Today MARTA’s board will hear findings from the Connect 400 initiative. The study will present what they call the “Locally Preferred Alternative” for transit along the GA-400 corridor.
I really wish I could be at the meeting today. No, I don’t want to speak out against heavy rail. I just want to see if these guys can make this suggestion and keep a straight face.
The study is making this recommendation after hearing from only 136 respondents. Somehow this miniscule sample size is enough to determine a local preference.
Let’s look at a few other recent public surveys to put this into perspective. Over 500 residents responded to the Highway 9 LCI study in Alpharetta and Milton. Approximately 400 responded to the survey for the Envision Main Street project.
Making changes to a few miles of Main Street is slightly less involved than bringing heavy rail to Windward. It’s probably on the magnitude of one one-thousandth the size actually. Yet Alpharetta managed to get more than double the number of respondents to their little study.
It’s laughable. MARTA representatives are willing to claim their have found the preference of north Fulton by talking to 136 people? Or was the decision preordained?
The study will hold only one additional public meeting before asking MARTA’s board for final approval. I’ll bet you a fist full of MARTA tokens that this meeting is scheduled during a weekday when typical working stiffs can’t come. Maybe it’ll be in the friendly confines of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. That’s where the only Connect 400 meeting in Alpharetta was held.
I’ve not seen an independent, scientific poll on heavy rail preferences in north Fulton. My guess is that support for the project would be pretty evenly split. It’s a polarizing issue. It’s also an important one. That’s why it’s irresponsible to present such a poorly executed study like Connect 400. MARTA’s board should reject the study and insist on a deeper and more exhaustive survey.
And regardless of your opinion of heavy rail in north Fulton, be sure to ask your local city and county officials what they think. Municipal elections are coming. Candidates squirm when asked about MARTA heavy rail. It’s fun to watch.