Strut on down…

The East Atlanta Strut is this Saturday, September 18, 2010, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. in the East Atlanta Village, natch. There is music all day, an artists’ market, an area for the kiddies and much more. It’s supposed to be a beautiful weekend so get out and enjoy the city. Parking will be scarce so take full advantage of public transport. However, if you must drive, check out their handy-dandy map for parking options, to avoid being ticketed or booted.

I, for one, will be in Athens cheering the Dawgs to victory over Arkansas, but I encourage everyone to check out the Strut because it is always a good time.

Comments are closed

Ale No

Way to blow it, Atlanta. A craft beer store in EAV? Nah, let’s send them to Decatur where they’re wanted.

There’s a few-months-old discussion on EAV Buzz that reading took me from elation to full-on pissiness in about 3 minutes. (Read as: sorry guys, stand by for a poorly crafted and rambling rant). A craft beer store, the over-adorably named Ale Yeah, had signed a lease on Flat Shoals, a few doors down from the EARL. I thrilled at the prospect of a place closer to home to buy my snooty beer (I’ve geeked out in Hop City a few times, but it’s a slow, heavy ride home from the Westside with a bag full of beers. I’ve since learned to drive when I go there.). Was a little giddy as I read through the thread on the buzz, which entailed, for the most part, happy tears and boner talk.

Turns out, however, that the location in the Village is too close to a “package store” (Buddy’s on Moreland and the East Atlanta Supermarket a few blocks down Glenwood) to open. Needs to be 1500 feet or more, according to a Buzz poster. “JBB” says it “also needs to be 600′ from residence, 600′ from library, 600′ from public park, 600′ from school… etc. the only way through is a complete exemption of EAV from all distance requirements.” Obviously a craft beer store would be an unfair competitor to Buddy’s. Or maybe it would just make the district too alcohol-saturated, what with opportunities to buy both bum wine and Allagash.

So we lost another cool thing (and tax revenue source) to Decatur due to some junk zoning issues. What now Atlanta’s got a few more details.

Read more


A Day at the Museum

September 25, 2010 is the 6th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day. I somehow missed years 1-5 but I’m all about it this year. If you follow the link you will be able to peruse the list of participating museums (you do have to pick one and only one) and register to get your free admission, for two, via email.

I will be dragging the boyfriend to the High for the Dalí exhibit that I have ever-not-so-patiently been waiting to see. I am kinda bummed that you only get to do one museum because there are so many fabulous museums in Georgia that I’ve never visited but at the same time it doesn’t pay to be greedy with generosity. So, what museum would you like to visit? Or if you already have your tickets, where will you be on the 25th?


Zero Dollars for Biking in Atlanta?

Ah, crap, I’m a little last-minute on this, but this one’s it’s worth ten minutes of your time!  As reported earlier, the transportation legislation this year has divided the state up into 12 regions, and each region will vote (yea or nay) on a list of transportation projects and their accompanying 1% sales tax. TODAY is the last day to submit your comments to the Atlanta Regional Commission, who has developed the first bit of the first bit of this list. See details here, and the criteria for the list here (PDF).

My concern, which is cited more eloquently and with more detail at the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition here and here, is that they’ve set aside a whopping 0-5% to use on non-motorized projects.

Record numbers of Atlantans are hopping on bikes.  25% of our trips are made within a mile of the home and 40% are made within two miles – these are distances that, barring extreme temperatures, we should almost always bike. Or at least they are distances for which we should have the option to safely and comfortably bike.  Each of the 25 or so bicycles locked up outside my office represents one less car, less wear and tear on the roads, less pollution, more vibrant communities, healthier citizens, and less sprawl. I cannot imagine not encouraging this sort of transportation.

The culture is changing, and we need our infrastructure to keep up! All this to say that a 0-5% allocation for bike and ped programs is not acceptable for the Atlanta region to do so. Other cities (with which we are competing for jobs and investment) are adding bike lanes, installing bike racks, and encouraging alternative means of getting to work, and I worry that Georgia is stuck in a paradigm of an unsustainable, auto-focused transportation network. I ask you to check out the criteria the ARC has posted, and consider sending off a quick email to let them know how you feel about the future of transportation in Atlanta.

(I recognize that this may be as simple as “Don’t tax us anymore!”, which is another correct opinion. Make your voice heard!)


So little time

Labor Day weekend in Atlanta – once again, too many things going on to enjoy them all! Definitely not the worst problem to have. We’ve got the Georgia Tech season opener, Dragon*Con all weekend (with the parade just before kickoff, I might add), Decatur Book Festival, Trailer Vic’s Beach Party at the EARL, and LSU and UNC at the Dome. Ah, one of the ubiquitous restaurant weeks is starting, too!

I plan to check out the Dragon Con parade, the GT game, and hopefully a bit of the book festival. All on bikes (parking downtown and in midtown, I assume, will be pretty miserable with two football games going on), and some neighborhood park-grilling may be in my near future, too. What am I missing? What will you guys be up to?


Dunces in a Confederacy Against Him

One of my absolute all-time favorite books is A Confederacy of Dunces. I laugh aloud at Ignatius. It’s an amazing thing to me for a book to actually make someone laugh aloud, to the point of eye rolling by others in the room. (Which may or may not have happened repeatedly the last time I read it). For those who haven’t read it, the book is a first novel, written by John Kennedy Toole and published posthumously, about a great blasphemous child-man who knows that he is simply too smart for his own good, but isn’t really. Him and his momma, and a seedy bar, and a pants factory. And it’s set in New Orleans, in the 60’s, with characters that are despicable and pitiful or conniving and hilarious, or all four.

I was thrilled to see that a stage adaptation of Confederacy is running right now at um, Theatrical Outfit, a group that I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of.  Even though they have been on Luckie Street in downtown since 2004, and has been running since 1974. Information on the show is here – warning, video automatically starts streaming, and CL review is here.  They’ve extended their run to September 12th. I plan on attending that last weekend – has anyone seen the show? Planning on it?


Gwinnett, your genius is showing!

If this was on The Onion, I’d laugh. But it’s on the AJC.

Next summer, commuting will change for thousands of I-85 drivers in Gwinnett County.

For the first time in Georgia, an interstate lane will have a toll, and the computerized price will change moment by moment, rising when congestion in the main lanes rises.

It’s good news if you’re a solo driver willing to pay to get to an appointment a little faster.

But it’s bad news if you’re in a two-person car pool used to a free HOV lane, because you’ll be paying a toll, too.

In a couple of weeks, state Department of Transportation contractors intend to start closing parts of I-85 to construct an electronic toll in the HOV lane. The toll is to run from just south of Spaghetti Junction in DeKalb County to Old Peachtree Road in Gwinnett County.

If state officials have their way, it’s the first leg of a metrowide network of such lanes.

It is a huge innovation in transportation, one of just a handful of such projects nationwide. On the flip side of that coin, it’s an experiment. State officials readily admit they don’t know if it will work. And can drivers figure it out? The AJC got a look at the freshly designed road signs. Some of them may hinder more than help, judging by the reaction of drivers interviewed this week.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the DOT is holding events to launch the lane’s construction. A public meeting is from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Gwinnett Center.

HOV toll lanes — now called “express lanes” — have advocates. They marvel that even in metro Atlanta, even at rush hour, a driver who is willing to pay will be able to find free-flowing highway traffic.

“I think that’s pretty cool,” said Darryl Harden, a Norcross plumber who drives a lot for his work. “If I can get in that — hey, I’ll go for it.”

And the concept has detractors.

“The taxpayers have already paid for this” HOV lane, said Sabrina Smith, chairwoman of Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government. She was concerned that more tax dollars are being invested simply to force out taxpaying two-person car pools. “That’s what’s frustrating for people who play by the rules and try to do the right thing.”

Others note that the reliable traffic flow relies on keeping out people who can’t afford the toll.

Express lane drivers tend to have higher incomes than average, but advocates say the lanes are valuable for working-class parents late to pick up a child from day care.

The lanes may or may not make money. A traffic and revenue study done for the state predicts the lanes may bring in from $3 million to $7 million the first year, and several times more in years after that. But officials say the point is to create one place on the highways where rush-hour traffic is reliably mobile.

There are no reliable examples to show what exactly the effect on the regular lanes will be, experts at a conference here said earlier this year. On the one hand, the toll lane might move more cars, if the toll lane moves faster than the HOV lane. On the other hand, whenever government builds a new road project, people make trips they’ve been putting off, adding to the traffic.

One undeniable fact: Traffic on I-85 needs help.

The state says it’s on the way.

Invest money in expanding MARTA, thereby increasing ridership, lowering fares, and eliminating traffic?… Hell no!

Punish people who carpool by making them pay a toll to ride in the HOV lane, thereby causing more people to drive alone and therefore create more traffic?… Hell yes!

Face, meet desk.

Sauce: http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/for-i-85-drivers-600705.html


Reading the paper

Most mornings I sit down in front of a computer screen and have an entirely unproductive 20 minutes while the coffee is steeping and getting cold. Then the day is peppered with emails and tweets and newsflashes and blog checkings, all of which are definitely 100% work-related. Still, though, I’m surely missing something – I’m just curious to see if there’s a good source of information for Atlanta culture and goings on.  What blogs should I be paying more attention to?  Is there a google calendar someone put together floating around out there? Does your friend have a hilarious weekly email that he sends to 30 people?  Where do you guys get your Atlanta-based intel? I’ll go first.

I love Scoutmob, like Thrillist (as a stingy female I’m not their primary demographic), and read Creative Loafing blogs and features pretty religiously for things to do/buy and cheap places to eat.  I read CL’s Omnivore blog (love Cliff) and actually go to the AJC for John Kessler’s food column.  For business news I turn to the Atlanta Business Chronicle and Global Atlanta, for Georgia politics I skim Peach Pundit, and I click through Paste Magazine for music and various culture (not Atlanta-specific but based here and such an awesome publication). For neighborhood news I’m on a listserv or two (I think most of the intown neighborhoods have these) and look to the EAV Buzz as well.

What say you guys?


Vote Again Already!

Today’s the primary runoff, guys, a day where voters decide the players in major races but traditionally sees less than half the turnout of regular primaries and a fraction of regular elections.

Just a reminder, if you voted in the primary you must choose the same party ballot today. If you DIDN’T vote last month, you can choose either party today. That’s not binding – you aren’t declaring yourself a registered party member by voting or anything dramatic like that.

Today’s major race is the runoff between Republican candidates Karen Handel and Nathan Deal, but there are a few other statewide races (and congressional ones) still up for grabs in both parties. Take 15 minutes and inform yourself this morning – I’ve used the AJC’s voter guide, as it has candidate responses, but does anyone have any other (non-biased, please) suggestions?

And one last reminder, though you ought to already know where it is, you can find your polling place here through the Secretary of State’s office. Happy responsible citizening!

Comments are closed

Saw something, said something

I called the MARTA police yesterday.

When I got off the train at Civic Center, there was a large shopping bag from World of Coca-Cola sitting on the northbound platform. Hardly unusual, as it’s the closest station to there. But this bag had been placed right against a column at the north end of the platform, and rolled up clothes and a blanket were stacked up around three sides of it. No one was anywhere near it. At least two trains came and went from the platform,  still no one came for it.

The operator sounded a touch skeptical when I called. She asked a couple of times whether the bag had any wires protruding from it, whether it had a strange odor or was ticking. I didn’t see any wires and I passed within a couple of feet of it and didn’t smell anything, but do explosives actually tick any more? Besides, as loud as it gets down there with trains going in and out, that thing could have been playing the 1812 Overture and I wouldn’t have heard it. She said they’d send someone by. I waited a while. I never saw anyone come.

The chances that it was something dangerous are nearly nothing, of course. I almost didn’t call. It’s not as if it was purple and green with question marks all over it, like something from The Joker would leave. A “suspicious package” is only suspicious because someone is suspicious of it.

Maybe a homeless person left it there. But I can’t imagine why. When people own very little, they tend to always keep it with them and usually where they can see it. If they can’t keep it with them, they tend to put it behind or under something, or stuff into a bush or even up in a tree. I can’t imagine a homeless person just leaving their things where they’re sure to be stolen or thrown away. It just didn’t make sense, sitting there so neat and conspicuous.

I really hope that those clothes and that bag weren’t all that someone has in the world and that they weren’t thrown away by the MARTA police – if they ever came.


Atlanta Beltline: still 99% gravel paths

The latest installment in the ongoing saga of our beltline funding is that we are grasping at federal money, as surely they have plenty to spare. The Atlanta Beltline is applying for the TIGER II grant and wants us to help demonstrate that the people of the city back the project with an online petition. They’re hoping that a swell of popular excitement and support will help convince federal officials in charge of handing out free money that the Beltline’s the place to invest. The petition, making the rounds on twitter and FB, has had more than 1400 signatures at the time of this writing, which was within a day of posting.

Over at CL, Thomas Wheatley points out that this is the same funding for which the Atlanta streetcar project is applying – see the Saporta Report on their proposal here. Interesting. Can I sign something supporting both?

Read about and sign the petition here. I may bitch about it, but I’m a fan of the Atlanta Beltline (see? So much a fan that I even call it the Atlanta Beltline like they want us to, instead of just the Beltline!), and think that its development will be a large part of our city growing into its city-ness. Paved paths and rail will make a difference in my daily commutes, entertainment and exercise, and hopefully would encourage more people to take advantage of alternative options. This grant would mean 11 miles of multi-use trails within 3 years – 2013 is a LONG ways away, but I think we ought to take progress wherever we can get it.


Check, please! Bundle says Atlantans love their restaurants

Bundle's restaurant spending infographic

Ever wonder how that just-okayish restaurant in your neighborhood stays in business, or why optimistic entrepreneurs keep setting up shop in the same location that’s already chewed up and spit out five other diners, cafes, bistros and lounges in five years?

According to Bundle, a site that collects and analyzes spending data across the country, Atlantans did 57 percent (click the circles to see stats and maps) of their food and drink spending at restaurants last year on average – more than any other major city. The average for the U.S. is 37 percent.

That might explain the longevity of some lackluster establishments and restaurateurs’ willingness to keep rolling the dice around here. We’re going to eat somewhere, and for some of us, it’s often not at home.

The statistical breakdown makes it a bit clearer what’s going on. The first three merchants on the top-10 “Where They Spend” list for Atlanta are Starbucks, Chic-Fil-A and McDonald’s. So, it appears to be a matter of a lot of people spending a little money fairly frequently, rather than going out to $50 dinners twice a week. The most expensive establishments in the top-10 list – Cheesecake Factory, Longhorn Steakhouse and Outback Steakhouse – came in at fifth, seventh and ninth place, respectively. Waffle House was number 10.

There are some significant limitations on just how informative the data are, though, as they’re generated only from credit card transactions. The list might look quite a bit different if cash sales were factored in.

By the way, the Number 4 on the “Where They Spend” list is Trop, Inc.

Never heard of it? It’s the corporate name of The Pink Pony.


Dang.

It’s hot, y’all.


Atlanta: cheap and smart! and car-y.

Traffic mess? Don't drive on the connector!

Stumbled across this article from last month’s Boston Globe. I know we don’t have our shit together in A LOT of ways, but it makes me happy to see someone from a “real city” point out some of the good things we’ve got working for us. You’ll find a few backhanded compliments in there, but I don’t mind – I thought southerners were the only ones who insult people with compliments, bless our hearts!

One of my pet peeves is brought up here, though. I really wish everyone could chill with the car-centric-ness. Yes, you need a vehicle to get around the greater Atlanta area, which covers what, the northern half of the state now? But intown we are the littlest big city I’ve ever seen – you can get a lot done in a pretty small radius. Contrary to popular belief, some people even walk outside here to get from one place to another. Ridership is substantial on MARTA (1.3 million trips in a work week, made by students and employed people, at that!). Real-life people that wear suits to work commute on bikes. Even this swampy July I’m happily pedaling the 4 miles to work and haven’t had any coworker complaints about stinkiness.

At least with the Ox out of the Governor’s race runoff we won’t have our own version of the Big Dig running through the east side.

Comments are closed

Late Night Edgewood

So Edgewood is the new Ponce. I mean this in the best possible way. It’s become one of my favorite streets in the city – delicious food, only the occasional whiff of fecal matter, a bar where they know my name, barber shops where they blast funk out the front door at 8am. You’ve got modern and retro with Circa and Rolling Bones. There’s high-minded good food and low-minded good food – Dynamic Dish and King Slice. New and old, with Sound Table and the Jamaican place, and, well, the neighborhood itself, a cornerstone of Atlanta history. It’s also one of the more racially integrated places in the city, in that black people and white people are there in roughly equal numbers (I’ve said it before: that’s a whole new post. Maybe more like a series of discussions. Decades-long series of discussions). But basically, it’s a good place to be at most hours, it’s bike and pedestrian friendly, and it’s about a 2 minute ride from home.

Image from the Atlanta Time Machine, Edgewood and Hillard, no date listed

Overall I was pretty happy to see some of the coverage for the city council’s proposal to designate Edgewood and Auburn Avenues a special “Entertainment District,” which would mean later closing hours for the bars there. Businesses would pay an extra fee to cover extra security and clean-up. Since it worked so well in Underground, why not, right?

Underground issues aside, we all know the story – old-money Buckhead Betties on their morning strolls didn’t like walking across the remains of late-night thugs shooting each other, so they voted to drop back the hours of bars throughout the whole city, because there aren’t any stabbings before 2am. Oh, and then, of course, they razed the Buckhead Village, which, though I couldn’t give you directions there (um, go north on Peachtree a ways?), still affects all of us in the message it sends.

Read more


Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.