By Spencer Maddox May 16, 2017
Hello, my name is Spencer Maddox, and my third year at Tech will start in the fall. I grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia about 30 miles north of Georgia Tech's campus. The only effective way to get around in Kennesaw is by car. The public transportation system is almost nonexistent and bike friendly travel ways and bike share facilities have only recently been added.
Being from the Metro-Atlanta area, I have experienced the terrible traffic first hand. This semester, since I live right off of campus, I have started to use MARTA. I have enjoyed it going to downtown Decatur, Little Five Points, and even going from train to bus to a mile walk to visit my grandparents in Stone Mountain. I think it is an underutilized system and does not deserve the stigma it receives. It frustrates me that MARTA has repeatedly been denied expansion into Cobb County because of the stigma surrounding it. Just living in Midtown Atlanta this year has really opened my eyes to the public transportation system Atlanta has to offer and contributed to my belief that it should be expanded (especially light rail).
Other cities I have traveled to include Washington, DC. Being a more concentrated city than Atlanta is, it is easier to walk to the downtown area and bike share programs have been in place. While shaped completely differently than Atlanta, DC still has shaped my thinking on transportation. Eliminating cars from the road will help alleviate congestion and lessen CO2 emissions. While Kennesaw or Marietta is nowhere near walking distance to Atlanta, light rail or buses could get commuters downtown effectively. And once in downtown Atlanta, there are plenty of things to do within walking distance.
My goals for this class is to observe the Netherlands transportation system and take ideas from it to see how Metro Atlanta's transportation systems can be improved. I hope to gain inspiration from the Dutch designs. I also have never been to another country for an extended period of time, so I am excited to experience the Dutch culture as well.