Transportation Nation

Can Atlanta Become a Top 10 Cycling City?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


(Kate SweeneyWABE -- Atlanta) Last year, Bicycling Magazine rated Minneapolis the number one city in America for bike-friendliness. Atlanta did not enter the top ten, nor has it ever.

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.

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Transportation Nation

World's Worst Airship Disaster Wasn't the Hindenburg: Remembering the USS Akron

Saturday, April 06, 2013

The USS Akron over Manhattan circa 1931 - 1933 (Photo U.S. Naval Archives -

When we think of the future of transportation now, it's cars that talk to each other, bullet trains and BRT. But 80 years ago, it was blimps. The centerpiece of New York City, the Empire State Building, even explored the idea of docking dirigibles atop it's soaring spire.

But then came the crashes. WABE in Atlanta took the 80th anniversary of the worst airship disaster in history to recall the fiery tragedy that helped end the dreams of blimps as mass transport. And as Jim Buress points out:

"The Hindenburg is easily the most recognized airship disaster.  But it’s far from the worst. The USS Akron, seen here, crashed on April 4, 2013 off the coast of New Jersey. It's considered the world's worst airship disaster. That unfortunate distinction goes to the USS Akron, a navy airship... Seventy-three of the 76 crew members died."

WABE’s Jim Burress interviewed airship historian Dan Grossman of

Give a listen. The conversation starts with Grossman explaining what caused the crash off the coast of New Jersey.

Listen to the interview here.

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Transportation Nation

New MARTA GM: First We Economize, Then We Ask the State for Money

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New MARTA GM Keith Parker talks to the State Senate Transportation Committee (photo by Charles Edwards)

(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 took over MARTA's helm earlier this month. The agency's previous chief, Beverly Scott, is now running the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

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.

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