During the snow, ice, refreeze in Atlanta this week, a lot of people have been complaining about the Georgia DOT\’s failure to have the roads and highways suitable. Allegations that yankees drive so much better in the snow or that other cities handle it so much better are everywhere. The 8 trucks with spreaders on them has almost been a laughable matter.
3 Days Every….
In Atlanta, we\’ve had limited mobility for 3 days so far, and a lot of people were driving on day 3. 2000 (Super Bowl year) was about the last time that everything shut down. Before that, the 1993 \’Perfect Storm\’ blizzard closed everything pretty well down. So let\’s pretend for a second that we lose 10 days a decade – or an average of 1 day / year. That\’s really not bad.
Our Snow is different…
Georgia has a pretty warm climate overall, unfortunately, this is REALLY BAD for snowy weather. If it would just STAY at a temperature where water crystallizes instead of being warm and damp enough for water to become ice, our snow would be a lot nicer. Sunday night the snow was awesome to play in, almost drivable. Monday morning, the snow was awkward.
Despite few people knowing it, Atlanta actually bests Seattle, \’The Rainy City\’, when it comes to annual moisture.
Really, you want to spend more money on trained DOT workers and equipment to fix an issue that affects an average of a day a year? Doubling the DOT workers in GA would be another 2000 employees, assume a minimum, $50k / year total cost and you\’ve spent $100mln a year – in a budget dry state that hates taxes and would rather give money in a corporate tax break than to education. Don\’t forget quickly depreciating equipment (that you\’re maintaining to get 10 days of use out of their lifetime.)
The next one falls under this too.
Why Are We Different Than Other Cities? * Taxes follow up
Atlanta\’s costs of living are tiny, and housing is cheap, and because road taxes are low people and businesses have no qualms having employees drive to their suburban (for lower property taxes) offices and homes. Unfortunately, this creates enormous dependencies on roadways – and open, 8+ lane wide roadways, and connectors between them. [Aside: Imagine how bad traffic would be if everybody in Atlanta drove a snow safer 35mph to work. We\’d lose 3 days of productivity every 2 weeks] Because car transportation is so cheap in Atlanta, Marta stays under funded and inefficient, because nobody sees the direct benefit – and then to rebel against Fulton county, Cobb decides to have diesel buses instead of letting the light rail tracks be lain. And naturally, nobody lives near our public transit and its ridership is such a tiny % of the working population, that even it gets forgotten in the snow.
Apology because I\’m a Snob – Yeah, sorry. I live one block away from a light rail train station that goes directly to my work and is right across from a mall, less than 3 blocks away from several major restaurants, and ~10 blocks away or a 10 minute train ride from a lot of other inner city entrainment.