Accidentally car-free Part 4: a trip by foot to the South Atlanta Road Kroger

A crosswalk pedestrian button

I’ve moved my “Accidentally car-free” series of articles to this link, which won’t change, so if you miss an installment, or want to go back and read a previous one, just visit that link.

For an introduction to how this project began, follow this link.

In this installment I’m going to describe a trip by foot to the Kroger on South Atlanta Road from our house on Brookside Drive near Oakdale Road.

My route was Oakdale Road northward to Highlands Parkway, South Cobb Drive to Church Road, North Church Lane to South Atlanta Road.

There was nothing on this route as horrifying as the bridge on South Cobb Drive south of the East West Connector that I described in the previous article, but it was no pedestrian-friendly paradise, either.

The distance was about 4 miles (8 miles round-trip). As usual, parts were side-walked and parts weren’t.

Since I’ve taken you up Oakdale Road a couple of times, I’m going to begin the description at Highlands Parkway and South Cobb Drive.

However, I will point out one feature that I missed in my previous trips up Oakdale Road. There is a button-activated mid-block pedestrian signal on Oakdale Road near Nickajack Park.

Button to activate warning lights

I tried it out, and the cars actually stopped for me (at least this time). I’m going to find out who installed this (it’s straddling City of Smyrna and Mableton), and what conditions caused them to choose this location, but it’s a good feature, and I think one should be installed mid-block on Highlands Parkway between Oakdale Road and South Cobb Drive. It might be tricky in terms of auto traffic flow, but it would make it much safer for pedestrians.

So here we are at South Cobb Drive.

Looking up South Cobb Drive at Highlands Parkway

The next shot is the crosswalks across South Cobb Drive. It’s interesting how the courtesy of drivers changes with the intersection engineering. For some reason drivers are more attentive at these crosswalks on South Cobb than at Oakdale and Highlands Parkway.

For the most part it’s the same pool of drivers, but something about the layout makes the drivers behave differently at the two intersections.

Looking eastward across South Cobb Drive

Sidewalks are in progress on the east side of the road leading to Church Road. Once again, I don’t yet know who’s installing them, but they seem to wrap the intersection from South Cobb Drive to Church Road. This shot is at the bend looking up Church Road.

The Church Road part of the walk was the most erratic part of this trip by far. There would be a stretch of well-maintained sidewalks following by a grassy area filled with debris of various sorts (everything from downed limbs to litter).

The sidewalk below is a bit too narrow for more than one person, but it’s smooth, walkable, and probably ADA compliant.

But then it abruptly ends.

The roughest portion of the route is between where the sidewalk above ends, and the intersection of Church Road and North Church Lane. I’ll just run a few photos with no comment.

Thankfully I dodged all the obstacles and made it to where Church Road, North Church Lane, and Plant Atkinson Road converge. North Church Lane runs to South Atlanta Road at the Kroger.

The sidewalks switch sides of the road frequently on North Church Lane, and depending on how good the shoulder was for walking, I often crossed the street.

The two most interesting things along the route are the Atlanta Freethought Hall, which was formerly the Collins Springs Primitive Baptist Church, and the Collins Springs Cemetery, once the cemetery for the old church, across the road.

Soon after the cemetery the intersection of North Church Lane and South Atlanta Road comes into view, and it’s really not a bad intersection to cross. There’s a substantial amount of pedestrian traffic from the residential areas surrounding the Kroger, and I think the drivers in the area have become accustomed to that.

One oversight I made this time was I failed to get a shot of the Kroger. On my next trip there I’ll remedy that, but I went into the store and picked up three relatively light items, and started back.

I need some sort of very light backpack that serves as a grocery bag, perhaps a mesh bag of some sort. Hand carrying even a small shopping bag is a hassle, the old-fashioned carts I used to see people dragging behind them when I worked in Brooklyn wouldn’t be suitable for the distances I’m walking.

I have a backpack for my camera equipment. but it’s really too heavy to use as a shopping bag.

I’ll close with a couple of photos of an artifact from when CCT (now CobbLinc) had a route that ran down South Cobb Drive. This is just a half block north of Highlands Parkway. I wish there were still an active route that served this stop, because it would make CobbLinc much more useful for me.

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