ATL Snow Jam ’14: Another Case For Walkable Intown Living

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As I walked to my meeting at Condesa Coffee, I noticed that the accumulating snow was starting to get slippery. Not a big surprise, I thought, as the temperature was dropping fast.

Less than an hour into my meeting the Barista said that they were closing early, due to worsening travel conditions. That’s when I noticed the stalled traffic on Boulevard, waiting to get on the 75/85 Downtown Connector. As it turned out, many of those drivers would have been better off not using the Interstate system. Many would not make it home until the next day. And it was only 3 in the afternoon.

I couldn’t help but feel gratitude that I only had to walk a couple of blocks home. Now I just had to get the rest of my family to warmth and safety. A phone call to my youngest daughter confirmed that she was already safe and sound and hunkered down at her apartment. My wife works 2 miles away in Midtown. A co-worker drove her home through mostly vacant streets due to the sudden mass exodus to the suburbs.

The longest commute would go to my oldest daughter who was coming from The Frazer Center, just 3.5 miles away. MARTA Mobility takes her there and back every weekday. It’s usually a 15 – 20 minute trip. On this night she ended up on a 4 1/2 hour tour through the iced-over back roads.

It was a stressful wait for our special needs daughter, but we gradually realized how fortunate we were as the stories of stranded motorists continued to come in throughout the evening.

Although the cupboards were bare, groceries weren’t much of a problem, either. For dinner that evening, a short walk to The Corner Tavern a block away was the solution. Once again, I was feeling grateful that a Bar and Grill with some of the best food around was so close to home.

The next morning, we marveled at the eerily silent city, with it’s abandoned roads. There were no travel advisories for the BeltLine Eastside Trail, however, so we joined a little parade of pedestrians for a grocery run to the trailside Kroger, a mile away.

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As we neared the store, I couldn’t help but wonder what we would find when we got there.  Would the store be crammed with snowed-in citizens like we’ve become accustomed to when Atlanta gets a couple of inches? History had me wondering if there would be any product on the shelves. Surely we couldn’t expect milk and bread, those most highly-prized foodstuffs during weather emergencies.

When we arrived we found that, aside from our fellow pedestrians, we virtually had the fully-stocked store to ourselves. Several of the employees who had spent the night at the store were in a surprisingly cheerful mood.

The neighborhoods that abutt the trail are some of Atlanta’s most walkable, a fact the residents had taken full advantage of. From the moment we set foot on the trail, it was obvious by the thousands of footprints in the snow that there had been no Snow Jam on the trail the previous evening.

In spite of a State of Emergency declared in our city, we felt like we had experienced the fabled calm of the eye of the storm.

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About Burke Sisco

Burke Sisco is an Associate Broker of First United Realty with 20 years of experience in the Atlanta real estate market. He calls the surging infra-culture around the BeltLine both home and business territory and is the founder and managing editor of BeltLandia.com. He has helped a number of satisfied clients buy and sell property in BeltLandia. Those interested in living the BeltLandia Lifestyle can reach Burke at 404.421.9968 or by email at burke@burkesisco.com.

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