Traffic Congestion — It’s bad, but perhaps not that bad?
February 14, 2013 11:51 PM | 2501 views | 5 5 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Maybe it’s not so surprising after all that Cobb voters roundly rejected last summer’s TSPLOST referendum.

According to figures in a just-released study by Texas A&M University, Cobb County drivers beat the metro-area average by a considerable margin when it comes to the amount of time spent stuck in traffic.

On the down side, the national study of 500 cities showed Atlanta and New York City tied for third place in terms of the time spent commuting. Washington had the unenviable distinction of having both the most congestion and the longest trip times. Atlanta was ranked as the seventh most-congested metro area.

As for time spent commuting, Cobb drivers average only 30 minutes in their daily commutes — a pittance when compared to the metro area’s average of 50 minutes. And we beat that average even though it’s not as if most Cobb residents are working right down the street. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 42 percent of Cobb residents (or 145,000 people) work outside the county.

Brian Carr, spokesman for the Clean Air Campaign, noted to the MDJ that the region has “a pretty big toolbox” of strategies for reducing traffic.

“You look at ramp meters and things like 511 and mapping where the hot spots are, and HERO trucks that clear stalls, you have a robust set of tools,” he said.

The area also employs traffic signal coordination, HOV lanes, and a 511 traffic-info hotline. None of those alone are a magic weapon for curing congestion, but they add up.

Cobb voters (like their counterparts elsewhere in the metro area) overwhelming voted down last summer’s 1 percent Transportation Special Option Local Option Sales Tax, which would have been levied for 10 years. The bulk of Cobb’s TSPLOST revenues, $689 million, would have been used to build either a “premium transit service” or possibly a commuter rail line from the Galleria area south to connect with MARTA rail in Midtown Atlanta. Pro-TSPLOST forces spent roughly $8.6 million to push for the tax, but their campaign fell on deaf ears.

The 69 percent of Cobb residents who voted against the tax obviously didn’t want their taxes raised and also didn’t want to be on the hook for future TSPLOSTs to pay for the maintenance and operations and expansions of those transit lines. And equally clear is the fact that many of them felt either that local congestion is not that bad, or else that the proposed solutions were not the right ones.

The study’s findings would seem to reflect — although perhaps inadvertently — at least some of those sentiments.
Comments
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Papermill gal
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February 15, 2013
While we have some bad days, mostly because of accidents and road closings or temporary narrowings due to poorly-timed work being done, I've noticed Cobb's traffic getting better in the last decade, not worse.

Our commute to Atlanta is far better now than, say, a commute from the outskirts of D.C. into town twenty years ago, which used to take me over an hour.
Oh no gurl!
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February 15, 2013
put you glasses back on...
VFP42
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February 15, 2013
The #1 solution for elminating congestion is to do nothing.

As long as you keep building more lanes, more people will keep coming.

As long as you make bigger intersections, you just displace congestion which results in adding congestion.

If you publically throw in the towel, for example say "Whitlock is DONE. If you don't like it, do another way. Find another job. Move" then people will solve their own congestion.

"More lanes" and "More roads" only add to congestion.

HERO trucks are effective. Ramp meters make people having short trips avoid the interstate, so they only displace congestion to parallel roads such as Powers Ferry and US 41 here in Cobb. Traffic signal coordination is great for everybody going that way. For the reverse/cross commuters, crossing a coordinated light route will get you a pretty long wait, so again that strategy only displaces congestion: Eventually you're all gonna hit a red light.
Great Solution!
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February 15, 2013
VFP42 - you should run for office! you're approach here as well as the many other solutions proposed in the comments of various other news articles are so well researched and make so much sense....said no one ever.

Let's just turn a blind eye to transportation and infrastructure. I am sure you are right, if you do nothing, everything will fall into disrepair and no one will be able to go anywhere or come to Cobb.

Now I imagine that would not affect you much because it would appear you never leave the computer in your basement anyways.
vfp52
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February 17, 2013
Neither the article nor my comment discusses maintenance of existing roads. Perhaps your life plan had me paying to build more lanes out to paluding county? Bite the bullet and file for bankruptcy. Paluding will not be getting closer to jobs centerd and you will never get your money back on your pressboard mcmamsion on a quarter acre of dallas ga.
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