A modest MARTA proposal

Lately there has been a great deal of talk about the need to bring mass transit trains to and through our fair city of Alpharetta. I previously explained here how the Mayor of Johns Creek advocated the urbanization of Alpharetta because he feels that his constituents are underserved by MARTA. I also showed you how the rainmaker for the local chamber of commerce is pushing a train system that would run through my neighborhood to serve residents in Johns Creek and Duluth.

I personally abhor taxpayer subsidized trains because I believe they waste money on an inflexible and inefficient transportation system. I won’t rehash my reasons for this position now but you can click on the transportation tag to the right of your screen for more background. But for the sake of argument let us assume that trains will be built to serve Johns Creek and Duluth.

The question then becomes, “Why go through Alpharetta to get to Duluth when there is a much more intelligent and economical solution to extending trains into North Fulton and Gwinnett counties.” Below is a proposed path for a MARTA rail extension that would only require about 10 miles of rail as opposed to the 30 necessary for the plan currently being suggested.

The smarta MARTA

The route shown above requires only 10 miles of new rail lines which is 1/3rd of what would be required for the plan proposed by DOT board member and Chamber of Commerce CEO Brandon Beach. Not only would this route save BILLIONS of dollars but it could be completed in a fraction of the time. That is a tremendous amount of time and money that could be better spent making other much needed infrastructure improvements.

In addition to saving Georgia taxpayers time and money my proposal is also superior to the one being floated by Mr. Beach because it would relieve traffic congestion on both I-85 and GA 400 simultaneously. If you extend MARTA along GA 400 it would only relieve congestion along one existing main artery but by placing a train between two of the most congested highways in Atlanta we could actually double the impact for one third of the cost.

So as you can clearly see, if we decide to expand rail into North Fulton and North Gwinnett then the obvious way to do it would be to extend the Doraville line up the Hwy 141 corridor. And since the solution is so obvious I hope Mayor Bodker will immediately begin pushing land use policies for Johns Creek to help facilitate this important regional initiative. Undoubtedly Mayor Bodker’s constituents will be thrilled with his vision and leadership on this matter.

Johns Creek Mayor and Councilmen want MARTA trains… in Alpharetta

There is a very interesting article in the Johns Creek Herald. Apparently on April 11 the Johns Creek City Council discussed the issue of how little money MARTA spends in North Fulton County. They also talked about the fact that if Johns Creek residents will be expected to pay an additional transportation tax then MARTA should provide their residents nearby access to trains.

The catch is that they don’t want the MARTA trains to come into the city of Johns Creek. They just want the trains to be extended into my neighborhood of Windward in Alpharetta.

As Mayor Bodker says:

Bodker said the North Fulton cities need to look at their land-use policies to see whether they even want transit, and if they do, how they would support it. He said Johns Creek does not lend itself to trains, however, buses could connect the city to train lines extending northward via the 400 Corridor or Gwinnett County.

“These are all long-term plans that won’t happen overnight,” he said.

However, plans need to be made and land-use policies changed in the meantime. He said even those who do not use transit benefit from it, because taking cars off the road makes it easier for those who continue driving. He also said continued development is unsustainable if people continue relying on cars.

So the man who didn’t honor his word when it came to charging Alpharetta residents higher recreation fees would like us to change the complexion of our city for the good of his constituents? Right. We’ll get right on that.

And Mayor Bodker wasn’t the only one suggesting Alpharetta should change for the sake of its North Fulton neighbors.  Johns Creek City Councilman Randall Johnson said:

…something he would like to see happen is for the train line to extend all the way to Windward Parkway.

“I think you would see more people from North Fulton utilize it,” he said.

This doesn’t surprise me. I have watched as politicians and developers from Johns Creek lobbied for the urbanization of Alpharetta. And I have watched as Alpharetta City Council has acquiesced every time.

I can see how Johns Creek, Milton, Forsyth County, Cherokee County and every other person outside of Alpharetta might enjoy the convenience of having trains in someone else’s backyard. It is much less obvious how the destruction of our quality of life benefits me and my family. I will have more on this subject… a lot more… but for now I am so furious I can’t see straight.

You can read the whole article here.

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Good Friday and Easter weekend.