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Old 11-15-2010, 10:09 AM
 
16 posts, read 37,352 times
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For anyone considering moving to Metro ATL, here are my thoughts after moving here two years ago...

I moved here from Ohio. I live in Woodstock, and work for a Telecom in Marietta. I travel out-of-state every week for work, via Hartsfield Intl. I'm 42, single, no kids.

Atlanta, and all it's outlying areas are horribly crowded and congested. Traffic will more than likely be your biggest complaint. Commuting from Woodstock to Roswell, Marietta, Alpharetta (all next door neighbors) will take you at least 30 minutes. If you commute farther, expect to spend an hour + each way. Drivers are aggressive. Expect close tailgating and being cut-off on the major highways. Turn signals are not used, and there is no "passing lane" here.

Woodstock police are very aggressive. Speeding tickets and DUI's occupy the majority of their time. Don't drink and drive in Woodstock.

Woodstock specifically, and Metro Atlanta in general, is very "soul-less". Expect to see mile after never ending mile of strip malls, chain stores, and franchise restaurants. The northern suburbs are materialism, consumerism, and conspicuous consumption on a massive scale. Woodstock is full of McMansions. These are packed tightly into Swim Tennis developments. Many of these "communities" have numerous vacant foreclosures, and empty lots, since the market crashed. Lots of expensive cars on the road here, and SUV's. Why anyone needs an SUV in a state that never sees any REAL snow is beyond me.

Church seems to be the primary social activity here. Woodstock has one of the largest Baptist churches I've ever seen, complete with it's own trolley system to bring people in from the parking lot. Locals refer to it as "Six Flags Over Jesus". Traffic on Rt92 comes to a standstill during service hours.

If I was married, raising a family, was religious, didn't mind long commutes, and had a household income around $150k, Woodstock would be my own little slice of heaven. If you are a single professional, who would like to have an interesting and active social life, look elsewhere.

Atlanta proper (ITP) is accessible, but even during non-rush hours, it's still a good 30-40 minute drive. There is much to do, but not as much as a similarly-sized city, like say Chicago, New York, etc... or even smaller cities like San Antonio, Austin, Nashville, etc... I was a little disappointed. Atlanta doesn't have it's own personality like many other cities, and seems not to know who it is, or what it's trying to be - if that makes any sense.

Public transportation? Forget about it. ATL has a train system, but it's bad to the point of being unusable, and it's not safe.

Crime? Not in the outlying suburbs like Kennesaw, Woodstock, Alpharetta, etc... No worries there. ITP, it's a different story. In the metro area, there is at least one serious violent crime EVERY SINGLE DAY 365 - murder, rape, shooting etc... But, as I said, if you are out in the burbs, it's nothing more than a news story to you.

The people are very friendly here. Much more so than up North. It's not fake, it's not insincere. They're genuinely friendlier, and much more well mannered. Courtesy to strangers (aside from in traffic) is the norm.

Economy? No matter how "bad" people in ATL say it is, it is FAR better here than in the Northern rust belt. Salaries and wages are higher. If you want to work, you will find a job here. Remember that many of the people who are unemployed here are high salary and unwilling to take a job beneath them. Others just aren't capable or willing to make lateral moves into different disciplines. If you are a smart go-getter with a good work ethic you will find a job in ATL. Period. No one from the steel towns of the midwest will move here and be disappointed at the opportunities. Just be ready to spend a lot of time commuting.

Cost of living. Rents are higher in Woodstock than in NE Ohio. Everything else (food, fuel, taxes, etc...) is lower. GA doesn't tax the living ****e out of everything the way Ohio does.

Weather. MUCH better than Ohio. The heat and humidity? You get used to it. Shorts and flip flops are worn 9mos out of the year. It snows once in a blue moon, but it's a dusting. You don't even need to sweep it with a broom. Don't bother bringing your shovel. Leave your gloves, boots, and ski caps too. When it does flurry a little bit, people here lose their minds. They go into survival mode, empty the shelves at the supermarkets, and hunker down in their homes. It's funny... My employer put me on the "Emergency Snow Team" which is a skeleton crew that can run the business during a snow storm, because I know how to drive in snow. So I get to work, while the wimps are trapped in their homes by those big 1 inch drifts. Ha...

Pollen. It rains the green stuff here. Theres enough pollen in the spring to shovel it. My pollen allergies are bad, but surprisingly, since moving here I have stopped taking Rx allergy meds. My allergies were FAR worse in Ohio.

Culture. Lacking for a city this size, which surprised me. The art scene is relatively weak. Don't expect to have anything like SF, LA, Chicago, NY, etc... I think that culture, to the average Atlantan, means the Falcons, Braves, or SEC football.

Sports. Fans are about the same here as up north, they just seem to be louder about it. It gets annoying.

Outdoors. Cherokee county and points north are absolutely stunning in the natural beauty. Lots of great hiking opportunities. The further you get from ATL, the less crowded it gets. Two nice big lakes north of ATL, but very crowded. If it rains hard and theres a puddle here, someone will try to put a boat in it.

Rednecks. Yep, we got em. But, your state has them too. They're everywhere. We had plenty of NASCAR watching, pickup truck driving, Walmart shopping 'necks in Ohio. There's also plenty in NY, CA, WA, FL, and everywhere else. You can't fix stupid, and the south doesn't have a monopoly on poor trailer trash.

It all boils down to what you want. The more money you have, the more you can insulate yourself from the negatives, and take advantage of the positives. The one thing you cannot get away from is the traffic. You will never get used to it, but after some time, it will bother you less.

All in all, ATL is a whole lot better than the rust belt. Don't be scared to try it.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:21 AM
 
879 posts, read 2,408,953 times
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Very well said and directionally aligned with my views.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:31 AM
 
3,257 posts, read 4,659,701 times
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At parts of your report I disagreed strongly and other parts I agreed with, so it was an interesting read. I think your perception of MARTA and intown crime is a bit off. All of the cities you compare Atlanta with have some amount of crime as well--whether it's 50% lower or 50% higher is up for debate.

Don't know what you mean by lacking in culture, really. What sort of culture were you looking for? You can certainly find plenty of international flavor on Buford Highway, and Midtown has the High Museum, Atlanta Symphony, Fox, etc. There are plenty of events in Atlantic Station. Neighborhoods like Piedmont & 10th, Little 5, and East Atlanta all cater to distinct subcultures, but none are unapproachable to outsiders. From most suburbanites I gather the impression Atlanta has a bit too much "culture", not too little.

You seem like someone who would enjoy living intown, but you seem hung up on crime.

Well, good luck to you.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Midtown Atlanta
747 posts, read 1,299,122 times
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To be fair, Woodstock does have a great downtown area.
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:42 AM
 
9,124 posts, read 32,727,140 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44709-30188-32459 View Post
Woodstock police are very aggressive. Speeding tickets and DUI's occupy the majority of their time. Don't drink and drive in Woodstock.
You write this as if it's a bad thing. As a resident of the town next to Woodstock, Holly Springs, I'm glad Woodstock is aggressive on speeding and DUI's- should they not be????
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:15 PM
 
16 posts, read 37,352 times
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Bob - No, just stating that Woodstock cops are aggressive on these issues. Some towns, you'd have to murder someone in the parking lot of the police station to get the cops to take notice. That said, Woodstock is not somewhere you want to have two beers with a late dinner and risk being stopped or, hitting a checkpoint.

Koko - Woodstock's "downtown" is nice, but it only spans a single street, one block long. It's rarely worth visiting.

Testa - As for culture, I mean the calibre of the cultural offerings. Atlanta's museums and other cultural attractions and events are not in the same class as other cities of a similar size. Not saying it lacks culture, just saying it's not what I expected from one of the largest major metropolitan areas in N. America. I don't really see the "demand" for anything more though. Atlanta does not compare with NY, Chicago, or SF. Not hung up on crime. ATL's crime seems to bleed out of the "bad areas" more so than in cities like Chicago or LA. The bad areas aren't contained as well here. MARTA is terrible. Ride the trains in NY, Chicago or DC, and note the differences. MARTA is a textbook example of how NOT to operate a public transit system. MARTA needs to reach out to the suburbs with light rail. You are correct, I probably would have been happier ITP, but my employer is in Marietta, and I wanted a little bit better access, among other things.

Reading back over it, it does sound more negative than I meant it to. I think to re-summarize, I'd say that Woodstock is a GREAT place for young married professionals raising kids, and who want to insulate themselves from the big city, while still having access to it. Conversely, It's a terrible place for the single guy who likes to get out and about, and who's social life isn't church-centric.
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:25 PM
 
876 posts, read 1,937,903 times
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This is a good post, if I were in your situation, I would probably write some of this myself. Anyway, maybe in time you can move to another area of Atlanta as the economy gets better.

I do disagree with you about the weather. I don't miss snow or overcast days. I had lived in Ohio and put up with snow. I didn't enjoy shoveling snow and there was a lot of rain where I had lived in Ohio, so it seemed overcast way too often for my liking. Atlanta has many sunny days, sometimes too many. ... LOL

Other than that and lack of good-paying jobs, I had thought rural Ohio would be a great place to raise a family. Too bad now, the Rust Belt economy has been in shambles and probably will be in recovery mode for a long time.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:38 PM
 
3,257 posts, read 4,659,701 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 44709-30188-32459 View Post
Testa - As for culture, I mean the calibre of the cultural offerings. Atlanta's museums and other cultural attractions and events are not in the same class as other cities of a similar size. Not saying it lacks culture, just saying it's not what I expected from one of the largest major metropolitan areas in N. America. I don't really see the "demand" for anything more though. Atlanta does not compare with NY, Chicago, or SF. Not hung up on crime.
Fair enough, but comparing Atlanta with NY, Chicago, and SF is a bit unfair. We compare pretty well with Houston, Miami, and Dallas, which are really our peer cities.

Quote:
ATL's crime seems to bleed out of the "bad areas" more so than in cities like Chicago or LA. The bad areas aren't contained as well here.
I guess I can see this.

Quote:
MARTA is terrible. Ride the trains in NY, Chicago or DC, and note the differences. MARTA is a textbook example of how NOT to operate a public transit system. MARTA needs to reach out to the suburbs with light rail. You are correct, I probably would have been happier ITP, but my employer is in Marietta, and I wanted a little bit better access, among other things.
I don't get the MARTA hate. Are you mad it doesn't go into Cobb County? Because Cobb voted it down, as did every county but Fulton and Dekalb. Can't fault them for that.

The mass train system itself seems very well-run from the standpoint of the rider. The trains are clean, cheap, and easy to use. I use my laptop every day on MARTA and never feel threatened. No one has ever commented on it.

What, specifically, is wrong with MARTA? I get that it doesn't go as many places as people would like...
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:40 PM
 
281 posts, read 530,077 times
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Why in the heck did you choose to live in Woodstock? If I were single I'd live in Virginia-Highlands or Buckhead.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:23 PM
 
248 posts, read 555,948 times
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I grew up in East Cobb and lived briefly in Woodstock. I think the the OP gives a pretty fair assessment of the pros and cons of someone moving to the area and I really enjoyed reading this. It's nice to know what the experience is like for outsiders moving in.

Reading this, what struck me is that there could stand to be some great neighborhoods for young singles in this area around where the OP works and lives. There are certainly some apartments where you can find a lot of singles, but it's not like an overall neighborhood vibe (this is me talking from my experience living in Cobb/Cherokee in the 1980s-90s, though, and I'm not sure if this situation has changed).

Young singles living in Cobb and Cherokee deserve to have their own versions of the hip intown ATL neighborhoods. You shouldn't have to move to the Old Fourth Ward to have a good singles life if you work in Marietta.

I'll chime in and disagree that MARTA is unsafe. You do get more in the way of rowdy young people and panhandlers on the trains in Atlanta than you do in NYC, but I wouldn't call that a safety issue. More of an annoyance. Also, MARTA has done an impressive job over the decades in providing service to a landscape that is very challenging for transit service (non-gridded roads and fragmentation by the ITP interstates, for example) -- not to mention the atypical lack of dedicated state funding.
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