MARTA & GA Lawmakers Get Bailed Out

27 05 2009

Today, the ARC voted in favor of their plan to redirect $25 million in federal stimulus dollars to help bridge MARTA’s crippling budget shortfall that threatened to close down services for entire days of the week.

In doing so, ARC came to the rescue of not only MARTA and it’s riders, but also inadvertently Georgia lawmakers , who’s inability to pass a number of important measures this session was just beginning to gain some serious traction in the press behind this massive MARTA fumble.

Not only were rail-noodling Dems up in arms, but so was all of Atlanta’s business community, who knew full well the importance of public transportation if Atlanta (and Georgia) wished to compete in something we like to call “the global economy.”

It was just getting good.  Pissed lawmakers were giving the inside scoop on committee meetings,  MARTA was calling for special sessions, we had the House Majority Leader on record saying he went to Disney World more often than he rode MARTA (and therefore couldn’t see the benefits to his Isle of Retirement (St. Simons.)

Those were the days.  We were all pissed and we could smell the blood.  It was going to be an embarrassment to end all embarrassments.  One that might actually shame the legislature into action – since rational argument had long ago stopped having any effect.

But then ARC made their announcement that they had figured out a way to help MARTA through the year with the help of stimulus funding and all the press simply…vanished.  The hounds were called back to the house, the horses led back to the barn.

Now, as the ARC votes in favor of formalizing the MARTA bailout by giving it $25 million for “preventive maintenance” (which MARTA will repay with $25 million in “capital improvements” around MARTA stations), transit advocates are cheering with a pit in their stomachs.

Happy the city isn’t being saddled with a public transportation system that keeps the hours of a Chik-Fil-A, everyone is now wondering if the legislature learned it’s lesson.  Or have they instead learned that when they do nothing, someone else will clean up their mess?

With its generally spoiled 4-year old mentality, I’m going with the latter.

Bringing Back Valet Parking

15 05 2009

Sounds like the city wants to give valet parking another try.

Also on the docket for next Monday’s City Commission meeting:  giving Eagle Parking a six-month trial on the south side of the Square.

As Lyn explains in her note, “We entered into a similar arrangement with Eagle Parking last October at the request of Saba.  It was used and we had no problems, but with only a few months to test it before cold weather arrived, we would like the oppertunity to continue to test the concept through the end of December 2009.”

The service is $3 (not sure if that includes or excludes tip), but could possibly be validated at participating restaurants.

Pedicabs Take to the Streets

7 05 2009

I’ve heard two reports of pedicabs already roaming the streets of Decatur.

Neil ran into the owner this morning writes in with a couple details.

He two pedicabs and will be at the Music Festivals and all. He also wants to set up tours and such. For questions or a picture, call Michael at 920-371-2227 or go to his website. [not a lot of specific Decatur info on the website yet]

Anyone been on one yet?  Or better yet…have a pic?

Guns & Turkey Sandwiches

7 05 2009

A once conflicted journalist

Only a year-ago, carrying and eating these two things on MARTA would have been inconceivable.  (I guess its still inconceivable to consume and digest a gun.)

Ten months ago, it seemed entirely odd that you could do one but not the other, as brilliantly illustrated by Andisheh in his definitive CL article

“So I just want to be clear,” I asked MARTA police Chief Wanda Dunham. “If I had a turkey sandwich in one hand and a gun in the other hand, MARTA police would ticket me for the turkey sandwich?”

“If you’re eating it,” she replied. “Only if you’re eating it.”

Genius!  Evidenced by the fact that I still remembered the quote 10 months later.

But fear not sweet Andy.  Let these ironies plague you no more!

With the signage of a recent bill, MARTA now has the authorization to sell food and drinks in their stations, thereby resolving this irony that has hounded you like a cat-loving dog for far too long.

Ah, sweet relief.

Driving On the Wrong Side of the Road is Illegal

6 05 2009

I can’t count the number of times I’ve witnessed this very action along Clairemont Road.

From Juancella Francis’ list of 11 Traffic Safety reminders…

When traffic is backed up at a traffic light and a turn lane is ahead, it is illegal and dangerous to drive in the oncoming lane while attempting to get to the turn lane. This is a constant problem, especially southbound on Clairemont Avenue approaching Scott Blvd.

The other 10 reminders can be found after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

McDonough Currently Closed Between College and Ansley

29 04 2009

Scott sends in the reason in pictoral format…


And yes, that’s a car bumper at the base of the pole.

MARTA Hopes To Scratch Back

22 04 2009

Playing catch up this morning…

First up, something that I’m sure has caught the eye of anyone that has a stake in Decatur’s Community Transportation Plan.

According to a report in the AJC, if the Atlanta Regional Commission succeeds in helping MARTA close its $25 million funding gap, everyone’s favorite transit authority promises to return the favor by using some of its stagnating $65 million in capital improvement funds to help fund development projects in Fulton and DeKalb that “complement transit.”

Wow.  That could be almost anything.

Angry Atlanta Business Leaders Needed for Ride MARTA Day

16 04 2009

Its time to stop talking the talk and start walking the ride.

Motivated by lack of legislative support and a lack of “sensible funding”, MARTA advocates have deemed tomorrow, April 17th “Ride MARTA Day”.  (h/t: InDecatur)

From the Ride MARTA Day website

On Ride MARTA Day, participants will all ride MARTA at least once, per their usual commute or replacing their usual mode of transportation. Participants will ride at the time of their choosing. In other words, all you need to do is ride the bus or train on Friday, April 17.

Simple enough.

But I wonder how we’ll be showing solidarity to anyone but each other.  We need some of those pissed off CAP bigwigs to take public transit to work with us.  That should be enough to get an AJC photog down into a station.  Otherwise I’m thinking we will have to strip down to our skivvies to get the needed attention.

Confirmation: ATL Fat Cats ARE Pissed About MARTA

14 04 2009

Looks like my hunch was right.

Its not just rail-smooching socialists that are upset about the GA legislature’s blatant disregard for MARTA.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that CAP and other Atlanta business leaders are also very unhappy with the Gold Dome crew.

And if you think that doesn’t matter, you aren’t a politician.

Recovering From the Storm

14 04 2009

There’s still a lot of clean up to do after yesterday’s wind nightmare.

Feel free to use this post to report updated power outages, road closings, etc.

My personal experience:

Ponce Heights still has no power and Altmod reports GA Power is saying it won’t be up until 8p Wednesday.  Traffic was so bad this morning I turned around and took the train in.  Wish I had just done that in the first place.

Be safe out there.