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Last weekend I had a great trip to Atlanta. I wish I would have took some pictures because the sights were great. I first went to Buckhead and ate lunch at the Buckhead Diner, which was great. Then I drove around some to see the beautiful neighborhoods and business district. Buckhead is very nice and has some beautiful home, but this is where I first noticed that Atlanta has a horrible street system. It's like the whole city was just a country town that filled up with houses and buildings without any infrastructure. I really like what was going on around Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza. This area is really a gem and looks like its getting even better. Phipps and Lenox should really expand their malls all the way to the street and have stores that directly front the street. The diagonal intersection there would really be something if that was to happen. Next I drove all the way down Peachtree to downtown. The road itself isn't any better than a street in the industrial area of Baton Rouge, but the buildings along the street really make it special. The city badly needs the Peachtree corridor plan to get built, with or without rail. Too bad there isn't enough space to make it the broad boulevard it should be. Midtown is really cool. It's very clean and neatly planned. I like how many of the buildings are turned so that you get a broader view down the street, though the extra space this requires may hurt pedestrian traffic. I stayed at a hotel downtown, which really wasn't anything special. I did like the bar at the top of the Westin. The view from there is gorgeous, and I ran into some old friends from college. That night I rode the MARTA to Midtown, and I was very impressed. I think the MARTA is one of the top rail systems in the country. The stations were nicely designed, but kind of dark and dingy. They need better lighting and more colorful public art. I liked how they left the rock exposed in the Peachtree Center station. They should uplight it with some halogen lighting to really show off the rock texture and make the station much brighter and warmer. In Midtown, I ate dinner at Zocalo, and I wasn't very impressed. The food was pretty bad and the place is a dump. I walked around and found a club called Front Page News. I really liked this place. The bartender was fun, the people were cool, and the band was good. They had kind of a John Mayer vibe, which I'm not used to seeing in a bar. The next day I took the MARTA to the Arts Center and toured the High Museum. The Louvre exhibit was pretty good, but was really moved by the Annie Leibovitz photography exhibit. It was also a treat to see some original Picassos, Rembrants, and Monets, which I wasn't expecting in Atlanta. I walked down the street to South City Kitchen and had a great lunch of contemporary Southern food. Sitting at the bar there, I thought, "This is what Atlanta really is about." After that I drove east to Little Five Points, which was impossible to find. The neighborhood was a little too alternative for me, but I picked up a couple of good CDs at Wax & Facts with the help of the staff there. From there I headed north on Highland through Virginia Highlands, and I was expecting it to be bigger, but I liked what I saw. Again, I couldn't believe the lack of roads in Atlanta. Other Southern cities like Memphis and New Orleans have beautiful grand boulevards through their older neighborhoods. No wonder traffic is so bad in Atlanta. It seems that the city was very poorly planned before the 1960s. In contrast, Memphis was very well planned prior to the 60s but has been comparatively stagnant since then. Very interesting. All in all, I really like Atlanta, and I'll be back soon.
 

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Deep South Pillsbury
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What, you didn't think Moreland Avenue was grand???? Just kidding. Thanks for the report and glad you enjoyed Atlanta.
 

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chek ur hed
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What i had heard and always believed is that much of the road network on intown Atlanta are former indian trails that gradually grew busier and eventually became the city's road network, hence the lack of a grid system or any logic.
 

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Deep South Pillsbury
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Yep. Peachtree Street certainly is an old trading path along the old ridge. You can certainly tell when you drive it as well.
 

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Yep. Peachtree Street certainly is an old trading path along the old ridge. You can certainly tell when you drive it as well.
Yeah, but of course half the problem is figuring out which bloody Peachtree to go down half the time! I hate downtown - so damned confusing...

I think that part of the problem with transport in Atlanta is that it really started to build up at a time when the car begin to come into vogue. So, rail networks weren't as important in planning. So now we end up with the pathetic MARTA network and a ridiculous amount of congestion on the roads.

Can't see it improving any time soon either, unless they get this Beltline thing up and going.
 

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Yeah, but of course half the problem is figuring out which bloody Peachtree to go down half the time! I hate downtown - so damned confusing...

I think that part of the problem with transport in Atlanta is that it really started to build up at a time when the car begin to come into vogue. So, rail networks weren't as important in planning. So now we end up with the pathetic MARTA network and a ridiculous amount of congestion on the roads.

Can't see it improving any time soon either, unless they get this Beltline thing up and going.

There is only one Peachtree Street. Knowing that fact may help you get around more easily. As far as Marta is concerned...it isn't what I would like it to be and obviously some people have bigger problems with it, but it is still a top 10 transit system in the U.S. and does have 50 miles of track and 38 stations that go out as far as Dunwoody. It's not too shabby...and actually it's amazing since Marta is the largest U.S. system without any state funding.

Atlanta's SUBURBS grew at a time when the entire nation began to depend on automobiles and also at a time when an irrational fear of living downtown/intown became popular. The city has grown steadily since rebuilding began after the Civil War, and downtown had more major urban development from around the turn of the 20th century through the 1960's.
 

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What a great trip report, tennreb! Glad you enjoyed yourself. Zocalo is really hit or miss.....curious though that you thought it was a dump. I love the open, airy feel to the place.

adamsputnik - The pathetic joke of a rail system carries over 270,000 people a day. Imagine what our traffic would be like without it!
 
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