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Public transport is needed in Fayette

Claude Paquin's picture

With a fine intuitive sense of what might be his final destination, my friend and colleague, county commissioner Eric Maxwell, tells us he’ll fight MARTA till hell freezes over, and then he’ll fight it on the ice.

For a guy who, unlike me, is unlikely to have ever played ice hockey, that’s a bold challenge which I am willing to take up. I’ll do it right now, as I am not sure to be in Eric’s venue of choice later on.

Transportation is a vital need for all of us, from the first trip from the maternity ward to the last one to the graveyard.

Along the way we depend on many others for our transportation. In our youth, we have our parents and, for many years, the school bus. Older people with perhaps declining eyesight or slower reflexes also begin to depend on others as they age, as they did in their youth.

In a county that values education as much as Fayette does, I have often asked myself, what do our students do after high school? Don’t we have young adults who study at Georgia Tech, Georgia State, or Clayton State? How do they get to school every day?

We also have plenty of adults who work either at the Atlanta airport or in downtown Atlanta. How do they get there every day? Do they enjoy their daily driving experience?

There is more to driving a car than getting from point A to point B, because once you reach point B what do you do with the car? Pay $20 to park it four hours?

It is clear that the young, the truly old, the poor, and some people with impairments, cannot drive themselves.

Smart people who could drive often choose not to do it, if they can help it, because they add up the expense of car ownership, maintenance, insurance, taxes, and parking, and they find a better way. Car pooling is a great step in that direction, and it gives more quality time to all but the driver.

For about three years of my life as a teenager, I took public transportation to school every day, and then to a summer job. I simply could not have done without, and I could even read or study on the bus during some trips. I know how useful public transportation can be.

Today we are all encouraged to take MARTA to professional sports events in Atlanta, where Eric could watch hockey and learn how to fight on the ice, and even to other events at the World Congress Center, the Fox Theater and elsewhere.

There is good reason we’re encouraged to do that. Getting cars off the road reduces congestion, emissions, and our dependence on oil suppliers whose likability quotient is rather low. If we end up needing fewer roads, we’ll all have lower taxes too.

For practical reasons, public transportation cannot be offered in every corner of Fayette County. But we do have people in Fayette who need it or who will need it. We have people who could greatly benefit from it and would avail themselves of it.

If we, in Fayette, could only have easy and convenient access to the Atlanta airport through a reliable public transportation system, it would give us access, through MARTA, to the entire area served through its airport station. Any county public official who can’t see that has got to be blind and has no chance in a fight on the ice.

Of course, the Fayette public transportation system does not have to bear the name MARTA. Cobb County has its own bus system with its own name on it, and it does connect to MARTA. We could possibly learn from them.

There is a perception among some people that public transportation is for the poor, the hoi polloi, a species to be avoided. It so happens that the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire, rides the NY subway system (with a bodyguard). He thinks this is much faster and also more efficient. In his judgment, this is smarter than riding the big limo.

It is easy to hate MARTA when you don’t ride it. Public transportation is no nirvana, but it is not hell on wheels either. The air conditioning often works and can make people like Eric feel on ice, though hopefully not belligerent.

What I’d like to see in our public officials and candidates is more empathy for all the citizens who could benefit not only themselves but society at large by taking either the bus or the train.

But you can’t take it if our out-of-touch politicians close their minds to the possibility. So let’s quit bashing MARTA and look for ways we can meet our transportation needs without slapping one sales tax after another just to build more roads and bridges.

[A Fayette County resident though a native of hockey-loving Canada, Claude Y. Paquin is a retired lawyer and actuary who, whenever possible, uses MARTA to go to downtown Atlanta.]


Come on Claude, why don't you take a survey and ask the older generation of Fayette County if they want public transportation in Fayette. I'm sure you will get a definite "NO" to that question. We that have lived here our entire lives, see no advantage in it. Check your stats and see what public transportation does to the quality of life, crime rate, etc. Why do you think we have had the low crime rate over the past 40 years, I'll tell you why, no public transportaion, no interstates, no LIQUOR stores, I can keep going !!! If you want it, head back across the line and find yourself a nice little spread in Clayton County. We don't want a bus stop at the Pavillion !! Let something like this get voted on and watch the heads roll. Old timers from Fayette County will be on the ice with Eric fighting hard for OUR County !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep wishing it will never happen !

Fayette Native

jpopeye's picture

I'll be nice and say sand.

Fayette did not avoid crime by preventing "undesirables" from coming here. It was not part of a complex metro area with the problems of multi-cultural and various income residents. That is over. Pushing back against those who we do not understand (or for some - those you do not like) is not a good solution. We need public trans to fix the funding imbalance that is destroying our political process. We fight over every advancement because of the pressures that taxes and the need for funds brings. We need to change the transportation part of this equation so there is more money to fight crime and the reasons for crime. Continuing to devote tax revenue to road building and our current infrastructure means there is not enough for education and local business development. These inclusive progressive programs do more to fight crime than building a fence around Fayette county. I suggest if you want things like they used to be move another 50 miles down the road. But this solution leads to the end of the road.

I grew up near Chicago where public transportation is pretty efficient because most of the jobs are a quick walk from the spoke of train stations. Going into the city was a 35 minute train ride and at worst an additional 20 minute bus or L ride witha 5 minute wait. Atlanta is different! When I used to come here from Chicago I would fly into Hartsfield, take Marta and to just get to Emory it wuld take at least
1 1/2 hours...wait 20 minutes for train from Airport and then another 20-30 to catch train at Five Points..and then walk 1/2 a mile. I gave up and started renting a car. Atlanta is so spread out and is not condusive to public transfortation.

I also noted that on a reverse when I lived in the western suburbs of Chicago that Fast food restaurants would hire inner city kids so they could pay them $2.50 an hour less and pick up their $5 transportation costs for an 8 hour shift.

jpopeye's picture

I think the fact that public trans works anywhere is proof that it works, we just don't have it set up right. That's why it needs to be fixed.

The white flight issue is something else. Folks move further out and try to put distance between them and the problems. This leaves our problems for the grandchildren to solve. I want us to solve problems, not run from them.

NUK_1's picture

I didn't realize that PTC wasn't a part of Fayette County these days. I also didn't realize that those liquor stores in PTC brought in all the crime and undesirables. Oh mean PTC doesn't have a high crime rate and never has? WAIT...they also have a TATTOO PARLOR TOO! OMG!

Hey NuK, unfortunately they are a part of Fayette County...They passed their own ordinance for the liquor...they'll keep their prices up to keep the undesirables out...and yes PTC does not have a high crime rate and never has ... just voted best city in America to live....You keep wishing on a star for MARTA and package stores in the rest of the county...We've heard that crybaby complaint from you liberal bed wetters for 40 years. We'll run em out just like Hooters....

Fayette Native

ginga1414's picture

I just know you had to expect what I am about to say. You just had to expect it. However, here goes. Yes, New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg rides the subway system with his BODYGUARD! That is all well and good for Mayor Bloomberg. Personally speaking, I wouldn't want to ride, drive, walk or run anywhere if I had to carry along a bodyguard. And, I dare say that 99.999999% of all the other riders of the subway in New York City cannot afford to ride the subway with a bodyguard. I have relatives who live on Long Island and they know enough to be petrified of the subway system. Even here in Atlanta, there have been repeated cases of MARTA riders injured and killed by the criminal element that frequents our MARTA stations. That has happened even in Buckhead and the Lenox Station. People are mugged and beaten, then the bad guys just hop on a train and they are gone. If Fayette County ever grows to the point that mass transit is needed here, in my opinion, it won't be worth living here.

The majority of folks who moved into Fayette County during the past 35 years moved here to get away from bus fumes, bus noise, congestion and mass transit. The majority of those folks moved here because of the rural countryside, school system and slower pace. All those folks knew then, still know now, and fully embrace the fact that their homes are a good distance from their workplace. They like it that way. If mass transit is brought into Fayette County, those people are surely going to run further and Fayette County will be left with mass transit, lower property values, and more people with less quality of life.

jpopeye's picture

The Fayette County of 35 years ago is gone, I'm sorry. Folks who think this is a rural pace need to get out in the country. I love rural living but this aint it. This area is part of Atlanta now. As the areas around Fayette fill in we will be hurting. Making Fayette inaccessible will leave us landlocked with no employment and/or tax revenue. All of the property owners will have to pay more taxes. Those of us who are here might have really valuable property in the future and be able to afford the taxes, but I don't think the percentages of that are good.

Have property values in Buckhead, etc., gone down because of the Lenox station?
We have great law enforcement here in Fayette County - and citizens who are concerned and aware. I'm sure that if a survey is taken, and the citizens of Fayette County indicate that they will not use MARTA - MARTA will not come here - nor larger businesses. Public transportation did not prevent the drug dealers from coming to The Avenues and/or The Pavilion. Lack of public awareness in the past made these two locations a haven for criminals. We're more aware and most existing businesses have improved security.

Popeye, you are right about one thing...we will keep pushing back against the ones we dislike...We have already witnessed what the undesirables have done to our old neighborhoods around Atlanta. I guess the undesirables will keep following us, but sooner or later we will stop flying...and start fighting back. Fayette avoided crime by making the "undesirables" not want to commit crimes in our county, thats a fact! Bring in your mass transit / MARTA, liquor stores, pawn shops, etc. and then watch your home values, school accreditation, and crime rate suffer. If you bring it, just like Ginga1414 said, we'll leave you with it and all the "I pray for Fayetteville" bumper stickers.....Your head is stuck a lot deeper than mine if you think you'll ever see a MARTA bus in Fayetteville, Peachtree City, etc.....Pushing Back is our only solution! Change is coming alright!

Fayette Native

jpopeye's picture

Sorry my first post was sharp, it looks like we disagree. I'm frustrated with some things but don't want to be mean.

The 'undesirables' are in a certain class/income level. Can they afford to move to Fayette? Many of us are concerned about the foreclosures in our neighborhoods - and we're taking steps to make sure our neighbors can afford to maintain the homes in our neighborhood, even though they are getting these homes at a reduced rate. (Thanks to ethical real estate personnel) You don't do this by 'running' away from your investment. We have a certain class of people already here who want 'porn shops', etc. - and they're not from Atlanta. Did access to MARTA encourage them to open their business here? Stop using MARTA to mask your real concerns.

Mike King's picture

You are on a roll today aren't you? Have you stopped at a porn shop in Peachtree City? Your post reads as if one currently exists. Could it be that you and Bonkers are on the same page?

<cite>We have a certain class of people already here <strong>who want 'porn shops', etc. - and they're not from Atlanta.</strong></cite>

Sorry if you interpreted that as a 'porn shop' was already 'here'.

As DM stated, what business are you actually referring to?? What steps are you actually taking to help your neighbors? Our real concern is keeping the undesirables out - we can help accomplish that by not allowing MARTA in - How hard is that to understand ......Let them in, and you want have any investment to run from....Don't worry about the future?? What about David and his future....Wake up or move out !

Fayette Native

Where are these undesirables? I do want to join my neighbors in protecting our investment. What undesirables did MARTA bring to Buckhead?

We dont want it. If you need it then move up to Atlanta so you dont have to ride so far. We that have been here for 30 plus years are just fine without Marta. So let this idea die

The differences, Normal, between Claude Pacquin and our current commissioners are that (a) he is polite (b) he makes a compelling argument for his position and (c) you know where he stands.

Our Commissioners are greasing the wheels for MARTA while telling you that they oppose it.

I'll be short and sweet. Look what it did in Clayton County, and look at the situation there now.

. . if I'm wrong, but my understanding of the change in demographics in Clayton County was because of the displacement of Atlanta citizens to provide room for the Atlanta Olympics. There were many Section 8 citizens placed in Clayton County, according to the information I have been given. MARTA did not create the current Clayton County demographics. Marta goes to Lenox, Perimeter, etc., etc., etc. Marta, in my opinion will not change the demographics of Fayette County - poor planning, unwise development, etc. will cause demise in the reputation of Fayette County. Marta will NOT change the demographics of Fayette County - just as it has not changed the demographics of Buckhead or Perimeter. Section 8 citizens will not be able to afford to move to Fayette County UNLESS owners of property rent to these citizens or developers build homes/apartments to accommodate Section 8 citizens.

Mike King's picture

Not entirely wrong, but leaving out the fact that Section 8 housing was made available throughout Fayette County including Peachtree City skews your argument. Buckhead, like Peachtree City is a real estate 'island' where it is buffered from normal downtown blight.
We in Peachtree City are beginning to realize that our town, while currently a great place to raise families, is losing its exclusivity and thus its appeal. As an earlier blogger pointed out, "Peachtree City is no longer the place it was 35 years ago." As citizens, we need to do what we can to preserve what remains of the quality of life we enjoy, I simply believe that keeping MARTA out does just that.

<cite>but leaving out the fact that Section 8 housing was made available throughout Fayette County including Peachtree City skews your argument. Buckhead, like Peachtree City is a real estate 'island' where it is buffered from normal downtown blight.</cite>

Fayette County has Section 8 housing? Who made it available? Sincere questions. . .is it possible for persons from another county/city to be placed in Fayetteville or Peachtree City? 38 years ago I would not have been able to purchase a home in Fayette County - according to neighbors and friends, because of my 'color'. Hmmmmmm. I really don't want to return to 'those' days. . .we've made quite an investment in our home and property here. What criteria is making preserving the quality of life here in danger?

Mike King's picture

You know quite well that Section 8 Housing has been in Peachtree City for some time brought here by greedy developers and spineless politicians. But for the sake of argument, some 38 years ago I could not purchase land in Fayette County due primarily to the same reason you couldn't.

but *$## NO!

All good Popeye! Good to hear others opinions...I think everyone is frustrated these days...Thanks....

Fayette Native

RKS's picture

No Marta
No Pawn Shops
No Thrift Stores

If you don't like living in a town that is free of the thugs and undesirables, then move back to Clayton County! Fayette County has been ruined by the jerks that wear their pants around their knees, with their 10 times too big jackets...going around robbing and home has been broken into three times and I live in a nice neighborhood. I am sick to death of it.....NO NO NO...I do not want Marta busses running through the county...if you need Marta, then MOVE!

Some of the best are in Buckhead!! I've seen the law enforcement reports - most 'thugs' do not live in Fayette County. (And they got in - thankfully not 'out' without MARTA.) Our combined law-enforcement is doing a great job! Break-ins are happening all over our country during these difficult economic times - not just in Fayette County. Invest in a good alarm company, get a dog, and communicate with your neighbors.

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