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Letter from the Executive Director June 2009 - Special Publication

Transportation 'all hosed up'; Coalition looks for loose ends to pull

There's a country expression for the mess that has been made of transportation in Georgia and the region: "all hosed up."
If you've ever spent time straightening a stiff, kinky, tangled garden hose, you know the meaning of the expression.
In a new "Transportation Agenda" based on ideas from the May 21 joint meeting of the Coalition Board and Advisory Committee, the Coalition identifies eight places to start straightening out transportation for the region and state.The agenda was sent last week to members of the Board and Advisory Committee for review and comment.
The eight areas of emphasis identified were:
1. Federal transportation stimulus spending, with efforts focused on stimulus spending directed by the Georgia Department of Transportation.(Atlanta Regional Commission will direct the spending of a second, smaller pool of funds.)
2. Implementation of the state's new transportation strategy as spelled out in the
study Investing in Tomorrow's Transportation Today, or IT3.
3. Increased awareness of public transportation, thanks to the Concept 3 Regional Transit Vision and a front-page funding crisis for MARTA.
4. Local and statewide elections this year and next.
5. Smart growth development along the commuter rail line from Atlanta to Griffin, assuming the state acts in time to preserve federal funding for the project.
6. Community frustration with two years of legislative failure to address transportation funding.
8. The Obama administration's interest in and support for high-speed rail, including a southeast corridor through Atlanta.
Strategies and tactics to address the eight areas are spelled out in the agenda circulated last week.They share a common vision:
First and foremost, the linkage between smart growth development patterns and supportive transportation investment continue to be the foundation for our advocacy for transportation reform ... Second, if we are to be honest about achieving successful smart growth in the Atlanta region, we must make significant progress in expanding public transportation throughout the region and in creating walkable and bike-able environments that connect to the public transportation system.
For more on specific strategies and tactics, please refer to the Transportation Agenda sent last week.

Elke Davidson set to become new Policy Subcommittee chair

Elke Davidson, past member of the Coalition's Advisory Committee and current chair of the Coalition's Housing Working Group, has been nominated to take over as chair of the Coalition's Policy Subcommittee.She would succeed current Chair Todd Edwards, associate legislative director for the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG).The Policy Subcommittee reports to the Advisory Committee.
The transition in leadership is expected to take place July 9 at the next Policy Subcommittee meeting.
Davidson plans to focus subcommittee work on finding ways to support the Coalition's overall strategic plan.

Help copies of new density one-pager escape from shelf

Help the Coalition's newest publication grow wings.
Copies of the new one-pager on density - preliminary versions of which were handed out at the May 21 joint Board and Advisory Committee meeting - are now available online and as finished hard copies.
Intended targets for the publication are elected city and county officials, members of zoning boards and commissions, members of homeowners associations, and other volunteer civic leaders.Hard copies are meant for distribution at relevant meetings and for use in one-on-one conversations with officials and interested citizens.
Know of a group or elected representative who would benefit?Please let Coalition staff know how many copies you need, or send names, addresses, and a contact phone number, and staff will make the contact.

Talks touch on how to get more transit-oriented development in the region

MARTA, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), and the Livable Communities Coalition are considering creation of a metro Atlanta transit-oriented development (TOD) initiative to promote, organize, and support TOD near MARTA rail stations.
MARTA, ARC and the Coalition might provide resources and assistance to support the steps necessary to increase TOD in jurisdictions with MARTA rail stations.
In an exploratory meeting last week, representatives of MARTA, ARC, and the Coalition agreed that MARTA rail stations are now generally undervalued and underutilized as nodes for denser development.Yet it's envisioned that the rail system will continue to play a major role in efforts to clean metro Atlanta's air, increase regional mobility, decrease overall dependence on automobiles, combat carbon emissions, and enable sustainable development.
A pro-TOD initiative might lend support to local communities and governments exploring ways to better utilize MARTA inside their jurisdictions.Resources that might be made available through the initiative could include:
  • Training on TOD for citizens or local officials.
  • Technical assistance with new planning or codes.
  • Studies of economic benefits from TOD.
  • Scenario planning and build-out analysis.
  • Parking studies of station areas.
  • Station improvement tours.
  • Coordination with local governments and neighborhoods.
  • Planning to better integrate transit operations with TOD.
  • New models for TOD development.
  • Design charrettes and public forums on TOD.
  • New funding priorities or assistance through ARC's Livable Centers Initiative.
  • New research into the benefits and challenges of TOD.
Discussion of the initiative is in the earliest stages.There has been no decision to proceed and no formal commitment yet by any of the three groups.