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Friday, August 22, 2014
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
When faced with what they saw as out of reach, data-driven district targets, school district administrators and teachers in Atlanta began fixing students’ wrong answers on standardized tests.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
By Kate Sweeney
What’s changed is that now, it wants to. Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration has announced this year a goal of being a top-ten cycling city by 2016. WABE’s Kate Sweeney looked into just what that means.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
(Charles Edwards - Atlanta, WABE) The new head of Atlanta's transit agency plans to makes changes within and outside the rail and bus agency before asking Georgia lawmakers to spend major state dollars on the transit system.
Keith Parker went before the State Senate Transportation Committee to continue his introduction to state lawmakers and discuss a $740,000 audit KPMG has been conducting on MARTA at the agency’s request.
Parker told the committee audit recommendations will turn into a game plan aimed at lowering MARTA’s expenses. He also said he’ll work to change public perception about the transit system being unsafe.
Parker also wants MARTA to explore private partnerships that could lead to more revenue.
“And then I think come to you and say we need your help if you want to take the agency from where it is right now to where we want it to be,” he said.
Parker says when he was running transit systems at San Antonio and Charlotte, the same formula led to hundreds of millions in transit funding.
But will the ‘get our house in order’ strategy work in Georgia? Jeff Mullis chairs the State Senate’s Transportation Committee.
“He has high aspirations for us here in Georgia, doesn’t he?” laughed Mullis.
Mullis and other committee members are impressed with Parker. But that mirth was a sign of how difficult the committee and observers expect it will be for MARTA to get major state funding. That has been a 30-year-old battle.
Parker remains optimistic. He left the Committee meeting early to meet with staff members in Governor Nathan Deal’s office.
Follow Charles Edwards on Twitter.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
(Jim Burress - Atlanta, WABE for Marketplace) Atlanta traffic stinks. I live just eight miles from work, but it often takes an hour or more to get home. So, let's start the car, start the stopwatch and see how tonight's commute shapes up.
There's an acronym you're about to see a lot -- "T-SPLOST." Like "y'all" and "bless your heart," T-SPLOST is an expression that's inserted itself into our vernacular down here. It stands for "Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax." It's a 1 percent sales tax that over 10 years will generate more than $8 billion for regional transportation projects. It's safe to say everyone in Atlanta hates our traffic. It's just as safe to say that's where the agreement ends.
"If we are successful on Tuesday," says Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, "we'll move the equivalent of 72,000 cars each day from our roads."
Governor Nathan Deal agrees. "We have to do something to address the transportation and transit needs of our state."
It's not every day Atlanta's Democratic mayor the Republican governor agree. But they -- and a lot of other unlikely allies - -are campaigning for the T-SPLOST. They say it will ease congestion and create jobs.
It might even make it easier to get to the ballgame, says Atlanta Braves executive VP Mike Plant. "The No. 1 reason year-in and year-out that people tell us they don't come to more games is because of the traffic."
That's the case for the transit tax. This is the case against. State Senator Vincent Fort, a Democrat, hates the measure. Sweat saturates his white "Vote No on T-SPLOST" T-Shirt as he knocks on Joyce Engram's front door. "This is going [to be a] tax on your groceries and your medicine," he tells her. "So I hope you'll vote against it."
If the T-SPLOST passes, Atlanta's sales tax would jump from 8 to 9 percent. The extra penny would go toward transportation.
Emgram tells Fort: "I'm going to vote against it. I needed to know. But I'm definitely going to vote against it. You can believe that."
As we continue down the street, Fort smiles at the thought of taking on big business, powerful politicians and well-funded interest groups. And possibly winning.
"We've got about $800," he says. "They've got about $8 million and we're beating 'em."
The "we" he's referring to is an unlikely alliance, including pro-transit folks, an environmental group, even the Tea Party.
"This coalition, this is unprecedented," says Debby Dooley, one of 22 original founders of the Tea Party. "You know when these coalitions [come] together -- groups that are normally on the opposite end of the spectrum -- come together in solidarity on the same issue, that should send huge red flags that this project list is seriously flawed."
Oh, the project list. Back here in my car, I've gone three miles in 23 minutes. I'm stuck on the "Downtown Connector," where Interstates 75 and 85 merge and run through the heart of the city. Fourteen lanes of stopped traffic. A few years ago the Connector made the list for the top 10 most congested roadways in the nation. But it's not one of the 157 projects the new tax would fund. That's one reason State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers broke ranks with fellow Republicans to oppose the tax.
"A more reasonable approach," he says, "would be to have traffic engineers sit down, and literally list the most congested traffic problems in metro Atlanta."
Instead, a roundtable of local elected officials came up with the list. So if you're keeping track of who's cuddled up in this unlikely anti-T-SPLOST bed, we've got one of the state's top Republicans, a popular Democratic senator, and a founder of the Tea Party. Even the head of Georgia's Sierra Club is anti-T-SPLOST.
If the T-SPLOST passes, there's a lot of money in it for MARTA. No, that's not the name of another strange bedfellow. It is the name of our mass transit system. Connie Suhr rides MARTA a few days a week from her suburban home into downtown where she works. She admits it's a bit strange for someone who rides the train to oppose a project that expands the system. But she says this whole issue is a bit strange.
"I have aligned myself with people against the T-SPLOST that I would not normally have done," Suhr says. "I can't say particularly why. We all have our different reasons. But I also run into enough people who are in favor of it. I think it will be a very interesting fight."
Home: 49 minutes, 25 seconds. Not too bad, but I'm still a frazzled. Is a commute like that, 8 miles and three-quarters of an hour enough to get the tax passed? Polls suggest maybe not, but it's up to the voters to decide tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Since joining the Atlanta Braves in 2009, organ player Matthew Kaminski has earned a reputation for the his highly personalized — and often playful — introductory music he gives players up to bat. Many of his best ideas come from Braves fans, who inundate him with their suggestions on Twitter.
Monday, February 20, 2012
On Monday, ground will be broken on the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. This $500 million project is just one of the many being erected in major cities dedicated to African American history and the civil rights movement: Atlanta, Jackson and Charleston all have projects in the works. These projects mark an emerging era of scholarship and interest in the history of the civil rights movement, providing the public with new insights.
TN MOVING STORIES: One-Way Streets Losing Favor, Nigerian Unions Launch Strike Over Fuel Costs, Taking Parking Lots Seriously
Monday, January 09, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
Exploring Grand Central’s Secrets, With the Author of Hugo Cabret (Link)
California Budget Supports Bullet Train, Would Create New Transportation Agency (Link)
Houston Starts Small As It Tries Out First-Ever Bike Share (Link)
Transit advocates are expressing doubt over the capacity to run an express subway train from midtown Manhattan to a proposed new convention center in Queens. (WNYC)
Montpellier, France, is installing "what may be Europe’s sexiest tram system." (New York Times)
Nigerian unions have launched a nationwide strike over soaring fuel costs. (BBC)
Taking parking lots seriously as public spaces: "Lots don’t need to be dead zones." (New York Times)
One-way streets are in the crosshairs of some city planners. (National Post)
The Detroit Auto Show is happening this week. (Detroit Free Press; coverage)
Legislation being drawn up in Atlanta could play a key role in determining the fate of the state's $6.14 billion transportation referendum scheduled for this summer. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
To market more cars to Americans, Volkswagen is getting less German. (NPR)
Los Angeles Times pro-high-speed rail editorial: "The point is, you can take the long view or the short view toward the bullet train. The expert panels are taking a short view; we prefer the long."
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey wants to start construction of a new Central Terminal Building at La Guardia Airport in 2014. (Wall Street Journal)
Police are ticketing passengers for subway infractions like propping up feet on a seat, blocking the doors, or taking up more than one seat. (New York Times)
Transit advocates haven't given up hope yet for a bus lane over the new Tappan Zee Bridge. (Journal News)
"Let's do a bicycle ride!" Ron Paul wants to prove he's healthy enough to be president. (Politico)
Before the "L," Chicago ran on cable cars. (WBEZ)
Reminder: New York City's first-ever subway line work shutdown begins tonight. (TN)
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
A dispute over a lunchtime basketball game on the Brooklyn campus sent an angry student scurrying to find a weapon. The authorities said he grabbed a scissors and then stabbed Alfredo Allen in the head several times.
TN MOVING STORIES: California Bullet Train Cost Estimate Doubles, Atlanta Tries Downtown Transit Hub Again, and Honda Cuts Production
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
Why NYC taxi medallions are worth more than ever. (Link)
The federal government says so-called "Chinatown buses" have more accidents. (Link)
Safety concerns prevent Pittsburgh bicyclists from becoming regular commuters. (Link)
The cost of California's high-speed rail project has jumped to $98.5 billion, according to a business plan being released today. (Los Angeles Times)
The president's infrastructure bank proposal comes up for a vote in the Senate this week. (The Hill)
Atlanta's trying one more time to build a transit hub downtown. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Ray LaHood says Republicans prioritize thwarting the president. “Republicans made a decision right after the election—don’t give Obama any victories. The heck with putting people to work, because we can score points.” (The Daily Beast)
Parts shortages from three months of catastrophic flooding in Thailand have forced Honda to cut U.S. and Canadian factory production by 50 percent for the second time this year. (NPR)
Airlines are trying to cut boarding time on planes. (New York Times)
Transit wish list: the Triboro RX line, which would connect Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx -- without coming into Manhattan. (Second Avenue Sagas)
An upstate county official slams the NY State Department of Transportation for not being prepared for this weekend's snowstorm. (AP via Wall Street Journal)
Transportation groups are pushing for a gas tax increase, but Congress and the White House aren't biting. (Politico)
Does London's bike-promoting mayor put cars first? The Guardian says yes.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
About 3,000 protesters took to the streets of Oakland on Wednesday night, following violent clashes between police and Occupy demonstrators late Tuesday. Police fired tear gas canisters and bean bag rounds at protesters. Protesters claim rubber bullets and flashbangs were used as well. A 24-year-old Iraq war veteran is in critical condition after being hit in the head with a police projectile. In New York, police arrested a dozen people Wednesday night during an Occupy solidarity march. Meanwhile in Atlanta, Mayor Kasim Reed ordered the evacuation of Occupy Atlanta protesters from the city’s Woodruff Park. That removal resulted in more than 50 arrests.
TN MOVING STORIES: Atlanta Sets Transpo Project List; Metro Officially Anoints the Silver Line; NYC Sued Over Taxi Accessibility
Friday, October 14, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
Ray LaHood said he's a one-term transportation secretary. (Link)
GM will make a mini all-electric car. (Link)
Houston is getting a free downtown shuttle. (Link)
Atlanta politicians overcame decades of distrust to finalize a massive, 10-county transportation project list. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The US attorney's office in Manhattan filed suit against NYC, saying the city's isn't complying with ADA requirements in the new taxi design. (NY Daily News)
Metro officially named the Dulles rail extension the Silver Line. And it will cost $107 million to operate in its first three years. (Washington Post)
A new bill would give local transit agencies flexibility -- specifically, the ability to use federal funding for operating costs, not just capital. (The Hill)
NY's MTA is renovating two subway stations in upper Manhattan. (DNA Info)
Trucking companies are struggling to find drivers. (NPR)
TN MOVING STORIES: Port Authority Head Could Be Out, Staten Island's Transit Options, and Atlanta's Transit Vs. Roads Debate
Thursday, September 29, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
What does cell phone service on NYC's subways sound like? "I can't hear you over the train!" (Link)
San Francisco's MUNI spent more money on transit -- yet customer satisfaction fell. (Link)
The outgoing head of NY's MTA said his replacement doesn't need to have a transit background. (Link)
The head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey may be leaving next month. (New York Times)
NY's DOT unveiled its short list of Staten Island transit alternatives: light rail, BRT, enhanced bus service. (Staten Island Advance)
Atlanta's 'transit vs. roads' debate "may be about to boil over." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Regional transportation officials voted to try to buy a new home in an old building in downtown San Francisco -- despite a looming audit over the purchase. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Dept. of Energy report: US should invest more in green auto tech, less on technologies that will take generations to come to market. (Good)
Faster bus service is coming to midtown Manhattan, as the city expands Select Bus Service to 34th Street. (New York Daily News)
A new agreement between GM and auto workers means that up to a quarter of GM's workforce could be 'two-tier' new hires. (Changing Gears)
TN MOVING STORIES: Atlantans Warm To Transit, Gas Prices Down, and All-Night NYC Bike Ride a Tradition
Monday, September 26, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Top stories on TN:
Paying customers have filled only 45 percent of Yankee Stadium’s 9,000 parking spots on game days this season. (Link)
BART: Maybe we don't need a cell phone shutdown policy after all. (Link)
The government's Passenger Carrier Strike Force is conducting surprise bus inspections. (Link)
A new poll shows that Atlanta area residents are warming to public transit -- even in counties that have traditionally opposed MARTA. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Parsing New Jersey's commute, county by county. (Asbury Park Press)
Cuts in Milwaukee County's bus service would put 13,000 jobs out of reach, a new study says. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
DC's ten worst crime-ridden Metrorail stations. (WAMU)
Using public transit for a suburb-to-suburb commute in the Chicago area can mean being it takes six hours for a 48-mile round trip. (Daily Herald)
Gas prices are down. (AP via the Wall Street Journal)
A Columbia professor's all-night bike ride through New York City has become a tradition. (Wall Street Journal)
Auto reboot: the future of driving could mean autopilot, a dramatic cut in fatalities -- and a stronger economy. (NPR)