The idea of "park and ride" is to encourage people who commute daily to an area of traffic congestion and limited parking (in this case downtown Athens and adjacent UGA campus) to get out of traffic before it gets congested and leave the driving to the bus driver, thus reducing the number of cars on the road with one driver, allowing the passenger to read the paper during a commute, and ultimately, cut down on pollution and fuel consumption- everyone wins. Placing a park and ride lot in the epicenter of miserable traffic congestion, and making it difficult to access from the direction of the major morning commutes, insures the lot will not be used to its fullest potential, if at all. Placing the lot further "out" away from existing congestion, will, in the very least, not add to an existing bad situation and it might possible draw more riders. Surely, an existing underutilized lot or even a new one (in the right location) could be located that had easier access than the one chosen. The east side Winn-Dixie has multiple entrances and exists onto Gaines School Road and Lexington Hwy that can be accessed from all four directions, with and without lights. And even though that is a busy intersection, there are two directions in which cars can make a right turn to get out of the lot. there are even sidewalks leading to and from several nearby neighborhoods that would offer reasonable walking/biking. It doesn't take a traffic engineer to figure that out.posted @ Friday, January 25, 2013 - 18:47
If by chance any of the powers that be reads these posts, please don't mistake the comments for negative views on the idea of park and ride. Perhaps the next time a project like this surfaces, consider using an existing lot at a less congested location. The old Winn-Dixie parking lot, for example if almost empty. A park and ride in that lot, which is easy to get in and out of, and on the way in for most of the commuters who might take advantage of such a service, would make a lot more sense and cost a lot less. it might even generate a little business traffic for a desperate shopping center. It would also give reason to expand bus service to an area that could really use it since we have pushed so many low income families out beyond the loop. A similar stop could be set up with multiple bus lines going the the former K-Mart parking loton the east side. Again no cost, fairly easy access and catches the traffic BEFORE it gets cose tot he loop and extremely congested.posted @ Friday, January 25, 2013 - 11:24
I totally support the concept of park and ride and I am truly grateful for grants to pay for alternative transportation. I also think all the "green" features of the new site are something we should incorporate into all construction projects.That being said, I have to ask what in the world was the logic of putting a park and ride smack in the middle of one the busiest intersections in Athens? Anyone from Athens knows there are two intersections to avoid at all cost- Atlanta Highway near the loop and Oconee Street near the loop. Why draw more people to one of the few places in Athens where we experience the nightmare of Atlanta traffic? I know the designers made some adjustments to the street (and presumably the lights) but I fail to see how car drivers will be enticed to go to the epicenter of traffic congestion, park their car, wait for a bus, get on a bus and sit in traffic for a ridiculous amount of time, just to go a few miles. I find it hard to imagine that, with all the money allotted to this project, the designers could not find a better location. It would have made much more sense to site the lot away from congestion, BEFORE traffic gets so jammed. I can't imagine even the most eco-minded commuters subjecting themselves to an even longer wait in traffic to save the environment.This seems like a missed opportunity to me and a serious waste of money. Lets hope I am wrong and the lot will be full in the months to come.posted @ Friday, January 25, 2013 - 04:10
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Full text of the Use of Public Right-of-Ways ordinance draft is below. Highlight: Would set hours of operation of each Athens-Clarke County "building campus" -- e.g. City Hall, the courthouse and Dougherty Street government building -- at 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Park hours would either be set by the Athens-Clarke County manager or the Mayor and Commission. The ordinance has been derided by members of Occupy Athens and others as seeking to enforce a curfew on public property, thus damaging their First Amendment right to peacably assemble for long-term protests. read more
Kolton Houston took his story nationally last weekend. read more