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Thread: Why I took early retirement.
01-25-07, 05:50 PM #1Banned
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Why I took early retirement.
I would rather take a daily beating from Mike Tyson, than to fight Atlanta's traffic twice a day.
It's not only the traffic that's a creeping and crawling hell. For those living on the west side of town receive a double whammy and a few extra lashes from lash Larue, alias the sun, who they have to submit to while driving to and from work.
Police urge downtown employees to leave early
Afternoon traffic from seminar expected to be gridlock
By MIKE MORRIS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/25/07
Gridlock from a motivational seminar downtown Thursday could get so bad that Atlanta police have asked downtown businesses to either allow their employees to leave early, or as an alternative stay later, in order to avoid of repeat of this morning's rush-hour traffic nightmares.
The major culprit in the morning gridlock — the "Get Motivated" seminar, according to Crystal Paulk-Buchanan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation — will disgorge about 21,000 people simultaneously about 4:45 p.m.
The morning traffic, which slammed surface streets downtown and backed up interstates for up to 25 miles, was merely a glimpse of what Thursday's evening rush hour could become.
"We ask simply that they consider it as an alternative that would be helpful," Maj. Calvin Moss said. "We're certainly also asking folks to steer clear of the Philips, Congress Center and Georgia Dome area. We're asking folks who absolutely don't have to drive in that area to avoid doing so."
The "Get Movtivated" seminar is taking place at Phillips, while the Congress Center is hosting the International Poultry Expo.
For this evening's rush-hour traffic, Atlanta police will continue to coordinate with Georgia World Congress Center police and the Georgia Department of Transportation to get motorists to nearby interstates as quickly and as smoothly as possible as the do for other major events, such as Atlanta Falcons games.
The heaviest traffic in recent memory clogged major arteries into downtown during morning rush hour, leaving commuters frustrated and late in reaching their destinations. Some reported delays of more than two hours to go short distances.
Moss said police had a traffic management plan with additional officers on duty, but didn't count on higher than expected traffic volume, having to handle 25 accidents in downtown alone, or running out of downtown parking slots.
Authorities now wish they had put more emphasis in urging motorist to take MARTA or to car pool, according to Moss.
"Reports from officers on the street is that additional officers would not have remedied the problem," Moss added. "The problem was that there was too much traffic volume for the surface streets in that area. Rush hour is tough to manage on a typical day let alone adding two events to it."
While some intown residents reported morning commutes of only 3 or 4 miles that took upwards of two hours, the longest jams appeared to be on I-75 on the northside.
Paulk-Buchanan said those attending the seminar trickled in throughout the morning hours. But everybody stays for the bigger names toward the end of the program, names such as former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Braves pitcher John Smoltz, talk show host Larry King, Gen. Colin Powell and former Disney chief Michael Eisner.
"They put their biggest, keynote speaker on at the very end so folks don't leave," she said. "It's going to get out right in the middle of rush hour."
Construction at northbound Williams Street and Ivan Allen Boulevard could aggravate the traffic problem even more because it has taken a northbound lane where Williams leads to the I-75 north and south on-ramps.
Paulk-Buchanan said a malfunctioning traffic light on Williams Street between the Downtown Connector and the Philips Arena area contributed to the morning gridlock, which she called "bad, bad, bad."
Police directed traffic on Williams Street.
Atlanta police spokesman Joe Cobb attributed part of the problem to downtown parking lots that filled up quickly.
"We've had officers in the street directing traffic since 6:30 a.m.," Cobb said. "But once these parking lots fill up, there's no where to direct traffic to, and that caused a lot of the backup."
Despite past similar events at Philips Arena and it's predecessor, the Omni, that caused downtown gridlock, Paulk-Buchanan said transportation officials were caught off-guard on Thursday.
"This event, for whatever reason, just was not on the radar," she said.
Cobb, however, said the Atlanta police Special Operations section plan put officers directing traffic at 10 intersections because of the motivational seminar.
He said officers worked 25 wrecks downtown between 6:30 and 11:30 a.m., compared to just two wrecks on Wednesday and eight on Tuesday. "That caused a lot of [traffic] problems as well," he said.
"I wouldn't say that we were caught flat-footed, but we didn't expect the traffic to be as heavy as it was, and when there's so much traffic, there tends to be an increase in accidents," Cobb said. "We were aware of the event, but it was just one of those perfect storms that created this whole thing."
At 10 a.m., DOT cameras showed 25 miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic from beyond Wade Green Road north of Marietta south to the Williams Street exit in downtown Atlanta.
Traffic on I-85 southbound was backed up to Clairmont Road at 9:30 a.m., while the jam on I-20 stretched nearly to the Perimeter in each direction.
In an AJC.com blog inviting motorists to tell their rush hour stories, one commuter wrote, "I left my home at 7:30 expecting an hour ride — maximum. I did not get to my office until 9:45 after spending over an hour sitting in traffic on I -20 from Glenwood to Capitol Ave."
AJC staff writer S.A. Reid contributed to this story.
01-26-07, 01:02 AM #2
I've been stuck at a standstill on I-20 through Atlanta more times than I care to count. Wrecks with fatalities back things up for EVER, and the morning and evening rush hours are no picnic. However between 2 and 3 am are great.\\` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
`` ` ` ` (3--(____)
"...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
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