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.