I read about the Georgia Department of Transportation’s express lane proposals in the Dunwoody Reporter and another source. The picture of what new lanes, flyovers and express lanes at I-285 and Ga. 400 would look like caused me to wonder if it was Groundhog Day. No, that had passed. Oh! It’s April Fools’ Day! No, that hasn’t come yet. Aha! A wicked witch had put me to sleep and no prince was coming to kiss me awake. It’s a nightmare.
Planners and traffic engineers certainly hadn’t the imagination to forecast the growth Atlanta has had or the accompanying traffic it would produce. Had they constructed the main roads with rail lines, bus lines and connecting arteries from the beginning, those could have been in place to add onto. Instead we have continued traffic jams, construction havoc, infringement of neighborhoods, destruction of forested areas and the coming rise of air pollution from more cars and heat islands that will lead to more people sick with lung conditions.
Alternative transportation has to be part of the current plans rather than continually adding lanes for cars. We have to get the cars off the roads rather than make room for more. We can begin by immediately amending the state constitution to allow gas tax revenue to be spent on alternative transit.
We can put limits on boundary infringement and forest destruction. We can take the money developers pay to replace trees out of the bank where it’s been sitting for years and use it to protect and replace those trees cut down. Trees are not just beautiful. They are necessary to clean the air, lower the heat index, cut the cost of air conditioning with shade, and protect wild animals that otherwise are hit by cars.
We can do all of the above. Everything has a price tag. I bet this route is less than the alternative.
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