If You Build It, He Will Come

Did you hear that whisper? “If you build it, he will come.” A lot of powerful people claim they don’t hear the voice, suggesting that perhaps those who do might be a bit loony. Nevertheless, they are building it, and eventually he will come.

I wanted one followup to last week’s MARTA article. The Field of Dreams analogy was something I couldn’t pass up. In case you’re not a fan of baseball movies, allow me to hold your hand through this. The baseball diamond in the corn field is high density development. Shoeless Joe Jackson is MARTA and Kevin Costner is being played by the Alpharetta City Council. If you build high density along GA-400, MARTA will come (or at the least will be very interested in coming). That part really isn’t up for debate. Who is hearing and responding to the voices? That no one will admit to.

What I’d like to see is for Alpharetta to take a stand on MARTA and act on it. It might be like how they roll in Milton…

If You Don’t Build It, He Won’t Come – Milton

If you don’t build sewer in Milton, density won’t come. It’s something I’ve written about and generally disagree with. They don’t wish to have high or even medium density in most of their city. The best way to accomplish this goal is to starve the density by taking away a food source. No sewer; no density. Right or wrong, at least Milton has taken a clear stand and they’re working towards that stated mission.

I don’t see this happening in Alpharetta. Does the City Council wish to have MARTA’s north line extended to Alpharetta? It’s a simple question. If the answer is yes, then say it and continue fueling it with very high density along GA-400. If the answer is no then let’s starve MARTA of its sustenance. But most of all, take a clear and unequivocal stand on MARTA expansion before the voters. The time for pussyfooting is over.

As an aside, today the Alpharetta City Council will vote to submit multiple transportation projects totaling $145 million to the Atlanta Regional Commission. These projects may be included in a 2012 penny sales tax referendum. Buried in the list of projects is $2.4 million to purchase the land reserved in the North Point LCI for the MARTA station at GA-400 and Encore Parkway. Alpharetta is building it. Let’s just admit is already!

Photo Credit: Scott Ehardt

9 Responses to “If You Build It, He Will Come”

  1. Bob Strader March 21, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Lee, I agree with you that they should get off the pot and make a decision. Where we differ is that I think extending MARTA out to Alpharetta, or beyond, would be a good thing for the area. However, I don’t think it will ever happen. The cost to do it and the insolvency of MARTA will prevent it.

  2. Lee March 21, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    If it will never happen then why is Alpharetta making moves to purchase and set aside land for the transit station?

    The Obama administration is in favor of handing out federal money for rail expansion. I don’t see it as out of the question.

  3. Kim March 21, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Lee, another great post.

    Bob, the point is it appears they’ve already made a decision. They just won’t engage the public on it because it is messy politics. When I’ve brought it up with two different councilmen, they didn’t deny it but only said that “it wouldn’t happen in our lifetime.” That’s selfish thinking.

    One of my neighbors moved here from Dunwoody. He never thought it would happen there either but it did and that is why he is now here. He said the same chain of events is happening here as happened in Dunwoody.

  4. Kim March 21, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Bob,
    If I lived in Milton, I might think it was a good idea too. Sort of like our Community Development Director was against bringing sewer to her back yard, but is all about bringing it to ours. Who is the NIMBYer?

  5. Greg March 22, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    I work downtown, and would love to have Marta in Alpharetta.

    That said, I don’t think it’s going to happen in the next 15 to 20 years. Running heavy rail and building stations is amazingly expensive. Marta themselves have said they want to concentrate on other lines before they extend the north line.

    And, yes, Obama likes rail, but he doesn’t like Republican states like ours. If he’s not going to put money into helping a major port, he’s not going to pay to run rail lines to a bunch of rich suburbanites who voted overwhelmingly against him.

  6. Greg March 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    To add to that, if the earth shifts on its axis and either Cobb and/or Gwinnett joins the Marta club, that’s going to tie up Marta rail development money for at least a decade.

  7. Lee March 22, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Keep in mind that there will soon be a 10 county regional transportation group that will likely approve a one cent sales tax for ten years. It will pay for billions in bonds that possibly could fund rail expansion here. (and for what it’s worth, Gwinnett and Cobb are in the 10 county group, Forsyth is not)

  8. Greg March 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Is that the one cent sales tax that would be over and above Fulton County’s one cent Marta sales tax?

  9. Greg March 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    I saw the news today that Marta has listed four billion dollars worth of rail line extensions they’ll be requesting to use that one cent sales tax for. None of the extensions are in north Fulton.

    Isn’t it great we got in on that deal?!

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