PROGRAMMING ALERT:

95.5 WSB Atlanta's News & Talk is making a big change.

ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
85°
Chance of T-storms
H 91° L 73°
  • cloudy-day
    85°
    Current Conditions
    Chance of T-storms. H 91° L 73°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    91°
    Today
    Chance of T-storms. H 91° L 73°
  • cloudy-day
    90°
    Tomorrow
    Partly Cloudy. H 90° L 72°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Gridlock Guy: Residential cost of GA-400 expansion illustration of bigger conundrum
Close

Gridlock Guy: Residential cost of GA-400 expansion illustration of bigger conundrum

GDOT shared exclusive video of the project with Channel 2.

Gridlock Guy: Residential cost of GA-400 expansion illustration of bigger conundrum

Atlanta’s population is booming, as evidenced by, well, many things. The crowd swell keeps this weekly column topical, as more residents slowly commute locally and more freight uses Atlanta as the transportation hub that it is. Sandy Springs residents recently learned the cost of expanding the infrastructure to fit these demands.

» RELATED: Hit the brakes on transit expansion? Gwinnett voters to decide

GDOT announced two weeks ago the need for the land where 19 homes sit on Northgreen Drive, in order to expand GA-400 by two lanes in each direction. Northgreen sits just a football field-or-so to the west of GA-400, as it runs off of Spalding Drive. The optics of this look a bit worse for GDOT, as the addition to GA-400 will be Express Lanes - A.K.A. toll lanes. Those always are polarizing.

"We are entering the right of way-acquisition process," GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale explained on the March 4th "The Mark Arum Show" on News 95.5/AM750 WSB. Dale said that this is different than and precedes eminent domain. In fact, Dale told Arum that both federal and state laws outline a specific process that GDOT must follow, before eminent domain even comes into play. “We are entering a negotiation with these property owners to negotiate a sale of their property.”

Dale said that the government can exercise eminent domain only if the homeowners refuse the offers. “It is one of the harder things that we have to do; we don’t have to do it a lot. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone to come to me and tell me they need my home. When we design these projects originally we look to avoid any circumstance like this. Beyond that, we look to mitigate it and then to minimize the impact, so if we only had to take part of the property, and then mitigate it if we have to take it all.”

Dale said GDOT does not enjoy making these hard choices. “And I think that’s sort of a misconception — that this is something that we do without feeling and we just do.”

In this case, Dale said it is absolutely necessary. “We want it to be part of an ongoing Express Lanes system in the metro area,” Dale explained. New such lanes along I-285, I-85, and GA-400 would be double and separate in each direction. They would not be reversible like the lanes along I-75 on both sides of town. The GA-400 lanes would go from I-285 to McFarland Pkwy. and the I-285 lanes would reside in all directions anywhere north of I-20. Construction for the GA-400 lanes will not begin until around 2021 and may not conclude until 2024.

» RELATED: North metro Atlanta mayors propose east-west transit plan

Dale and Arum discussed how the I-285/GA-400 corridor, an area already carved up for the new interchange GDOT is building, is chock full of both businesses and residences. “You have some pretty densely-populated residential communities that are set up alongside of the interstate — not a great scenario for avoiding trying to take property,” Dale said.

This, again, brings up a real problem for the desirable living places in Atlanta. More people bring more traffic. More people galvanize a need for more housing. More traffic means a need for bigger roads. The construction of bigger roads sometimes interferes with said housing. And an increase in people brings the increased need for commercial areas. And so on and so on.

As tastes and demands have changed, the “live, work, play” concept has made popular both condos and townhomes that are near both public transit and places to, well, do life. Compressing living spaces in convenient areas can free up more room for development and roads and decrease traffic.

On Arum’s show, Dale quickly outlined GDOT’s Major Mobility Investment Program, a cadre of 11 projects statewide that aim to decrease traffic congestion by 5% by 2030. That’s a 5% decrease statewide, not just in those 11 zones, so the improvements are significant. But they come not only at a significant monetary cost, but possibly a residential one.

Looking ahead, the idea of traditional, spread-out subdivisions in highly populated areas works against the efficient expansion of roads, highways and mass transit. Just as the car culture must change at least slightly, so must residential culture. This isn’t a call to action for all situations. But this notion is something to consider in both city-planning and life-planning moving forward in Metro Atlanta. 

» RELATED: Federal budget deal allows Georgia DOT to catch up on road work

Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.

Read More

News

  • Although they never publicly confirmed their relationship, reports say actress Katie Holmes and actor, singer and comedian Jamie Foxx have broken up. They were rumored to have been dating for six years. Page Six was the first to report the split, and E! News and People confirmed the news through unnamed sources close to the stars. >> Read more trending news  E! News reported that the breakup news came days after paparazzi captured Foxx leaving Lil Pump's 19th birthday in Los Angeles holding hands with a singer named Sela Vave.  An unnamed source told People Vave is 'just a girl he's helping out, a young singer.' A series of photos posted by Vave on Instagram in June shows her posing with Foxx. 'I am so grateful to this man! Thank you so much @iamjamiefoxx for everything you do and for believing in me,' the caption read. In 2015, Us Weekly reported that Holmes and Foxx had been secretly dating for two years and were photographed holding hands at a music studio in February of that year. After six years of dating, the couple posed together for the first time at a public event at the Met Gala in May. Before then, they were seen arriving separately at the same locations, including a family dinner in New York. They never publicly commented on the relationship, and they were only confirmed as an item when paparazzi photos captured them on a yacht in Miami in December. 
  • Planned Parenthood announced Monday that it would be withdrawing from a federal program that provided millions of dollars to subsidize reproductive health care because a new rule imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services would ban it from referring clients to abortion providers. >> Read more trending news  The organization, which is the largest abortion provider in the United States, said it would not comply with the rules that banned it from referring clients for abortions and additional rules that require both financial and physical separation between facilities funded by Title X and facilities where abortions are performed. The decision means that Planned Parenthood, which serves 40% of all Title X patients, will lose millions of dollars of federal funding. What is Title X and what does the change mean for abortion providers? Here’s a look at the funding program and the new rule change. What is Title X? Title X is a grant program created in 1970 and administered by HHS. Its mandate is to provide comprehensive family planning services and preventative health services. The program funds facilities that provide care to lower-income families. What services are provided under Title X? These services are available to women under Title X: Birth controlContraception counselingBreast and cervical cancer screeningsTesting and treatment for sexually transmitted infectionsPregnancy diagnosis and counseling Can men get services through Title X? Title X also provides services for men who qualify under the program’s rules. Those services include: Education and counselingCondomsSTD testing and treatmentHIV testingIn some cases, vasectomy services  Who is eligible for services at a Title X-funded facility?  The program is aimed at low-income families. It is implemented through grants to more than 3,500 clinical sites. Those sites include public health departments and non-profit facilities such as Planned Parenthood. What is the budget for Title X? In fiscal year 2017, Title X received $286.5 million in funding. How many people are helped through Title X? According to HHS, around 6.2 million people – mostly young, female and low income – are served by Title X funds. It is estimated that 20 million qualify for the program. How many Title X sites are there in the U.S.? There are 4,000 Title X service sites in the U.S. Planned Parenthood represents fewer than 400 of those sites. What does the new rule say?  The first part of the new rule prohibits health care providers serving in Title X-funded institutions from referring patients for abortions. The second part of the rule requires that health care facilities funded by Title X be financially and physically separated from facilities where abortions are performed. When does the new rule go into effect? The part of the rule about referring patients for abortion care went into effect on July 11. The part of the rule on physical separation goes into effect on March 4, 2020.  The rule is being challenged in federal court by more than 20 states, Planned Parenthood and other groups affected by the change. What did Planned Parenthood choose to do in relation to the new rule?  Planned Parenthood made the choice to give up Title X funding in exchange for continuing to refer clients for abortions. The decision means they give up about $60 million in Title X funds. Does that mean Planned Parenthood no longer receives federal funds? No. Planned Parenthood still gets funding from Medicaid, the government health care program for low-income families. Planned Parenthood receives around $500 million per year from Medicaid according to its 2017-18 annual report.
  • If you have a horse you're willing to donate, Pennsylvania State Police want to talk to you. The horse must stand between 16 and 18 hands tall and be a draft or draft-cross breed. Pennsylvania State Police are asking for donations of horses to support mounted patrol units, which utilize animals deployed for security, patrol, searches and crowd control. >> Read more trending news  Once your horse retires, you are able to get your horse back. To arrange a donation, or for more information, contact Corporal Carrie Neidgigh at 717-533-3463.
  • A Nebraska teenager paid tribute to her late father through her high school senior pictures. >> Read more trending news  Julia Yllescas, a senior at Aurora High School, wanted her father to be a part of her senior pictures. Her father, Capt. Robert Yllescas, died Dec. 1, 2008, in Bethesda, Maryland, from injuries he received from an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan. Yllescas had her senior pictures taken Saturday and sent them to photographer Susanne Beckmann to see if she could create an 'angel picture,' KOLN reported. Julie Yllescas loved the first two photographs that Beckmann worked on, They show her sitting and standing next to a faint shadow of her father in uniform, the radio station reported. 'Why it has hit my heart so hard is that I almost felt when I saw those pictures that he truly was there,” Yllescas told KOLN. 'And to have a piece of him with me throughout my senior year. Because sometimes it feels like where are you, why did you have to go.' Beckmann, whose husband has served in the Nebraska National Guard for 16 years, was only too happy to create the images. 'I was teary-eyed when I was editing them,' Beckmann told KOLN. 'All I could think in my head is I don't ever want to have to do this for my own kids.' Beckmann, who has run Snapshots by Suz for eight years, said she has known the Yllescas family since Julia was 9.  'I thought it would be a great idea to do these angel pictures for her as a special gift for her big milestone and to her family,' Beckmann told Cox Media Group by telephone Tuesday morning. 'I am an active duty National Guard wife, which is what inspired the idea and the vision. 'I take a lot of pictures of military families and it is always an honor for me to capture their special memories.' The photographs that include her father are a comfort for Yllescas 'Just to have that on my wall and be like, 'No, he is with me,' even though I can't physically see him,” she told KOLN.
  • A Texas elementary school teacher has a gift for her students.  Richelle Terry is promising no homework for her second- and third-grade math students for the entire school year, KBMT reported.  Terry is a teacher at Evadale Elementary. She had taught pre-K, but this is the first time she's taught the higher grade. >> Read more trending news  Instead of pouring over their math problems for hours at the dining room table, she wants her students to spend time with family and to enjoy their childhood.  'You see them, and they're like, 'I hate school. I don't like school. I don't like learning. That class is boring.' It's because they take the fun out of it. Everything is serious ... and it doesn't have to be that way,' Terry told KBMT. Terry said there should be enough time in class to finish assignments and the school has added a tutorial period for kids need extra help, according to KBMT. Terry said she will take a look at how her students are handling the no-homework rule throughout the semester. The school district allows its teachers to be flexible as long as students meet requirements, KBMT reported.
  • It will forever be called the 'great mattress migration of 2019' when the wind picked up and relocated dozens of air mattresses that were blown up for a movie-in-bed under the stars event in Colorado. >> Read more trending news  People in Stapleton, a neighborhood in Denver, couldn't believe their eyes when they saw the mattresses flying through the air and being followed by people who were trying to catch them, The Denver Post reported. Some of the mattresses that weren't caught became impromptu pool floats after they flew over a fence and landed in a pool area, KDVR reported. One man was able to record some of the craziness, uploading it to social media. Robb Manes said when he glanced over to the event's organizer she told him, 'This is a disaster,' he told the Denver Post. Manes and others spent about 30 minutes trying to catch the beds, he told the newspaper.