News Clips 1-15-13

Today's Clips:     MARTA Atlanta Streetcar GRTA Atlanta Sustainable Roundtable – Addressing Regional Issues  Atlanta Regional Commission

com/videos/news/marta-gets-bus-cameras/vnTj3/ .MARTA WSB-TV Channel 2 1-14-13 MARTA Gets Bus Cameras http://www.wsbtv.

Atlanta Streetcar Saporta Report 1-14-13 Ups and downs of Atlanta Streetcar project due to reintroducing transit Posted in Maria's Metro Date: January 14th. That has delayed the ability to lay down tracks — but that should change in the next couple of months. 2013. and I have got every expectation that they will be the contractor for this job. Construction work is progressing on the Atlanta Streetcar — and it currently appears that service will begin in the spring or early summer of 2014. But that‘s about to change — despite numerous obstacles that have revealed that we‘re a bit rusty in the streetcar development business. By Maria Saporta It‘s been more than a half century since streetcars ran on Atlanta‘s roads. 11:44 am 39 22 3 85 Like 8 people like this. More than 15 utilities have been impacted. We are within striking distance of reaching a final number . The delays also have led to a budget gap — over what money exists to build the project and what the contractor — URS — expects it will cost to finish up the work. and we have put out a plan for moving forward. But the project has experienced unforeseen delays — primarily over the relocation of underground utilities and the surprises of what exists underneath out streets.‖ said Tom Weyandt. that gap was thought to be more than $10 million. ―We are still at the table. senior transportation policy advisor for the City of Atlanta. but after ongoing negotiations the various entities have narrowed that gap to less than $5 million. We are waiting for a response from them. Several months ago. ―We have exchanged further proposals as recently as last week. That is about six to seven months after the original schedule.

we have made significant progress in identifying the challenges and developing the solutions necessary to move forward with the construction of the streetcar. Several construction companies entered competitive bids to build the streetcar. ―That‘s what has made it difficult — deciding who should take the risk – the contractor or the sponsors.3 million. which gave the project life.1 million in a Livable Centers .with URS. which included a number of new transit projects — primarily light rail and streetcar.‖ said Ed Hrinewski. Here is a breakdown of the project‘s total budget: In addition to the TIGER grant. the joint venture team had to enter into a ―design-build‖ contract. ―You have to deal with a lot of unknowns. $8 million from the Department of Watershed Management to move water and sewer pipes. president of Central Atlanta Progress. they would be in a better position to build the other transit projects.J. perhaps anticipating that if the referendum passed. and the current gap is within that buffer.6 million into the project.‖ said A. But that incentive went away when the referendum failed. $5. the firm‘s project manager.‖ Atlanta Streetcar logo The Atlanta Streetcar is a public-private partnership between the City.‖ To make it as ―shovel-ready‖ as possible. Another dynamic that has been at play is that when the project was first put out for bid. ―URS continues to make good progress in finalizing the Atlanta Streetcar contract. the City of Atlanta has put in $15.‖ The project‘s $52 million construction budget does include a financial buffer for ―contingencies‖ to help cover cost overruns. ―While Atlanta‘s streets have a number of historical buildings with underground utility systems that have added some complexities to this project. Robinson. the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District has put in $6 million for an ―initial net project total‖ of $69. The $92. meaning that the project was being designed at the same time that construction work was underway. The remaining budget for the project includes $9 million that the City of Atlanta has allocated to buy the streetcars. MARTA and the private Central Atlanta Progress/Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. the region had not yet held the transportation sales tax referendum.7 million project won a $47. But the project team does not want to use up all of its contingency budget in case other issues come up.7 million federal TIGER II grant.

‖ Weyandt said. through public-private partnerships. saying that already several new developments are being planned along the 2. And although the referendum did not pass. . Now the plan is to go to market in about six months with a request for proposal (RFP) to have various entities bid on operating the streetcar. Initially. The Atlanta Streetcar has exposed the difficulties that come with having to re-enter the transit business after having been out of the game for decades. The building of the Atlanta Streetcar is the dawn of a new era for transit — one that can begin to transform the way we get around in our community. and we are in the process of drafting a RFP to get the most efficient and cost effective operator to run this system. Robinson also is optimistic about the impact that the Atlanta Streetcar will have on downtown.‖ Weyandt said. Weyandt said the city is continuing to pursue other options to build new transit. ―We are actively looking at what the next phases will be and what the next corridor will be. and it is applying to become a grantee of the Federal Transit Administration that would allow the City to apply directly for federal grants. ―It does not necessarily exclude MARTA. But now that‘s not a certainty. We own virtually all the right of way. and a $1. ―We are still talking to MARTA about the nature and the form of operations. ―We actually can control our own fate here.25 million LCI grant to make Luckie Street two ways.‖ What has become clear throughout this process is that Atlanta entities have had to rebuild their expertise in building new transit — especially streetcars that use the existing roadways. MARTA was expected to be the operator.. We also are also looking at alternative funding.62-mile streetcar route. Map shows route of the Atlanta Streetcar Another significant shift in the project is over who will operate the streetcar. the City currently is looking to hire a director of streetcars. They will be the contracting authority.Initiative grant for transit and pedestrian enhancements.‖ Case in point.

and we are going to have to be resourceful.‖ Weyandt said. ―We have some tough negotiations to conclude. ―We are going to have to pay some close attention every step of the way. But I‘m confident it‘s going to open and it‘s going to knock every body‘s socks off.But leaders behind the project believe it will be well worth the pain.‖ .

4 million to maintain the service. The bus is extremely valuable to my commute. 56.000 cars an hour. that‘s when Gov. Off -peak service is needed — even if routes were combined. the state spent $5. and an environmental leader writes about what transit options and the GRTA service mean for the environment. Evening and weekend service would be nice in order to be able to use it for ball games and cultural events. The $4. I use the time on the bus to read and nap. Suburban bus riders on pros and cons ―I have been riding the Route 412 bus from Discover Mills (now Sugarloaf Mills) to Midtown since the route‘s inception. Killing the buses and dumping that much auto traffic onto I-85 would start the jam earlier. they are replacing about 1. Commenting is open below. .‖ — Don Oltmann. unincorporated Gwinnett County ―I have been a rider of the Xpress buses for about four years now. Nathan Deal releases his budget.50 I pay each way now is worth it. following Tedra Cheatham’s column. That is.GRTA AJC 1-15-13 Riders talk GRTA Xpress by tsabulis Moderated by Tom Sabulis We should know Thursday the state‘s plans for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority‘s Xpress bus service. make it last longer and make the peak jam times worse for all the I-85 users. The benefits of Xpress go beyond the utility for the bus riders. It‘s been great. and I would pay more for the service. too. primarily things I can‘t do in the car. Extending some runs to and from the airport would be useful. ―I have to drive seven miles from home to get to the bus. I ride the 470/477 in the morning and the 470 in the afternoon. But questions about the state‘s commitment to the service continue. GRTA riders share their experiences. Last year. Today. I loathe the few days a year I have to drive and park. ―A rough calculation of the ridership on the I-85 NE corridor shows that the buses are worth close to a half a lane of highway capacity during peak times. I have not minded a bit that the fares have more than doubled since the start.000 rides a day to long-haul commuters to and from the suburbs and Atlanta. which provides about 9. Between the two routes.

and it was so nice to be able to get on the bus and take a nap on the way to work and on the way home. It‘s not so bad when it‘s nice out. Maybe area counties versus the state should be providing more funding for GRTA buses. Iit departs the Civic Center MARTA station every 30 minutes beginning at 3:45. 54. though. Yes. either. and the drop-off and pick-up locations were farther away. I cannot recall the number of times that the air conditioning or heat was not working. or any kind inclement weather. The good part is obvious — less wear and tear on your vehicle and your sanity. That added at least 20 minutes to the commute. Douglasville . there are aggravating issues. but in the cold. My son started a different day care that opened later. In the afternoon. While I don‘t believe we need more runs. Rockmart ―I live about 45 miles south of downtown Atlanta and catch the bus at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton. Over the years. and the bus was more difficult to catch. It has saved me a significant amount of money and stress. and parking in the cheapest lot I can find is still $7 per day. It was so convenient for me to ride and a much less costly alternative to get to work. The bad is that it takes longer than driving. Then there are the little things like the seat backs broken or the lights not working. It saved me a lot of money at the time. We have seven departure times in the morning and eight return times in the evening. Our buses appear to average 80 percent capacity. They seem to be neglecting maintenance on those buses. Things changed. but rather a culture that loves its cars and self control. I do not believe limited growth in ridership is a function of frequency of runs and available routes. It was a life saver — or it used to be. or rain. even some folks just taking a day trip into Atlanta). Griffin ―I was a rider from August 2006 until they changed the routes last year. especially since they changed the downtown routes and do not allow the buses on Peachtree Street. I personally can‘t understand why more people do not take advantage of the bus. but they are usually infrequent and have declined as GRTA management has gotten more experience operating in and around Atlanta. I was driving a Nissan Pathfinder that drank gas.there is a bus departing Hiram every 15 minutes.‖ — Lee Gurley.‖ — Terry Stratton. noting temporary spikes when gas prices rise and a permanent increase when Clayton County stopped its bus service. I would argue it would not be productive to have fewer runs. The past year has seen my usage decline significantly. Route 440 ridership has steadily increased in numbers and diversity (professionals. I work at 2 Peachtree Street.‖ — Melodie Henderson. GSU students. I‘ve had about three experiences where the bus broke down and had to wait on the next route to stop and pick us up. 39. it‘s a nightmare. Then the routes changed. 50. so the drop-off and pick-up locations used to be quite convenient. I only ride the 470. bluecollar workers.

smart solution for long-distance commuters who may not live near transit routes. Carpools. transit options. It‘s a problem that negatively impacts our time. money and well-being. bringing commuters directly to the major business centers during rush hour. bicycling. Recently. There are more than 300 vans on the road across Georgia through a program directed by GRTA. for example. The average commuter loses 43 hours in traffic each year. Vanpools offer a similar. too By Tedra Chetham It‘s hard to get metro Atlanta‘s 2.000 metro Atlanta commuters use these options each workday. In a region where four out of five commuters drive alone to and from work. Xpress was recognized with a PACE Award for implementing strategies to improve fuel economy in its fleet. telework. including policies prohibiting unnecessary engine idling.000 solo-drive trips off the roads each workday. The Xpress bus system. but everyone grinding their teeth in rush hour agrees we have a serious traffic problem. and more than 400. The Xpress fleet creates efficiency on the roads and at the pump. compressed work weeks and walking are all viable options that can immediately reduce traffic congestion. and all those lost hours cost metro area employers a total of $2.2 million commuters to agree on something. but it gives commuters from Forsyth to Coweta the opportunity to get to town quickly and affordably. Today. One fully loaded Xpress bus can take up to 57 cars off the road while allowing those on board to reclaim valuable time they might otherwise have spent behind the wheel. each carrying up to 15 commuters into job centers. vanpools. takes more than 9. reducing traffic and saving the riders money on gas and car . The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) commuter bus service stands out as an important part of the region‘s transportation network. there are more opportunities than ever before to use commute alternatives that reduce the number of cars on the road.AJC 1-15-13 Transit is individual choice. the need has never been greater to adopt new travel habits and look closer at a network of other options. This type of transit doesn‘t require new infrastructure.5 billion in productivity annually.

the commuters and workplaces participating in these programs eliminate 1. choosing to join a carpool or structuring a program for employees to start teleworking can be done today. and it begins with individual commuters and employers choosing a better way to work. pre-tax deductions. either. check out Georgia Commute Options. workplace consulting and more.expenses.1 million miles of vehicle travel from our roads and keep 550 tons of pollution out of the air we all breathe. . When you are ready to change the way you get to work or how your employees get to work. It‘s not just about lawmakers coming up with a new plan. It‘s not just about the driver next to you making a change. the Clean Air Campaign and the region‘s transportation management associations. While new infrastructure takes new funding and years to complete. The responsibility to ―do something about traffic‖ falls on all of us. It‘s up to individuals and businesses as well. There‘s still a lot of potential to grow those numbers. This program helps metro Atlanta commuters and employers take advantage of commute alternatives through free services like financial incentives. a new joint effort involving the Georgia Department of Transportation. Tedra Cheatham is director of the Clean Air Campaign. Each workday. ridematching.

Those were some of the conclusions that several local leaders shared at the Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable on Friday. Their task was to describe how Atlanta might evolve in the next decade. ―We have to create opportunities for these young people. founder of the Partnership for Southern Equity and director of partnerships at Emory University.‖ But that urban lifestyle is not exclusive to inside the perimeter. ―Many of us want the same thing _ we desire to be in an urban lifestyle. adding that the region‘s population also is getting older. the Atlanta region added more than 1 million people.‖ Reuter said. Nathaniel Smith. Jan. said metro Atlanta will need to become more inclusive — inviting Hispanics.Atlanta Sustainable Roundtable – Addressing Regional Issues Saporta Report 1-14-13 Atlanta region faces a number of tough issues over the next decade Posted in Latest Reports Date: January 14th. African-Americans and Asian Americans to be a more important part of the community. And people‘s choices also are changing. Town centers throughout the 10-county region are offering opportunities for a more pedestrian-oriented communities where people can live. set the stage. but the greatest growth in population was among Hispanics. By Maria Saporta Metro Atlanta in 2023 will be older. work and play. 11. . 6:34 pm 4 24 0 47 Like 3 people like this. African Americans and Asian Americans. Between 2000 an 2010. Reuter asked the panel what it will take for Georgia to be competitive. more diverse and more compact. Reuter said. ―We are living much longer.‖ Smith said. 2013. chief of the land use planning division for the Atlanta Regional Commission. Moderator Dan Reuter.

adding that the region will need to provide those amenities ―if metro Atlanta is going to continue to retain this talent.‖ Beth Schapiro.‖ Smith. adding that the issue will only keep getting worse with a majority of senior citizens living in the region not having access to transit. Smith. we will continue to be in . founder of the Schapiro Group research consulting firm.‖ Smith said. said that while that is true for established organizations. Reuter predicted ―that we will find new transportation revenue. The panel did say the region still needs to address its transportation issues despite the failure of the regional transportation sales tax last July.‖ said Kirkpatrick. however. Smith said that communities that are able to bring every one to the table with a sense of equity will find that to be a ―superior growth model. said the elephant in metro Atlanta room continues to be race. great bars and restaurants.‖ The community has ―ways of getting people plugged in. Smith said the region needs to do a ―deep dive and a deeper analysis‖ on why the regional transportation sales tax failed. But that becomes less true ―as we move further away from established organizations‖ in the region. said the region must make itself alluring to the ―young and restless‖ generation — people needed to keep our economy vibrant. No matter what. ―We have got to go back to basics on why regionalism is important. Perhaps the five core counties or a different segment of the region might be able to come up a plan that can gain support. ―The history of transportation and race hurt us in our ability to grow.‖ Smith said.‖ There also seemed to be consensus that perhaps the transportation issue is too complex to be addressed in the whole 10-county area at the same time. ―Until we take an opportunity to reflect on our failures.‖ he said. there‘s a large part of society that is being left out of the civic conversation. ―We have to acknowledge the fact that every one‘s opinion matters. a senior vice president for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. ―They are looking for not just a salary and benefits but the social benefits — green space. Schapiro said that she has surveyed people in the northern suburbs with a majority saying they want increased options for public transportation in their communities. however.‖ One member of the audience questioned why no one was talking about climate change and the impact that could have on the region in the next 10 years. ―We have a great civic infrastructure bringing the usual suspects together. said Atlanta already has ―a terrific civic infrastructure in place. wide sidewalks…. not matter how uncomfortable that might be.Kate Kirkpatrick.‖ In fact.

―Nobody likes to call the ugly baby and ugly baby. The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District is an example of how the region is working together.this holding pattern. But Smith said metro Atlanta reportedly has the greatest inequity in the nation in terms of income. but we have an opportunity. an issue that needs to be addressed. ―It‘s time for us to say the baby is ugly.‖ Kirkpatrick also said that it was inaccurate to equate the failure of the referendum with the sentiment that regionalism is dead in metro Atlanta.‖ .‖ Smith said.

explains his agency‘s reorganization as GRTA Executive Director Jannine Miller observes. Doug Hooker. 6:19 pm 40 25 0 74 Like 5 people like this. 2013. By David Pendered The Atlanta Regional Commission is embarking on its first reorganization in a generation.Atlanta Regional Commission Saporta Report 1-14-13 ARC’s first reorg in a generation aims to meet region’s emerging needs Posted in David Pendered Date: January 14th. Credit: Donita Pendered Silos of expertise are to be replaced by collaborative teams. An example of the new approach would be for ARC planners to examine mobility rather than transportation – a shift that frames the issue in a fashion that begs for broader solutions. . ARC‘s executive director. in order to meet the demands of the post-recession paradigm that‘s emerging from the public and private sectors.

chambers of commerce. ARC convened what it described as.‖ Hooker A tangible example of this approach is ARC‘s role in forming the Airport Area Task Force. ―Community development involves issues around mobility. arts and culture. On paper. we will begin to bring in different types of expertise to help communities. Late last summer. ―It could be staff people with expertise. For example: ―It‘s not just land use planners or public administrators who are involved with community development. ―local governments. who heads UNC‘s Center for Air Commerce. Because it‘s not just about creating a land use plan for the region.―Because we are changing in so many ways as a region.‖ ARC is promoting development around Atlanta‘s airport that would create the type of community described by John Kasarda. We‘re also thinking about how we can help local governments with community development within the parameters of their operation. ARC‘s executive director. which is the world‘s busiest passenger airport. . ―But it could also be with alliances. ARC realizes we have to be more adaptable to help local governments solve more problems. The task force has conducted several meetings and participants expect to produce a vision statement this spring. Credit: aerotropolis.‖ Hooker said. aging. The document doesn‘t quite capture the breadth of change that comes out when Hooker describes it. natural resources. The goal is to develop the region around Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.‖ said Doug Hooker. the reorg chart shows four ARC departments being collapsed into three centers. businesses. By calling it ‗community development‘ and looking at how we help communities from that perspective. and other interested parties‖ – such as Georgia Power.

as an example.‖ Hooker went on to say ARC staffers will take all the time needed in 2013 to work with partner agencies to . Jr. with its sisters … needs to understand this is coming and needs to adjust. ―Whereas we have viewed you as a planner who has certain things to do. The Georgia governor has designated ARC as the metropolitan planning organization for the Atlanta area. ARC‘s board approved the current reorganization in December. federal government is going to scale back in major ways. One such area of concern involves the region‘s Transportation Improvement Program. because that is how you‘ve seen yourself. and Hooker took it public for the first time Jan. The reorganization had been put on hold until late 2012 because so many ARC leaders and key employees were involved in preparing for the July 2012 transportation sales tax referendum. ARC and its counterparts across the country are having to find ways to help stretch local resources to meet their community‘s needs and demands.These changes in outlook and organization are significant because ARC has a defined set of duties and responsibilities under state and federal law. that you try to plan out with TIP approvals how this approach will change the way that we go about doing things as we interact. GRTA acts on behalf of the governor in approving and amending the TIP. as it did in December. or TIP. as you perceive how you‘ll interact with your various partners. and a few other board members raised concerns about how ARC will interact with its partners in light of its redefinition of itself. when he spoke at ARC‘s State of the Region meeting: • ―The bottom line … is the U. described this emerging paradigm in October.‖ Hooker immediately responded: ―You‘re quite right. counties and cities.‖ Deriso said. when the board adopted a strategic plan.S. As the federal government is shifting a growing proportion of the costs of some public affairs to state. 9 at the board meeting of GRTA. but now you‘re viewing it differently. This designation gives ARC clear responsibilities. ―It would be helpful. Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. ARC fulfilled its state-mandated role of providing planning and other support to the elected officials who crafted the project list and explained it to constituents. Urban scholar Bruce Katz.‖ Deriso said to Hooker after Hooker had presented his report to GRTA‘s board. GRTA board Chairman Walter ―Sonny‖ Deriso.‖ Hooker said ARC‘s board has been contemplating its reorganization since 2011. ―We applaud your efforts and thank you for your innovative approach. with Brookings Institute. especially pertaining to the Federal Highway Act and Federal Transit Act. This metropolis. both of which provide funding to promote mobility in the region.

―You may.implement the changes smoothly. a commercial bank that‘s not taking new investors. create some change in the rest of us. in fact. We applaud what you‘re doing. who serves on the boards of GRTA and ARC. ―Change is opportunity and change is great.‖ Deriso said to H ooker. Deriso chairs the board of Atlantic Capitol Bank. and supporting it. ” . Deriso concluded the interchange by observing on the nature of change in organizations. said she and fellow ARC board members are excited about the result of ARC‘s reorganization. Gwinnett commission Chairman Charlotte Nash. and whose client sheet includes emerging companies and real estate developers.

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