Fill the Seats, Not the Streets

Tweet: Hate traffic? Choose #transit.

Hate traffic? Choose transit.

As the last firecracker shot through the night sky bursting in Patriotic hues, loud cheers rang through the Atlanta streets.

Hours later, car horns were the only sound heard.

As the masses retreated from the midtown festivities, gridlock ensued. Droves of people walked through flashing stoplights, ignoring crosswalks, traffic cops, and cars bunched bumper to bumper for blocks.

Drivers (or more appropriately–parkers) were honking, rolling down windows shouting, and getting out of their cars attempting to create movement. Hours of waiting in cars, in park, to move an inch.

Major events, sporting venues, and concerts have one thing in common. Traffic. You expect to deal with some slow movement, delays, and a few car horns. But when the gridlock becomes a major concern for safety, we need to reexamine how we travel.

Hindsight is as they say, 20/20. Sitting there, frustrated with a tint of red light filling my car, I could only wish I had chosen the MARTA–Atlanta’s public transit. From my event location, the walk was approximately 9 minutes. The rail trip was just 15. The final leg, a 7 minute walk to my hotel, put my total trip time at 31 minutes (with exercise!).

The drive time in my car with no traffic–22 minutes.

Why did I, along with hundreds more clogged in the Midtown streets, decide that traveling by car was the most effective? Even if a transit station isn’t near your final destination, Uber is just a quick app tap away with a cost equivalent to a long stay at a parking garage.

I rode the MARTA on several occasions, during rush hour and off-peak times. Not once did the seats fill up.

But I certainly saw the streets filled up.

Traveling by multimodal options may not always be the best choice, especially if you have many destinations in your overall trip. It may not work if you have tight deadlines and the rail schedule doesn’t mesh with yours.

But as commuters, as patrons of events, as human beings seeking to decrease the madness in a fast paced world, let’s take a little more consideration when traveling and choose transit. It may just help make your trip a little less stressful. It may make urban life a bit more bearable.

Or you can keep laying on the car horn.