Cobb County is in the midst of an update to the County Transportation Plan to analyze needs and to develop potential solutions in the near term, while including alternatives through 2040. Evaluating what is successful and working in other communities seems sensible to me.
Our population density will only increase and already the population density from the north Cobb line to downtown Atlanta (4.32 per acre) is similar to Cleveland (4.2) and Phoenix (4.99), which have already implemented innovative transportation systems that are delivering as designed. Cleveland’s has been such a success, in the last week it has kicked off another phase.
My interest in alternative transportation is primarily two-fold. As our population ages it would be safer and give seniors more mobility if we have an effective public transportation system. I hope in a decade or two it will be my primary means of transportation. An improved system will also make it easier and less costly for those who do not have personal vehicles to get to work. Transportation is a real barrier to employment for many in the county and our region.
It is truly a quality of life issue and will become even more so in the future. Most young people don’t want to spend hours a week in their car. Young professionals that we are educating in our tremendous institutions in Cobb including Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic State University, Life University and Chattahoochee Technical College are more likely to stay in Cobb with its growing economic centers in Town Center and Cumberland if it is easy to be active and mobile. More and more students start their own businesses and we should want them to develop them here.
There is no corridor more important to the future of Cobb than U.S. 41 in its overall impact. And, 59 percent of Cobb’s population lives within five miles of it. If it is invigorated by improved transportation, its businesses will see growth and the property values will grow. Cleveland has seen this. I hope we can, too.
My business is based in Cobb and some may say I am a proponent to line my own pocket. While I hope my firm benefits from any growth of the county, my real goal is to improve my quality of life — to be able to get from Cumberland to Marietta reliably in 20 minutes at 10 a.m. or 5 p.m.
I have read with interest some of the observations and opinions related to the future of transportation in Cobb County in your paper. For some, doing little or nothing is a popular option. But to me, we need to use all the tools available to meet future challenges. We cannot simply dismiss the proposed transit solution because it is not easy.
Cobb County has always been a place of vision and of smart choices using all the tools available. We should continue that tradition in our transportation planning and implementation.
Steve Byrne Galleria