Uncle Jim Wants You!
I want you to do your part. Serious as a heart attack, folks. Monday will bring what will likely be the worst traffic ever without a snow or ice event. And if you think that you can count on a few government departments or authorities to do all the work to make things tolerable for you, you’ve got another think coming.
I’m not saying that City and State departments, GRTA, MARTA and other transit agencies won’t be doing everything that they can, but come Monday, I-85 will still be closed near GA 400 and Spring Break will be over, which provided some precious relief this week. Modification of signal timing, traffic officer deployment and enhanced transit service can only go so far to optimize the supply of transportation options. What is also required is for EACH OF US to commit to doing his or her part to reduce the demand on our transportation system, for the benefit of ALL OF US.
Can you come to work early and leave early, or come late and stay late? Can you work from home one or more days out of the week? Can you carpool? Can you ride a bike? Have you considered MARTA? Let me elaborate on what MARTA will be doing to help you, since I have the honor of serving on MARTA’s board of directors and am proud of the service we provide.
MARTA rail service will run on 6-minute intervals (currently 10) during peak commute service hours, and at 12-minute intervals (currently 20) during non-peak hours. That means that if you are on the system where both Red and Gold trains run (Airport to Lindbergh), or Blue and Green trains run (Ashby to Edgewood/Candler Park), there will be a train every 3 minutes during peak times and every 6 minutes non-peak. There will be extra trains and articulated buses placed strategically throughout the system to be plugged into the system if ridership demand overwhelms passenger capacity. Station agents will be deployed to help new passengers purchase Breeze fare cards and navigate the system. MARTA also is exploring ways to expand parking capacity at or near the stations, but we encourage you to consider other ways to get to the train station, such as taking a MARTA bus, using ridesharing services, KissRide or carpooling. Uber has announced a 50% discount for an Uber Pool ride to/from MARTA stations, so you might make use of that until the bridge is repaired.
Folks, if we can encourage more cars to stay off the roads, then MARTA buses will have an easier time delivering passengers on time. And consider using a bus; a train isn’t the only way to get around!
Do you drive your child to school? Talk with your child’s school about helping to organize a serious carpool program so that every car arriving at school is there to deliver or pick up multiple students (or teachers, for that matter.)
A little more than 20 years ago, we hosted the Centennial Summer Olympic Games, and the traffic congestion we had been fearing for four years leading up the event never materialized. Why? We were convinced to change our traveling behavior and MARTA was prepared to be the workhorse it was. The same thing can happen now, but I need to do my part and you need to do yours. Let’s do this together and experience something special that we will look back on and say, “that I-85 collapse in 2017 ended up pulling us together and we figured out how to do things even better than before!”