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    From Nashville, live in Atlanta

GaTechGuy's Achievements


Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. Haha... don't send them our way. We have enough here as it is. Here in Atlanta they have these meters on the downtown sidewalks that have signs that say something like: "Do not encourage panhandlers, if you'd like to make a donation to help homelessness please donate your spare change here." They've put them in the worst areas for panhandling. The meters securely collect the change and then it's doled out to local shelters. I think it's a good idea for any city to have these "panhandler meters." Anyway, this is off topic...
  2. http://cchrpartnership.org/Default.aspx?ta...amp;EntryID=132
  3. Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. I see it as a smart program that will take some time to gain its legs. It certainly isn't going to be a flying success right out of the starting gates, but, as I see it, it should grow into a successful system if it's allowed to expand and add lines that are more appropriate to the population distribution of Middle Tennessee. (The current line was chosen to jump start the system, because it had the lowest start-up costs). I don't see the sense in allowing it to die in its infant stages, largely due to high insurance costs -- certainly not after investing the kind of money that has been invested. I say this because I think it's a smart investment that will soon bare fruits which justify its costs. I was curious and broke down the costs of the system. It costs roughly two million a year to run. It runs 5 days a week and there are 52 weeks a year. This means it runs 260 days a year. It's recently reached the level of about 1,000 daily trips by riders and continues to grow. There are 6 trips made Mon.-Thurs. and 7 on Friday, meaning an average of 6.2 trips daily. Keeping all this in mind, I estimate that: a) The daily cost to run the system is $ 7,692.31 b) The cost per train trip is $ 1,240.70 c) The daily cost per rider is $7.69 (The cost of a ticket is roughly $3.00 - $5.00, depending on where you board the train, if you preorder the tickets, and if you use a monthly pass. Children under 4 ride for free) d) Estimating average ticket price at $4.00 would mean that current riders directly pay 52% of the operating costs. $5.00 per ticket would mean 65%. e) If ridership rose to 1,500 daily trips by riders who pay an average ticket price of $4.00 the percentage directly covered by the riders jumps to 78%. f) In order for the riders to cover all the daily costs by only paying $4.00 a ticket, you would need 1,923 trips by riders per day or 961 two way riders per day. I don't think it's a stretch to say that within a few years the system will grow enough to cover most of its operating costs. I think it's a bit unrealistic to expect it to do so right out of the gate. You may make the argument that they should simply charge $ 7.50 per a ticket and all would be well. Perhaps this is true, but one has to keep in mind that there is only so much people will be willing to pay and $15.00 a day might be over that threshold. I think $4-$5 a trip is a good price, although I'm no expert. Raising the ridership levels, not the price of a ticket, would be a better route and the trend is going in the right direction. Again, this system is very new and will take time to get its legs. I think it's not too farfetched to say that it will gain its legs in the next few years, especially if new lines are added to the larger population centers in Middle Tennessee. I'll concede that you have to have a certain ridership density for trains to be more fuel efficient, but that density is surprisingly low. I don't have enough facts about the Music City Star to figure out if it has reached that density or not, so I can't argue that point with you. I can say with certainty that, pound for pound, rail transportation is much more fuel efficient than automobile transportation. There's a reason that rail is used to transport a high percentage of the long haul freight in this country, which is then offloaded onto trucks that make the short hauls to distribute the goods locally. That's not to say that other forms of freight transportation aren't in heavy use, especially when lower bulks are being dealt with. Generally speaking, rail transit systems reduce traffic, traffic fatalities, pollution, foreign oil consumption, and the cost of travel. For these reasons, I say it's a progressive form of transportation. The reason Amtrak is such a failure is because its long hauls can't compete with the speed of airline or automobile transportation. In Europe and Japan this isn't the case because they've developed high speed railway systems and they have more extensive networks, which translates into more direct routes. For these reasons their systems are more successful. Oy, and I said I wouldn't get into one of these arguments...
  4. I'm not all that interested in getting into one of these protracted message board battles with someone who phrases everything as if he/she were talking down to a small child rather than another educated adult. The last points I'll (re)make are: a) You're missing the point of my post -- My point wasn't from where the money comes, but rather the huge difference in scale that we're talking about. (If two million a year on a forward looking mass transit system, that is still gaining its legs, is a "money pit," then what is 1.8 billion a year on roads?) b) You still didn't point out my "massive gap" in logic and I still don't see it. c) Regardless of where the funding comes from, (these trains run off of diesel which in turn has a gas tax factored into its price), a healthy mass transit system is a keystone of a vibrant, navigable, and progressive metropolitan area. The systems cut down on traffic, pollution, foreign oil consumption, and to a lesser degree sprawl. We as a country hemorrhage hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign countries every year in the form of a trade imbalance. This is largely due to our importation of massive amounts of oil. This needs to be changed for many reasons: economic, national security, environmental, and otherwise. This isn't a problem that we can drill our way out of, and convincing ourselves that it is will only prolong the problem. Even if all our land was available for drilling, it would take many years for those projects to come online and we still wouldn't be able to produce the amount of oil we use. The remaining oil sources in this country are in very deep and/or remote areas, are of lower quality, and will be quite expensive to extract. Mass transit systems are one important piece of the puzzle for reducing our dependence on foreign oil, therefore I'm a fervent supporter of smartly expanding our current systems as well as establishing new ones. I've yet to hear an argument against mass transit systems that isn't cherry picked beyond belief, nonsensical and generally incoherent. You can cherry pick about where the funding comes from, but I still say the overarching idea isn't a waste of money -- or "boondoggle." It's a smart step and based on a firm foundation of facts and reality.
  5. Perhaps you'd like to point out "the massive gap?" I don't expect to sway your opinion any, but I will lay my opinion out in more detail. Once again, the government subsidizing mass transit is no different than the government subsidizing road/highway building. Just because government subsidization of road building is more ubiquitous, does not make it "more correct." Anyone can use mass transportation just as anyone can use the roads, (provided they have a vehicle). Also, the issue shouldn't be viewed as a zero sum game -- More people using mass transit means fewer people on the roads and less traffic. The state of Tennessee spent 825 million dollars on Transportation in the 2007-2008 budget. The Federal Government matched that with another 941 million dollars. ( http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/govfiles/0708StateBudget.pdf ) That's nearly 1.8 billion spent on transportation in the state of Tennessee in one year. The majority of that money goes to road construction and maintenance. And here you are complaining that this extremely lean mass transportation system is a "money pit" or a "boondoggle." The collective 2006-2009 budget for this system is roughly 6 million dollars (or 2 million a year). A large portion of that money comes from the Federal Government and passenger fees. I say again, it's all a matter of perspective. An urban area that has less traffic, less pollution, and which is easier for visitors/locals to navigate is in everyone's best interest.
  6. For those who don't make it to Midtown often, I snapped a quick cellphone picture of 1010 midtown and the second phase of the project across the street. 1010 is pretty close to completion. Also, you can somewhat makeout the remodeled W Hotel in the background. (It's the black building) On a side note, I wish Atlanta would burry all the powerlines in Midtown. They're already tearing up all the streets to update the sewer system.
  7. I believe the article said that ridership has been increasing. Clearly people have a knowledge of the train, or this problem of over selling would never have occured. The problem seems to be the blind ticket sales, which I'm sure they'll quickly fix after this mess. That should have been a glaring problem from the start. Just about every mass transit system loses money and requires subsides from local/state/federal government to run. The way I see it, that's no different from the government paying to build and maintain roads, instead of having toll roads everywhere. It's all a matter of prospective. Properly run mass transit is much more fuel efficient, timely and better for the environment. You simply have to have the right critical mass for it to work.
  8. I'm not even sure that Target would fly there. The one in Atlantic Station is just a few minutes away.
  9. Are those corner balconies caged in? That's a bit odd.
  10. Thanks! It was a bit early so the roads weren't crammed full of cars yet.
  11. A few pics from this past Sunday... 1010: Viewpoint from behind 1010: Aqua Midtown from West Peachtree:
  12. If you count it up on their website interactive floorplan feature, (which isn't that hard....they're numbered), it comes out to 400 units exactly. I counted 108 reserved, which is 27% of the units. As far as total value of the reserved units that would be a higher percentage because it seems that the higher priced units are selling better than the lower priced ones. Of course we still have the bothersome fact that these units appear to only be "reserved" rather than sold....but thats where things stand as I see them.
  13. Metro M is one of the main admins who has been with the site from the start...I'm not sure if you realize that. It's kinda hard to threaten that he can't participate.
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