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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.

Well, you don’t see that every day

31 Oct

I got on a southbound train at Civic Center Station Friday morning, followed by a MARTA police officer who emerged from one of the unmarked doors opposite the fare gates just as the train was pulling in.

He got on and walked immediately to one of the seats at the end of the car where a guy was sitting, apparently asleep, with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up over his head. The police officer knocked loudly on the hollow plastic of the seat, startling the sleeping man (along with everyone else in the car).

“How you doin’, sir?” the officer boomed jovially. The man said something inaudible.

“What station you goin’ to?” the officer asked.  No answer.

“What station you goin’ to, sir?” the officer asked again. “Five Points,”  the man answered

“How ’bout you, sir?” the officer asked, moving on to a man who was sitting in front of the sweatshirted sleeper and wearing an ill-fitting coat. “What station you goin’ to?”

The man’s answer couldn’t be heard from where I was sitting.

“Oh, well, you’re going the wrong way. You need a North Springs train,” the officer responded. He went on to explain that the man needed to get off at Peachtree Center station, go to the opposite side of the platform and catch a train going in the other direction. The officer stood over the two men as the train pulled into Peachtree Center Station and watched as the man in the coat gathered up his bags and shuffled out to the platform.

 Two men in suits, sitting next to wheeled suitcases, were across the aisle from me. “Why’s he doing that?” one of them said. “I don’t know. Never seen that before.” the other replied.

“Here ya go, this is Five Points,” the officer said to the man in the hoodie, who apparently had dozed off again. “Here ya go!” he said again, when the man didn’t move. Finally, the man stood up and walked slowly off the train, muttering.

In what must be a few thousand times riding MARTA, I’ve never before seen a police officer effectively throw someone off of a train. Without funds to immediately improve or expand service, maybe the agency is trying out new security strategies.

Is this going on a lot? Has anyone else seen anything like this happen?

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