Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Racks and Hard Places; The Archer Road Tour, Butler Plaza

Butler Plaza is one of the points of focus in G'ville and its size reflects its importance ranging over about a mile, covering something like 1 million square feet and housing about 100 tenants. There are grocery stores and eateries, a tax office and movie theater, armed forces recruiters and high tech repair. One of the catch phrases for Butler, as it's known locally, is "Take a moment and relax." Not a bad idea except during rush hour when Archer Road becomes something just shy of Death Race. It's not really that bad, but not enough people living here have experienced Atlanta to appreciate what bad traffic really involves. Can you say I-285?

Butler Plaza West, Central and East are on the north side of Archer Road and it is along Archer that most of the eateries front. Behind the eateries is the wide collection of places, but since this tour is about "where can I go to secure my bike?" it'll only touch on those places where racks or flyparking exist. For those who have forgotten, flyparking is defined as "locking cycles to trees or street furniture." Visit the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing to read an extensive discussion about bike security including a discussion of flyparking.

Security along the myriad store fronts in Butler is sadly lacking, but with some marked exceptions. Most racks are out of sight and in low traffic areas and of low quality. Where bikes were included in planning racks are more visible and sturdy.

Butler Plaza Target At the east end of Butler is Target and it presents an unfortunately typical out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude regarding bikes. The racks, while embedded in concrete and in sufficient numbers, are invisible to the mass of people using the front door. It appears that the rider of the Mongoose (the bike on the right) understands the bike's vulnerability as its seatpost is removed and both front and rear wheels are secured along with the frame.
Archer Road Target, Securing your Mongoose

Butler Plaza, Publix, formerly Albertson's There are no racks between Target and Publix. This is the formerly Albertson's Publix. Its racks, one at each of the two entrances are typical nonsecured, held-together-by-nuts-and-bolts racks. The racks are visible to patrons
Archer Road, Publix, formerly Albertson's, bike rack

That's it for Butler Plaza West. If you wanna secure your bike to go into Barnes and Nobles your only option is a sign across the street. Security mostly sucks in the West.

Butler Plaza Central is the most appealing of the three sections of Butler because of its quirky, outdated-but-now-trendy parking and its live oaks. bike parking isn't much better, though.

Best Buy
Butler Plaza, Best Buy
Best Buy is not quite a Target clone, but close. Probably makes sense to the decision makers to not include bicycles in their planning. After all, how're you gonna take a flatscreen entertainment monster home on a bike?

Elsewhere at Butler Central
Butler Plaze Central, Monkey Oak
Trader Joe's chose a location at Butler that has a bike rack in place nearby. It's right under the tree with the monkeys which makes it one of the more attractive places to secure your bike. Lots of room. Sturdy. Plentry of foot traffic because of Tracer Joe's

After that, well, your SOL until you get to the transition between Butler Plaza Central and the newly renovated The Esplanade at Butler Plaza, a rather grand name for a place which still houses Cici's.

Re-Tech and Hibbett Sporting Goods
Butler Plaza, between Central and The Esplanade Across from these two businesses is a sturdy rack. It is highly visible, but not near foot traffic.

The Esplanade will be next. Can you hardly wait?


  1. On 2 occasions, I've noticed suspicious people hanging around bikes racks at Publix. One guy was leaning against the wall, and when I turned around he walked over to a bike and lowered the seat. I turned back around and he went back to leaning on the wall, then rode off with the bike as I walked off.

    Not sure why a bike owner would raise then lower his seat, so that could have been a theft.

    Another time a man was on his cell phone, standing next to the bike racks. An older model blue and white Chevy Blazer pulled up, then quickly turned around and left as I was watching this event unfold, in front of my locked bike.

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  2. Anyone who leaves his or her bike unsecured is making a mistake. Unfortunately, even when adequately chained, shackled and fastened theft of bikes is comparatively easy. All we can do is make the best decisions possible regarding where we stop and how we secure. I like to think that passers-by offer some additional level of deterrence to bike thefts, but sadly, that is expecting too much. Still, bike theft is primarily a result of opportunity so the more we can reduce the opportunity the better our chances are.