Tag Archives: walking

Things People Say If You Mention Walking Home from Work

1 Jul
  1. “You do what?”
  2. “At night?”
  3. “By yourself?”
  4. “Aren’t you scared?”
  5. “In the heat/cold?”
  6. “Are you crazy/serious/kidding?”
  7. “All the way home?”
  8. “How far is that?”
  9. “It takes how long?”
  10. “Thirty-five minutes is a long time”
  11. “Do you have mace/pepper spray/a gun?”
  12. Why?”
  13. “You live down here?”

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

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.

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.

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.

Idea of the Day: Pedestrian Propulsion

12 May

Have you ever noticed how a long walk feels much shorter when you’re in a densely-built urban area with a lot of other people on the street? Festivals or other events that create novel and rapidly-changing scenery around you can have the same effect. There’s a name for that: “Pedestrian propulsion.”

Areas that rank highly in pedestrian propulsion also have high rates of “compensation” – the visual and social payoff received in exchange for the time and energy required to walk.

That’s why it seems to take weeks to walk past a strip mall or just a block or two like this:

while walking somewhere interesting seems to take less time than it really does.

Speaking of pedestrian experiences, the vision for the “Midtown Mile” is being revamped. The idea of replicating a place like Chicago’s Miracle Mile is out the window, with planners now aiming for a area of shopping and restaurants that’s more everyday than special occasion. They hope to make it a constant draw for residents in and around midtown as well as the thousands office workers who come and go daily instead of a place mostly catering to tourists and the very well-off.

A similar re-think is afoot at the Streets of Buckhead project. The “Rodeo Drive of the South” concept, with high-dollar hotels, restaurants and boutiques intended to draw people from all over the region, is being toned down and will eventually even have a different name.

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