Hey Cobbers! Matt here- Yet again, we have a fellow local advocate pitching in to share what they view would make Cobb better. In this edition, we have Tyler Haber (not to be confused with a previous writer, Tyler Bigler), a resident of unincorporated District 4 (Monique Sheffield is his Commissioner). He’s been with Cobb 4 Transit since day one and is also a passionate advocate for safe streets and better land use.

Hello all! My name is Tyler Haber, resident of unincorporated Cobb County in District 4. Matt asked me to fill in writing the newsletter and I wanted to spend this time writing about transit connectivity in District 4 and what I would like to see improve in Cobb County.

Why I Want To Prioritize Transit

Before I get into my personal experience, please take a few minutes and read this locally-relevant article from Strong Towns. The highlight of that article for me is that our historical addiction to building more roads not only leads to more traffic, but also drives up the cost of road maintenance. Currently Cobb spends an unsustainable amount on roads. It seems that the only option to get anywhere is by using a car. Despite all this, I try to limit my use of car trips to enjoy the local amenities. (Editor’s note: Tyler’s regular use of transit is probably the most frequent of anyone I know)

The route I use most often is Cobblinc Route 30.

Route 30 runs between Hamilton Holmes and Marietta transfer center that with a frequency of every 30 minutes Monday through Saturday and every 60 minutes on Sunday. This route connects people living in South Cobb with easy access to Marietta and MARTA. It is one of the routes with the highest ridership and highlights on the route include:

  • Hamilton E Holmes MARTA station
  • Six Flags
  • Heart of Mableton
  • Wellstar Cobb Hospital
  • Marietta Square
  • Dobbins Air Reserve Base
  • Marietta Transfer Center

What would make this route better?

  • Increase frequency from running every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes or better
  • Improving the pedestrian/last mile experience
    • Better bike connectivity
    • Better sidewalks/pedestrian safety
    • Better bus stops: If we have to wait for the bus, it’s best if we’re safe (lighting/separated from cars), protected from the elements (shelter), and comfortable (benches and trash cans).

Another route I use often is Cobblinc Route 25.

This route connects Hamilton E Holmes station with the Cumberland/Battery area with a frequency of every 60 minutes. Highlights include:

  • Hamilton E Holmes MARTA Station
  • Smyrna
  • Wellstar Cobb Hospital
  • Battery/Cumberland
  • Connections with routes 10, 15, 20, 50, MARTA route 12, and the Battery circulatorenter across the street from Cumberland Mall. This gives access to Cobblinc The route could be improved by running buses more often than once every 60 minutes. Several crossings are unfriendly towards pedestrians, the crossing at Spring Rd and Cobb Pkwy only has a crosswalk on the west and north sides of the street while requiring pedestrians to cross 10 lanes of traffic before getting into the pedestrian friendly areas of the Battery.

What would make this route better?

  • More frequency (this bus running every 60 minutes is a joke and requires me to plan my schedule completely on catching the bus)
  • Improving the pedestrian/last mile experience
  • Improved bus stops

If those improvements sound like a broken record, it’s not a coincidence. More frequency, better last-mile connectivity, and improved bus stops would benefit the rider experience on EVERY route. Other improvements include having dedicated lanes so buses don’t get stopped in traffic. Wouldn’t it be great if you could taking transit from Marietta or Cumberland to Atlanta actually SAVED time?

Also, there’s an opportunity to improve the performance and reliability of these routes by simplifying the routes and making them more linear. Linearity is a concept that transit expert Jarrett Walker says transit agencies should focus on if they want to be successful with ridership.

Now let’s take a look at Routes 25 and 30 together (the blue and green routes through South Cobb in the image below). Notice how they zig zag back and forth in the Mableton area? This adds precious time and inefficiencies to the routes which degrades the ridership experience.

One improvement that could fix this is a new transfer center in South Cobb near the hospital (intersection of Austell Road and East West Connector). This transfer center, when combined with improved frequency and more efficient routes, would improve the transit experience for everyone.

In addition to transit, an underreported connection to the Battery is that the Silver Comet Trail Cumberland Connector gives sidewalk bike access throughout Smyrna and all of District 4 that lies near the Silver Comet trail entrances. Improving the trail network throughout the county will greatly improve mobility for everyone. Projects in this area include bike trails along Mableton Parkway, Connect the Comet, and the Austell-Powder Springs Road trail. All of these are very exciting and I can see myself using them to get around safely very often! Here’s an update on a few different trails:

  • Connect the Comet: Making progress! One part will start construction soon and another part is in the final stages of legal negotiations.
  • Cheatham Hill/Burnt Hickory Road: Almost complete! Groundbreaking is scheduled for June 9th!
  • Austell-Powder Springs Road Trail: Still in feasibility study. Needs funding to be completed
  • Noonday Creek Trail: Still in feasibility and routing study. Needs funding to be completed.

Commissioners Meetings next week

Next Tuesday, there will be a Work Session at 1:30PM and a Board of Commissioners meeting at 7PM.

The work session has 2 agenda items:

  • To present the county Housing Assessment
  • To present an update on the county Economic Development Initiatives

I’d say the Housing Assessment is something that will be VERY interesting for those of us who are looking at land use/zoning/housing.

The Board Meeting agenda highlights are:

  • SEVEN Presentations!
  • No Public Hearings
  • Public Comment
  • Consent Agenda
    • Consent Agenda items includes a few work orders for Water System, purchasing of new equipment for IT, a new roof for the Cobb & Douglas Public Health HQ, a grant to fund the DUI Task Force, HR Policy, and some procedural CobbWorks tasks
  • Regular Agenda (really short with only 4 items)
    • Item 25: A Work Order Change for Accenture to complete the Cobb County 5-year Strategic Plan. This will incorporate public feedback and complete the implementation plan.
    • Item 26: Notice of Railroad Quiet Zone Establishment to Norfolk Southern at Nickajack Road
  • Public Comment

Upcoming Events

Monday, April 24th @ 4PM: Chattahoochee Riverlands Groundbreaking

That will wrap this issue up, there’s a lot more to discuss but we wanted to get this out before the end of the week. In our next issue, we will talk about what’s happening in Marietta. That’s gonna be a fun one!