Archive | October, 2010

Complaint Desk: Quit scribbling on our new buses!

30 Oct

On the way to Civic Center station this morning, I made it across Peachtree at Ralph McGill/Ivan Allen just in time to board the Route 110 bus that was stopped at the intersection, heading south. On days when the timing is exactly right like that, it’s faster to ride the 110 from there to Five Points than to walk the rest of the way to Civic Center Station, wait for the train, (especially with the longer headways now) and get to Five Points that way. Instead of spending another ten minutes walking and waiting, I’m in motion toward the the destination during that time. Saving ten minutes might be of little consequence to most people, but for the chronically tardy like me, that’s serious business.

It was one of the new, black, partially stimulus-funded buses that started appearing this spring and frequently service the 110 route. I walked to the first seats past the the rear door, sat down, and encountered this:

Bus poetry, left side

Why?

I can almost (while strongly objecting) understand someone scrawling trite, usage-impaired verse on a bus that’s been in service for well over a decade and looks every day of it. But, these are only about six months old. Worse yet, I realized later that I’d seen these same substandard compositions when I got on the 110 at Buckhead Station some time during the summer. That means the bus was barely in service for three months (at most) before these underinspired wordsmiths got to it. Three months. MARTA keeps its stock for 12 years or 500,000 miles. Shouldn’t they at least get broken in before we give them the public restroom stall treatment?

And who are these people who walk around with a Sharpie, expressly for the purpose of vandalizing? Sharpies are to be used for good, not evil.

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Found: Urban Omnibus

29 Oct

Something more substantive is in the oven, but for today, here’s one of the bounty of built-environment-oriented blogs I’ve happened upon in the last year or so.

Urban Omnibus, a project of the Architectural League of New York, is one of those places you can easily lose a couple of hours to without realizing it, even if you (like me) don’t live anywhere near NYC. It’s full of the kind of writing that shows you that the more you look at a city, the more you’ll realize that you haven’t seen.

The site isn’t just well-designed, it’s a media-rich, apparently bottomless well of news and analysis about the creation, usage and evolution of the city. A couple of my favorite posts so far:

Making Policy Public: Vendor Power!” explored the downright astonishing maze of regulations that New York’s more than 10,000 street vendors have to navigate in order to being heavily fined, along with the ways that a not-profit group recruited designers to help the vendors make sense of them.

Urban Topographies: Cuts & Patches is a look at one of the ways that history that can be observed right under your feet in urban areas.

Scene Cafe

25 Oct

Scene Cafe south viewAnyone know whether Scene Cafe is still on schedule for a partial opening in November?

What Now, Atlanta reported in mid-summer that the cafe portion of the cafe/lounge/office space would open next month. Next month starts in a week and I still can’t find a Web site for the place.

Scene Cafe southeast viewThese photos were taken during the last week of July and the place still looks more or less exactly like this on the outside. Could be that they’re waiting for some custom glazing for that C-shaped window on the east side. Scene Cafe east viewYou’d think the parking lot would have been paved by now, or that some painting might have been done, though.

That corner is in dire need of some life, so let’s hope the neighborhood didn’t scare the owner off already.

One step closer

10 Oct

The downtown Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal is inching a bit closer to becoming something we can use rather than something we keep hearing about.

The AJC reported Friday that Georgia DOT is scheduled to begin meeting with master developers interested in the project in just a few weeks. From Nov. 8 to Nov. 10 DOT representatives familiar with the legal, technical and financial aspects of the project will hold one-on-one meetings with leaders of development companies that are interested in submitting proposals, according to a late-September DOT press release.

I work in one of the buildings perched right over the gulch and walk right through there on my way from Five Points every (work)day. Far off though it still is, it’s going to make a huge difference to that part of downtown when that walk is through a someplace rather than a noplace.

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