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Atlanta image taking a beating in the 2014 Icecapades

John Munford's picture

How bad is it? It's so bad that even folks up north are watching the news, shaking their heads, and saying "Bless Their Heart."

Here in the Atlanta area, there's a different kind of blessing going on, as reporters are channeling the rage of those who were stuck spending the night in schools, on school buses stranded in the road, and commuters who faced times upwards of 7 to 10 and even 12 (twelve!) hours home if not more. The reporters are unleashing on Gov. Nathan Deal, who made the unfortunate remark that this snowstorm was "unexpected."

Today big-time national weatherman Al Roker went off on Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Taking lumps on a nationwide level is not a good precedent. It doesn't take any soul searching to see there is a distinct lack of leadership at the state and local government level. Heck, here in Fayette we dodged several bullets as apparently all our schoolchildren made it safely home, even on buses that slipped and inched their way to destinations. There surely will be repercussions for those who decided to open schools yesterday.

Long after the ice is gone, however, this Icecapade will have a ripple affect on metro Atlanta as a whole, and unfortunately we're lumped in that. What company in their right mind will want to move to a place where winter traffic is so freakin' bad?

While we're at it, a big raspberry to all the metro Atlanta companies who had their employees even come to work yesterday when so many, many of them have the option to telecommute, much like I'm doing right this very second even though my office is just 1.5 miles up the road.

When all is said and done, the kindness of humanity will bear out, and that's a wonderful thing. Those are great stories. I think we all here in Fayette County owe our school bus drivers a debt of gratitude for taking care of our kiddos and getting them home safely and skillfully. A big shout out also goes to our policemen and women, sheriffs deputies, firemen, EMTs and paramedics. They were working all over the place yesterday and listening to the police scanner yesterday I almost got whiplash just trying to follow all the wrecks they were going to.

When all is said and done, I hope Deal and Reed take a good long look on how their lack of leadership has negatively impacted the way people view Atlanta OUTSIDE of Georgia. Given the events of yesterday, no one can say with a straight face anymore that Georgia is a business-friendly state.

Businesses depend on getting their employees in and out of the office, and for that we can't just give Deal and Reed and 'F' on their report card. We need to hold them back a grade or two.


TheRealityCheck's picture

I work for an international company with headquartered in a major Northern city. The company has many offices in the North, in fact. Those offices NEVER close because of temperatures or snow. When the possibility of snow in Metro Atlanta first hit the radar late last week, the thought of closing our office (located North of Atlanta) was never an option. We are still not closed today even. Employees in the Northern offices are baffled with the way we handle bad weather here in the South. I asked if I could work from home because of the impending weather, my manager chuckled and said "I just spent two weeks working in Chicago, and you want to work from home for 2 inches of snow?". Even after it started to snow - he asked that I finish up working on my project before I left. I have the longest daily commute of anyone in my office and I left at 1:30 and it took me 7.5 hours to get home. It would have taken longer had I not decided to pull around cars in front of me, and take a path not traveled by others.

My point is this, my company required us to come in because its a Northern based company - and 2 inches of snow is nothing to them. Meeting customer demands was more important - they thought. Besides, most forecasts had the snow hitting hardest below I-20.

TheRealityCheck's picture

Im not sure exactly what Mr. Reed and Mr. Deal mean when they say they could have released businesses, schools, and government workers at different times. That is just not logical. Sure, the government has control over its own workers. But they have absolutely no control on when/if a business decides to release its employees, and they have little control over the schools' decisions.

They should have been more careful and watchful of the forecast and got the salt trucks out on Monday night, or early Tuesday morning. And, I would advise Mr. Reed not to keep bringing up 2011 as a comparison to show this mess is handled better than it was in 2011 - that we learned the lesson from 2011 and are acting sooner. That (non)explanation is just not going to get it and honestly - its getting trite.

My office is in Boston and my clients are in Chicago and Philly. Even though I work from home most sent emails to see how I was doing. It wasn't about ignorance it was about being real jerks..find a new job if you can. I am sure they are jerks about everything..

G35 Dude's picture

I love it when people from the North try to look down on us southerners for not being able to commute in snowy weather. I was born and raised in the south but have spent time up north. I too had no problems spending 3 weeks in Ohio one January with 4-6 inches of snow on the ground the entire time. I was able to go anywhere I wanted with no problems. They have the road equipment to handle snow. Here in the south it is not cost effective to have the same level of equipment as they do. We just don't need it as often. And up there the temps are colder. The snow stays snow. Here it thaws then re-freezes and becomes ice and nobody can drive on ice. Now I will accept the fact that this episode was poorly handled by the powers that be. This article does a good job of explaining what happened this time.

Still it does sound like you work for some jerks. Maybe you should look for another job?

Great analysis! Cities like Atlanta and Los Angeles that have horrendous traffic problems on their 'freeways' - figured it out for the Olympics with creative scheduling for businesses and schools so that everyone would not be on the freeway at the same time! I hope a plan is being created for the next emergency in the Atlanta area so that schools, workers, truckers are not on the freeway at the same time - and freeways are 'salted' in time for a weather emergency.

PTC Observer's picture

Is an oxymoron

Brilliant and informative contribution. We have a very similar opinion of one another. Bye!

PTC Observer's picture

Is your last name Government? - Look up Oxymoron please.

How in the world did you take that personally?

Sometimes, I don't know about you DM.....I mean really.


I hear you. I, too, think that teleworking for those who can/could do it makes logical sense, but it seems that many businesses want that "face time" and that the risks of allowing telework outweigh the benefits. If you work in a business where you have to be in front of people to get work done and you have information (paperwork and other files) that the company doesn't want you to take home with you, then teleworking isn't practical.

That said, how important is "keeping a city open for business" when impending dangerous weather is coming? In my opinion, decisions need to be made as to what businesses are truly "essential" to the core functions of a city or region, and on days like that, what can be delayed SHOULD be delayed. Education can be delayed (I remember having to go to school on a Saturday once); non-emergency government should be delayed. That would have put a lot of people off of the roads.

Who actually gets to make that decision for business? Well, no one group does. All government can do is encourage and ask private companies. Private companies control their own decision making process, and unless you can mandate them to comply, the cycle continues...imagine the outrage if we allowed the government to force businesses to close down!

I wonder if anyone will attempt a cost-benefit analysis of closing outright versus having the issues that we had the past two days. I fear if that is done, the same decisions will be made over and over again, as the "cost" of the personal issues many faced in the traffic jams will be lower than the "cost" of closing, staggering or otherwise altering work.

So, while better government "leadership" might have put a lot of folks at home and out of harm's way, what about all of the other folks? Businesses aren't altruistic by their nature (well, not all businesses), and we have to hope that they also show true "leadership" by thinking and encouraging LESS traffic. If it's not a priority for business, then we'll just be back here again when the next winter storm approaches.

This is when mass transit would have helped.

If people don't want it, then they shouldnt complain one or two weather events a year

PTC Observer's picture

Are you suggesting that we spend billions of dollars because of snow days?

Please don't say yes. I not complaining. ;-)

Just messing with you.

Lure every one to work. throw in a few flakes, shake well and send them home.
What you witnessed is complete collapse of the transportation infrastructure. People in America in 2014 slept on the highways and having completely lost any fath or confidence inthe system abandoned their cars on the road, whoelsale.

People in Atlanta, the great AMerican city, sleeping on the floor of the publix.

Kids who physically could not be reutrned home safely in the most modern of American cities, the most powerful nation on Earth, today.

How many millions of dollars were left on I285 Tuesday night alone ?

And the country and the world yucking it up over the hapless Southern Bumpkins populating this great city.

That is not enough to give you pause ?

The transport system is run at capacity on a dry day. Factor in water, rain or snow, and the whole thing false down. Factor in Atlanta metro growth, and what you saw on your screen on Tuesday, will be a common occurance.

Think the roads are free and transit costs. Think again. Roads cost and are subsidized by the tax payer. We buy the vehicle, we buy the fuel, we pay the maintanence, pay the insurance and so on.

If you looked at the GDOT 511 traffic map, on Tuesday Atlanta metro was ground zero and judging by the red status on every single major raod in the city, and the fact that no other location in the state was red, it seems that the problem is localized to Atlanta metro.

And so, sure, yeah, yes, absolutly, robust, well conceived and well run mass tranit could have solved the problem and would have on Tuesday.

Two facts, all tranits infrasturcture cost money, and you will pay, either for transit supported by the governemtn or out of your own household budget, but you will pay. And for sure Atl;anta will spend buckets of money on transit infrastructure, and adding lanes will not solve the problem.

So the leadership will have a choice. But if Atlanta wants to transition from Bumpkinwille to world class worthy of having hosted the olympics, and comprehensive plan that considers mass transit should be in the works.

The USA has more railroad miles than any other country in the world. We are about 40% off the peaks from the 1950s, having given the right of ways back to hiker biker paths. But consider this, 5 years ago China put in a few miles of high speed rail between Bejing and Tanjin airport. Now they have over 6200 miles of electrified high speed rail with over 2 million passengers per day. They are adding electrifed high speed rail at the rate of 3 miles per day.


Instead of privatizing toll roads or lanes, the state could consider privatizing train routes down the middle of the interstates. They can place parking lots at major populated towns along the way and use pedestrian walkways over the interstate.

For instance, a train running down I75 from Buckhead, Downtown and following I75 to Griffin. Keep the airport train separate. Have stops along the way. Clayton Co., few stops in Henry, Locust Grove, ect., all the way to Griffin or further.

When I worked temporarily in Northern Va., I always watched the trains speed by as I got stuck in traffic.

If the I75 works and the undesirables don't invade, then consider I85 corridor to LaGrange. There's no way around it. If the state wants business growth, it has to find ways to move people quickly. Every business thinking to relocate to the metro area are now most likely thinking twice.

Pretty sure those smart guys from Tech can come up with a plan.

PTC Observer's picture

Could it be that the only thing that could have prevented the snow debacle would be personal responsibility? It is a frightening prospect when we rely on the "leadership" of government to tell us what we actually see and hear. But then I suppose this is the society that has been bred by big government, "wait for them to tell us what to do".

I don't think there are very many business leaders that would keep an employee at work against their will. Do you?

Gort's picture

I find it hard to believe the traffic mess from this winter storm was the result of poor leadership, risk aversion, or just an unfortunate string of events that led to a disaster. This winter storm wasn’t our first rodeo.

If I was a suspicious person, I could imagine our Republican Gov. Deal, with the help of his goon squad, seen the storm a coming and concluded,…

“Time for some traffic problems in Atlanta!”

Using traffic as a political weapon looks like the weapon of choice for Republican Governors these days, don’t it?

For those of you that watched Gov. Deal’s press conference yesterday, didn’t Mayor Reed of Atlanta look like he was being held hostage?

Anyway, let’s hope members of the Gov. Deal’s staff are more careful with their e-mails, (than Gov. Christie’s,) or his administration could also burst into flames like the Hindenburg did in New Jersey.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote for the Democrat.

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