Bicycling in and around Atlanta.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Metro Atlanta suffers from a lot of what I like to call Can’t Get There From Here Syndrome or CGTFHS. CGTFHS is often found in cities and towns that have experienced a lot of growth over a short period of time. The main symptom of CGTFHS is old neighborhoods being cut in half by either new expressways or new limited access arterial roads. I present exhibit A. Behold Hazelwood Road.

Once a quiet neighborhood of shotgun homes filled with workers for the nearby Lockheed Plant, Hazelwood was literally cut in half by the construction of the GA 120 loop. My crude black mark shows where the road used to be. This bisection did more than just cut neighborhood in half, it also funneled more traffic onto the two roads that weren’t cut in half by the new road. Commuter cyclists often spend a lot of time planning their routes to avoid the busiest roads but here in Atlanta it seems that traffic planners in their car centric view seemed determined to funnel everyone on to the major arteries.

There’s another kind of CGTFHS and this one is caused by too many cars. Behold Stillwell Road.

Stillwell Road is a small twisty road that winds its way in Vinings Georgia. Over the years as traffic in the area increased the residents on Stillwell Road got tired of long lines of cars using the road as a shortcut. So the road was cut in half. Traffic engineers just put a big pile of dirt at the half way point in the road. Now this kind of CGTFHS can actually be boon to cyclists. A pile of dirt isn’t really an obstacle for a bike and the quiet, hilly, and twisty road is a nice ride. The problem is if I hadn’t lived here for years I wouldn’t know that Stillwell was cut in half by a pile of dirt and not a creek or gulley. Google maps is a great resource but because your bike can get you places a car can’t sometimes you have to take a chance to find a new route.

In a bit of irony Stillwell Road became so pleasant and quiet that a developer has recently decided to build a massive condo project on the road.

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