News, updates, commentary and more from BikeAthens. BikeAthens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Athens, GA. BikeAthens promotes transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Parallel universes

AJC journalist Jay Bookman deconstructs Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine's plans to solve metro Atlanta traffic problems by building more multi-lane, interstate-style highways:

The highway "would run about two miles east of the existing [I-285] connector. It would start at the intersection of Ga. 400 and I-85 and travel south to connect with I-20 and then I-285, a 15-mile route."


Even the chairman of the state Transportation Board, Bill Kuhlke, has acknowledged that the era of major road-building is over in the metro area.

“Transit is going to be the biggest part of the answer for this particular region, “ Kuhlke said earlier this year.
Unfortunately, that realization is not widely held among the state’s elected political leadership.

Far more common is Oxendine’s claim that “we got to build a lot of roads around metro Atlanta,” a mind-set that blinds people to other possibilities.

For example, the so-called “Brain Train” — a proposed commuter rail line linking Athens, Gwinnett County and a downtown Atlanta multimodal station — would provide a more efficient and less destructive means of moving passengers from the northeast suburbs to the airport than the parallel connector, and at a fraction of the cost. But that kind of solution just can’t get a serious hearing from the state’s current leadership.

Given that reality, one of three things has to happen to address metro Atlanta’s transportation crisis:
We have to change the mind-set of state leaders; failing that, we have to change state leadership, period; and failing that, the region has to demand the authority to plan and finance its own transportation solution.

In other words, instead of a parallel connector, we need a parallel universe.

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