Tag Archives: traffic

Some Random Roadtripping in Atlanta Thoughts.

Driving through, around and from A to B in any big city can be challenging. Atlanta is no different, offering the driver its own unique challenges. Spending a lot of time driving and observing in the ATL, these random thoughts about being out on the open road immediately came to mind.

Where are you? I’m on Peachtree! The city alone has 71 streets that contain the word Peachtree, countless others in suburbia. Avenues, boulevards, drives, lanes, streets, you name it, you will probably be on a Peachtree something at some point. Peachtree Street, the main street of Atlanta, confuses people all by itself. Giving the answer of “I’m on Peachtree!” will definitely mask where you are at.

Peachtree St. in the heart of Midtown, Atlanta, Georgia

Peachtree Street in the heart of Midtown.

Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Gwinnett County, Georgia

Peachtree Industrial Blvd in suburban Gwinnett County.

Where is the skyline? Atlanta is known, especially on the north side, for lots of hills and greenery. While driving in parts of Georgia’s state capital you’ll think you are in the middle of a forest or the woods versus a big city. You are very close to the Midtown skyline, but you just don’t know it. Then wallah it is right in front of you!

Once it does come into view, the skyline might look foreign even if you have visited before. If you’re in town say once a year, you will notice buildings that were not there before or new ones going up. The skyline from just a decade ago is nothing like what it is today. Atlantic Station, a modern neighborhood with lots of shopping and entertainment options and various tall buildings, popped up out of nowhere in the 2000’s.

Atlanta Midtown & Atlantic Station skylines from The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View

Atlantic Station & Midtown skylines from up-top The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View.

You will hear “the Perimeter” phrase frequently. When stopping to ask for directions there is a good chance the answer will include something in relation to “the Perimeter”. “The Perimeter” refers to I-285 an interstate which circles the city. You’ll hear place x is just inside the perimeter, it’s 20 miles northeast of the perimeter, etc.

Are there really speed limits? People do seem to drive faster on average around the ATL. At the top end of “the Perimeter”, where most of the heavy traffic is, the speed limit is posted at 55 m.p.h. Really? It seems like you’ll get run off the road if you aren’t doing at least 70-75.

How high in the air can I get while driving?! When driving into Spaghetti Junction where the east end of the “The Perimeter” and I-85 meet you will find five decks/levels of ramps, the highest being 90 feet tall. I guess that is one spot to get nervous at during rush hour and gridlock. On the bright side you might as well get the camera out to capture the views up-top. ๐Ÿ™‚

What direction am I going in? Once off the interstate, with all the hills and trees you’d be hard pressed to find a long, straight stretch of road. One minute the road your on is going north, then east, then you have no idea. Better have that GPS or compass handy.

Sixteen Lanes of Madness. Your driving on I-75 or I-85 on the far outskirts of town and the interstate is four lanes, then it becomes six, then eight and that is still manageable. Then all of a sudden it becomes a sixteen lane free for all around Midtown and Downtown, known as the Downtown Connector. I wonder if that stretch of real estate is part of local drivers education driving? That would be the ultimate test.

The Atlanta Downtown Connector from the 17th Street Bridge.

The Downtown Connector from the 17th Street Bridge.

Atlanta Downtown Connector from The Varsity

The Downtown Connector from The Varsity.

The Atlanta Downtown Connector from the 17th Street Bridge.

The Downtown Connector from the 17th Street Bridge.

Atlanta Downtown Connector from up-top The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View.

The Downtown Connector from The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View

What state am I in? Between all the northern transplants and everyone else passing through, if you just woke up and got on the road, you could have no idea what state you are in. You’ll see a lot less Georgia license plates then you might think while driving.

Is Waffle House the only dining option? You might think that if your on the interstate in suburbia. There seems to be one at every exit. Up until not to long ago there was one on each side of I-85 in Suwanee. One can only experience so much loaded hash browns! ๐Ÿ™‚

Road tripping in the ATL, like any big city, can be an adventure. Checkout my previous post, Atlanta: Driving Through the Heart, on what a city interstate drive is like.

What unique characteristics or random thoughts come to mind in the city you live in or drive around frequently? Any additional Atlanta tidbits?

Photo of the Week: U.S. Route 101 in Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley and U.S. Route 101 go hand-in-hand. Rush hour, I’ve unfortunately experienced it many times. Basically it’s a parking lot. People on the move between San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and other points and their jobs at Yahoo, eBay, Cisco, Apple and all the other Internet-based companies that put up shop here.

I grabbed this shot in the Silicon Valley city of Santa Clara during lunch hour. That explains the quietness. Your looking towards the south and San Jose. Always mountains to be seen off the distance in these parts.

U.S. Route 101 in Silicon Valley, California

Atlanta: My Peaceful Bridge.

Do you have a peaceful place, to relax and unwind, that also happens to be scenic? I think I’ve found one in the ATL’s 17th Street Bridge.

I recently showcased a photo of the 17th Street Bridge on a sunny day. I didn’t think too much in-depth of the spot at the time, other than a great place to grab skyline shots and see traffic. Then came a return visit earlier this week.

It wasn’t clear on this day. In fact dark clouds were hovering over the two Atlanta skylines within view, Midtown and Downtown. The weatherman wannabe in me was like, “Yes!!! It’s gonna storm!”.

The middle of bridge on the north side was closed for construction which was sad, but I think the random port-a-potty is a nice touch in this shot.

Atlanta, Georgia - 17th Street Bridge

It wasn’t just the skylines, it was the fact that you can see The Varsity, Georgia Tech, the Olympic torch and more all in one view.

Along with the weather and points of interest, you had people driving on the 21-lanes of madness both north and south down below. Thinking about it more I realized that some some of these folks were on road trips and out on the open road. You see through this stretch I-75 and I-85 come together to form the Downtown Connector. I-75 stretches from Michigan to Florida and I-85 carries traffic from Virginia to Alabama. The possibilities of where people are coming from and going to is limitless! ๐Ÿ™‚

Atlanta, Georgia - 17th Street Bridge

I could just stand there and watch the traffic go by for hours. Well maybe not at rush hour when everything stands still haha.

The 17th Street Bridge was completed in 2004 and connects Atlantic Station, a recently built live/work/play community, with the heart of Midtown. I just stood on the bridge for a bit, thinking about things and at the same time not having a care in the world. It was peaceful, because unlike down below, the bridge was relatively quiet at this mid-afternoon time.

Atlanta, Georgia - 17th Street Bridge

As if the weather gods were waiting for me to leave, it starting downpouring like crazy about a minute after walking off the bridge into the Atlantic Station shopping complex. This is my peaceful place indeed.

What bridges do you love capturing the scenery off of? Have you come across a peaceful place in your travels that you would like to get back to over and over?