Atlanta Forward Blog 

Discussion on Atlanta's economy, schools, transportation, leadership, quality of life

Is Georgia serious about rail?

  • 2:36 pm Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Georgia Department of Transportation has been updating citizens on the state rail plan, a federally mandated blueprint for passenger and freight. Though the state has little passenger rail service to speak of — two Amtrak lines — Georgia has to be current and prepared should opportunities arise, and to capitalize on federal dollars for projects. Today, a GDOT director outlines the strategy, while a transportation policy veteran refers to it as just so much lip service.

Commenting is open.

Freight rules rails, for now

By Carol Comer

The Georgia Department of Transportation is updating the state’s rail plan — the [More]

Reclining seats, annoying passengers

  • 2:27 pm Monday, September 8th, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

I’m not an airline seat recliner. I rarely tilt my seat back on an airplane, mostly because I know how much I dislike it when the person in front of me pushes their seat back — and into my lap. But many fliers do, and recent disruptions on flights due to flagrant reclining have prompted unscheduled landings, and much debate. Today, representatives of two groups write about this contentious trend, while an Atlanta pastor writes personally, about the virtue of patience.

Note: There are three columns today. Commenting is open.

Flying the unruly skies

By Michael Cintron

Incidents of unruly behavior [More]

How to start fixing transportation

  • 2:00 pm Monday, September 1st, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

When will we finally get realistic about our transportation needs on the federal and state levels? Today, two local experts take a crack at putting the diminished Federal Highway Trust Fund and gas tax into perspective. The transit leader says its time to fix the balance between road and transit funding, while Libertarian policy analysts bang the drum for that old favorite — user fees charged to motorists: The more miles you drive, the more tax you pay.

Commenting is open.

Put transit back in mix

By Lee Biola

America’s long detour away from walkable communities may soon end. The Federal [More]

MARTA rail to North Fulton

  • 2:30 pm Monday, August 11th, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

MARTA is having an interesting summer. Development around its rail stations looks to be gathering steam. Expansion south to Clayton County seems inevitable now that residents — most of them pro-transit — get to vote for a penny sales tax in November. And an expansion north along Georgia 400 also shows promise, as long as MARTA chooses the right route. Today, neighborhood leaders in Sandy Springs outline the best way for MARTA to win over North Fulton residents. And a MARTA executive writes that the agency is listening.

Commenting is open.

MARTA should choose the right direction

By Chip Swearngan

I [More]

Driverless cars in Georgia

  • 2:00 pm Monday, August 4th, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

With the upcoming state House study committee on driverless cars, we offer a discussion of what Georgia hopes to gain by preparing the way for autonomous vehicles. Today, the study committee leader writes about his belief in the new technology and what it could mean to people on a personal level, in terms of mobility. The Fayette County chairman also reveals what he’s doing at a local level. Our third column captures opinions that have skewered the projected impact of driverless cars, likening them to electric vehicles — serviceable, but not that popular.

Commenting is open.

Driverless: the road [More]

MARTA and Georgia 400 north

  • 10:10 am Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

MARTA expansion is suddenly in the air — on the south side, where Clayton County commissioners vote today on launching a referendum for a penny sales tax, and on the north side, where the transit agency is exploring a line north along Ga. 400. My column today focuses on the pushback at recent public feedback meeting in Dunwoody. In our second column, a MARTA executive outlines the process of extending service on any Fulton-DeKalb route.

Commenting is open.

MARTA, go west (on Georgia 400)

By Tom Sabulis

When the enemy — in this case, big-city transit — seems intent on invading [More]

Broken sidewalk policy

  • 3:02 pm Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

With Atlanta leaping into the top 10 walkable cities in the U.S. last week, according to one report, our attention turns to pedestrians. A local advocate criticizes the Atlanta sidewalk ordinance for unfairly putting the onus of sidewalk repairs on property owners. Separately, we asked the city to write about what it’s doing to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

Commenting is open.

Sidewalk repair policy busted

By Sally Flocks

If you’re like me, you’ve probably tripped on a broken or uneven sidewalk in Atlanta. It’s not surprising, since Atlanta has an estimated $152 million backlog of broken sidewalks. The city’s sidewalk [More]

Columbus on the move

  • 2:00 pm Monday, June 16th, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

We look south to Columbus today to see how transportation options are viewed in the state’s second largest city. In her first column for us, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson endorses adding Georgia’s first high-speed passenger rail line between her city and Atlanta. In our second column, Columbus’ city manager writes about the road improvements the area is reaping by being one of the three regions in the state to pass the TSPLOST penny sales tax in 2012.

Commenting is open.

Let’s start with Columbus line to Atlanta

By Teresa Pike Tomlinson

In 2030, you will be able to ride high speed passenger [More]

MARTA shover video

  • 5:28 pm Thursday, June 12th, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Ride with respect, everybody

By Tom Sabulis

Maybe you’ve seen the viral video making the rounds: A robust young man forcibly ejects an elderly grayhaired man from a MARTA train, allegedly for making inappropriate comments to females.

It’s easy to believe the latter. You can find knuckleheads of all ages, races and gender riding public transportation – as you can driving on the highway or riding on bike paths.

The removal of the old man is what takes you by surprise. He does not look like a physical threat; he had one of those wheeled-walkers with him. And maybe, just maybe, he’s mentally [More]

Atlanta Streetcars

  • 1:43 pm Monday, June 9th, 2014 by Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The communications director for Atlanta Streetcar Inc. today talks with me about progress on the new transit line, scheduled to begin service later this year. She also sheds some light on her background and what brought her to Atlanta to work for the streetcar project. In our second piece, a young Auburn Avenue business owner shares the demands of a local business group that wants some financial relief for the losses they endured during construction.

Commenting is open.

“…because they work”

By Tom Sabulis

Sharon Gavin, communications director for Atlanta Streetcar, doesn’t blink when asked if she’s ready for any criticism [More]