web analytics

How I Learned To Give Up & Take MARTA

I will admit that as a native Atlantan, I have grown up with the kind of mass hysteria we’ve seen in the last 18 hours. However, enough is enough. As of 5:12 PM on Tuesday I was struck by a bolt of reason that has, now and forever, changed my view of Atlanta and the snow.

First, A Little Background

On Tuesday around 1 PM the snow was just beginning to fall and I headed out for a “farewell” lunch for a co-worker.

The roads weren’t that bad, neither was the traffic and so I proceeded to a restaurant right across from Perimeter Mall. I will admit, there is no good reason to be anywhere near Perimeter Mall at any time of the day or night but it was for a co-worker so I capitulated….BIG MISTAKE. If Perimeter Mall traffic is bad at rush hour, think about what happens during inclement weather.


It Was The Best Of Atlantans, It Was The Worst Of Atlantans

In just over 3.5 hours, I traveled approximately .25 Miles from my point of origination. In that time, I saw the best and worst of my fellow Atlantans. In general, people were level-headed but I saw a few motorists on the verge of hoping out of their cars to berate fellow motorists. Not a pretty sight and, I have to say, a little disheartening.


However, I did see some amazing compassion. Namely, people were helping each other in ways you would never expect. I saw one gentleman walking from a gas station to the parking lot that was the side-streets to get gas for a mother with kids in her SUV.  They didn’t know each other but he had a gas can in his car and she needed it help – it was as simple as that.

I even saw one motorist pull up beside a stranded car to offer a jumpstart.  At first, I was thinking they must be crazy – now two lanes were blocked! However, that motorist ended up not only helping out the stranded car but re-opened the lane that had been blocked by that stranded car.


My Moment Of Clarity

Somehow in that excruciating 3.5 hours I managed to make my way to Hammond Drive. Not the worst option to cut across and get to Mount Paran, I figured. It was then, right after I passed the Best Buy/Big Box strip on my left that I realized nothing was moving in any direction…except for MARTA.

Ah yes, MARTA. That transit option most of us make fun of or only use in case of football games and/or the Peachtree Road race. Despite the gridlock MARTA was still running. I looked at that train and suddenly I knew what to do!

After a couple quick couple of turns…some of which were probably illegal…and some nice motorists that let me cut across an intersection I was able to duck into the MARTA parking deck. I parked, grabbed my emergency walking mocks from the trunk and headed up to the train platform.

Not surprisingly, there were dozens of other motorists that had the same idea. When the train came roughly 6 minutes later, we hopped on, sat down and enjoyed the ride! It took 20 minutes to get from the Dunwoody MARTA Station to Midtown Atlanta. When I arrived this is what I saw:

It was a beautiful sight. Once I got back to my house, the total travel time was less than 40 minutes!


Lesson Learned

Though MARTA won’t be my primary mode of transportation, I have to say I am going to use it much more often. In certain weather, there’s just no downside to taking MARTA. Hopefully more people will come around to that idea and MARTA will get the support it needs to become a better system that can become a mainstay in many more Atlantans’ commutes.

You Might Also Like


  • Erica Morris Long

    Thank you so much for writing about what was the experience of many people during the snowstorm. Even with a fire in its central train station, MARTA kept running, while thousands of people were trapped in cars. If any good can come out of last week’s situation, hopefully we will take a more mature approach to questions of how we move people around Metro ATL. With a fully-funded MARTA extended beyond Fulton and DeKalb, how many people could have been saved from last week’s nightmare?

    February 4, 2014 at 9:40 am Reply
  • K. Boston

    I predict people will start considering alternative transit options when buying homes in the future.

    February 4, 2014 at 6:51 pm Reply
  • artinatl

    Why wouldn’t Marta be your primary mode of transportation if you have a direct route?

    February 9, 2014 at 12:25 am Reply
    • Jared

      Honestly, cost and convenience. A round-trip fare on MARTA costs $5 and takes 40 min each way whereas equivalent gas costs $3.50 and takes 25 min each way in normal traffic. Where it makes sense is on Fridays or during big-event evenings (Braves games, holidays, etc.) where traffic is no-doubt going to make getting back a hassle.

      February 9, 2014 at 7:46 am Reply
  • SmartaMarta

    This is what we want to see more of! This is why we need MORE MARTA trains and stations. Imagine not having to drive, but just walk maybe 5-10 minutes to your closest station?

    I was caught in that mess as well, and it’s disheartening to see people walk faster than your non-moving car. MARTA is definitely Smarta!

    February 16, 2014 at 12:53 am Reply
  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Separating Who You Are From What You Do

    Clusterflake 2.0

    © 2015 – 2016 Degnan Media | All rights reserved.