Desire paths in car-centric Metro Atlanta

Kids and adults wait for a bus on Buford Highway in Dekalb County on a spot that has no sidewalk for pedestrians, but that has clearly been worn down from use. Behind them, cars rest on pavement in front of an adult business. See the Google street view here.

Those cars are in spaces that are mandated as part of minimum parking requirements — requirements that don’t seem to have a relative in regard to pedestrian infrastructure at bus stops.

This is a good metaphor for the second-class state of pedestrians in car-centric places throughout Metro Atlanta. Cars receive a luxurious abundance of infrastructure for both moving and parking, while pedestrians and transit users fight for a safe place on the edges.

You can see “desire paths” like this — where people have worn down the grass in a median from repeatedly walking through it — along many roads in the metro. I remember seeing them along Canton Highway in Cobb County, where I grew up.

Here’s another street view of a spot nearby on Buford Highway where pedestrians have worn a path into the side of the road without a paved sidewalk.

(Big hat tip to my neighbor Kyle for sending links to these Buford Highway spots)

EDITED TO ADD: to read more about Buford Highway’s pedestrian challenges, take a look at this post on the site, which refers to the road as: “the poster child for the kind of multilane highway, lined with stripmalls and suburban housing tracts, originally built with cars — not pedestrians — in mind. It’s frightening to see how risky it is for pedestrians to get from one side of it to the other.