Friday, December 18, 2009

My Morning Wooten

We've got a whopper today.
Linking Ga. 400 north of Atlanta to I-675 on the south by tunneling, and making it a toll road, is a cracker-jack idea. It’s one of the top toll projects the state Department of Transportation is pitching to private investors and road-construction companies. But watch how quickly opponents will inject race, a staple of Atlanta policy-making. Already, it’s cast that way because the tunnel would go under old, established neighborhoods and then surface south of I-20 “where demographic data show the population is less wealthy and less white.” Ah, Atlanta. What might we have achieved had every public policy decision not devolved into race?
A cracker jack idea. I'm sure it is for those intent on shaving 15 minutes off their ride to the airport but don't give two damns about anything inside the perimeter unless they are chattering over a performance at Chastain or visiting Grady following another horrific wrapping of a too fast car around a tree by their precious teenager.

But that' not what really stands out is it? Jim's final question squats there like a three day dead frog ready to explode in a shower of rotten innards.

To find an answer let us time travel to 40 years ago.

It was a time when Atlanta's population was just creeping past one million, the current location of Gwinnett Place Mall was a cow pasture and the region was on the verge of creating a world class public transit system. Instead, due to fears of a "bad element" reaching their suburban enclaves, the counties of Gwinnett, Clayton and Jim's favorite, Cobb, opted to not join the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Today, instead of a robust adult public transportation system on par with other major cities, we are left with the equivalent of a lobotomized teenager drooling in the corner.

So, yes. Let's ponder that question deep and long. What might we have achieved had every public policy decision not devolved into race?


Jen B. said...

Really? Tunneling under the city? That sounds terrible.

Jen B. said...

And btw, parking at Lindbergh MARTA station used to be free.. but now, it's around $7 a day. So it's actually more cost effective and convenient to drive to the fucking airport and park.

Rusty said...

My cracker jack idea when Decatur Metro asked "how would you spend $4 billion on transportation?" was to build a space elevator to send David Doss on a one-way trip. We can buy Wooten a ticket too.

Sara said...

I'd tell Jim to look to Boston's experience with tunneling under the city to see just how convenient and cost-effective that was, but I'm sure he would just blame that on Democrats, the unions, or somesuch bullshit. Having lived there for the second half of the Big Dig, I can say that the 20 years of inconvenience and $15 billion cost (double original estimates) can never be justified by the extra 5 minutes the average Bostonian shaves off their daily commute through the tunnel. And that tunnel is only 3.5miles long--what Jim is talking about would be at least 4 times that long (and presumably at least 4 times that expensive and lengthy to complete.)

Plus, of course, Boston's Central Artery Tunnel has already killed someone.

Blackjackk said...

I propose Gwinnett & Cobb car tags in the Doraville & North Springs lots be charged $50 a day to park. Then we really see who is using public transportation on the north side and maybe we can wake some folks up for the need for true public transportation here.

Good call Grift

griftdrift said...

Manuel Maloof in one his more irascible moments proposed something similar. He wanted to pass an ordinance that would allow Deklab Police issue parking citations to anyone with a Gwinnett tag that parked at Doraville.

nast said...

He is right in that there is no way to have this conversation without immediately injecting race - there is absolutely no way we could dig under Atlanta without having Mole Man and his Subterraneans declaring war on the surface dwellers.

lazermike said...

And this would be much worse than the Big Dig, and not just because it's longer. The Big Dig, unless I'm mistaken, essentially moved an existing highway underground, opening up land on the surface for public space and development. (Imagine if the Connector didn't divide Tech from Midtown and downtown from Sweet Auburn.) This plan just connects Sandy Springs to Stockbridge -- hooray!

Aside from what Grift points out, this kind of crap exemplifies what is wrong with Wooten and many of his band of right-wingers -- ignoring evidence. Adding lanes has not reduced traffic yet, but that's all they keep proposing as if there is some sort of congestion Laffer curve with a magical point that will suddenly eliminate traffic if we can just find it.

Sara said...

You're right Mike, that the Big Dig put the elevated Central Artery underground (and expanded the capacity of the artery by about 300%). That is probably partly why the project was even able to be built over the objections of the neighborhoods to be affected--because the end result would be the ugly elevated highway coming down and highly desirable property opening up through the heart of the city underneath the dismantled highway. Also, I don't believe the path of the Big Dig ran under many if any private homes, so there was less community impact to worry about--it was just built underneath an existing highway and some downtown commercial space, not under (or worse--OVER) people's houses and back yards. In contrast, the impact of the proposed tunnel from 400 to 675 would be huge to whatever neighborhoods lie in its path--and despite what Jim would have us believe, there are plenty of white folks in those neighborhoods too who will be mighty pissed if GDOT wants to drill a massive hole under their houses.

Wooten has tunnel lust for some reason...he was also the guy who proposed making the Connector into a tunnel through midtown and downtown.

chamblee54 said...

A note to the people of Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton Counties who rejected Marta.:
You thought that keeping Marta out of your counties would keep large numbers of black people out of your counties.
It didn't work.

Anonymous said...

Wooten claims to hate the ATL-Lovejoy train idea, but I bet he'd go for it if it involved a tunnel and a spur that ran up to Roswell.