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Pass the kool-aid

December 13, 2010
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Thursday night I attended the first public hearing for the streetcar downtown. I was pleasantly surprised, a lot of people showed up, and the overwhelming majority were in favor of the streetcar. Today I can only remember one person who came out in total opposition, mainly people had some concerns about the perfect execution, and I have faith in the team. Or, well, one of them.

I’ve seen some opposition in other forums, mainly on Facebook and in the local media. I’ve actually read or heard people making the comment that they’re not going to “drink the kool-aid,” whatever that means. I’ve heard it a couple of times now, though. If drinking the kool-aid means being excited about the first new transit infrastructure in Atlanta, bring it. If it means being excited about showing Atlanta and the suburbs what a modern day streetcar is, I’ll take two cups, please. And if it means seeing the beginning of world class transit in our city, I’ll chug that kool-aid, thank you.

Tonight, Monday, is the second hearing for the streetcar at 5:00 at the Auburn Ave Research Library, 101 Auburn Ave NE. There will be a brief presentation, a period for questions, and comments will be taken last, starting around 6:00. Showing up and being heard makes a difference, so get to that meeting tonight!

Can we have the fruit punch flavor?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2010 1:29 pm

    Perhaps I live in a cave, having only recently moved back into metro Atlanta (Roswell), as I haven’t previously heard of this streetcar proposal. However, ANYTHING that pries Georgians out of their cars sounds like yummy Kool-Aid to me! A streetcar or network of streetcars would bring economic stimulus, in the form of shoppers or commuters, to every inch of the area in which they operate, rather than only around fixed stations as is the case with the MARTA rail system. For communities in Georgia that lack any transit system, streetcars would serve not only to reduce traffic but also as attractions in themselves, bringing benefits beyond those associated with, say, a bus-based transit system (think, for example, of the sense of “character” that horse-drawn carriages bestow on downtown Savannah.

    Drink up!

    • December 13, 2010 1:38 pm

      I love the fact that not having heard of this, you’re still all for it. Rock on, Jeff!

  2. Darin permalink
    December 14, 2010 11:59 am

    Awesome — I’m chugging the Kool-Aid too. Three years from now when the the streetcar opens, I’m setting up a stand in Woodruff Park with free Kool-Aid for all the first-day riders.

  3. December 15, 2010 10:02 am

    There’s a lot that can be said about the street car plan – both good and bad. Personally, I think we (Atlantans) aren’t getting as much bang for our buck as we could using those valuable transportation funds for other projects. As an AJC article noted in early November ( http://bit.ly/9fBFhL ) the street car project wasn’t designed to address one of Atlanta’s biggest problems: traffic. Here’s a little quote from the article:

    “Among 40 mass transit projects rated by regional planners, the streetcar project came in dead-last in half the categories used to measure impact. The ranking was coincidental and done after the city applied for a $47.6 million federal grant to help fund the project. Atlanta won the grant last month, beating out hundreds of competing projects in other cities.”

    It’s also worth noting that the project beat out hundreds of others to secure the funds. My point is not to bash the street car, but simply to point out that there are much bigger fish to fry in Atlanta’s mass transit soiree.

    In the end I see the project having a positive impact on the city, although most probably not on traffic or any of our real transportation issues. Ideally it will boost tourism and hopefully increase popular demand a bit for a more wide-spread, integrated transit system throughout the metro area.

    Sure, I’ll drink the Kool-Aid, if for no other reason than life isn’t as sweet without it. Next time around I hope we get a gallon instead of a glass out of that $0.33 packet, though.

    • December 16, 2010 1:29 am

      I hold no faith in anything written by the AJC, their focus is now on OTP and pretty right wing. But there is more to transit projects than traffic congestion mitigation and the streetcar is an example of that. It has never said that it would reduce congestion, it’s a project about smart growth and economic development. And those funds are for a streetcar, nothing else. And we could present no other shovel ready transit projects. I still hold to the point that if the Feds thought it was a good idea, and we beat out hundreds of other projects, than it’s worth the effort.

      I like the already sugared stuff for $3. And I water mine down. Best get your own Koolaid. 😉

      • clayduda permalink
        December 16, 2010 10:01 am

        I agree with almost all of your input. If I didn’t make those points clear in my comment perhaps I should have read over it a few more times.

        Just like the street car plan, there’s a lot that can be said about the AJC. Ironically, I got in on the action a bit myself this morning (( http://bit.ly/dZsaIB )).

        On that same note, I’ll put some weight on AJC’s coverage simply because there’s no one else doing it. However bad you want to say their coverage is you have to acknowledge that our city would be far worse off without them.

        Speaking of which, the AJC also put out a transportation article yesterday (( http://bit.ly/gBiG3u )). It’s nothing ground breaking, but I’m not reading about it anywhere else.

        Last but not least, it’s ironic you called the AJC right-wing since it has been considered liberal for longer than I care to remember. The editor’s would probably mark that as a victory.

        I’m not sure how “shovel ready” the other transportation projects were that we pitched for Federal funding, but it’s important to note that we DID pitch the $3 Koolaid. They just said it was too expensive.

        All the best. -Clay

      • December 16, 2010 3:05 pm

        If you were to ask the AJC they would tell you that they have changed the focus of the paper. What once was liberal is now targeting a different audience, and we are not it. So yes, I can do without them. If they won’t consider me, I’ll bash them on my blog all day long. Not like they notice, anyways. :p

  4. clayduda permalink
    December 16, 2010 3:29 pm

    “Not like they notice, anyways.”

    I’d have to agree with that.

    And yes, you’re absolutely right about there shift in audience focus to the ‘burbs. You’ve probably read it, but Scott Henry laid it out pretty clearly in Creative Loafing’s “Dunwoody Journal-Constitution” edition (( http://bit.ly/bCIlQh )).

    There are still reporters covering the city proper, though there numbers are rather sparse.

    Honestly, I can’t believe you’ve roped me into defending the AJC. It blows my mind a bit. You can bash them all day long and I couldn’t care less. Heck, I’ll probably get in on the action. But I still have to reiterate that our city would be even more under-served without some sort of major publication floating about.

    Jim Walls (who still writes a column for AJC last time I checked) does a great thing with his Watchdog/investigative reporting blog AtlantaUnfiltered.com, as does Ken Edelstein with MyGreenATL.com, and Andy Miller with GeorgiaHealthNews.com – but as you can see from the list a by-product is that media becomes much more fragmented. That may well be the route that media is taking, but I feel that it’s loosing the title of “mass communication” in the process.

    I don’t know if this is good or bad. Media experts have all sorts of opinions on the matter. My drawn out point is that today, Dec. 16, 2010, there’s still a need for major metro dailies – even the AJC. We’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow, though.

    Ok, that’s it for my drawn out comments for now. Love your blog. I’ll be back soon for sure.

    • December 16, 2010 5:15 pm

      Haha! Defend the AJC! Apparently I’m all about stirring stuff up. Your musings on the turn journalism has taken is interesting. I honestly get 75% of my news from apps these days. But I, sir, am a tunnel visioned blogger. I’m offended I didn’t make your Twitter list, though. I am news. 😉 and insanely cocky today as well. Thanks for reading, and prompting me to comment on other stuff. I like being consulted, helps me pretend that the AJC might notice me one day….

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