Rob, I appreciate what you're saying but you're missing my point, which is probably my fault.
First let me address a few factual issues:
- 25 years ago, Virginia Highland (no "s", sorry to be so old-fashioned) was not lower income or lower middle class. I lived there, and while it wasn't quite as yuppified as it is today, it was pretty close. That's really neither here nor there, except for the fact intown neighborhoods don't need freeways to be vibrant and thriving.
- Atlanta's daytime population is more like 675,000 than 900,000. http://www.census.gov/population/soc...2000/tab01.xls
A more detailed analysis indicates that around 250,000 people a day commute into the city of Atlanta. As we both agree, many of those commuters are widely scattered all over the city, rather than all being concentrated downtown. http://apps89.brookings.edu:89/livin...ommuting23.xls
- Yes, metro Atlanta is growing from 70,000 to 100k people per year, but the vast majority of those people (probably 95% or more) are moving to the burbs, not into the city itself. And most of those people are commuting from one suburb to another. So if they want freeways to do that, then those freeways should be placed in the suburbs where their burden falls on the folks who primarily use them.
Here's what I'm really getting at. I'm not opposed to expressways -- perhaps they are great for suburbia, but they aren't appropriate in urban areas. Within the city, we could easily accomplish our transportation goals through a first class system of surface streets and public transportation.
Let the massive freeways begin at some point outside of the central urban fabric. People who wish to leave the city would be able to easily access those freeways via surface streets or public transportation. People coming in from the outlying areas could likewise travel by freeway through their own suburbs, and then transfer to an efficient system of streets and public transportation once they get to the city. I'm simply saying we should keep the freeways outside of the central urban areas. For the reasons I mentioned above, it's unfair and unnecessary to have these massive concrete gulches carving through the middle of the city itself.
I'm glad it's easy for you personally to zip out to Norcross or Riverdale, but frankly -- and I mean no offense whatsoever -- that hardly justifies the enormous destruction that the downtown connector has wreaked upon the city of Atlanta. With a first class system of city streets, you could just as easily navigate to a point outside the urban core, and then pick up the freeway at its suburban point of origin and proceed on to your destination.
As everyone knows, it's a significant misnomer to refer to the downtown connector as an "expressway" in the first place. The reality is that it's virtually an impenetrable mess for 2-3 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours again in the afternoon during so-called "rush hour." All of us who've endured that nightmare for years can readily see that a large portion of the traffic has nothing whatsoever to do with downtown -- it's suburbanites passing through.
I've always lived inside the city limits of Atlanta, and there isn't one single place within the city for which I need a freeway. I'd certainly like to see better intersections, more connectivity, better designed surface streets, and more options for non-automobile transportation. But I don't need freeways slicing up my city.
Atlanta has boomed in spite of the freeways, not because of them. There's a place for these mega limited access roads, but it's not in the middle of our established urban areas.