Piedmont Avenue Re-do

31 Jan

A virtual one, anyway. Below is a potential reconfiguration of the five-lane, one-way section of Piedmont Avenue that runs through Downtown and Midtown, created with Streetmix. Two lanes have been reversed to reinstate two-way traffic, with bike “sharrows” added to the outside lanes. The center lane was removed to make room for a median and to widen the sidewalks enough to accommodate bus stop shelters.

If you’d like to give it a try yourself, there’s no shortage of candidates. Spring Street, West Peachtree, and Courtland/Juniper, for example, all have at least four lanes of one-way traffic slicing through Midtown and Downtown as well.

Streetmix: Piedmont Ave.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh, there you are

10 Oct

Full moon over Georgia Power HQ

Entschuldigung, ya’ll. I’m back.

Image

Coming Along

19 Mar

Imperial Hotel renovation

The extensive renovation of the 103-year-old Imperial Hotel at Peachtree Street and Ivan Allen Boulevard is scheduled to be completed later this year. The building was converted to low-income housing in the mid-90s after sitting vacant for about decade and was purchased by Columbia Residential and National Church Residences in early 2011 when it was in danger of foreclosure.

It was here somewhere…

7 Jan

Faded crosswalk at Ralph McGill and Courtland

Believe it or not, those blotches of white paint in the foreground used to be a crosswalk. Over the last three years it’s slowly disappeared, reducing the chances that cars will stop for pedestrians here from “not that great” to “yeah, right.”

It’s in a “channelized” or separated right turn lane at the intersection of Ralph McGill Boulevard and Courtland Street, where cars making the right turn from Courtland are often speeding. If the light is red drivers generally slow down just enough to check for cars approaching from the east on Ralph McGill. If the light is green they’ll sometimes even speed up as they make the turn so they can beat pedestrians to the crosswalk rather than yield.

Faded crosswalks, missing curb ramps, broken or blocked sidewalks and other dangerous conditions can be reported to the City of Atlanta’s Department of Public Works with the pedestrian hazard reporting tool at PEDS.

You should receive an email with a confirmation number within a day and the requested repairs are generally supposed to be completed within 30 days.  This M.I.A. crosswalk was reported on January 3, so we’ll see how long it takes for it to reappear.

A MARTA Patron’s New Year’s Resolutions*

2 Jan
  1. Hire an attorney and sue someone
  2. Get hair extensions
  3. Go back to school – any school
  4. Attend events that happened four months ago
  5. Shop at Macy’s more
  6. Participate in a clinical trial
  7. Don’t beg
  8. Get a better phone
  9. File for bankruptcy
  10. Buy a car

*As deduced from ads in stations, vehicles and bus stops

Poor Calvin’s: Giving Thai a try on Piedmont

10 Dec

510 Piedmont Avenue has undergone a dramatic renovation and is now home to Poor Calvin’s, a Thai-American restaurant. The building sat empty for most of this year after O’Terrill’s Irish Pub closed in early January.

510 Piedmont Avenue - Before

510 Piedmont Avenue – Before

 

A staff member said that Poor Calvin’s expects to receive its liquor license from the city at the beginning of the year, but in the meantime welcomes guests to BYOB with no corkage fee and offers to-go orders. Things were pretty slow at the new restaurant last Sunday night, but there are already reviews up on Yelp and Urban Spoon, so word is slowly getting out.

The location on that five-lane, one-way stretch of Piedmont Highway Avenue might prove to be a challenge, but the site also has the advantage of being on a corner, which will allow people driving there to reach it from two other directions. Better yet, about 1,000 units worth of apartment and condo dwellers can get there by walking anywhere from two to 20 minutes.

Stat-urday: About the Bus

20 Oct

Bus line at Civic Center StationIn honor of the first World Statistics Day, a few MARTA bus numbers:

500,000 miles or 10 years: The maximum service life of a bus. After buses are retired from service, they’re sold on a public online auction site.

$2,500: The approximate price a second-hand bus usually goes for at auction. They’re generally purchased for parts or scrap metal.

1,290,000: The approximate number of paper timetables MARTA’s print shop prints each year. MARTA’s manager of communications, Cara Hodgson, said in an email that there’s been “no noticeable change” in the demand for paper schedules since they became available online.

Timetables for some routes have to be printed more than others. The three most in-demand printed schedules are for routes 5-Piedmont Road/Sandy Springs, 15-South DeKalb/Candler and 39-Buford Highway. Three of the least in-demand schedules are 47-I-85 Access Road/Briarwood Rd, 103-N. Shallowford Road/Peeler Road and 104-Winters Chapel Road.

8,978: The number of bus stops in MARTA’s service area

4,133: The number of those stops that are in the city of Atlanta

800 to 1000 feet: MARTA’s guideline distance for separation of bus stops. Factors like development density, land use, accessibility and safety sometimes require stops to be placed closer together or farther apart.

5.01 route miles: The length of MARTA’s shortest bus route, which is 67-West End. The longest is 143-Windward Park and Ride at 35.1 route miles

148: The average number of weekday boardings for route 148-Medical Center/Riveredge Parkway, a peak-time-only route, which has the lowest ridership

6,982: The average number of weekday boardings for route 39-Buford Hwy, the route with the highest ridership

$22.37: The average cost for MARTA’s sign shop to manufacture a roadside bus stop sign

92: The number of bus routes MARTA currently operates. That total is down about 30 percent from 133 routes in 2007, nearly 27 percent less than the 126 routes in 2002, and about 41 percent less than the 156 routes running in 1997

Sources: MARTA bus service and operations management staff and Cara Hodgson, director of communications

Friday Five

5 Oct

Things I’ve Declined to Buy on the Street

29 Sep

1. A rubber-banded bundle of MAC lip glosses (Not in the boxes)

2. A reduced-fare Breeze card

3. Several brands of baby formula

4. Newports

5. Mini-bottles of liquor

6. “Socks! DVDs! Socks! DVDs!”

7. A “gold” chain wadded up in a paper napkin

8. A plastic bag of costume jewelry and a “leather” jacket

9. A mix CD: $5, unless you only have $2, in which case he’ll take that

10. A copy of Creative Loafing

MARTA: Audit results in, Scott shipping out

25 Sep

Five Points Station, Forsyth Street side

 

  • The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported today that MARTA CEO Beverly Scott is headed to Boston to become MBTA’s general manager when her contract with MARTA expires in December.

Scott spent five years as MARTA CEO and will take a significant salary cut in the new position, which Boston’s WBUR said will pay $220,000 per year for three years. MARTOC’s annual report for fiscal year 2011 lists Scotts salary as $315,000 per year.

She was chosen unanimously by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board, which was also considering MARTA COO Dwight Ferrell for the job.

“She’ll take the helm of an agency teetering from fiscal problems rooted in heavy debt and coping with expansion demands as well as a backlog of maintenance needs that have gone unaddressed due to insufficient funds,” the Boston radio station said. Sounds like she’ll feel right at home.

Scott, who is scheduled to take up the new post Dec. 15., plans to finish her transportation career at MBTA, telling WBUR that “This is the one where I’m going to end up.”

The auditing firm projects that, although MARTA has addressed a steep fall-off in revenue through layoffs, furloughs, position eliminations, increases in employee insurance premiums and copays, a five-year pay freeze and service cuts galore, the agency’s spending will continue to surpass revenue through 2021 . According to that forecast the revenue shortfall created by the end of fiscal year 2021 would be $248 million. The audit also projected that MARTA will exhaust its financial reserves by the end of fiscal year 2018 and the agency’s reserve fund will fall below its mandated 10 percent level by the end of fiscal year 2016.

“MARTA’s current economic model is unsustainable,” the auditors concluded.

Two revenue leaks that the agency has failed to plug, Creative Loafing reported, are almost $11 million spent to cover employee absenteeism, and retirement costs that exceed the national average by about $22 million annually. The audit report said that collective bargaining agreements with union-represented employees “do not assist MARTA in controlling absenteeism.”

Suggestions to help MARTA save money included contracting out some services like cleaning, payroll, records and data management and customer service. To increase its income, the auditors suggested that MARTA look into selling advertising space on its Web site, on fare cards and fare gates along with increasing the number of ad-wrapped buses and rail cars. They also recommended that MARTA implement daily or monthly parking fees, rent secure bicycle storage at stations and consider “renaming stations for corporate sponsors.”

%d bloggers like this: