Archive | December, 2011

Sometimes it pays to walk. Literally.

28 Dec

Found fiveIt would have been warmer to catch the 110 bus from Trader Joe’s to Buckhead Station last night. But then this $5 bill might still be lying in that flower-less flower bed next to the sidewalk.

Not quite as cool as spotting a $20 bill swirling around in a little pile of windblown leaves at the top of an escalator at Civic Center Station about a year ago, but still worth that 15 minutes in the wintry wind.

Weekend Workarounds: MARTA on NYE

28 Dec
Fireworks

Photo by jeff_golden on Flickr

If your Saturday afternoon plans involve a trip on the route 1, 16, 32, 110 or 186 bus, check out the re-routes (PDF) that are planned for 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. that day. The Chic-Fil-A Bowl parade will be borrowing parts of Peachtree Street, Andrew Young International Boulevard and Marietta Street during those times.

Street closures for the Peach Drop at Underground start at 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. That means service on routes 1, 3, 13, 16, 32, 42, 49, 51, 55, 74, 110, 155 and 186 will be diverted (PDF) from downtown to other stations from 4:00 p.m. until the end of service that night.

The good news is that if you somehow manage to get where you’re going despite all the celebratory circumventions, rail service will be extended that night, with the last trains in all directions departing Five Points Station at 2:00 a.m. Sunday.

More info at MARTA’s site.

They’re not kidding

21 Dec

Flat tire at Exit 87

You really should walk around your Zipcar to check that nothing’s wrong with it before driving away. Otherwise you too could end up sitting just short of Exit 87 with a flat tire and hoping that none of the vehicles passing by about 36 inches away are being driven by someone who’s also texting, shaving or eating a bowl of soup.

Complaint Desk: Almost, but not quite

14 Dec

Adequate, designated pedestrian areas in parking decks are pretty rare. When crosswalks or paths are provided, they sometimes look as if the designer had only a vague idea what they’re used for.

An example:

One entrance to this Buckhead shopping center has good pedestrian access. Unfortunately it’s neither of the two most likely to be used by people who walk there. Those two entrances lead through the parking deck and feature a crosswalk that runs into columns twice, then vanishes just when it reaches two opposing lanes of traffic. Having it continue toward the store, however, would have required eliminating a few parking spaces close to the door. It’s probably not easy to get something like that past developers who expect that most people will drive to their project. But even people who do drive there have to walk to make it to the stores.

Crosswalk, facing westCrosswalk looking east

Near the truncated crosswalk is what appears to be a sidewalk leading to Target’s entrance. It’s in fact just a curb barely wide enough for one person. But even that single person has to step off and out into the the traffic to edge around more columns.

Not a sidewalkCurb width

All this has to be done while watching out for cars driven by people talking on the phone and trying to swoop into the nearest vacant parking space. If that’s not enough of an adventure, there’s always doing it again on the way out to look forward to.

Scott on cuts and capacity, Flowers leaves TIA campaign, and TIGGER funds power Laredo

4 Dec

It’s difficult to remember the last time MARTA was adding rather than subtracting service. For years now, bus coverage has been attenuated and train headways have crept into the double digits, all in an effort to address budget shortfalls. But in an interview concerning the agency’s ongoing three-phase audit, MARTA’s general manager Beverly Scott described just how badly attempts at “cutting our way” back into the black have undermined the system’s functionality:

“We are operating at less than 30 percent of our capacity,” she said. “We have the ability to run our trains every 90 seconds (at peak times, MARTA trains run about every eight minutes). We need to have travel times that are competitive.”

  • Also from The Saporta Report:

Another member of the regional team charged with generating voter support for next summer’s transportation sales tax referendum has disembarked. Communications Manager Liz Flowers resigned in mid-November. Glenn Totten, former lead consultant for the campaign, resigned in August.

  • Another MARTA tidbit:

MARTA’s Laredo bus maintenance facility is now the site of what the agency says is “is the largest solar canopy in Georgia and the second largest structure of its kind at a United States transit system.”  The structure was built with $10.8 million in federal TIGGER grant funding awarded in 2009.  It provides cover for 220 bus parking stalls, which are lit by solar-powered LEDs. Laredo operates 24 hours a day and the new canopy’s photovoltaic cells are producing “enough electricity to offset a significant portion of this facility’s annual electricity consumption,” MARTA said in a press release.

Officials at Laredo bus facility ribbon cutting

Officials and technology company representatives attend the Laredo facility's solar canopy ribbon-cutting. Photo courtesy of MARTA

In addition to reducing electricity consumption and producing light for nighttime work,  the canopy will provide shade during the day. It’s expected to reduce the temperature underneath it by “between 20 and 30 degrees” during the summer, decreasing the need for air conditioning and fuel use by idling buses.

See the photo at Metro Magazine for a better idea of the canopy’s size.

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