Government officials also often prefer grand, ineffective projects to more pedestrian, effective projects (transit officials here in LA prefer extended light rail to synchronizing the traffic lights). So if we are about to spend a lot on public works, I think we need some sort of non-partisan entity, such as the CBO, that develops a rigorous capital budget process for determining spending priorities. In the absence of such a process, we will spend money on negative NPV bridges to nowhere.Atlanta obviously has an impressive list of big deal public works-type projects: the sewers, and the ongoing nightmare they have made driving around town; the BeltLine, of course, includes transit and trails; we just repaved the connector; plans for new HOT tolls on I-85; the new Old Fourth Ward Park (is this part of the BeltLine, really?); streetcars (perhaps); and other I am of course forgetting. I can come up with lots more big-ticket items that I think should get added to this list, too. But what are your suggestings for the smaller infrastructure-related things you think the city needs to work on?
One of mine is something that Richard Green mentions: un-synchronized traffic lights have to be one of the biggest annoyances in town. How many areas can you think of where you will wait at one red light while the light one block down is green and no one can get through because they are all stuck at the first light? Then, your light turns green, two cars get through the next one, and it turns red, backing up both lights.
Every night I leave class and turn down John Wesley Dobbs, and get stuck at two lights in a row. The most annoying part is that this happens where there are no other cars at all - the lights are timed so horribly that I get stuck no matter what. I just sit and wait at two red lights before I can turn onto Piedmont, with no cars passing in front of me.