The Northern Arc By Any Other Name Will Still Smell Like A NIMBY Problem

August 31, 2009 9:11 am

by Icarus · 18 comments

Last Friday, John Oxendine released his transportation plan as part of his proposed agenda for when he is Governor.

He proposes:

“An East-West Connector” across the northern metro counties, but when called a “Northern Arc”, Oxendine rebuts the charge with “I didn’t use that word”.

Other projects proposed or proposed for “study” include an improved fall line freeway, a far-western bypass to get traffic around Atlanta, and a new freeway through Atlanta, parallell to the downtown connector, connecting GA 400 to I-675. This road, slicing through the heart of Druid Hills and East Atlanta Village, got most of the attention in reactions from the AJC, Creative Loafing, and another blog with an in-town focus that has recently taken to calling us a cesspool (Hi Grift!).

It’s interesting that most of the on-line and print media that covers Georgia politics took a story like this and treated it as if they were the Georgia Gang. That is, they only focused in on the part that matters to the people that live within 5 miles of Briarcliff Road.

The comments on Griftdrift’s blog were especially interesting, because they were all discussing how this would really piss off the people in East Atlanta Village and that would really motivate them to vote against the Ox. Myopia runs amock.

First, look at Ox’s general campaign strategy. I’m pretty sure it makes him happy when the folks in East Atlanta Village hate him. He doesn’t just want them to be mildly annoyed with him. If he does something to make EAV’ers HATE him, then he’s probably doing something to make residents of Hiram, Cumming, Dacula, and Newnan LOVE him.

Ox is trying to win a Republican primary, and I don’t think he’s held too many campaign events at the Graveyard Tavern.

Which makes this look like yet another pandering campaing ploy, until you thrown in the “don’t call it an Arc” Northern Arc.

Of all the issues that defeated Roy Barnes, I still put this one ahead of the flag, but still behind a mob of pissed off teachers. Yet, after 7 years of transportation studies and the total abortion that was DOT reform, I have to wonder if the mood across the Northern suburbs has softened toward this road, or if Ox is conceding some territory that might be considered Handel/Deal territory. Regardless, reviving the idea of the Northern Arc is hardly a “safe” political move.

Regardless of motivation, it’s a topic that needs to be addressed and intensely debated. The next governor needs to arrive on West Paces Ferry with a plan, not a plan to conduct more studies.

I applaud the Ox for articulating his opinions in this area.

Jason Shepherd August 31, 2009 at 9:44 am

Correction though Icarus. I heard Oxendine Saturday morning at the Madison Forum in Cobb go over the plan. The East-West Connector is distingishable from the Northern Arc in that the NA was planned to go through Cumming, Canton, Gainesville, to Cartersville.

Oxendine’s plan moves it outside the metro Atlanta area to the far northern counties with the idea of moving a lot of truck traffic off of I-285 and preparing as Atlanta and Chattanooga continue to grow towards each other.

The areas that would benefit the most from Oxendine’s plan would more likely be Calhoun/Dalton, Dahlonega, Corneila, and Commerce.

On the west side, it would be Calhoun/Dalton, Rome, Cedartown, Carrollton, Newnan, Barnesville, and (the City of) Forsyth. The western route will also add North/South access to the new Kia plant in West Point.

Ramblinwreck August 31, 2009 at 10:04 am

I heard a presentation 5 years ago in Dalton from Mike Kenn promoting an East-West Corridor from the Dalton area linking to I-85 around the SC border allowing traffic to bypass I-285 in Atlanta. it was a public/private venture that would have been a toll road. It sounded reasonable to me. I’d pay big money to avoid Atlanta traffic if I could and I’m sure trucking companies would as well. Not sure whatever happened to that.

Jason Shepherd August 31, 2009 at 10:19 am

If we had started it 5 years ago, it would be almost half finished by now.

Three Jack August 31, 2009 at 8:31 pm

if perdue hadn’t caved to a bunch of nimbys it would be almost half finished by now.

AubieTurtle August 31, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Would it really be considered caving in when not building it was one of his campaign promises?

Progressive Dem August 31, 2009 at 9:51 am

Like most of his opinions, those regarding transportation are ridiculous.

The next governor needs to starighten out a dysfunctional DOT and needs to establish a modern funding source for transportation. After he has some clue about how much money can be spent, he can began to speculate on options and set some priorities.

Jason Shepherd August 31, 2009 at 9:55 am

Like tying the gas tax to the price rather than gallons purchased?

griftdrift August 31, 2009 at 9:52 am

Hi cesspool!

If you read the comments, you’ll see that I actually agree with naughty Icarus’ political calculus. My point was although this may be a winner in the primary, I don’t see it having that great an upside. And it could haunt him in the general. It is a mistake to think everyone “within five miles of Briarcliff” is a hard core liberal. And the people that defeated the GA 400 in the 70s and the Carter Interstate in the 80s have a history of being nasty thorns in the sides of politicians.

I just don’t see the upside balancing out the potential long term damage.

Icarus August 31, 2009 at 9:58 am

I wasn’t taking aim at your assessment.

But it was all I could do not to type “Rusty, bless your sweet heart” after I read his first comment. (Hi Rusty!)

And I also agree about this being a potential problem in the general, though not an overwhelming one. But based on the tactics of the Ox thus far, I don’t think he believes he can move far enough to the right. His strategy, at least at this point, does not seem to be concerned with a general election.

griftdrift August 31, 2009 at 10:01 am

“But based on the tactics of the Ox thus far, I don’t think he believes he can move far enough to the right. ”

True dat. He’s making Ralph Reed blush.

Harry August 31, 2009 at 10:11 am

The transportation lobby is a dinosaur, and Ox is wrong to pander to them. The US is in a post-industrial, post-spending era of slow growth. We don’t need more regional freeways, suburban mass transit and other expensive boondoggles at a time when people are trying to spend less and save more. There will be fewer and fewer big SUVs paying large amounts of gas tax, fewer miles driven to work and elsewhere, and fewer people in the middle class workforce who can afford to make a 30-mile commute every day.

Technocrat August 31, 2009 at 11:18 am

What you say is true but it will take 5 years for the average voter to understand it, By 2014 Mexico will no longer be an oil exporter due to Cantrell’s depletion.
61 days of world forward cover isn’t very long but much better than normal.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html

Governments depending on Type A/H1N1 and mutations for population control will be disappointed.

When you have Liberals like Handel and Deal running you must move to the Right.

Dash Riptide August 31, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Governments depending on Type A/H1N1 and mutations for population control will be disappointed.

I for one am tired of all this pessimism.

Jason Shepherd August 31, 2009 at 3:35 pm

So you think the traffic solution will just work itself out?

Harry August 31, 2009 at 7:35 pm

There is a problem. There are technical upgrades that are needed: smart traffic signals, more lanes in certain locations, non-influenced better planning and zoning. But, building more divided highways to nowhere, commuter rail not priced anywhere realistic per passenger mile, bus services that run empty….these are trying to fix yesterday’s problems or problems that never were or will be.

The problem is, the erstwhile leaders representing us have all been schmoozed and bribed with donations into believing that dumping federal, state and local taxpayer money into all these transportation pork barrels is somehow like a viagra stimulus – needed to enhance future development. When it comes to more highways and commuter rail, bigger isn’t better if you can’t afford and don’t really need it. And anyway, the taxpayers have “had enough already.”

GOPGeorgia August 31, 2009 at 8:01 pm

I went to OX’s website, went to the issues page and heard his pitch and looked at his maps. He didn’t get into actual costs, but as a concept, I like his western bypass and northern east west link from 75 to 85.

AubieTurtle August 31, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Solve itself? Doubtful. As long as the distribution of people, jobs, and activity centers continues to change, there will be transportation problems. But by simply not blindly building more, it can cause behavior changes.

I use to work at the headquarters of a very large retail corporation in the Smyrna/Vinings area. Around the time of Katrina when gas prices went up, one of the women who sat in a cube near my was complaining about her commute from Newnan. She was also upset by how much it cost for her husband to drive to his job in Norcross everyday. These people are free to choose where they want to live and want to work but should they also be free to have the government bulldoze neighborhoods between their freely chosen point A and point B in order to build nasty dirty interstates that deaden the areas around them? This wasn’t an isolate example either. We’re a metro of people who think transportation systems magically appear to sooth the consequences of the choices they’ve freely made.

If we stop blindly building insanely expensive transportation systems that have all manner of negative side effects in reaction to the choices freely made the residents of the metro, we might see some more rational behavior evolve. As it stands, people believe that they can freely choose whatever living and work situations pleases them and then require the government to come to their rescue when there are logistical consequences of the choices they freely made.

Dave Bearse September 2, 2009 at 12:41 am

An interstate type road between Dalton and Lavonia passing through the most rugged topography in the state would be enormously expensive and disruptive. An alginment that far north and connecting only I-75 and I-85 would be utterly useless with respect to relieving metro Atlanta traffic congestion. No one in their right mind uses I-285 between anywhere in TN and northwestern SC. Other than local traffic, and the say few thousand daily trips between northwest and northeast Georgia, the road at a broader level would serve traffic diverted from I-40, hardly a transportation concern for Georgia, but then again, the state has established a pattern of constructing four lane divided highways that are used by less than 10,000 vehicles per day.

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