Transit’s a waste in this spread-out metro
The General Assembly’s move to allow the dramatic expansion of mass transit in metro Atlanta (“Ga. lawmakers pass transit bills,” AJC, March 1) is off track. About 3.1 percent of metro Atlanta commuters used transit in 2013, according to U.S. Census data compiled by the Atlanta Regional Commission. Even if the existing transit capacity were tripled (at a huge cost) and fully utilized, peak-hour transit use would probably rise to about 10 percent. The effect on congestion would be negligible. Citing a 1977 study, the Brookings Institute showed that public transit works best when gross residential densities are above 4,000 persons per square mile. In the 29-county Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area, the population is spread out over 8,000 square miles, and the densest county, DeKalb, has nowhere near that population density. GDOT’s plan to add a large network of high-occupancy variable-toll lanes next to crowded highways throughout metro Atlanta is more realistic. Cars pay a variable toll based on congestion levels while buses and vanpools use the lanes free. This provides an alternative to congestion and guaranteed trip times for all commuters willing to pay a toll or ride in a bus or vanpool.
JOEL SMITH, STOCKBRIDGE
Media’s long been kind to conservatives
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and other conservatives keep attacking the media, both print and electronic, about being mean to conservatives. Hogwash. The media has bent over backwards since Jimmy Carter was president to attack liberals and support conservatives. Cagle and other conservatives support the merchants of death and their supporters such as the NRA, who support the right of everyone to own military-style assault weapons to kill whoever they choose, as long it is conservatives. That includes children of all ages. They want the far-right fruitcakes to have battlefield weapons so they can start a civil war like the fascist Franco in Spain in the 1930s. Like his hero Donald Trump, Cagle along with other members of the far right, are a grave danger to democracy in America.
CARL COX, RIVERDALE