DARTS

1:40 in the AM, nothing is unpacked, and I just spent two addled hours finishing a syllabus after 6 hours shopping for furniture. My capabilities are limited at the moment, so:

1. Mike brought this really sad and pathetic interview with Alberto Gonzales, late of one of the most powerful offices in the world and now a lecturer…at Texas Tech. It is notable for containing, in less compact form, the following exchange:

"What about all the ethics investigations?"

"They all determined that I did nothing wrong."

"But what about the ongoing ones?"

"I can't comment on that."

I can think of nothing to better summarize him as a person and as a public servant.

2. Atlanta is not an example of poor urban planning. It is the complete absence of urban planning, a nearly Los Angeles-like monument to letting the Invisible Hand of the Market serve as urban planner which sprawls idiotically across the landscape and is forced into remedying its sprawl with a seemingly endless array of concrete ribbons carrying seven lanes of traffic in each direction (and yet still bumper-to-bumper 90% of the time).

17 thoughts on “DARTS”

  • I suspect, that every time Mr. Gonzales lets his mind wander to the possible judicial ramifications of his actions while at DOJ, he experiences, shall we say, a small spasm akin to the side-effects of the product 'alli' that you describe in the last post. Without, of course, having to bother to actually ingest said product! That should add quite a bit to the otherwise, overall noxiousness of his lectures. Good Luck, Red Raiders!

  • I lived in Atlanta for 3 years and the traffic is horrendous. I know people who spend 2 hrs EACH WAY commuting. The sprawl is endless, and before the RE market collapsed, the in-fill was just as bad. Several hundred shoddily built faux-craftsman house jammed into any vacant space inside the perimeter would sell out in hours. Don't get me started…

  • Welcome to Atlanta, Ed! You're going to *love* our road system..

    You hit the nail on the head though, as those of us that have lived here a long time know. Atlanta is not a city, contrary to popular belief. What it actually is, is a childlike scrawl of urban pockets scattered about the page of northwest Georgia. With the sole exception of the downtown financial center, Atlanta is nothing like a proper city, just little islands of city-like areas with vast, blighted plots of urban rot in between. Connecting them is a modest highway system that is absolutely not prepared to handle the amount of commuting that most people have to do to get from their little urban center to the next one over.

    My commute, as an example, is 40 miles one way. and generally takes me about an hour and a half, on average.

    MARTA certainly doesn't help, being one of the most sparse and inept transit systems in the country. It has exactly two rail lines, going North/South and East/West on the axes of the "ring". Everything else is by bus. Did I mention that the trains are horrendously uncoordinated and often stop on the tracks waiting for jams to be sorted out?

  • You have to tell me where you live in Atlanta & let me plan a route for you that is not messy. I have lived here for 2 1/2 years & have no problems with the traffic because I plan accordingly. It's alllllll about the plan! The man above says he has a 40 mile commute – the problem there is not the traffic, the problem is that he lives 40 miles from his job. People think that buying a cheaper house outside of Atlanta is the right plan but after you factor in gas money & commuting time, you mine as well live in Atlanta. Trust me, this can be done – Here is a simple plan to beat Atlanta traffic. Find out where you will be working. Pick a place to live that is 10-20 miles from your place of employment, get a map, use google maps & take back roads, never the interstates! – your commute will be 15-20 minutes in the morning & 30 minutes at night…. Trust me, I've been doing it for 2 1/2 years. Or pick a house near a Marta line & use PT – it might take you more tiem but you will save on gas & never deal with driving. Traffic problems in Atlanta are overblown & if you are stuck in traffic that is prob because you made a decision to live somewhere that requires a commute, that problem is easily solved….

  • The next time you need to go down to Hartsfield-Jackson airport, just park at the Doraville Marta station and take the train. It can get a bit crowded during rush hour, but not as crowded as the freeways. Parking at longterm Marta stations is actually cheaper than at the airport.

  • Welcome to the South. You'll get used to the traffic. Urban planning is for Yankees. We Southern folk like our cities inconveniently laid out and sparsely supplied with inadequate mass transit. Enjoy!

  • Hello Ed,

    How in the world do you know so much about LA and Southern California? For someone who appears to be from the midwest you seem to have an intimate knowledge of both LA county and the OC. I used to live in Pasadena for 4 years before realizing how craptacular the OC is, at least compared to East Coast Cities. Around LA, there at least 30 major highways (at least 3 lanes in each direction plus car pool lane) and every single one of them is packed at rush hour and sometimes in both directions. How is this even possible?

    Regards,
    SV

  • Two good-ish things about Atlanta's "urban planning":

    1) New Yorkers get hopelessly lost trying to get anywhere. It's pinch-their-cheeks adorable.
    2) It makes living near the city center mostly affordable. In the short term.

    Bad things being, of course, everything else. Though, honestly, I've long since gotten used to it. Living off a MARTA stop helps a ton. It also helps to point out noobs who don't actually take local transit:

    "Did I mention that the trains are horrendously uncoordinated and often stop on the tracks waiting for jams to be sorted out?"

    Um, yeah, that pretty much never happens. I can recall two instances in this calendar year, and I ride MARTA every day.

  • As a native of Atlanta, welcome. Have fun with the interstate, particularly since they're doing construction on the Downtown Connector. As for the lack of urban planning, I think that's partly what you've identified (rampant, poorly restrained capitalism) and partly simple inability to coordinate. The Atlanta metro area, legally, includes 18 different counties. There is no real central forum where all 18 of them, or even just the central 4 (Fulton, Dekalb, Gwinnett and Cobb) could come together on these sorts of issues. Also, Gwinnett and Cobb have different politics (broadly speaking) from Fulton and Dekalb, so they don't agree on many things, like MARTA. There are (at least) 6 different public transit systems (including MARTA) for whatever reason. OTOH, we do have a really nice aquarium which I would recommend to you.

  • Oh Doug, I have! Ever tried to get down Canal St to the Holland Tunnel in the middle of the day?

    Oh wait. Perhaps you are being as facetious as I was.

  • Ed, Atlanta is made up of a series of late 1800's-1920's intown neighborhoods centered around tiny, thriving commercial centers, and sprawling suburbs with mega-mart shopping centers. If you live and work in town, you pretty much never have to get on the interstate. Conversely, if you live and work in the suburbs you pretty much never have to get on the interstate. It's a matter of picking the right location. I live and work in Decatur which means I'm less than a mile from a good restaurant, pub, public school, coffee shop, etc. Downtown is less than 5 miles away and is accessible on surface streets. Location, location, location…

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