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!
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.