A monorail is a solution to Sandy Springs’ traffic woes, the city’s Planning Commission chair said at a recent meeting—and a city official replied that the idea is now under review.
“If Disney can move a hundred thousand people a day, we can do it, and compared to MARTA, the costs are marginal,” said commission chair Lee Duncan at the group’s Nov. 19 meeting, during a wide-ranging discussion about urban planning.
Duncan was referring to a famed elevated monorail built as a futuristic mass transit at California’s Disneyland in the 1950s. His Sandy Springs version would run from the forthcoming City Springs redevelopment to MARTA stations and loop through Perimeter Center.
“I know you guys look at me and say, ‘Duncan, you’re crazy,’” Duncan said, but insisted that “implementation of a monorail” deserves a thorough study to “kill it or provide some context to move forward.”
Assistant City Manager Jim Tolbert indicated that Duncan previously raised the idea in internal meetings with staff. And in fact, Tolbert said, he gave the monorail idea to a consultant team developing the city’s new land-use plan to “seriously review it.”
However, Tolbert gave hints that the monorail will prove infeasible—such as suggesting that Duncan pay for half its cost.
“We’ll name it after him if it works,” Tolbert said.
Monorails—trains that run on a single, usually elevated, track—are now a popular feature at Disney theme parks and are used as public transit in several global cities. However, they also have become a symbol of government boondoggles through a famed episode of the TV comedy “The Simpsons,” where a con man sells a used monorail to an attention-hungry city.
The Georgia Department of Transportation’s “revive285” program to improve transit along the top end Perimeter briefly considered a monorail among many other alternatives several years ago. That slow-moving planning process is now focused on buses and ground-level light rail as possibilities.