The Livable Communities Coalition

Working to improve Atlanta's quality of life through smart growth

Misery loves company

Livable Communities Coalition executive director Ray Christman

A message from Livable Communities Coalition executive director Ray Christman:

Last week, Atlanta Regional Commission staff released its draft list to the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable.

While the roundtable members ultimately will be the final decision-makers, the Atlanta Regional Commission staff list will offer some hints about the roundtable’s thinking.

To this point, roundtable members have argued the importance of getting the right list before voters prior to the summer 2012 referendum.

It has become clear that the roundtable believes transit must be part of the solution. The big question is: how much?

The Livable Communities Coalition launched the Fair Share for Transit initiative to help answer this question. The Livable Communities Coalition and its Fair Share for Transit supporters believe that in order to make a true difference in the region a fair share for transit has to be anywhere from 40 to 60 percent.

We have had transportation policies that have helped the region grow, but we have grown without looking sufficiently towards the future.

While our sprawling 1950s approach to growth attracted employers, created jobs and provided homes with modern comforts, our regional prosperity has come at a price: our traffic problem has made us miserable.

(Interestingly, a recent New York Times article explores how European policy-makers have developed defined policies to make drivers miserable. It is important to note that their approach is rather deliberate because at the same time they make drivers miserable they focus on creating viable alternatives for travelers by increasing bicycle lanes, investing in enhancing and expanding transit, and pursuing a seemingly radical idea of closing some roads to vehicles altogether. Here in metroAtlantawe have achieved a similar result through a different methodology.)

But now is the time to shape a different future.

Regionally, the anecdotal evidence shows us that we need much more than roads to ease our commutes. In fact, aUniversityofTorontoreport provides the empirical evidence that road-building creates more traffic, according to a recent NPR report.

The Transportation Investment Act enables the region to chart a different course in which cars and trains don’t compete against each other.

If metro Atlanta chooses to pass the referendum authorizing a 10-year 1-penny sales tax for transportation improvements, it will move the region forward by enabling integrated transportation investments. In short, it is our opportunity to create a true transportation alternative. It is becoming clear that we can never build enough roads. But we can provide alternatives.

We can set aside our misery, but we need to put in the work now.

The Livable Communities Coalition has done its homework to encourage a true regional conversation about our transportation future. With help from our partners, the Coalition has developed its own list of projects that we feel will maximize the region’s transportation investments.

While misery loves company, it’s bad policy if it does not offer options. It’s time metroAtlantamakes transportation investments that are deliberate and designed to enhance quality of life across the region.

Become a fan of Fair Share for Transit

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