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Letters to the Editor - March 08 2006

Public transit, Robert Earl Price

Spinning our wheels

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I wanted to comment on your recent article condemning the abhorrent state of our public transit system (Humbug Square, "All aboard peak-oil express," March 2).

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I've lived in a number of places in my life including Boston, Portland, Los Angeles and northern Europe. I have seen it work and fail to different degrees in different places.

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I returned to Atlanta about a year-and-a-half ago after a nine-year hiatus and noticed two things almost immediately:

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• The public transit system is as stagnant as it was then. I used to take MARTA almost exclusively from my home in Candler Park to my jobs in downtown Atlanta. Catching up on the morning paper (though the state of the newspapers in this town is a completely different story) was a treat instead of dealing with traffic and finding parking.

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I now rarely use MARTA, mostly because it doesn't go where the work is. I need to often go to Alpharetta or Gwinnett to meet with clients and such, and there is no way but to drive. Sure, the MARTA trains have expanded, but not nearly enough, in my opinion.

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• The smog in Atlanta has gotten much worse. I assume this is because of the increase in car use, but I am not exactly sure of the cause.

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I am one of the lucky ones. I work from home, so my commute is usually a walk to the local coffee shop with my laptop. But I see my compatriots handcuffed to their cars, where the commute time has become enormous.

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While I agree with your assertion that we need a real commuter rail system, we also need the MARTA trains to change:

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• Get rail to Turner Field (a cash cow that could help prop up the finances of MARTA and get people comfortable with riding the trains).

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• Run until a half-hour after the bars close on Fridays and Saturdays. This would provide a real solution for Buckhead and the Underground bar patrons for getting home without driving.

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• Expand train service to where the jobs are (Alpharetta, Emory/CDC area, southern Cobb County).

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I could go on for hours, but until we have a bus and train system that entices ridership, fighting over profitability on MARTA is just spinning our proverbial wheels.

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-- Shawn Wildermuth, Atlanta

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Good writing

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article "Up jumped the devil" (Arts, Feb. 16). I learned a lot about Robert Earl Price that I didn't know, as well as more about the play he's written. Your article was very well written and I especially liked the end of your opening line, as well as the end of your closing line. Great writing.

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-- Kupenda Auset, Atlanta