Author Topic: Mustachian towns/communities NE/E/SE ATL?  (Read 2404 times)

ThePlatypus

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Mustachian towns/communities NE/E/SE ATL?
« on: September 01, 2013, 11:59:08 AM »
Hello Mustachians! First, let me say that I do not expect anyone to do any sort of research for me. Please don't. I plan to research jobs, real estate, make visits, etc. like crazy before I make any sort of move. However, I thought I'd just throw this quick post out to see if anyone had any existing knowledge/tips about this area before I launch into research mode. Thanks!

Alpharetta, John's Creek, Roswell, Norcross, Duluth, Conyers etc. Are any of these places Mustache-friendly? Do any of them have anything resembling biking paths/lanes? If not, how much MARTA service is there outside the perimeter? Do I stand a chance of using public transportation to get to work? I'm a engineer/programmer. I know there are some companies in these areas that seem alright. It seems that the eastern towns are smaller and less likely to have jobs I need. Stone Mountain, Snellville, etc. have lower populations. I don't particularly want to live inside the perimeter. Smog isn't my thing.

AnonymousCoward

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Re: Mustachian towns/communities NE/E/SE ATL?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2013, 03:58:24 PM »
I'll address your last point first.
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I don't particularly want to live inside the perimeter. Smog isn't my thing.
There is no smog. To the contrary, Atlanta has the densest tree canopy of any major American city. The air quality in the city is indistinguishable from that in the suburbs (I've lived in Atlanta and in the northern suburbs you mentioned). If you can't handle tons of pollen that'll be a big problem wherever you live in Georgia. If air quality only thing preventing you from living in the city, hooray problem solved!

At this point I'll go ahead and reveal my preference for the city. It's much more progressive in terms of bike infrastructure and walkability (and everything else).

Moving on to your suggested cities.

All of them are sprawling suburbs. Roswell has a nice dense downtown which is walkable and pleasant to bike in. It's got shops, a library, churches, etc. Downtown Alpharetta is similar, and they've even started adding bike lanes in the past few years. You didn't mention Marietta (NW of Atlanta), but it's also got a nice downtown.

Except those small (and expensive!) areas, the rest of the northern suburbs car-centric sprawl. The neighborhoods are great big cul-de-sacs attached by four lane 45 mph parkways (not bike friendly). There is one bike path that provides access to several office parks and subdivisions, http://goo.gl/maps/KuwhV, but it's intended as a recreational trail and it passes lots of useful places without providing trailheads to get to them. If you're selective about where you work you could find a home that makes car-lite living possible, but it isn't a given and the area in general isn't conducive to it.

MARTA busses run along the aforementioned parkways in Roswell and Alpharetta and provide access to many of the office parks. Duluth and John's Creek don't have MARTA busses at all. Conyers is too far out to be served by MARTA, there's a regional bus system for commuters though. MARTA busses have bike racks on them. The route coverage outside the perimeter is pretty sparse, it's really meant to get people from the park-and-ride lots to the train station. Don't expect this to change anytime soon, service expansions into the suburbs are vigorously opposed by locals (something about black people using busses as getaway vehicles).
« Last Edit: September 01, 2013, 04:02:31 PM by pmallory »

Peony

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Re: Mustachian towns/communities NE/E/SE ATL?
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2013, 05:34:47 PM »
pmallory, what about Decatur? Is it more progressive/sustainable than the suburbs mentioned?

AnonymousCoward

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Re: Mustachian towns/communities NE/E/SE ATL?
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2013, 07:41:25 PM »
Decatur is a very cool city, it's definitely worth checking out.

Decatur is a separate city from Atlanta (and in a different county), but it's still within the perimeter. Population 20,000. It's probably the most liberal city in Georgia. Whether that's appealing or not is up to you, but it does correspond with excellent walkability/bikability, and drivers and police who are accustomed to bikes. MARTA bus coverage is good, and the MARTA green/blue train lines run right through the middle of town.

There's a bike route, the Stone Mountain Trail, to downtown Atlanta (it's partially on the road in Decatur, closer to Atlanta it becomes a multi-use path). That ride is five miles. The Stone Mountain Trail connects to the Beltline trail which is another multi-use path. Right now the Beltline runs along the east side of Atlanta and into Midtown, eventually it will be an actual belt around all of Midtown and Downtown.

Property is expensive in the city limits of Decatur, but the area around the city is also pretty great.

Dee18

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Re: Mustachian towns/communities NE/E/SE ATL?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2013, 07:50:27 PM »
Anyone can check air pollution levels at airnow.gov. There are maps so you can even see which part of the city has the most pollution.

Unfortunately, Atlanta does have serious air pollution, both particulates and ozone.  It has been much better this summer than usual because of more rain.

ThePlatypus

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Re: Mustachian towns/communities NE/E/SE ATL?
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 06:39:37 PM »
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There is no smog.
Perhaps not. I do recall seeing it there in the 90s, but not on any of my more recent trips. I know they test emissions now; I'm not sure when that was introduced but perhaps that and other factors have improved the air quality.

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The air quality in the city is indistinguishable from that in the suburbs
After looking around at airnow.gov, this does seem to be the case. I had assumed the city center would be the worst. It probably is to some extent, but the suburbs always seem to fall inside the same ranges as the city proper. I also found these helpful sites:
http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/where.html
http://www.epa.gov/air/airpolldata.html

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All of them are sprawling suburbs.
This makes me sad, but I guess it is to be expected. I'm not really aware of the history of that area in terms of which cities were preexisting old towns versus new sprawling suburbs. I was hoping for an old gem situated between the city and the mountains.

So, the city and/or Decatur could be good. Aren't the higher real estate prices there going to eat away all the costs I would save on transportation?

I have family in the area, which is why I'm interested in moving up there. I don't recall the details, but I heard that DeKalb County is in some sort of financial trouble. I tried to search for it and didn't easily find anything that summarized it for me, but I did find this that touches on some of it:
http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/how-dekalb-wound-up-with-26-tax-rate-hike/nQJZk/

Marietta is a little bit out of the the family-region I was aiming for. Conyers is too, I just threw it in right before posting because it looked about the right size in terms of population.

Thanks for the response - definitely gives me more to think on.