Why do traffic problems exist? Let me count the ways: lack of planning, foresight and investment.

The push to use in-fill to pack houses closer together, the current rush to throw up apartment complexes with hundreds of units, the enticement of Big Business complexes, the creation of new cities, the move further OTP, building MARTA without more than north-south and east-west lines — all have produced the current problems.

Atlanta’s original design was individual houses with sprawling lawns. We moved here in 1971. Land was abundant. Forests and farms still existed in Dunwoody. Cows inhabited the farm land where Rooms To Go is now. I-285 was four lanes. Forty thousand trees hadn’t been destroyed to build Ga. 400. I could accurately estimate how much time I needed to go to a dentist.

The metro area has driven a long way. Estimate at least one car for each house, apartment and condo; and one for each person employed in office buildings, malls, shopping centers, restaurants and small businesses; add the customers, visitors, tourists, sports enthusiasts, school buses, city buses, taxis; subtract zero, and you’ve got traffic with a lot of tired, impatient, angry drivers and accidents. Throw in a bridge collapse and the total comes to a standstill.

Planners? Did they all flunk math? Did they have limited vocabularies lacking the word “no”? Do they have courage to extend MARTA like spokes on wheels and insist that cities join in?

Can businesses stagger work hours and days, offer shuttle buses, organize car pools? Can lights be timed better at cross streets so that long lines move faster?

Can drivers wave to each other while having a snack waiting for lights to change?

Wishing doesn’t get it done.

Barbara Schneider

4 replies on “Letter: Lack of foresight caused traffic problems”

  1. While I too like to give people the benefit of the doubt, time and time again I remain perplexed at traffic in Atlanta.

    I’ve learned not to assume everyone is a “planner” or “smart drive, IMO.” While I display my UGA licence plate with pride as an Alumni, truth be told, only about ~40% of Georgian hold a college degree. Add in the ESOL drivers and you really are facing a situation where you have to ask, “Did they all flunk math? Do they have limited vocabularies???”

    I’m learned that not everyone pays attention to how much gas is in their car, check their tire pressure or engine oil.I’ve lost count of the stalled vehicles blocking the middle lane on 400 or 285. I would be willing to bet that a majority of the traffic issues in Atlanta could’ve been avoided with proper car maintenance “foresight”.

  2. Our elected leaders and city officials have no clue about traffic problems in Sandy Springs. It’s not just the Suntrust Park and Braves games that I am talking about. It’s the overall lack of planning by the pols and city staff that can’t figure out the task at hand. In other words, incompetence rings true. Development after development gets approved with little mention of the impact of traffic, much less infrastructure. The argument always is about the right of a property owner to be able to sell his property. Nothing else matters to this group of incompetents.

  3. So the planners DID know what Atlanta needed for an effective transportation network. But the NIMBY’s and racists revolted, so here we are.

    The freeways meant to alleviate congestion in downtown Atlanta were not built due to riots, so now we have only the connector instead of two freeways servicing N/S travel through downtown.

    MARTA wasn’t allowed to expand into Cobb, Gwinnett, or Clayton counties (though it recently has been voted into Clayton).



  4. Wealthy developers are running this city into the ground. Look what’s going on in Midtown, in Lindbergh, in Buckhead. Expensive condos and apartments going up in areas that are already traffic-choked. This destroys the quality of living, pricing many people out of the area and causing gridlock for the unlucky that remain. All those expensive apts going up at Piedmont and Lindbergh are outrageous. Way overpriced and in an area already choking with traffic. How does this help anyone other than the developers??

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