Rocket Bomber - article - snark - Being an 'object lesson' shouldn't be a point of pride.

Being an 'object lesson' shouldn't be a point of pride.

filed under , 10 November 2013, 13:39 by

“Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, in touting Portland’s growth and development acumen, said Wednesday the region needs to continue to avoid the kind of sprawl that has plagued other American cities.

“Take Atlanta, for instance.

“‘Atlanta’s a mess,’ Hales said during Wednesday’s Portland Business Journal Power Breakfast. ‘Sorry, but Atlanta’s planned so poorly, it’ll take generations to change the shape of the place.’

“Hales was responding to a question about whether Portland’s penchant for transit-oriented development would translate to other places, including, hypothetically, Atlanta.”[/blockquote]—and-dc.html?ana=twt


So, so true. And the city can’t really do anything in the infrastructure-improvement line until they finish fixing the century-plus-old sewer system — which they’ve been working on for decades.

Atlanta sucks. I know, I live here.

Atlanta differs from some other cities in that it experienced the greatest growth after widespread adoption of the automobile. The city mostly missed out on early (pre-1920) transit development — and the little we had was scrapped — the metro area was defined by the building of the interstates (I-75, I-85, and I-20) in the 1950s, then locked into its current configuration with the opening of the I-285 Perimeter loop in 1969. (While the I-285 Perimeter was meant as a bypass around Atlanta, it soon became a magnet for its own sprawl, spawning numerous edge cities, especially along the northern arc.)

Atlanta, like Houston, is a poster-child for sprawl, car-focused urban planning, and widespread general dumb-f*ckery when it comes to regional cooperation — about the only thing the smaller municipalities and neighboring counties can agree on is that no way in hell will Atlanta’s transit system, MARTA, be allowed to expand any further. And that is, dare I say, because of lingering racism and for no other reason. (Economic growth, reduced car traffic and pollution, and providing this essential service for their own constituents be damned.)

Needless to say, I have some strong opinions on this matter and the prevailing stupidity of local governments — there are more than 100 city and county governments; less than 1 person in 10 who lives in “Atlanta” actually lives within the city limits of Atlanta. The state government seems unwilling to provide leadership; the assorted regional commissions set up for transportation, planning, and “cooperation” are toothless.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales lives on the other side of the country, and even from 2500 miles away, our problems are obvious. Well, “obvious” unless you’re a local Atlanta-area politician.

Being an ‘object lesson’ for poor urban planning shouldn’t be a point of civic pride.


  1. Yes, anyone hanging out in transit circles will know that MARTA is sometimes called Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta …

    … when I was in Atlanta for the annual economist meetings, I took the MARTA from the airport to the convention site, from the convention site to my hotel, and back and forth between my hotel and the convention site, and it wasn’t as strictly African-American patronage as the stereotype, but the balance tended to be Latinos, Georgia Tech students and other college age passengers, and for the political leadership of outer suburbs, I imagine providing transport access to the whole of the “Obama Coalition” ranks well down in their priorities as well.

    Comment by BruceMcF — 10 November 2013, 14:35 #

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