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Mitchell Street bridge to re-open Thursday

22 Aug
Mitchell Street bridge: South side, looking west

The woman in the photo insisted on being “your helper for the day.” She immediately resigned from the position upon discovering that I had no money.

Mitchell Street bridge bike laneMitchell Street bridge: facing west, north side

The Mitchell Street bridge in Castleberry Hill will officially re-open Thursday morning after a two-year reconstruction by the Georgia DOT. The bridge was closed in 2008 after transportation officials found it inadequate for the type and volume of traffic it was carrying, and construction began in 2010.

More than $8 million in federal stimulus funds were used to reconstruct the 88-year-old bridge, which now has bike lanes on both sides and parking along the south side.

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Four Things for Wednesday

15 Aug

Terminus Plaza from the Piedmont Road side

  • Via Creative Loafing: A photo of one of the new vehicles for the downtown streetcar popped up on the Atlanta subreddit
  • Via Buckhead View: NPU-B residents who oppose the new Lindbergh-area development planned for the east side of Piedmont Avenue are digging in for a long fight and have a new website
  • Atlanta is among the top 20 tweeting-est cities in the world – one of only six American cities to make the list – according to a study by a French research and consulting firm
  • I’d planned to write something about how rare it is in Atlanta to come across public places like the plaza behind Terminus at Peachtree and Piedmont. It’s breezy in the summer, protected from rain and has plenty of seating and a view in both directions. But nearly as soon as this photo was taken, a member of the Terminus security staff appeared and apologetically said that the building’s management doesn’t allow photography there. So much for public.

72 Marietta Street and TIA Q&A

23 May

The building was left vacant in 2010 when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution moved to offices in Dunwoody and the paper’s parent company donated the building to the city a few months later. The short-listed firms will present their designs to a panel on June 28, the winner of the competition will be announced July 1 and the gallery is scheduled to open in October.

  • If you’re still in the air about which way to vote in the July transportation tax referendum, or you have questions you haven’t been answered anywhere else, you can pull up a chair at one of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 12 “wireside chats” in June. The conversations with local officials will take place over six days in June and give voters a chance to speak directly to representatives from each of the 10 counties in the Atlanta region.

Here’s how the event works:

“Advertised 6 weeks in advance, citizens will be asked to sign up for any of the 12 chats providing a phone number at which they can be reached. Several days in advance they will receive email reminders with background information attached. The night of the scheduled conversation, citizens will be called at the number they registered and have the opportunity to ask questions. Any question not answered live will be answered in writing following the call. ”

Registration open now, online and at 404.463.3227.

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

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.

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.

Atlanta Streets Alive Moves to North Highland

25 Mar

Atlanta Streets Alive is moving from downtown to a route planned to run two miles along North Highland Avenue from Inman Park to Virginia-Highland. from Old Fourth Ward, through Inman Park and Poncey-Highland to Virginia-Highland.*

The free, semiannual street festival and bike tour, scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. May 20, was launched downtown in 2010. The event’s food, fitness, arts, dance and music activities took place along parts of Edgewood and Auburn Avenues for the first two years, but with construction of the downtown streetcar loop now underway, ASA’s organizers had to find a new site.

Rebecca Serna, executive director of Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, said that organizers had planned to eventually try other sites around the city, but the construction “was the kick that we needed” to go ahead and take the show on the road. Increasing bike-friendliness  is a Poncey-Highland neighborhood priority, Serna said, and response from residents and businesses in the area has been “really enthusiastic.”

ASA is still seeking volunteers, sponsors and “activity partners” for this year’s event.

*Updated to reflect ASA’s amended route outline, which now aligns with the boundaries in the City of Atlanta’s NPU and neighborhood maps.

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