Recently, the City of Johns Creek passed a resolution effectively saying they would not support an increase in the MARTA sales tax, which is and has been collected in Johns Creek since MARTA was formed.
That decision has led to the usual bellowing of racism. Racism is on the path to becoming the argument of first resort when people, generally on the left, do not get their way. It used to be the argument of last resort, but why wait?
I am sure that there will be people that claim that my views are biased as well. They would be wrong. I graduated from Georgia State University, and I took the train from Hightower to Georgia State daily. Even then, it took longer by train than by car. Which is generally true for a lot of MARTA versus car travel cases.
For example, Windward Parkway in Alpharetta to the Atlanta Airport would take 42 minutes at 1:33 p.m. on 11/23/2015. By bus/rail? One hour and 27 minutes(if you get there as soon as the bus arrives). Click on the link below, and it will show you current travel times by both modes.
We are often told “Look at how successful the METRO is in Washington, D.C.”. Of course that system is successful. It was designed and built the proper way a transportation system should be built. MARTA took a different path. Well they basically took two paths: North-South and East-West. That’s their failure. That they have continued to this day without modifying that plan is why MARTA is not and cannot be the answer.
Have a look at the two systems. Here are the maps for each:
Washington’s METRO has multiple 8 spokes to their transportation system. Those 8 spokes three separate transportation circular routes that allow passengers to get to where they are going without the need for everyone to transfer at one primary station if they need to change directions while traveling.
This system is a functional system, and provides for additional expansion because they can connect any two outer spokes, creating another circular path, when the demand is there.
The Washington Metro was started in 1976. It has:
- Six Lines
- 91 Stations
- 117 miles of track
- 712,843 passengers per day
Atlanta’s MARTA system is shown here:
MARTA was started in 1971:
- Two Main Lines
- 38 Stations
- 48 miles of track
- 438,900 passengers per day
- No new stations since 2000
As you can see, there is no connectivity between the two main spokes, except at Five Points. There are no circular paths for patrons to take to get to their destination.
This also creates another major problem. If MARTA has a failure between Lindbergh and the Airport, or between Holmes and Indian Creek, it disrupts all traffic and buses muse be used. The Washington METRO allows riders to pick another route if one of the stations happens to be on one of their circular sections of track.
So if you want to know why MARTA is not the solution for Johns Creek, look no further than the maps above. One day MARTA might be a good solution for some people. But until MARTA actually expands to allow connectivity between the two main lines at a location other than Five Points, the appeal is limited.
Had MARTA really wanted to get the ball rolling, there would be a line connecting the Dunwoody and Doraville stations. They would have also built a line North along I 75 as far as they could in Fulton, and then connected that station to Dunwoody as well.
Instead, what we are told is that by 2030 they were to have a station at Windward Parkway, extending the North Line. As far as I know, that is they only direction they are expanding. That plan was announced in 2000 or so. This leave me wondering how that their vision over a thirty year time frame could be so limited.
Johns Creek could have MARTA buses. But who will ride them? We already have both GRTA buses and a Gwinnett County bus that is operated by GRTA. They run mostly empty all day long.
The desire to have MARTA needs to be for more than a transport system to a ball game or to the airport. It needs to be something that someone can use in place of owning a vehicle. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Unless you are willing to park or sell your vehicle, and use mass transit, for more than 50% of your trips, mass transit is not the answer that makes sense.
Where we live, time has a premium value. We drive our own vehicles because despite the traffic problems we have, it’s still faster than mass transit can be as it is configured today. If you understand that, then you will understand why Johns Creek does not think MARTA is the answer for what ails us. And it has nothing to do with race.