Saporta Report has a great post from an Atlanta transportation planner about some commonly-repeated myths that popped up during the recent T-SPLOST debate. I highly recommend reading it: “Challenging transportation myths after the failed regional TIA vote.”
As a teaser, here’s Myth #1:
“Only 3 percent of people take transit so it’s not worth the money.”
Reality: The majority of the population does not live near transit. In the City of Atlanta, where frequent train and bus routes exist ridership is 30+ percent. Using diluted percentages to justify the rejection of transit is a dangerous business case for the future of our region and state. Every successful city in the future is building a choice of roads and transit, and they are not mutually exclusive.
I read this “3%” statistic many times this year as an argument again transit expansion. The Atlanta metro area is huge and a relatively small part of it is served by transit. How could anyone expect a significant percentage of riders in the metro if most people don’t even have the option?
The writer of the post, Heather Alhadeff, notes that future conversations about transportation in Atlanta “must include voices that are different, younger, and new residents who are unburdened by the racial politics of our past and unimpressed by the arguments of inevitable sprawl and continued auto-dependency.”
This is true. There are many people who are wrongly convinced that sprawl and car-dependency in Atlanta are somehow inevitable — their voices end up dominating too many conversations about transportation.
MARTA Five Points Station photo by Flickr user Scott Shire