What Fresh Hell Is This?

So I rode with a friend yesterday morning in the park. We met another woman and all agreed that a recently-built “privacy fence” for a new low-density (?) gated community directly lining the path creates a dangerous-by-design corridor (especially for women and girls, although perhaps simply dangerous for everyone), with no sight lines or escape routes (and that being told to “ride with someone” is not the answer City Hall should be giving on this transportation route). (See here for a previous post about that, if interested.)

Then I pedaled over to the biggest business district in my city to finish checking out the new painted picnic tables that have been added in all business districts (except one) to encourage support during the ongoing pandemic. (It’s for my next People for Bikes’ Ride Spot route — you can see my other routes here). But I fell upon what can only be called Carmegeddon and my only possible first words were, “What fresh hell is this?”

Turns out the monthly largest-car-gathering-in-the-southeastern-United-States (usually in the expansive sea of parking lots) was now circling the mall (due to COVID restrictions) and every single car seemed to be revving, blasting, zooming, honking its way along, spewing old-car fumes everywhere and making the wearing of a mask (luckily, handy!) all the more necessary. I met one other person on a bike, named Woody. I designated him Today’s Nice Stranger (see that ongoing photo essay here, if interested).

Woody on his frankenbike at Carmegeddon

And then I discovered what appears to be the first part of a planned multiuse path on this road (not just the decriminalized sidewalk — see Metro Atlanta Suburb-City Creates 65 Miles of Multiuse Paths Literally Overnight). It is crooked, but then again, them’s the times we’re livin’ in, right?

Speaking of which, I noticed the now-nationally-famous Everything Will Be OK mural replica on the side of a barn at the art gallery is gone, on a weekend when the president of our country is facing life-or-death with a COVID diagnosis in the hospital just a few weeks before our national election. (I pray for his safe recovery, just as I prayed for my father-in-law, whom we lost in April due to COVID.) And I’m just spitballing here, but this was probably a bad time to remove it. Yes, yes, I know it’s being moved to make room for new art. But, still.

The barn wall where the famous Everything Will Be OK sign used to be

Here’s what it looked like when the sign was there:

A leap of faith at the Everything Will Be OK sign

I’m still taking daily leaps of faith, by the way. Join me. It’s all we got right now.

A leap of faith on the new multiuse path