My poor county

Today’s Wooten:

Voters who lived 36 years ago in Fulton and DeKalb gave their consent to impose a one-cent transportation tax and to use it to buy bus and train service, as opposed to, say, improving roads or adding capacity. Other counties chose the latter.

I love it how he can’t escape, even for a paragraph, from the binary view of transportation’s “either-or.”  Go drive through Cobb or Gwinnett during the rush hours and tell me with a straight face that their transportation infrastructure does such a superior job of handling traffic compared to DeKalb or Fulton where we foolishly taxed ourselves into buying buses and trains.  Traffic is pretty awful everywhere, but I’m pretty sure I can cover a larger stretch of Peachtree Rd/Peachtree Industrial and Buford Highway in the same amount of time it takes to get from one traffic light on Cobb Parkway to the next at 6 o’clock.

11 comments

  1. foray says:

    The only thing is Cobb and Gwinnett families do not pay $120 a year for Marta while only supporting road construction and improvments with $9.

    Never mind the stupid “Jobs” program the County has.

  2. StevePerkins says:

    > I’m pretty sure I can cover a larger stretch
    > of Peachtree Rd/Peachtree Industrial and
    > Buford Highway in the same amount of time
    > it takes to get from one traffic light on Cobb
    > Parkway to the next at 6 o’clock.

    I’m not really sure where you’re going with these comparisons… as a Gwinnett resident, I’m more likely to think of the suburbs than the city when I think of Peachtree Industrial and Buford Highway. However, I’ve worked in town, and I’ve rented off Cobb Parkway… and if you’re saying with a straight face that Cobb and Gwinnett traffic are worse than Fulton and DeKalb’s, you are completely nuts. No offense.

  3. StevePerkins says:

    After reading that Wooten piece, I’m surprised anyone would harp on the transportation part. What about the part where support for Sunday sales is about people being “selfish”? What about him chastizing juries for only giving life without parole, passing up a juicy opportunity to fry somebody? This guy is a crusty blowhard ass from multiple angles.

  4. buckmckenzie says:

    Isn’t the population density in Atlanta and Dekalb (ITP) much higher than Cobb and Gwinnett? So, the fact that it is even debatable which area has worse traffic suggets mass transit helps. Development patterns/connectivity in the suburbs tend to limit one’s options too.

  5. StevePerkins says:

    Heh… nice spin, buckmckenzie. Actually, the population density of Gwinnett is on the cusp of surpassing Fulton’s, and Cobb is already significantly more packed. The population density data from 2005 as pulled from Wikipedia:

    Fulton – 596/km²
    Gwinnett – 525/km²
    Cobb – 763/km²

    Also, trying to say it’s “debatable” whether the traffic in Kennesaw is worse than downtown Fulton is like saying it’s debatable whether 9/11 was a government conspiracy. Sure, you CAN debate it… you just won’t have any credibility if you do. The bottom line is that it’s easier to get around the suburbs than around downtown, despite the outlying counties have the higher population densities.

  6. Actually, you’re spinning Steve.

    Population density for the following counties in American units that we can actually understand:

    Cobb 1,787 persons/sq mile
    DeKalb 2,484 …
    Fulton 1,542 …
    Gwinnett 1,359 …

    Now, those are from the census data for 2000, so all four are certainly a little bit higher but it appears the ratio is about the same. As for why you are being deceptive, let’s look at City of Atlanta’s density, not just Fulton, but the incorporated city limits:

    Atlanta 3,161 persons/sq mile
    That leaves non-Atlanta Fulton at around 1,050 or so persons/sq mile.

    So Atlanta (Fulton) and DeKalb County have density between 1.5 to 2 times higher than Gwinnett and Cobb, and I don’t think with a straight face you could argue that traffic is overall up to 2 times worse in Atlanta and DeKalb than it is in Cobb/Gwinnett.

    The point of this exercise isn’t to quantify exactly how much better or worse DeKalb traffic is compared to Cobb or Gwinnett, but it’s to show how foolish the Wooten/Steve Davis argument about road building is. According to Wooten, we’ve been neglectful here in DeKalb in building roads and we wasted our money on trains and buses, yet our density is twice Gwinnett’s and the traffic out there isn’t any better.

    That’s the point of the argument and the numbers and anecdotal evidence seem to back that up.

  7. StevePerkins says:

    Population density for the following counties in American units that we can actually understand:

    Sorry, I used density per km because that’s what is listed on Wikipedia, and I didn’t have the conversion formula handy to make it English Imperi… err, “American”. I assumed that people could figure out the idea on their own based on the ratios… and that it would make more sense to use data from 2 years ago rather than 2000, since Cobb and Gwinnett have grown a lot faster than Fulton over the past decade.

    Either way, how come you get to slice off the most populated area of Fulton, and compare it to all of Cobb and Gwinnett as a whole? Hell… if I took only Marrietta or Sugarloaf Parkway and compared it to Fulton as a whole, I could crank out some numbers pretty lopsided in my favor too.

    …and I don’t think with a straight face you could argue that traffic is overall … worse in Atlanta and DeKalb than it is in Cobb/Gwinnett.

    I’ve worked downtown, I currently attend law school in midtown, I’ve lived in Smyrna, and curently live in Duluth… and what I’m saying with a straight face is that I absolutely have an easier time getting around in Cobb and Gwinnett than I do ITP. I’m not calling you a liar, Chris… it’s just that we apparently have dramatically different experiences in our own daily routine, and each of us assume that we’re in the majority. If nobody else pipes up, we won’t know whose experience is the more common.

  8. StevePerkins says:

    Actually, in my driving routine the biggest problem I have is going East-West rather than North-South. I spend a lot of time crawling across I-285 to get from Duluth to my office in the Sandy Springs area. My wife struggles to get to her job in Alpharetta. (in both cases, of course, the congestion problem shows once you cross over into north FULTON County).

    Build train lines from Gwinnett to Cobb that passes through Sandy Springs/Dunwoody and Roswell/Alpharetta, and even I might jump on board. Hmm… has anyone ever thought of perhaps a “northern arc” of some sort? Just an idea…

  9. Chris says:

    I’ll attest to the problem in the North Burbs about going East/West.

    It probably takes longer to go from Duluth to Alpharetta (via 120 or McGuiness) as it does Duluth to midtown. The problem there is no one has expanded the bridges over the river in the last 40 years.

    Also, population density is only one factor to the commute time equation. Anyone have statistics on where the jobs actually are? I’ll bet the trend is that job growth has moved to the burbs in the last 10 years. The releases some pressure on the ITP areas, while making the commute worse in Cobb, N Fulton and Gwinnett.

    A rail line from athens to macon isn’t going to solve the problem of people commuting from Duluth to Winward or Sandy Springs to Douglasville.

  10. Doug Deal says:

    I used to live around Pleasant Hill, and when I wanted to go to Alpharetta, the fastest route for me was to take Pleasant Hill North(it runs nearly north, although people call that west) until it gradually turns west when it becomes State’s bridge and Old Milton Pkwy.

    One can also turn left on Peachtree Pkwy and then a right onto old Alabama rd, which has less traffic lights.

    Those will get you to the Mansell Rd, Old Milton Pkwy area fairly easily.

    Much better than taking 285.

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