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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.

It’s Going To Be A Long, Hot Summer In The #ATL

The summer has barely begun but if Memorial Day weekend is any indication, global warming is alive and well here in the #ATL and it’s going to be a long summer.

Just in case you’re new here or are one of my friends that hasn’t had the pleasure of experiencing a summer here in the heart of the deep south, there are three things you need to know.  Summer in Atlanta is about heat, humidity and hills.  Classically used to describe the annual Peachtree Road Race, I’ve also found those three things dictate just about every aspect of life between the months of May and August.

First, everything here revolves around the heat.  Whether you’re trying to escape it indoors or taking advantage of it poolside, daily life is pretty much about the heat. Sure, other cities have heat as well but Atlanta’s type of heat is the kind of stifling heat that permeates everything it touches no matter if its shaded or not.  All you can do is hope Georgia Power doesn’t ravage you too badly on your monthly electric bill.  Luckily, Atlanta has no shortage of pools and whether or not you have access to one is a key determinant the strength of certain friendships.

Second, no matter how progressive Atlanta gets, there’s nothing like humidity to remind you that you’re still in the Deep South.  Walking outside in Atlanta from the safe haven of air conditioning is like running smack into a brick wall of moisture.  The worst part is that the humidity brings with it bugs like you can’t imagine. My only advice here is to invest in bug spray – and plenty of it.

Finally in my little trifecta of Atlanta summery goodness is the hills.  Familiar to every runner in the city – Atlanta’s hills are famous for becoming three times their size when combined with the heat and humidity of the summer. Likewise, hills tend to dictate a lot of what you might do, otherwise.  The prime example is Piedmont Park.  Piedmont Park has plenty of space but many, many hills.  The key to finding a good place to park yourself for a picnic is easily determined by how many hills you are willing to climb.  Such is Atlanta, the hills can just as easily be a Darwinian test of convenience and solitude as they are a runner’s potential workout.

Basically this is three ways to say that Atlanta is hot as bloody hell in the summer.  I’m sure you’re all writing into Monica (Kaufman) Pearson with the scoop as I type.

Seriously though, it’s going to be a hot one.  Good luck, stay cool and I’ll see you at the Peachtree ;-)…

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