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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.

Friday Five

5 Oct

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.”

Monday Salmagundi

27 Aug
  • Good news/bad news from MARTA: A new round of bus service changes – mostly to align published arrival times more closely with when the buses are really showing up – went into effect Saturday for 27 routes. But the southwest entrance to Peachtree Center Station is open again, after being closed for two years for renovation and repairs. Peachtree Center Station, southwest entrance
    • From BuckheadView: Representatives of the ownership at Lenox Square mall presented proposed changes to the mall’s facade to the neighborhood’s design review committee. One of the new features to the entrance will be pedestrian access directly from Peachtree Road. That will be a big improvement on this:Pedestrians at Lenox Square
    • From Curbed Atlanta: Stanley Beaman Sears was selected in the City of Atlanta’s design competition as the firm to convert the first floor lobby of 72 Marietta Street into a gallery space. The building was formerly The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s headquarters building. The newspaper’s parent company donated the building to the city after the AJC’s move to Dunwoody in 2010.
  • The latest “regional snapshot”from the Atlanta Regional Commission focuses on the dramatic slowdown in the Atlanta metro area’s population growth in the last few years. The region’s population increased by about 37,200 people between April 1, 2011 and April 1, 2012 and by about 72,000 in the last two years, according to ARC’s research. In comparison, the region’s population increased by about 100,000 people each year during the decade between 1990 and 2000.

The root of the change, unsurprisingly, is in the wobbly economy. “The Atlanta region’s slowdown is directly attributable to the national economy. During weak economic periods, people don’t move as much because, firstly, job opportunities are slim, thus people aren’t moving to take new jobs. Secondly, with the housing market in such disarray, it is hard to sell a house, which tends to keep people in the same place,” ARC concluded.

Mitchell Street bridge to re-open Thursday

22 Aug
Mitchell Street bridge: South side, looking west

The woman in the photo insisted on being “your helper for the day.” She immediately resigned from the position upon discovering that I had no money.

Mitchell Street bridge bike laneMitchell Street bridge: facing west, north side

The Mitchell Street bridge in Castleberry Hill will officially re-open Thursday morning after a two-year reconstruction by the Georgia DOT. The bridge was closed in 2008 after transportation officials found it inadequate for the type and volume of traffic it was carrying, and construction began in 2010.

More than $8 million in federal stimulus funds were used to reconstruct the 88-year-old bridge, which now has bike lanes on both sides and parking along the south side.

Four Things for Wednesday

15 Aug

Terminus Plaza from the Piedmont Road side

  • Via Creative Loafing: A photo of one of the new vehicles for the downtown streetcar popped up on the Atlanta subreddit
  • Via Buckhead View: NPU-B residents who oppose the new Lindbergh-area development planned for the east side of Piedmont Avenue are digging in for a long fight and have a new website
  • Atlanta is among the top 20 tweeting-est cities in the world – one of only six American cities to make the list – according to a study by a French research and consulting firm
  • I’d planned to write something about how rare it is in Atlanta to come across public places like the plaza behind Terminus at Peachtree and Piedmont. It’s breezy in the summer, protected from rain and has plenty of seating and a view in both directions. But nearly as soon as this photo was taken, a member of the Terminus security staff appeared and apologetically said that the building’s management doesn’t allow photography there. So much for public.

Idea of the Day: Bus Bunching

12 Jul
bus_bunching

Flickr photo by skew-t

If you’d come out of Buckhead Station’s north exit around 6:00 p.m. Tuesday you would have noticed two things: first, that there were far more people waiting for the route 110 bus than normal; second, that traffic was sitting absolutely still on Peachtree as far as you could see in both directions.
At 6:15, with the traffic creeping forward a few feet every few minutes and the bus scheduled to arrive at 6:13 nowhere in sight, you would have probably calculated that walking to the gym about a mile south of the station would be the quicker way to get there. But after walking south for about 10 minutes, around the time you were crossing Maple Drive, you would have noticed a route 110 bus heading north, toward the station you just left. You would have then noticed another one – directly behind the first. The first bus was very, very late. The second was almost on schedule.
What you would have seen is called bus bunching.
Bus bunching occurs when traffic or another delay slows down a bus’ progress along its route so much that the amount of the delay, as it’s compounded by the time required to stop and pick up passengers, exceeds the scheduled time between that bus and the one behind it. As the first bus continues along the route, it falls farther and farther behind schedule, as it has to keep stopping to pick up passengers. The second bus rarely has to stop, as there are very few or no passengers at all to pick up. Eventually the second bus is moving along the route so quickly that it catches up to the first one.  The shorter the headway, the more risk there is for bunching.
WABE and CNN recently posted stories about scientists at Georgia Tech who have developed an anti-bunching technique that relies less on schedules and more on calculated, adjustable delays coordinated by GPS. The system will be fully rolled out for the university’s Stinger Shuttle Tech Trolley system this fall and the developers say they’ve already been contacted by transit authorities here and abroad who are interested in implementing something similar.
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