We know all the reasons why Atlanta’s traffic supposedly sucks: there just aren’t enough ways to move so many people through a metropolitan area that’s way too spread out, Atlanta is way behind when it comes fixing/upgrading its roads/highways, and the public transportation system is good for bar crawls and not much else. But those are just the “official” reasons meant to distract you from the 15 REAL reasons ATL traffic sucks...
1. Your huge iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phone-blets make texting & driving irresistible
Another illegal selfie simply CANNOT wait, but you and that meeting you’re going to be late for can! For another hour! On 285. For no other reason than human vanity and narcissism. LOL. Smiley Face. #stophashtagging!
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2. The guy who just decided to pull a right turn-left blinker move...
... in front of everybody at the top of the Freedom Parkway exit! When he’s in the far left-turn lane!!
3. The dim lights along the tunnel beneath Atlanta Financial Center
Literally e.v.e.r.y. d.a.y., traffic builds up all the way to the split of I-85N and 400N, for absolutely no other reason besides the fact that the little yellow bulbs lighting this underpass aren’t bright enough. Immediately after you pass through, you realize there was nothing impeding traffic, other than a bunch of grown people who are apparently afraid of the dark.
4. There aren’t any service roads
Unless you’re traveling on Peachtree Industrial, or just further up 85N (near all those fake Rooms-To-Go furniture outlets), or heading west from 17th to 10th on the Connector, there are wayyy too few ways to get off the interstate when you really need to. This causes spots like the Buford Hwy exit, which leads to all the magic of Cheshire Bridge, south Buckhead, and whatever that weird building from The Jetsons is, to get crunched every day, with you serving as the meat of this sucky traffic sandwich.
5. Highway/Interstate lane FOMO jerks
People just can’t stay their asses in that perfectly good, steadily moving lane they’re in; they see you speeding up to take advantage of that newly opened 10-car gap in front of you, and they just have to swerve over and hate on your movement. Then they slow down. Then their lane starts moving faster, but they don’t care. As long as you don’t get ahead of them. Crabs in a barrel? Nah, more like slugs on the asphalt, and not even your saltiest insults can melt their slime.
6. Braves games
The good thing about this one is that it’s going to be corrected in a couple years thanks to the team moving into SunTrust Park in Cumberland. The bad thing, and the horrible truth you’re not ready to hear, is that it’s going to snarl northwest ATL traffic more than it is right now when it opens at the junction of 75N, 285W, and Cobb Pkwy, which is already bad enough to make you want to put your car in neutral and roll over yourself (if only your car could even move that far).
7. Southern hospitality
At this very moment, your 83-year-old grandmother is letting some jerk motorist, who just drove ahead of the three-block line of cars who patiently waited to exit the interstate, slide in front of her and skip the crowd. She also let the last 83 cars do the same thing (she plays the same number at bingo), which is why you and none of the others ahead of you have moved a mile in over 45 minutes. It’s OK to disallow these people from cutting; stop being so courteous to rude people, with your country, forgiving ass! We’re too damn nice.
8. Pedestrian nihilism
People who cross streets in ATL really are psychopaths. Crosswalks? Ha! Folks use those like they’re really some prehistoric version of hopscotch. "Do Not Walk" signals? A rule made to be broken, no matter how fast the car with the green signal light is moving. They know you’ll stop. The best part? They’re so doggone cool about it, even though you really did almost hit them as they jaywalked across I-20, backwards, at night, in the rain.
9. Increased traffic fines
Earlier this summer, Mayor Reed asked municipal judges to increase traffic violation fines in order to raise $7 million in revenue. That means there will be more speed traps, more checkpoints, and more police handing out bigger and dumber tickets. Thank your favorite god for two-term limits!
No matter what’s showing here, people just need to slow down and stare at it, as if it’s going to be closed soon. Someone’s always holding up Peachtree trying to turn left on Ponce, and at least three of the eight cars on the curb outside are actually parked and forgot to notify you with their hazard lights, as if that would make it somewhat nicer. Avoid this building by all means.
11. Too many NPR stations
Have you tried accelerating your car while listening to WABE’s Steve Goss or Lois Reitzes? It doesn’t work. And the voices from NPR affiliates, like the jazzy WCLK or the new jack GPB Radio at 88.5, won’t let you step on the gas either. It’s like, physically impossible. Easy rule: when you’re driving, put on Hot 107.
12. Too much road construction, way too late
Whenever you see construction on one (or all!) of the four lanes of 285W, or those goofy digital speed limit signs that can change from 65mph to 35mph whenever someone wants to have fun with your misery, or anything that’s bad on any of ATL’s interstates, you can thank/blame Georgia’s governor, who is in charge of those roadways, not Mayor Reed. Deal with it.
13. Hybrids and electric cars
Maybe it’s a good thing the tax incentive to buy fuel-efficient vehicles has gone away. At least now you won’t be stuck sucking the super-clean exhaust fumes (what is that, soy candle vapor?) coming out of a car that takes 10 minutes to go from zero to 10. Better for the planet? Sure they are. Better for your monthly gas budget? Yep. Better for getting the hell out of the way with their slow asses? No.
14. The Atlanta Streetcar
If you see this thing coming your way, turn your car around and get out of the neighborhood. Being anywhere near the Rice-A-Roni-est of our public Downtown transit quagmires is a guaranteed way to waste an hour or more. The ultimate punchline is that, more than likely, nobody’s even riding it, and it’s free until 2016.
15. Atlanta cyclists
Why are you in the road? Why can’t you abide by traffic rules? Do you not know you are endangering everybody with your little, weak legs? OMG you suck. Will you please get the eff outta the way with your little Nerf-shaped helmet? I hate you so much. This is not NYC you weird transplant hipster. OMG. OMG.
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Mike Jordan was the founding editor at Thrillist Atlanta, and is stuck near the Roswell Rd exit on 285 at this very moment, because your grandmother’s hogging the HOV lane. Run into him at @MichaelBJordan.