Response to recent conversation

Atlanta Forward readers joined the conversation on our blog to respond to last week’s transportation columns: Yvonne Williams, of the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, wrote about local businesses contributing to rebuild the interchange at I-285 and Ga. 400. And Benita M. Dodd, of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, offered a Plan B for regional transportation improvements. Here is a sampling of comments:

Sawb: We need more focused projects like the I-285 and Ga. 400 interchange project. The public has spoken and is hesitant to fund large unmanageable initiatives that do not provide visible improvements to their daily lives. Going forward, projects need to improve the ability of people to get from where they are to where they wish to go — and not based on what some urban planner believes they should want.

DeborahinAthens: More HOT lanes?! Reversible lanes?! We need better mass transit. We are a joke. Cities like San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and now Charlotte make us look like the dysfunction junction that we are.

DC: An elevated set of lanes over I-75/85 through downtown, with very few entries and exits, would seem like an unobtrusive way to build more capacity. Surprised not to have seen that even being considered.

The Last Democrat in Georgia: How pathetic is it that an unfunded project that should have been completed more than two decades ago — the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction — is the centerpiece of the state's (largely unfunded) transportation policy?

Mangler: All the focus on highway congestion is fine, but it ignores the other part of anyone's trips, which is on the surface streets. Backups on those seem worse at times than on the highways, especially at interchanges. They seem to be designed to funnel cars onto highways with less concern for those exiting or for those simply crossing the highway and not using it.

BHG: I'm with Mangler on this one. Back when I used to commute via Ga. 400, the bulk of my travel time was spent just getting to the highway. And most of that was on State Bridge/Old Milton Parkway, not exactly a small road. Now I have a new job closer to my house, but still, riding my bike on the sidewalk is often faster or at least equivalent to driving on that road (I'm happy spring is finally here so I can take that option more often). Focusing on the highways doesn't do much to help those of us who rarely use them.

Bernie: All involved know that the above plans and recommendations are Band-Aids with short-term solutions, providing marginal results. A bold new road and transportation plan is required to address all of the concerned traffic and transportation woes going forward. The reality of such a plan is not achievable in these weird political times. The end result is everyone will settle on little patchwork projects to address their individual territorial concerns. This is exactly what brought us to gridlock throughout the metro area. Regional selfishness has been done before, and it failed miserably.