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Thread: Atlanta, anyone?

  1. #1

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    Atlanta, anyone?

    I am facing a possible move to Atlanta due to my spouse's job. We have heard the horror stories, and currently reside in Raleigh, NC, where the traffic and sprawl are starting to be compared to Atlanta (you can't drive here without being held up behind 1200 SUV's driving from store to store because of the total lack of mass transit or pedestrian transit). Would the move be a huge disaster in the way of quality of life or keeping our sanity? I am more prone to liking small town life, although a big city does appeal to me somewhat. Is Atlanta REALLY as bad as they say?

  2. #2
         
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    Yes, it is.

  3. #3
    No, it's worse. I got out three years ago and my relatives who have remained behind say it's exponentially worse than it was when I left. My advice, if you can afford it, is live as close as possible to your work and avoid the suburban counties (Cobb, Gwinnett, et al) like the plague. Where is your wife's job going to be?

  4. #4

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    Oh, fantastic! As a matter of fact, the office building he would be in is in Perimeter Center East off of Ashford Dunwoody Drive. We will definately have to go for a mid-week visit before a final decision is made. Thanks for all your helpful advice!

  5. #5

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    That is what I would want to do, live in the central city instead of the horrific commuter suburbs. However, the tales I have heard about the mass transit in the city is that it is not that great. My HUSBAND's job will be right off of I-285 on the northern edge of the city. Is that particular area any better or worse? Like I said, we are still trying to decide if we want to risk it. Cost of living is ever rising here in Raleigh, but I am not sure what we could afford in Atlanta. Obviously not much on my planner's salary !

  6. #6
    Oh no, please tell me it's not the "perimeter" area: do the names Ashford-Dunwoody, Peachtree Dunwoody, Hammond Drive, Glendale or Johnson's Ferry Roads ring a bell? The WORST traffic is on the northern edge of the city right off I-285. The nearby residential areas are "upscale" and tend to be expensive but of course that's totally subjective. There are pockets of less expensive housing in the area, but they aren't "nice". Of course, I've been gone so things may have changed.

    Transit is improving, but of course you get better service in the central city. As you get further out there is sketchier service, but there ARE rail lines that serve that part of town now. If you can, go for a visit and see what traffic is like on the northern arc of I-285 between 4-6 p.m. It ain't pretty. My ex-husband who still lives there (and works in that area, off of Hammond Drive) has modified his work hours to 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. just so he can GET to work (he commutes from Gwinnett County).
    Incidentally, sorry, but your alias was not gender-specific.
    Good luck.

  7. #7
    When we lived in South Carolina, my sister in law lived in Atlanta and we would visit her quite often. I have to say that I would rather be homeless and jobless in any other city in the US (even Buffalo) than have to move to, work and live in Atlanta. My sister in law lived off Roswell Road (the north of 285) and traffic was just beyond unbelievable. I don't think we visited once without witnessing a car fire, someone driving into the median or an airplane crashing into commuter traffic.

    Atlanta is planner's hell. And I don't say that lightly.

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    The fact that I-75 is six lanes or wider through most of Georgia, even rural areas in the southern end of the state, should say something.

    If you're stuck on the Perimeter, at least you'll have plenty of reading material to keep you occupied! I don't think I could live in Georgia, period. When I moved from Denver to Orlando, I drove down I-75 through the state, and never saw so many billboards as I did through Georgia. Huge large format signs, most doubled or tripled up (see http://bpsoutdoor.com/photoshotel.htm for some particularly wonderful examples). Ugly, ugly, ugly -- some rural areas seemed worse than El Paso (the only major city in Texas that hasn't banned new billboards), believe it or not. I could imagine that some neighborhoods in Atlanta would be utterly covered in 'em.

    OTOH, I'm told that Atlanta has far more than its fair share of attractive single women. Not that it would matter to you, but for me ...

  9. #9
    I'd never heard that about Atlanta, Georgia in general, yes. North Carolina, I saw only 3 women under 40 in 18 months working there, really.
    In my life, I have met men both good, and evil. I defend my self against them all...

  10. #10
    Dan, as a planner you should know that there is a lot more to a place than what you see driving through on the interstate! Sure, Atlanta has big problems but it does have its charms as well. AS for El Paso, go to Kern Place, Memorial Park or Government Hill: yes, even in El Paso there are some nice places.
    Can you tell that the two cities I have spent 95% of my life in are Atlanta and El Paso?

    Incidentally, I am living proof of the fact that native Atlanta women are by far the most beautiful . . .

    Good luck on the exam tomorrow.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    My most memorable experiences of a week in downtown Atlanta were searching for and never finding a good restaurant, and trying to find a drug store open at 9 in the morning, then trying to find any open store, then driving ten miles. Downtown Atlanta, despite the size of the metro area, has to be one of the deadest central cities in the world. As for El Paso, at least it does have an active downtown.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  12. #12
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Yes the traffic is bad, but I really don't mind the area that much. I have a very good friend that lives in Dunwoody, and I sort of like the area. It is upscale and once you know your way around enough to avoid I285, the traffic isn't that bad.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Note to self: take Atlanta of the "List."
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  14. #14

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    Well, we went for a visit this week. And, just as you all said, traffic, traffic, traffic! There were some nicer parts of town, but Michael S. is right, no center city! In fact, I didn't find that Atlanta had any character at all. It was like a city that accidentally got really big and then didn't know what to do with itself. Anyway, I think Atlanta has moved way down on our list of places to go. I guess we'll see what happens.

  15. #15
    As a resident of the Atlanta area, and having moved away and then back again (somewhat reluctantly but no regrets now), I can agree with most of these observations. And I am not necessarily in a position to defend residing in Atlanta. But I would say if Atlanta is as bad as some of you think it is, then why are so many people moving here? Get the message out to them!

    From the standpoint of the planning profession, the Atlanta area has never been a better place to work. Lots of job security and opportunity in Atlanta; newfound respect for planners. And on the Perimeter area, while I would agree on potential problems with finding housing in the immediate vicinity, it is served by a MARTA rail line.

  16. #16
    Oh, and as to the deadness of downtown Atlanta, that may still be true but the city increased population during the 1990s, reversing the loss in the prior decade. Much new housing is going in downtown, and so there may be a slow but steady reversal of Atlanta deadness. You have to look beyond the suburban edge city areas to begin to find the "character" in the metro area. Jerry.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Jerry Weitz (152.163.213.187)
    Saturday, May 19, 2001 - 11:25 am
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Oh, and as to the deadness of downtown Atlanta, that may still be true but the city increased population during the 1990s, reversing the loss in the prior decade. Much new housing is going in downtown, and so there may be a slow but steady reversal of Atlanta deadness. You have to look beyond the suburban edge city areas to begin to find the "character" in the metro area. Jerry.
    It's increasing in population, the neighborhoods are very strong, and despite the continuing incompleteness of downtown, part of this is due to the shift of the dense and dynamic core to Midtown (three train stops up from Five Points).

    I have a lot of observations on the situation in Atlanta at

    http://larryfeltonjohnson.typepad.com

    Larry

  18. #18
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    Anyone who is in Atlanta Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday to be exact) can get a taste of both MARTA and the night scene as we are having another MARTA Pub Crawl. For those of us who live downtown, it is great since we get to stumble home without endangering everyone else on the road (something pretty much impossible to accomplish in the 'burbs).

    http://www.evite.com/pages/gt/events...YAMPWZDKKBFECY

    In general, I would think Atlanta (the city not the metro) would be a planner's dream. Since the city was so abandonded by suburban flight, there is a lot of undeveloped parts of town. Now that there is a movement back in town, past problems can be corrected without being hampered by existing infrastructure since it is in many cases is non-existent. Also you'll find that the people living in the city have seen the horrors of our endless sprawl and are very receptive to good planning. You will of course get tarred and feathered by residents (but not developers) if you propose putting a parking deck in a park, an elevated freeway through a hot area so suburbanites can get to said hot area quickly while also destroying it in the process, or if you are anti-transit. The inner suburbs are starting to turn around too, but with less control over their surface roads (downside of getting the state to pay for all your arterial roads is you lose control) and small size, it is more of a challenge there.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by AubieTurtle
    In general, I would think Atlanta (the city not the metro) would be a planner's dream. Since the city was so abandonded by suburban flight, there is a lot of undeveloped parts of town. Now that there is a movement back in town, past problems can be corrected without being hampered by existing infrastructure since it is in many cases is non-existent. Also you'll find that the people living in the city have seen the horrors of our endless sprawl and are very receptive to good planning. You will of course get tarred and feathered by residents (but not developers) if you propose putting a parking deck in a park, an elevated freeway through a hot area so suburbanites can get to said hot area quickly while also destroying it in the process, or if you are anti-transit. The inner suburbs are starting to turn around too, but with less control over their surface roads (downside of getting the state to pay for all your arterial roads is you lose control) and small size, it is more of a challenge there.
    You betcha. I live in East Atlanta, a few blocks from where Charles Brewer's Glenwood Park development is going in. Nearly every vacant lot or old industrial area near me is in some phase of redevelopment. And the west side has enormous amounts of undeveloped land and old industrial sites ripe for redevelopment. It's already starting along Howell Mill near 14th Street and I fully expect it to surge westward.

    This is a very exciting time to live in Atlanta.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    City vs. Metro

    yes, first you must seperate ATL vs Metro Atlanta or Inside the Perimeter (ITP) vs Outside the Perimeter (OTP)

    Living in ATL is wonderful, cool restaurants, shops, bars, buildings, homes, etc...

    OTP is blah......sprawlville.

    Traffic ITP is not that bad, OTP it is. :-S

    Viva Hotlanta, the birthplace of this Cyburbanite.

    Although I dont have plans to move back anytime soon, while ATL is cool, I am having too much fun exploring other places as of now.

  21. #21
         
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    It's not that bad! (Well..maybe the northside is..)

    When someone says "suburban Atlanta" the first thing to pop into a head is "horrible traffic" "Roswell" or "Perimeter".

    Well, I've got some news: There's another side to Atlanta other than the north side!

    I live on the southeast side of Atlanta, OTP, south of I-20. It's somewhat rural, but drive 10 minutes and you hit crappy strip malls. The traffic is bad, but we're not completely insane like the northside.

    I realize that the northside was what sprawled first and that it did so very fast (like..uh..15 years fast). I have been to the northside (against my will) and have seen the chaos that makes up Roswell-Alpharetta. But please don't think the whole of the ATL metro area is that way. Granted there are "1200 SUVs" down here too, but there are 1200 SUVs no matter where you go in the U.S. There's lots of construction down here, but it's all spread out because we haven't had the growth like the northside.

    The southside is still un-molested. Come visit. Then go back home.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    You are right, southside is relatively untouched when viewed against the northside, but the same insane development that happened on the northside is coming to the south. You all are now growing faster than the north for all the same reasons the north originally did. It would be nice if the southside learned some lessons from the mistakes of the northside. The problem is that even if your mayor has a clue and tries to have sane controlled development, the guy in the next town over is a Wayne Hall wannabe and will approve all manner of sprawl that will impact your town too. The lack of cooperation between government entities (and in some ways downright hatred of each other) really hurts the Atlanta metro.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    You couldn't pay me enough to move back to Atlanta. I dub it "the year from hell." Icky place.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally posted by Floridays
    You couldn't pay me enough to move back to Atlanta. I dub it "the year from hell." Icky place.
    Just curious ... What parts of Atlanta did you become familiar with? I ask because people's experiences here often depend on where they were.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Larry Felton Johnson
    Just curious ... What parts of Atlanta did you become familiar with? I ask because people's experiences here often depend on where they were.
    I lived in DeKalb County (eastern perimeter) and commuted to downtown (Peachtree Center).

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