Atlanta Forward readers responded to last week’s columns about the Atlanta streetcar and real-time phone and computer apps being developed for MARTA to reduce wait times for riders. Some selected comments from our blog:
Don: Will the streetcar be useful? Slightly. Mostly for tourists. Streetcars in general? Yes. But here, they need to connect the area west of the connector (Coca-Cola, Tech, Atlantic Station) with the MARTA rail line. Real time transit info in an app? Yes! Particularly if it’ll tell me if my GRTA bus is on time. Gotta plan that afternoon nap, you know!
Jenny: In the first article, Kari Watkins says, “MARTA already has real-time message boards that tell you when trains will arrive.” That’s not quite right. She should have said, “Until a year or two ago, MARTA had real-time message boards that told when trains would arrive, but so many of them are out of order now that riders can’t rely on finding a working one in any given station.” Not picking on MARTA — this too is probably a result of underfunding. And really, if they don’t have enough money, I’m glad they use it to repair the tracks and trains instead of the signs.
An observer: Wow, a streetcar line that is 1.3 miles long and will only come every 15 minutes! If there is only one streetcar on the line, that means 7.5 minutes of travel time each way or an average speed of about 10 mph. If there are two streetcars on the line, equally spaced, that means the street cars will be averaging 5 mph. If you travel the whole streetcar distance you save at most about 10 minutes. You might as well save the fare and get some exercise. How lazy or rushed are we? This won’t help businesses either, who before had people walk by their door and maybe stop in, who will now ride by without stopping.
Sawb: The money should have been spent to expand and/or improve the existing MARTA system. The streetcar project is already running into cost overruns, and the service seems destined to fail if people can get to their destination faster by walking.
MrLiberty: Local governments in collusion with GM, Ford and Chrysler destroyed the (streetcar) network in every major city in this country. They took massive kickbacks while the Big 3 made literally billions from bus sales and auto sales that resulted. Now local governments continue the collusion with big business to shovel more money into their own pockets and those of their co-conspirators all at the expense of the productive sector. To make sure they get support, they bring out the poor and get the tears flowing and tell us that only government-run mass transit will fix our ills.
Rick: This has always been a “tourist attraction,” doing little to help with the vast traffic problems of Atlanta.
Wilbur: The Atlanta streetcar would be a yawner if it were not for the hundred million or so that it will cost, plus many millions the ongoing subsidies will cost us.
The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has served notice to Gov. Nathan Deal that it wants input into any monument to the slain civil rights leader erected on state Capitol grounds – if the state expects free use of King’s copyrighted likeness.