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Not Many Options Available for Non Drivers to Get Around

According to the Atlanta Regional Commission, metro Atlanta receives one of the worst rankings when it comes to mobility for non-drivers. Do you think it's a problem and what improvements would you suggest?

Several local organizations, including Atlanta Regional Commission, AARP, MAVEN and AAA Traffic Safety Foundation, hosted a transportation summit this week. The subject was the needs of transportation for older adults, persons with disabilities and non-drivers in the metro Atlanta area. However, this is sometimes more of a problem in smaller communities where seniors have to rely on friends and neighbors just for trips to the grocery store or clinic.

According to a press release from the ARC, it was reported that last year the Atlanta region ranked worst among large metro areas for access to transit for seniors. However, the situation has reportedly improved since then. Cited as improvements are volunteer driver programs, transportation vouchers, travel training on transit and community shuttles for seniors providing flexible alternatives to help non-drivers get around.

While much of the purpose of this summit was likely to encourage a “yes” vote on the T-SPLOST referendum on July 31, there is no doubt this is a problem for an aging population.

According to David Goldberg, one of the authors of “Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options,” recent research found that by 2015, more than 15.5 million Americans 65 and older will live in communities where public transportation service is poor or non-existent.

“That number is expected to continue to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation “ages in place” in suburbs and exurbs with few mobility options for those who do not drive,” Goldberg said. “The situation is especially acute in metro Atlanta, where by 2015 an estimated 500,000 residents 65 and older will have little or no access to transit.”

Goldberg was encouraged though by the number of solutions available.

“There are as many solutions as there are communities. Communities must be creative in testing new ideas and put in place programs designed to work in their local community,” he said.

Officials are urging support of the T-SPLOST in order to help the Atlanta Metro region go from “worst to first," when it comes to helping non-drivers get around.

Catherine S June 09, 2012 at 01:49 PM
TSPLOST will do very little for helping non-drivers get around. For truth and facts about the transportation referendum / TSPLOST please visit TrafficTruth at http://traffictruth.net/, https://www.facebook.com/TrafficTruth, and @TrafficTruth on Twitter
Sharon Swanepoel June 09, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Thanks for giving us that information Catherine. I don't know about regionally, but I do know that I have had people in the Loganville area, especially seniors, express concerns about just getting to the grocery store a few miles away. Something like TSPLOST wouldn't address that anyway. Does anyone have any suggestions for helping an aging population in the small towns get from their homes to the grocery store, doctors office, pharmacy, etc. when they can no longer drive. Right now, I don't see any other option but relying on family, friends or neighbors.
Joe_Harris June 09, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I am very excited about the possibility of the Regional Transportation Referendum getting passed and more transportation options coming to the Atlanta area. Since I reside in the Atlanta area the Beltline Project is of particular importance to me and assisting me with getting around the area more efficiently.
William Good June 09, 2012 at 11:31 PM
It is definitely time for Atlanta to get on par with other cities in regards to transportation options that are available. The system that is set in place is not able to sustain the amount of traffic that comes through Atlanta on a daily basis. If the referendum is is passed it definitely can bring new life to the city via the use of an improved transportation system.
KellyW June 10, 2012 at 02:38 PM
With improvement projects for MARTA and with GRTA being dependent on the passing of the Regional Transportation Referendum I think it is critical that it get passed so that we can have more and better transportation options for the non-mobile.
Restless in GA June 10, 2012 at 02:54 PM
If the Regional Transportation Referendum is passed it will mean regional improvements in Cobb and Cherokee counties as well. There will be express commuter service available in northern Cobb County and Cherokee County. Access between CCT and MARTA will also be provided as well.
SabrinaClarke June 10, 2012 at 03:05 PM
@Restless in GA, I am happy to see that improved transportation options will be given to areas outside of the city such as Northwest Metro Atlanta. The Regional Transportation Referendum is definitely key in reaching these areas.
MatthewThomas103 June 10, 2012 at 03:13 PM
There are also a good amount of senior citizens who stay inside the city as well. The Beltline Project which will be funded by the Regional Transportation Referendum will be necessary for them as well.
BrittanyUnderwood82 June 10, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I would also encourage people to attend the "wireside chats" that are going on regarding the Regional Transportation Referendum as well. I was able to be apart of one of the chats and several questions were able to be answered that were specific to your region. Additional information regarding the Regional Transportation Referendum as a whole was given as well.
ErinRogers June 10, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I will be voting yes because I know that the future success of programs such as GRTA and improvement projects such as MARTA are dependent on the Regional Transportation Referendum getting passed.
catlady July 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Transportation for seniors unable to drive is not addressed in the Referendum. Only if the counties use the portion that is returned to them spend it on senior transportation will there be any relief for seniors. I haven't heard that Gwinnett County has any such plans.

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