Atlanta’s Sidewalks and Human Responsibility

by Thomas Donoghue

Sunday night, The Economist released a scathing assessment of current alternative transportation options in Metropolitan Atlanta, not to be confused with the City of Atlanta, a point which the article mistakes immediately. Entitled “Transport in Atlanta: Driving Miss Daisy,” the article argues that Atlanta, as an urban community, perpetuates the inherent dangers of a car culture society and, in doing so, allows those who don’t drive to die. And the truth is, The Economist kind of has a point.

Inside-the-perimeter residents continue to fight for greater alternative accessibility to their city, whether that alternative be walking, bicycling or transit. However, the outside-the-perimeter residents consistently and callously vote to defeat all hope for a economy through alternative modes of transportation. As evidence of the OTP’s ignorance and unfortunate power, I offer a statement from their Governor:

“Over the next four years, we will open to traffic more than $1.1 billion dollars’ worth of new, reliable interstate lanes in Metro Atlanta, the largest interstate expansion since the 1980s.”

Since when were the 1980s, in hindsight, ever a good idea?

Pedestrians_0514_a_1023629cHighways are not the answer. Fifty percent of the City of Atlanta alone seems to have omitted the cost of constructing sidewalks on our city roadways. From what I can tell, neighborhoods like Buckhead don’t even want them for the reason that “people” may walk through their neighborhood. Those that walk may prey upon the overly fed elitists to quench a gluttonous thirst for exceptionally large televisions. God forbid anyone takes their fucking televisions. Meanwhile, as they donate to their favorite charities, perhaps to build another piece of bullshit public art in some obscure Atlanta promenade, they choose to ignore the people whom they have chosen to live amongst.

From what the Governor plans to spend on highways this year, apparently $1.1 billion this year, there must be a little piece of the action for sidewalks. Right? Such a disregard of sidewalk infrastructure isn’t a transportation issue. Simply put, it’s a human rights issue.

The state and local municipalities of our metropolitan choose to dismiss funding opportunities for the construction of sidewalks. therefore thumbing their noses  at an action that we, as a people, have been doing for six million years. More importantly, the State of Georgia should be shameful for not funding sidewalks on their roadways.

crosstheroadShame on the state for not allowing people to go to work. Shame on state for not allowing people to enjoy a beautiful day. Shame on state for allowing harmless women and children to die on their highway because those people are trying to cross a road. Shame on state representatives for not allocating money to help their citizens. Shame on the state leadership for being so inherently classist and racist, for allowing people who don’t vote for them to  die. And shame on them for criminally charging the pedestrian for simply walking.

Maybe we shouldn’t elect any other officials until they’ve spent a year crossing Buford Highway and meandering the worn dirt pathways to catch a $1 orange bus. Although, perhaps we should give them a little luxury and let them ride MARTA to work.

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