MARTA’s building services department for scrap metal
  • A prosthetic leg was brought in last summer. It has yet to be claimed.

Sources:

Roosevelt Stripling – manager of customer service, reduced fare and lost found

Leslie C. Porter – supervisor of half-fare eligibility

Monday Salmagundi

23 Apr
  • Service changes for 24 MARTA bus routes went into effect Saturday, April 21. Among them is the ever-evolving Route #2, which – if there was such a thing – would be a top contender for the title of World’s Most Frequently Altered Bus Route.

The agency is also making some changes to Red Line rail service, “to improve schedule adherence.” Train departure times have been changed, but the length of the headways (the time between the departures) will remain the same.

  • From Bisnow: The empty lot at 615 Peachtree Street is under contract for construction of a cancer treatment facility that will be operated by Emory Healthcare. The Cousins Properties parcel has been empty since an office building was demolished there in 2006. A mixed-used project called Fox Plaza was originally to have been built afterward, but those plans were done in by the ravages of the real estate crash.

Wednesday Night: Downtown Streetcar Public Info Open House

17 Apr
Downtown streetcar route map

Streetcar route map: CAP/ADID

 

Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District will host a public information open house Wednesday evening focusing on revitalization of the downtown streetcar corridor.

CAP and ADID are seeking public input on redevelopment and land use plans for the Sweet Auburn and Fairlie-Poplar neighborhoods, where the project’s 2.7-mile light rail loop is under construction. 

The event will run from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the atrium of the Odd Fellows Building at 236 Auburn Ave., Wednesday, April 18.

The easiest transit access is by the route 16 or route 110 bus.

Forgotten But Not Gone: Old construction webcams

13 Apr

Curbed Atlanta’s Monday post about the new construction webcam for the Ponce City Market project brought to mind the time, just a few years ago, when there were always at least a couple of construction cams online. While the cameras for these completed projects are no longer active, many of the sites are still up. You can flip through the monthly calendar drop-downs or use the “time lapse”  button near the center of the top of the page to watch the buildings go from site work to top-out in just a few minutes.

For example, you can still watch the Twelve Centennial Park hotel and condo project go from this:

Twelve Centennial - Dec 2005

To this:

Twelve Centennial - Aug. 2007

Or the dramatic changes between 10th and 12th on Peachtree that took the area from this:

12th and Midtown: March 2007

To this:

12th & Midtown: Feb. 2010

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New service cuts could be in MARTA’s future

3 Apr

The AJC reported yesterday that the state legislature’s failure to pass a bill suspending MARTA’s  50/50 revenue-spending split is likely to result in “deep service cuts.”

HB 1052 would have lifted until 2016 the requirement that half of the agency’s revenue be set aside for capital expenses and half used for capital improvements. The current exemption to that law will remain in effect until July 2013.

“The transit agency, banking on commitments from legislators,  expected to keep the exemption for at least three more years but without it expects to lose a projected total of  $9.7 million during that time,” The AJC reported.

MARTA officials wanted the spending limits permanently lifted, but had agreed to the three-year suspension as a compromise. But a group of Democrats in the House opposed the measure because they wanted a more permanent fix. The result was that the legislation was, in the words of MARTOC Chairman Mike Jacobs, “torpedoed.”

The legislature could pass the bill early next session, which would keep the exemption in effect, Jacobs said. If that doesn’t happen, the combination of still-low sales tax revenue and the spending restriction will force the agency to “gut significant parts of the service,” MARTA’s General Manager, Beverly Scott told The AJC.

MARTA is also looking at other was to trim costs, including increasing non-union employees’ health care contributions and reducing management staff, The AJC reported. The agency expects to find even more places to cut expenses when it analyzes the findings from the second part of a three-phase audit at the end of this year.

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