Learning from Atlanta’s mistakes

Atlanta Traffic

A story in the Dec. 17 issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports a consultant has confirmed what many suspected. Atlanta’s automobile-based regional transportation system has thrown a wrench in its high output growth machine. According to Dennis J. Donovan of WDG Consulting, “some companies are quietly rejecting Atlanta because of traffic.” Here’s more from the story:

“Up until seven or eight years ago when we had Atlanta on a recommended short list” for places to relocate or expand a business, ‘we rarely heard grumbling,’ he said. That has changed. Now, he said, when Atlanta shows up on a short list, “Every one of our companies, every one of them, says, ‘Boy, isn’t there a lot of traffic down there?'”

There is a valuable lesson we can learn from Atlanta: You can’t pave your way out of traffic congestion. Four decades of non-stop road construction have induced traffic, fueled sprawl, destroyed the landscape, fouled the air and eviscerated communities. Is this an example worth following?

We should keep Atlanta in mind when we learn of local plans to widen area roadways or construct new highways. Savannah should learn from Atlanta’s mistakes instead of replicating strategies that are proven failures. Donovan suggests that Atlanta’s traffic problems have pushed it to “the point of no return.” Savannah still has time to avoid this fate.

Photo credit: Valerie Reneé via Flickr.

This entry was posted in Planning, Transportation on by .

About John Bennett

Transportation, land use, local farming and green building are all potential topics for Sustainable Savannah. The goal is to aggregate content about local events and projects, so there will be a central place to review everything that’s happening. The site is aimed at encouraging collaboration and information sharing between groups and individuals currently engaged in sustainability efforts. The site can also provide a snapshot of Savannah for green-minded people who are considering visiting or moving to the area.

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