Archive | January, 2012

If this happened every day…

27 Jan

No one would ever want to drive to work again. 

(Full-screen and headphones highly recommended.)

KNUCKLES | BLAKE – WHAT I LIKE from Paul Bryan on Vimeo.

MARTA News: Buses and Bridges

17 Jan

Bus stop sign

If you’re already bored with last September’s set of bus route modifications, another round is being proposed to take effect in April. MARTA will hold public meetings Tuesday, Jan. 24 and Thursday, Jan. 26 for input on the proposed changes, which will affect five routes:

  • Route 1 – Centennial Olympic Park /Coronet Way
  • Route 12Howell Mill Road / Cumberland
  • Route 32Bouldercrest / Georgia Aquarium
  • Route 86Fairington Road / McAfee Road
  • Route 115Covington Highway / South Hairston Road

Preliminary work is scheduled to get underway today on the new entrance and pedestrian bridges that will link the north end of Buckhead Station with Tower Place. MARTA awarded the contract (PDF) for construction of the project to Archer Western Contractors last October and expects construction to be completed in November 2013.

Edit: See Atlanta Business Chronicle for more, bigger and better renderings of the project. H/T to AtlUrbanist

Distance only gets you halfway there

13 Jan

Because of Atlanta’s lingering tendency toward low-density development, lots of the “cool” places that have cropped up in the last few years are in places that can be inconvenient to get to using transit. The prospect of trying a new gallery, restaurant or store loses a lot of its appeal when getting there requires an hour of walk-wait-ride-wait-ride-walk, especially when it would be a 10-minute drive from your starting point.

So when The Little Tart Bakeshop (LTB) opened at a Memorial Drive location less than a mile from King Memorial Station with Octane, it looked like a rare and welcome exception to that trend. In order to walk from King Memorial Station to LTB, you only have to go South on Grant Street, cross Memorial Drive, then continue walking east on Memorial Drive until you reach The Jane, which LTB is on the south side of.  Sounds simple enough. But it looks like this:

 

Grant Street tunnel

King Memorial Grant Street lot

There were supposed to have been a couple more photos from Memorial Drive, but the camera drew some unwanted attention there and it was starting to look like this post was going to end up being less about a bakery and more about a robbery.

These shots were taken at 6:45 p.m. in January, but even with the addition of sunlight (and subtractration of the guy sizing you up and eyeing your camera), the empty lots, narrow sidewalks, close, fast-moving cars and lack of other pedestrians make it a monotonous, un-inviting walk.

The parking lot behind The Jane was nearly full of cars, as were the lots and sidestreets near the bars and restaurants on either side of it. The lack of people on the street was no indicator of the number of people to be found at the destination. But both on the way there and on the way back, it felt as if a dead possum in the road and I were just about the only ones who tried walking anywhere that night. People are attracted to a space by other people, so if no one walks there, no one will walk there.The Little Tart Bakeshop

What “It doesn’t go anywhere” really means

10 Jan

In an outtake from his recently published book, Human Transit’s Jarrett Walker discusses a list of seven criteria that he says transit has to address to effectively compete with driving:

1.    “It takes me where I want to go.”

2.    “It takes me when I want to go.”

3.    “It’s a good use of my time.”

4.    “It’s a good use of my money.”

5.    “It respects me.”

6.    “I can trust it.”

7.    “It gives me freedom to change my plans.”

While no mode of transportation meets all seven demands perfectly, Walker says, “[t]he dominant mode in a community is the one that best addresses the seven demands, compared to the available alternatives, in the perception of the majority of people.”

That observation goes a long way toward explaining why so many people who live well within MARTA’s service area still drive most of the time if they have that choice. Walker’s list unpacks what they mean when they say MARTA “doesn’t go anywhere.” It’s not that people are looking for reasons not to use transit, but rather that they so often have more reasons to drive. In relatively low density areas, he says, “the automobile meets all seven demands handsomely.”

He also pulls apart the multiple meanings tangled up in the word “convenient” here.

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