Mayor Floyd: Vote “Yes” on T-SPLOST, “There Won’t Be” a Better Option Later

Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd writes in urging folks still with outstanding T-SPLOST questions to attend a transportation rally Monday on Decatur Square.  Click the flyer to the right to enlarge (PDF).  Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, State Senators and Reps, and more will be in attendance, along with Mayor Floyd.

Additionally, Floyd, a man with deep knowledge of the Atlanta metro’s political system’s capabilities, writes in no uncertain terms…

This vote is crucial. Don’t vote no because you think there will be a better option later, there won’t be, and don’t not vote because you think your vote will not matter. Every vote is essential. It is our time to step up to the plate, take our responsibility and move this region forward. Let’s not let our children or grandchildren have to go to some other part of the country for jobs that should be here. Please vote YES. Bill Floyd

 

T-SPLOST: The Final Discussion (Yeah, Right!)

With the T-SPLOST vote one week away, it’s time for a final, dedicated discussion.  Don’t ya think?  Leave it all on the field.

Here are a few of links of T-SPLOST overviews and recent discussions on the 1% sales tax to keep the ball rolling…

Overview

Opinion

Now that you’ve read and considered the information/statements in all of those links, will you vote yes or no next Tuesday?

Pic courtesy of Chad – It’s the EOTS pic that just keeps on giving!!

Two City of Decatur Projects Make Exec Committee’s Transportation List

While many in the Emory area are jazzed that the Clifton Corridor MARTA line was one of the second largest recipiant of transit funds allocated by the Atlanta Transportation Exec Committee, “E” points out in a comment that two smaller projects, which made the list apply specifically to the City of Decatur.

The first: “Decatur to Clifton Corridor ‐ Transit Connectivity and Safety Improvements” would receive $5 million – instead of the $10 million requested.  Here are a few deets from the project submission…

Commerce Drive, Clairemont Avenue and Church Street will be redesigned to provide safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities like sidewalks, bicycle lanes and streetscaping. The intersections of Church/Commerce and Clairemont/Commerce will be reconfigured to reduce vehicular congestion and increase pedestrian safety through the use of roundabouts, narrowed pedestrian crossings and/or improved signal timing. The design of improvements for Church Street and the two intersections at Commerce Avenue will be complete by summer of 2012.

The second: “US 278 (College Avenue) from Adair Street to North Clarendon Avenue ‐ Corridor Improvements“, which spans Decatur, DeKalb and Avondale, would also receive $5 million – instead of the $8,281,000 requested.  A few details that project submission…

The project consists of adding bike lanes, sidewalk, crossings to transit and businesses, infrastructure improvements to shoulders and pavement, as well as enhancements such as street lighting, landscaping. This project will be consistent with all design recommendations in the LCI’s of Avondale and Decatur. The project will also include the realignment of the intersection of Adair at the CSX RR crossing on the west end of the project. The intersecton improvement of College/Covington @ Clarendon will be included on the east end of the project. Improving traffic signal/ITS for the corridor and side streets.

Of course, these projects have to survive tinkering (or complete revision) by the full 21 member roundtable and still pass the 2012 public referendum before they have a chance to be built, but at this stage, it’s better to still be on the list than off!

Thanks to Ken Edelstein of Green Building Chronicle for helping me locate these projects this morning.  He’s got a great synopsis of the transit “winners” and “losers” in the transportation penny sales tax game over on his site.  (Spoiler Alert: The Clifton Corridor is a “winner”, though it will still have to figure out how to bridge a $400 million shortfall if approved)

Fayette County “Birthplace” of Opposition to Transportation Tax

Fayette County is home to 106,000 folks.  DeKalb County is nearly 7 times that size and Fulton is nearly 10 times larger.  That said, how important is this?

[Fayette] county’s green landscape — offering a feeling of seclusion — has helped make Fayette the birthplace of opposition to paying an extra penny in sales tax for transportation improvements both in and out of the county. The 10-county region will vote in 2012 on whether to tax itself for such projects.

It’s a sentiment so strong that it recently helped unseat a County Commission chairman. And though Fayette is on the lower end of the region’s spectrum when it comes to sales tax revenue and number of voters, it could have extra influence in whether the referendum passes.

Harold Bost, who heads the county’s Issues Tea Party, is organizing opposition to the penny tax across the metro area.

Show me huge opposition turnouts at Bost’s events in Gwinnett and Cobb and then maybe I’ll start getting concerned.

Good News! “Criminals On Trains” Comment Comes All the Way From Fayette

After thinking about it for a moment, this anti-transit comment in Ariel Hart’s morning article on Gwinnett and Cobb’s new, seemingly more snugly attitude towards mass transit, might actually be a positive indicator for pro-mass transit supporters.

Harold Bost, co-founder of the Fayette County Issues Tea Party, is taking the lead coordinating tea party groups to oppose the referendum.

He says the burden of another tax is only one reason he opposes it; he also opposes mass transit because of the people it would bring into the suburbs.

“Criminals catch that kind of transportation into our county,” Bost said, “and I’m not going to support anything that works toward increasing our crime either.”

One quote doesn’t a rule make.  However, the fact that the old standby “criminals take mass-transit” opposition line came from Fayette – and not Gwinnett – is inline with other recent observations that Cobb and Gwinnett’s population growth has taken the mass-transit conversation in those counties from “why?” to “how?”.  And that’s certainly a good sign for transit-friendly Fulton and DeKalb going into a 12-county referendum in 2012.

Decatur’s Transportation Wish List: From Traffic Signals to Medians

Decatur’s Planning Director Amanda Thompson just sent me a copy of the city’s “wish list” that was submitted to the Georgia Department of Transportation for consideration on GDOT’s “unconstrained list” of projects, which will then be submitted to the “Metro Atlanta Roundtable” for further refining before the total list of Atlanta projects (totaling around $8 billion) is decided on by voters in 2012.  Got it?

As pointed out by Mayor Bill Floyd, Decatur’s list is primarily pulled from unfinished projects in Decatur’s Community Transportation Plan.   The one exception is support for the creation of an Atlanta-wide “Regional Mobility Management Center”, which would coordinate transportation across the entire Atlanta metro region for seniors and disabled persons.  It is an element of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 2008 Feasibility Study, and according to Mayor Floyd, and is “being submitted jointly by several communities around the region and is being included in the ARC list to the Planning Director.”

Now back to Decatur’s list – ordered based on how “newsy” I deemed each of these items.

1.  Decatur Transportation Management Center – The TMC would increase safety by taking control of the traffic signal system and managing traffic engineering within the city limits.  (The submission notes that in the past three city surveys, residents ranked traffic signal timing as their greatest concern.) – $10 million

2.  Scott Boulevard Safety Improvements – Safety Improvements along Scott would include medians, sidewalks, and physical and “visual delineation of pedestrian and vehicle travel space.” – $ 1 million

3.  South Columbia Drive Multi-Use Path – The proposal calls for building an 8-10′ wide multi-use path along South Columbia Drive that connects College Avenue to the city limits.  The plan would connect with DeKalb improvements on Columbia to the “Memorial Drive BRT (bus rapid transit) transit facility”.  – $2 million

4.  Downtown Decatur to Clifton Corridor Transit Connectivity and Safety Improvements – This project includes safety upgrades and bicycle, pedestrian and transit supportive facilities on Clairemont Road, Commerce Drive and Church Street “to maximize the connectivity between Downtown Decatur and the Clifton Corridor regional employment center.  Improvements include streetscaping, bicycle lanes protected transit stops and shortened pedestrian crossings. – $11 million

5.  Decatur State Highway and Regional Throughfare Safety Improvements and Transit Connectivity – Similar to item #4, but deals with South Candler Street, East and West Howard Avenue, and College Avenue connections with Atlanta, Avondale Estates and DeKalb County. – $17.2 million

Atlanta One-Cent Transportation Sales Tax Wish Lists Due Tomorrow

The Atlanta metro’s one-cent transportation sales tax has a VERY long way to go before it even has a chance of being put before voters for a vote in late 2012.  However, as Thomas Wheatley points out, tomorrow is the deadline for cities, counties and a certain transit authority to submit their “wish list” to the state.

Wheatley notes that Atlanta will most likely wait until the very last minute to submit their list.  However, MARTA’s already submitted their list.  According to the AJC, the list includes: a new rail line from Lindbergh Station to Emory ($685 million), an extension of the Gold Line from Doraville Station outside I-285 (Cost: $145 million), an extension of the Blue Line in both east Cost: ($522 million) and west ($582 million), and a $1 billion “mass transit lane” (bus or rail) along eastern I-20 from “central Atlanta” to Candler Road.

I’m checking with the city and Mayor Floyd (who’s one of five voting members on the transportation sales-tax exec committee) about whether Decatur has submitted a list of projects.

Until I hear back, what’s on your Atlanta transportation wish-list?