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‘PlanterBox Melee’ challenges players to safely guide a Tesla across a busy Decatur street

Crime and public safety Decatur Decaturish updates

‘PlanterBox Melee’ challenges players to safely guide a Tesla across a busy Decatur street

Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
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This story has been updated. 

Can you guide your prototype, drop-top Tesla from Oakhurst to downtown Decatur without smacking into a planter?

A new game invites you to find out.

Ron Harris created “PlanterBox Melee” as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the planters on West Howard Avenue.

“I just thought it would be a fun little thing to do, about something that is of issue in the community,” Harris explained. It didn’t take long at all, since it’s really just a gentle code fork of a pre-existing game. Took me maybe 10 minutes tops.”

The planters are part of the “Reimagine West Howard” project. Assistant City Manager David Junger has described them as a cost-effective measure to improve safety along the road.

The planters serve to, “create a clearly defined buffer between new travel lanes and the PATH Stone Mountain trail,” Junger says.

The planters contain wildflowers, small crape myrtles and paper bark maples. The city placed 125 rectangular and 72 square planters along the road.

The planters have also been a popular target of ridicule by Decatur residents and visitors. In full disclosure, Decaturish has poked fun at the planters and people’s opinions about them and currently sells coffee mugs and t-shirts with photos of the planters to raise money for our news-gathering efforts.

Vehicles traveling along West Howard have also hit and broken the planters.

Harris said he’s not a fan of the planters.

“I think the planters are a mistake,” he said. “I think they are an attempt to address something that is more complex and requires more thought.”

He said the Tesla is a symbol for bad ideas.

“I just threw the Tesla in there because it kinda represents some of the general ethos I see and hear around Decatur: solutions that seem like a good idea at first blush, but aren’t born out by the math,” he said.

Harris said he’s working on another game about Decatur that’s a parody of the famous “Oregon Trail” called “The McDonough Trail.”

“It’s actually going to blow the doors off the planter game,” he said.

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