We first noticed it with the windows down at the intersection of Guthrie and Broadway. Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, then a mechanical voice says aloud over the busy street, “You may now proceed to Broadway.” On the 6000 block of Broadway and Guthrie to Rowlett Rd., Garland City has installed auditory leading systems at the lights to assist the visually impaired in crossing the street, and minimize the crime of jay walking. For residents in the surrounding area with blind relatives or friends, this is good news and a useful tool; especially if your blind friends want to drive.
The lure of the siren’s call is Chili’s off 30 and Beltline, and in accordance’s with Chili’s drink menu logo (found at the bottom), “Drink Responsibly. Drive Responsibly”, we are walking.
Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, goes the light, like a mechanical phoenix calling out the new possibilities in a city ready for them. After the light counts down to zero another voice sounds out giving directions to cross the street. We cross. From the neighborhood off Guthrie Rd. to the intersection of 30 and Beltline we proceed two lights to get to our destination Chili’s, the whole trip taking ten minutes as we cross each light following the instructions of the new auditory light guiding system.
Once at the restaurant we grab a corner booth in the bar, the place a full house. The basketball game plays on the TV strung above the bar, Cavs vs. Lakers. Each chair at the bar taken by someone riveted to the screen playing above, the tables nearby seated with groups of two or three, some men in suits drinking beer, three women having an after work cocktail. The mood is relaxed, competitive sports, and good old Chili’s fun. The food from the kitchen smells delicious, tantalizing, calling the people at the tables to flip their menus over and over in indecision. “It all looks so good”, says one patron.
We pile our table with drinks, two margaritas, two shots of tequila to top the margaritas, and one Miller Light, the person with the beer stroking their glass absently, looking over occasionally to skim the crowd of people. Its 9:38 PM at the Chili’s in Garland off Beltline and Hwy 30 and the restaurant has about a dozen people left, Chili’s main focus of business being the people in the bar. Everyone is having a great time, feelings of good cheer resonating with every clink of glass as group laughter fills the air.
After a few more drinks followed by lively conversation, we gather our things to leave, ready to make our trek back home, eyes closed if need be, knowing that the City of Garland provides for its people.
Tra la la la ling our way out the door of Chili’s we walk through the parking lot and to the highway 30 and Beltline intersection. There at the corner the street lights blink back through the darkness; red, green, yellow. We wait and count the mechanical chirps, then cross when the voice tells us to proceed.
Two lights later we are back in the neighborhood again, safe and sound, and more enlightened about Garland home grown nightlife and city improvements. Take your own journey when you get a chance, a trip to the Chili’s off Beltline and 30 in Garland, right down street, and bring your friends, visually impaired or blindfolded. Guaranteed to be a ‘rockin good time.
Chili's Happy Hour from 11 AM to 11 PM
$3.50 domestic beers