City Haul

Urbanism and transit at street level

Georgia 400 construction, looking south toward Atlanta Financial Center, March 4, 1990.

Georgia 400 construction, looking south toward Atlanta Financial Center, March 4, 1990.

Crime questions surround new street car line in downtown Atlanta

"With only a few weeks separating the city of Atlanta from the opening of its street car line, law enforcement leaders are trying to steer crime trends in a different direction around the new rail route.

Business leaders in the Old Fourth Ward and downtown community are excited about what the street car might ultimately do to help strengthen the vibrancy of the area. However, they say big changes will need to happen - both with actual crime numbers, and the public’s perception of safety in the area - before the full potential of the street car can be realized.”

Very enterprising of them to get a head start by reporting that “the route…may not be safe” well before a single passenger boards.

The State of the Region: Expensive

A recent report from the National Complete Streets Coalition studying ten years of data found that 16 times more people were killed crossing the street than in natural disasters over the that same period. Another 68,000 walkers on average are injured every year. The victims are disproportionately children, seniors, and people of color, according to the report.

More than 270,000 people are killed while walking every year–22 percent of a total 1.24 million traffic fatalities, according to theWorld Health Organization.

Investors' Vision Could Spell New Life for Downtown Block - Downtown Uprising - Curbed Atlanta

"Noted real estate flipper Carlos Balzola led a group of investors who recently purchased a tired concrete edifice at 222 Mitchell Street with plans of flipping it into a mixed-use complex, around the corner from Castleberry Hill and a stone’s throw from Phillips Arena. Bisnow reports the group bagged the 400,000-square-foot former office building for $6.8 million, which Balzola called an attractive price…He told Bisnow his tentative plans for the property could include a mix of retail and multifamily, with more than 200 residential units."

“Clayton already has enough issues with crime. Property values have decreased. We have one of the highest foreclosure rates in Georgia. We have more things we need to focus on besides (bringing in) public transportation. We’ve got bigger issues than MARTA. There are people who actually need it and I symphathize with that but Clayton needs its own public transit that it can control. A public transit system opens up our community to everyone, making it more assessible. Take Peachtree City. It’s not easily accessible. Therefore its property values remain high. I don’t want my county open to anyone and everybody.”

Morrow resident Arkia Allen, on why she’ll vote “No” in Clayton County’s referendum next month on joininig MARTA.

A Basic Shelter Can Make the Wait for the Bus Feel Shorter

Many frequent transit riders know the “#$&%!” feeling of having the bus blow by you because you’d taken shelter from cold rain or the 2 p.m. August Sun of Death under a nearby awning for a few minutes. That feeling is often quickly followed by the demoralizing realization that the next bus won’t be coming for at least 20 minutes.

If a stop that you use often needs a shelter, or even just a bench, you can submit a request to MARTA to have one installed (See Q7). The agency  uses a seven-item menu of criteria for determining whether a particular location is bench- or shelter-worthy and the process isn’t quick. Requestors are advised to “allow a minimum of 90 days to receive a response” and even if a request is approved, MARTA says that “we are not funded to the level that all requests can be filled.”

No harm giving it a try anyway.

Facade Facelift Financials
Twenty commercial buildings in the Eastside and Westside tax allocation districts will get streetside upgrades funded by Invest Atlanta’s  first round of Facade Improvement Program grants this year. A total of $1,994,360 of the $3 million available was awarded in this round and another set of grants could be up available next year if the program proves successful.
Eight buildings on Edgewood Avenue, four buildings on Auburn Avenue, and four buildings on Walker Street make up the bulk of the funded projects. Of the remaining four, two are on Marietta Street, one on Luckie Street and one on Walton Street.
 $632,735 - almost 32 percent of the funds - will go to projects on two blocks of Walker Street in Castleberry Hill between Nelson and Stonewall Street.
Projects on the 300 and 400 blocks of Edgewood Avenue will receive $655,067, or about 33 percent of the funds.
$540,000 - 27 percent of the awarded funds - will be used to to improve buildings owned by Russell New Urban Development, which is a division of HJ Russell Company, the development and construction management company for projects like The Carter Center, Lakewood Amphitheater and Centennial Olympic Park.
Full story at Creative Loafing.

View high resolution

Facade Facelift Financials

Twenty commercial buildings in the Eastside and Westside tax allocation districts will get streetside upgrades funded by Invest Atlanta’s first round of Facade Improvement Program grants this year. A total of $1,994,360 of the $3 million available was awarded in this round and another set of grants could be up available next year if the program proves successful.

  • Eight buildings on Edgewood Avenue, four buildings on Auburn Avenue, and four buildings on Walker Street make up the bulk of the funded projects. Of the remaining four, two are on Marietta Street, one on Luckie Street and one on Walton Street.
  •  $632,735 - almost 32 percent of the funds - will go to projects on two blocks of Walker Street in Castleberry Hill between Nelson and Stonewall Street.
  • Projects on the 300 and 400 blocks of Edgewood Avenue will receive $655,067, or about 33 percent of the funds.
  • $540,000 - 27 percent of the awarded funds - will be used to to improve buildings owned by Russell New Urban Development, which is a division of HJ Russell Company, the development and construction management company for projects like The Carter Center, Lakewood Amphitheater and Centennial Olympic Park.

Full story at Creative Loafing.

  • Between April 1, 2013 and April 1, 2014, the 10-county Atlanta region added 52,700 new residents, the largest single-year growth since the Great Recession. Fulton County added the most new residents last year, up 12,700 new residents, followed by Gwinnett (+11,900), Cobb (+9,600) and DeKalb (+6,300).
  • But, growth is still significantly lower in recent years when compared to the booming 1990s and 2000s. Between 2010 and 2014, the region averaged 41,000 new residents each year. But between 1990 and 2010, the region averaged 77,000 new residents.
  • Building permits are a key input to ARC’s population estimates program. The assumption, of course, is that people moving here need a place to live. After permitting nearly 35,000 new residential units each year for the past 30 years, there were only 18,400 new residential units permitted last year, almost half of the historical average.

This is Uber's playbook for sabotaging Lyft | The Verge

"Uber is arming teams of independent contractors with burner phones and credit cards as part of its sophisticated effort to undermine Lyft and other competitors. Interviews with current and former contractors, along with internal documents obtained by The Verge, outline the company’s evolving methods. Using contractors it calls "brand ambassadors," Uber requests rides from Lyft and other competitors, recruits their drivers, and takes multiple precautions to avoid detection. The effort, which Uber appears to be rolling out nationally, has already resulted in thousands of canceled Lyft rides and made it more difficult for its rival to gain a foothold in new markets. Uber calls the program "SLOG," and it’s a previously unreported aspect of the company’s ruthless efforts to undermine its competitors.

Together, the interviews and documents show the lengths to which Uber will go to halt its rivals’ momentum. The San Francisco startup has raised $1.5 billion in venture capital, giving it an enormous war chest with which to battle Lyft and others. While the company’s cutthroat nature is well documented, emails from Uber managers offer new insight into the shifting tactics it uses to siphon drivers away from competitors without getting caught. It also demonstrates the strong interest Uber has taken in crushing Lyft, its biggest rival in ridesharing, which is in the midst of a national expansion.”

Call it the dark side of the “sharing economy.” Many of these companies are well beyond a few people working out of an apartment, running on little more than their own bank accounts and maxed-out credit cards, and there is big money at stake. What happens when the companies that were supposed to provide a less expensive, more convenient alternative turn out to be just as bad but in a different way?

Uber’s entry to the Atlanta market drew allegations of unfair competition from the city’s established taxi industry, just as it had in other cities. Just like in other cities, the complaints didn’t arouse much sympathy from those of us who have dealt with years of long waits, unpredictable pricing and perpetually “broken” credit card readers from cab services. Now it turns out that the unfair competition was there, just not where we thought.

Atlanta Streetcar pushed back to fall opening

atlurbanist:

image

Atlanta’s CBS affiliate has a news story today about the Atlanta Streetcar that sets it’s start-of-operation as fall 2014, not late summer as previously announced.

Operators and regulators will spend up to three months now testing the streetcars to make sure they run properly and certify…

So…Labor Day weekend now? Maybe?

Atlanta Streetcar probably wants the startup to go off without a hitch because from the very beginning, this project has been dogged by the kinds of criticism that intown transportation projects seem to always come in for: That it’s a “waste of money” and “doesn’t go anywhere,” that it will be full of “thugs/bums/homeless people,” and that it “won’t do anything about traffic,” (although that was never its purpose.) The last thing they want is an accident, mechanical problem or breakdown in the first months of operation.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that there are people who want to see this project fail, so the delays might be a combined matter of caution and preempting the waiting chorus of “I told you so.”

View of the Buckhead CBD from the newly opened pedestrian bridge that connects Buckhead Station to Stratford Road, Tower Place and Buckhead Loop. View high resolution

View of the Buckhead CBD from the newly opened pedestrian bridge that connects Buckhead Station to Stratford Road, Tower Place and Buckhead Loop.

Ultralite Powered by Tumblr | Designed by:Doinwork