Archive | July, 2011

Idea of the Day: Desire Lines

27 Jul
Desire line between Lindbergh Station and Lindbergh Drive

A five-year-old desire line cuts diagonally across the empty lot next to the Garson Drive parking deck at Lindbergh City Center

Desire Lines – also known as “intention lines, ” “paths of desire” or “desire paths” – are the paths worn into grass (or sometimes, snow) by pedestrians in places where sidewalks are unavailable or found to be inconvenient.

One of Atlanta’s most extensive collections of desire lines runs along both sides of Buford Highway, but college campuses, office parks and areas adjacent to transit stations are also prime locations for DIY pedestrian paths.

Pedestrian desire line on Oak Valley Road near Lenox Station

Pedestrians on the south end of Oak Valley Road, near Lenox Station, utilize the established desire lines or walk in the street where there's no sidewalk.


Monday Salmagundi

18 Jul
Contrary to the look of things lately, the OO has, in fact, not fallen off the face of the Earth.
  •  Mayor Reed has endorsed rescheduling next year’s vote on the regional transportation tax from the June Republican primary to the general election in November. Some of the tax’s proponents believe it could be a make-or-break change.

“We really have one opportunity to pass this referendum. If you check the data, higher voter turnout improves the chances of success,” Reed told the AJC. “In a referendum where your best election model gives you a 2 to 3 percent win, I believe that everything that you can do to add to that possibility you need to do.”

The State Legislature would have to approve the change, and Reed is expected to lobby for the change next month when lawmakers meet next month for negotiations on redistricting.

  • Finally, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that a building permit has been filed for a medical office development at 206 Edgewood Ave., right across from the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.


  • In The Geography of How We Get to Work, Richard Florida, writing for The Atlantic, examines the ways in which some less-than-obvious factors influence commuting choices.Using the results of statistical analyses of transit use, Florida found that old standbys like density and the number of available options are just part of the picture. A couple of points were especially relevant to Atlanta’s commuting patterns:

First, weather matters, but not in the way you might think. “People are more likely to drive to work where the weather is warm and/or wet,” Florida wrote. “Public transit use as well as walking and biking are more common in drier climes but also in places with colder January temperatures.”

Second, “The share of housing units built between 2000 and 2006 is negatively associated with the percentage of people who bike, walk or take public transit to work. Rapidly growing cities of sprawl – those which built the most houses during the height of the bubble – remain much more car-dependent than other places.”

  • From The Brookings Institution, City and Suburban Crime Trends in Metropolitan America – a report on how decreases in property and violent crime from 1990 to 2008 played out in the primary cities and suburbs of the country’s 100 largest metro areas. The analysis of FBI crime data and Census Bureau statistics found that, while about half of the metro areas saw declines in violent crime during the 12-year period, “cities were more likely to see violent crime fall than
    suburbs; more than half of the metro areas studied (56) experienced drops in city violent crime rates, while only 39 saw suburban violent crime decline.”

That difference, in turn, narrowed the gap between violent crime rates in cities and their suburbs: “Specifically, between 1990 and 2008, the violent crime rate in primary cities dropped from 2.8 times the comparable rate for the suburbs to double the
suburban rate, and the disparity in the average property crime rate dropped from twice the suburban rate to 1.7.”

  • Speaking of crime and going to work, Trulia Insights created a set of interactive charts depicting what times of day certain crimes are most likely to happen in 25 cities, based on crime stats from January 2011. Unlike in movies, criminals, like the rest of us, tend to do their jobs during the day. According to Trulia’s data, prime time for thefts is between 9 a.m and 7 p.m., when most people are away from home during the week. H/T to The Infrastructurist.
  • If you’ve never seen Vivian Maier’s urban photography, it’s probably because it spent most of the last 50 years as a welter of film canisters boxed up in storage. Maier, who died in 2009 at the age of 83, spent much of her working life as a nanny. But for decades she was also documenting city life on the streets of Chicago and New York. During that time she amassed a collection of about 100,000 photographs and negatives that almost no one ever saw.

In 2007 John Maloof purchased 30,000 of Maier’s negatives at a Chicago auction house, where the contents of her storage lockers were being sold after she fell behind on the payments.  Now, after reassembling about 90 percent of Maier’s collection of negatives, the rest of which had been sold to others at the same auction, Maloof  is cataloging and archiving Maier’s work and producing a documentary about her life and photography. (Originally posted at Polis back in February, but what’s a few months after five decades?)

Things You Never Knew You Wanted to Know: Taxi Facts

4 Jul

The Atlanta Police Department’s Bureau of Taxicabs and Vehicles for Hire enforces the city’s ordinances regarding taxi licensing and operation.

To operate a taxi in the city of Atlanta drivers must purchase of a Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience, also sometimes referred to as a medallion. CPNCs can be purchased directly from the city or transferred from one operator to another.

Taxi drivers must be affiliated with a taxi company licensed by the City of Atlanta.

162: Chapter number of Atlanta’s municipal code governing the operation and licensing of taxis

23: The number of taxi companies licensed by the City of Atlanta

10: The maximum age at which vehicles may be used as a taxis in the city of Atlanta

1600: The number of CPNCs available for taxis in the city.

1554 to 1558: The number of CPNCs currently assigned

$6,000: The minimum cost to acquire a CPNC from the City of Atlanta.

$36,958.50: Average price paid for a City of Atlanta CPNC in 2010

$60,000: The highest price at which a CPNC was transferred from one operator to another in 2010*

$1: The lowest price for a City of Atlanta CPNC transfer in 2010

6: Number of months between inspections for each taxi

$2.50: Mandatory fare for the first one-eighth of a mile of a metered taxi trip. Each additional one-eighth of a mile is 25 cents.

$40.00: Flat rate fare between Buckhead and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport


  • Cedric Burse, manager of the Bureau of Taxicabs and Vehicles for Hire
  • Atlanta Municpal Code

*That sounds like a lot until you see the prices that New York City’s medallions go for. Average cost of a transfer between individuals there in 2010: $603,583.33

Light Up Atlanta: Five Points

1 Jul

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Somehow, June is already over, so these are the last two photos from the Light Up Atlanta exhibition.

The two shown above are Shelly-Anne Tulia Scott’s “Pealing Back the Heart” and Ted Freeman’s “Hot-lanta Fan,” both at Five Points Station.

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