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    Midtown, Atlanta

j.midtown's Achievements


Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. This is a known project included in Concept 3. This would be the core segment (from Cobb County's standpoint) of an LRT line that would run from Canton to KSU/Town Center to Cumberland and ultimately to Arts Center Station. From a realistic cost and political standpoint, it's highly unlikely we'll see any significant segment of heavy rail built in the future. The longest segment of HRT in Concept 3 is from Doraville to Norcross. Mixed modes are definitely the future in the region; a more important point is a unified fare card system at least, if not a single regional operating agency.
  2. The first Peachtree-fronting retailer to open in a Midtown Mile development debuted Monday this week with Clear, the new high-speed wireless (WiMAX) internet provider, opening in the south corner of Viewpoint (Peachtree and 6th). Atlanta is now one of, if not, the largest wireless hotspots in the world with 1200 sq.miles of coverage.
  3. Oh, I agree there has been much progress with improved density in the city. Whether that continues has a lot to do with the economy - both micro and macro. The city has added a lot of office space recently without any major new business announcements; a win of a major corporate relocation would certainly help with absorption and the intown momentum. Recently, we've seen as many negatives as positives for the CoAtlanta proper, particularly in the arts and culture arena (one of the key factors that helps define big cities); seeing the Opera, the Ballet and the Lyric Theatre move out of the city has been painful. Watching the Calatrava Symphony Center design wither on the vine is depressing. Investment in offices and condos is all well and good, but where is the investment in the things that bring a city alive? Where is the heart? The soul? Why will people choose to live in a dense urban environment if there isn't a vibrant city life within walking distance? Shopping and dining out are not enough.
  4. I know the Alliance and the Midtown Mile concept is all about adding street-level retail, but this doesn't work for me. I'll admit to a little emotional or nostalgic bias, as the Campanile was the first place I worked when I came to Atlanta, but honestly, as is particularly obvious in the photoshopped image I left in the quote, the addition just looks so glommed on - so clearly an afterthought. I don't think the Mile concept is meant to say every building has street retail; some existing buildings might be best left alone.
  5. I'll give it a try, although one could easily write a paper, if not a book, on the subject of Atlanta sprawl (in fact, some have). First though, transit needing density to thrive is a pretty well-covered topic in studies and papers with metrics available for transit station catchment areas (measured by walking distance) and the housing and employment densities needed to support different headways and modes (bus, rail). Fairly intuitively, and simply stated, the more people and destinations the closer to transit stations, the better. As for the sprawl, first, metropolitan Atlanta has almost no natural geographic boundaries to prevent the spread of development in any direction. It is also at the intersection of three interstates, I-75, I-85 and I-20. In addition to the white flight from the central city, there was the allure of cheap land in the suburbs and those ever-widening interstate highways providing access. During the metro's rapid growth over the last couple of decades, the many surrounding jurisdictions (multiple counties, several cities), each controlling (or not) their own zoning independently of any other jurisdiction, allowed - even encouraged - widespread development to get a piece of the economic action. Now, the City of Atlanta proper represents only about 1/10 the population of the metro area in a land area of approximately 132 sq. miles - small compared to many major cities. The sprawl is nicely visualized on this population density map from Columbia University based on Census data. At the level shown on that US map, Virginia Beach looks much more well-suited to transit than Atlanta. Perhaps one of the best ways to get an idea of the comparative utility of MARTA versus U.S. cities having more successful transit is this excellent map showing rail systems together in the same scale. Compare Chicago, Boston, DC and the most-used, NYC and how much better they cover similar geographic areas. MARTA, due to the aforementioned political issues, is funded by and directly serves only two of the counties in metro Atlanta: Fulton (where the CoA resides) and the adjacent Dekalb which together represent almost 40% of the metro population. Obviously that leaves several suburbs and population centers unserved and largely disconnected from MARTA. In the last decade or so, Gwinnett and Cobb, northern arc suburban counties representing roughly another 30% of the metro population, have both created their own (bus-only) transit systems that connect to MARTA via commuter routes into the city. Gwinnett commuters were already substantial users of MARTA via parking at the end stations of the NE line. Even within the city proper, Atlanta is less dense than some other large US cities. Here is an Atanta city map showing population density and MARTA rail and bus routes. You might also view the Walkscore heat map for Atlanta to get an idea of walkable (generally more dense) neighborhoods versus less dense neighborhoods (most) in the city. You will see some areas adjacent to MARTA rail stations such as Lindbergh that are now more dense/walkable as a result of initiatives by MARTA with business leaders to drive TOD. ARC, the regional planning agency, and other organizations have also tried to encourage and drive increased density with some success, most notably in Buckhead, Midtown and Downtown where developers have embraced the urban condo lifestyle. However, until the housing bubble popped in our current recession, nothing seemed capable of checking the sprawl. Foreclosures have been high in the region and there are over 140,000 prepared but unbuilt SFR lots in the metro area. Numerous small homebuilders have gone out of business or bankrupt and some large players are leaving the market. Could the recession have a silver lining in the long run? Anyway, this has gotten long, but hope it helps a little. Be sure to take a look at the Brookings paper I linked in the first graf.
  6. MARTA didn't do anything wrong other than being a public transit system. The same bigoted and racist arguments were made here when MARTA was being initiated; the white-flight suburbanites didn't want those people riding public transportation out to their (then) lily-white communities. Cobb and Gwinnett counties are not a part of MARTA due to those early attitudes. Is MARTA perfect? Certainly not, but its biggest issues are a lack of funding/support from the state, a lack of density from unencumbered suburban sprawl in the metro area preventing mass transit from being truly effective, and bigots who won't ride MARTA because people with whom they don't wish to associate do. I'd ask the people you speak with who denigrate MARTA what specifically they don't like or have heard is wrong with MARTA. Can they cite any specific issues? Can they offer studies of it bringing crime or poverty anywhere? Or do they repeat the alternate racist backronym often used for MARTA?
  7. Actually, in the plan linked below, the middle section has not been specified yet; the opportunity just taken to reserve it for future advantage, apparently. There is a study/planning underway for a 15th St. Bridge just north of this project that would feature only HOV ramps for both north and south which could play into that. Part of the Connector widening underneath was to provide additional exit lanes on the outside - SB, for a new 10th St. exit and NB for a new 17th St. ramp. This preliminary project plan (pdf) is from the Midtown Alliance website.
  8. A bit of a milestone at the 14th St. bridge, Friday night the final new beams were placed for the northbound span. Unfortunately, we're still about a year away from the project completion. Webcam
  9. And the winner is.... the interlocking terra cotta arms from Freelon / HOK. IMHO, probably the best choice from those options.
  10. Actually, to be precise, the discussions of a second airport are based on the region's growth projections that indicate demand will grow outstrip Hartsfield's capacity in the future - something like 2025. HJAIA is not too busy today and can continue to increase traffic in the near future, but it's a reasonable position that it makes sense to add capacity (e.g. a second airport) before you actually need it and of course, major airports are not built in a day.
  11. HJAIA officials have announced 10 'resolutions' for the coming year to improve the airport including improved security screening, a website re-design, 70 new retailers opened by mid-year, new art, improved landscaping, a comprehensive recycling program, and a November opening of the Consolidated Rental Car Facility.
  12. You know, that's the third time you've pimped that scooter store Jim; it's starting to smell like spam.
  13. ^^^^ Oh, that's just great. The college football season sucked, the economy is in the toilet and now Atlanta has been invaded by the Goa'uld. Wake me up when it's 2009.
  14. The new Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal appears to be in danger of substantial delays - a casualty of the current financial market economics that have made borrowing very difficult. According to an AJC article the airport has been unable to sell $600M in bonds needed to move forward despite an A+ debt rating.
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