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Moving to Atlanta, like Alpharetta but bad commute


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#1 rsk

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 02:41 PM

When my wife and I first started looking at moving to Atlanta, I did a lot of searching online and really fell in love with Alpharetta. Unfortunately I will be working @ GSU in the middle of Atlanta and from what I read it's a 1-1.5hour commute. My hours are flexible so it's possible for me go into work at 10am instead of 9, missing (hopefully) traffic, would that make the commute more reasonable? We are looking for around a 30-45 min commute.

I also have a friend living in Decatur but it didn't seem as new/clean as Alpharetta which is what attracted me to Alpha in the first place, but then I read some people's comments about Decatur that it's actually quite nice with a lot of things to do, so this made me curious.

Are there places inside of the "perimeter" I should be looking that would allow us to live in a nice area? Our price range on house is around 500k.

Let me outline my major concerns here, and let me know what you think. Also if you could *ballpark* commute times from Alpharetta during rush hour and outside of rush hour to GSU that would be great. For example, here in Tucson, if you take I-10 into work like we do, during Rush hour it can take 1 hr. If you go after rush hour, it can take 20mins. So I'm trying to figure out if Alpharetta is completely off the map for us right now, or if there is a possible schedule I could maintain to make it work.

Also my job at GSU will likely be permanent for a while. I would be moving along with quite a few other senior positions that came from the U of A to GSU as part of a research lab relocation.

* NOTE, for now I only need to consider my commute time. My wife can work almost anywhere (pharmacist).

My biggest concerns are:
* Safety/Commute times
* New/Big house
* Affluent area
** Good public schools

My secondary concerns are:
* Convenient location: Grocery store, shopping, entertainment (not bars).

**Our concern for good schools is important, but not primary right now. We will likely have kids in the next 5+ years, so if we could avoid a move and go directly into a nice neighborhood that would be fantastic but not critical.

Also I was looking around Decatur and found some housing over on Battlecrest, about 10-15 new homes going up there. They looked nice but it seemed more south than we would want. We have heard from multiple people to "stay as north as you can". Although I think that is more the "scared white people" opinion we get from Westerners out here. Tucson is predominately a white/mexican-american community so we would probably feel most comforatable in a similar setting, but is certainly not a requirement. I would just prefer to be in a more affluent area. We lived near the University here in Tucson for years where there is a lot of college and low-income living, a lot of homeless people, drugs and crime. I definately do not want to do that again, I had enough of having things go missing, cars get ruined, police at neighbors house, etc.

I guess right now I'm in the state of mind where I really *want* to try and make Alpharetta work for us, because I haven't heard anyone quote a non-rush-hour commute time to me yet. We can deal with 45mins, but that is our peak and my hours will be flexible so I can go in work later and come home later.

Alternatively, if I was to talk to someone and they said "oh yea, even without rush hour, assuming the streets are claer you are STILL looking at an hour plus commute from Alpharetta", then my next question would be to find as close an area as possible to that type of living within 30 mins.

Thank you for your input and help, we are so confused right now. Some folks over on BroadBandReports have been giving us some good feedback, but I'm trying to collect as much as possible.

Best wishes,
ATL Transplant

 

#2 nyxmike

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 02:55 PM

If I were you, I would live in Decatur. It's a nice, vibrant, ecletic town with a lot of character. Plus, it has a MARTA train station that will take you right into work without having to switch (The GSU station is only 4 stops away), so you won't even have to worry about sitting in traffic.

http://www.itsmarta..../index-rail.htm
http://www.decaturga.com/default.aspx

Edited by nyxmike, 19 February 2006 - 02:55 PM.


#3 catlike

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 03:14 PM

^^^

2nd the Decatur recommendation, but central to the town itself, instead of Battlecrest. There always seems to be something going on in the square in the warmer months. The town is very walkable, PATH trails are nearby, and you'll be a short drive to the Fernbank Musuem/IMAX and Emory (which has museums and frequent events). All that, and MARTA, too. :good:

Edited by catlike, 19 February 2006 - 03:17 PM.


#4 Andrea

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 04:14 PM

* NOTE, for now I only need to consider my commute time. My wife can work almost anywhere (pharmacist).

My biggest concerns are:
* Safety/Commute times
* New/Big house
* Affluent area
** Good public schools

My secondary concerns are:
* Convenient location: Grocery store, shopping, entertainment (not bars).

**Our concern for good schools is important, but not primary right now. We will likely have kids in the next 5+ years, so if we could avoid a move and go directly into a nice neighborhood that would be fantastic but not critical.


Hi rsk,

I live in the North Buckhead area (near Lenox and Phipps) and I think you would easily find all those concerns met in this area. You might also consider nearby neighborhoods such as Brookhaven, Ridgedale Park, Pine Hills, Roswell Road, Lenox, etc. It might be difficult to swing it for $500K but if you're willing to go up just a little beyond that you should be able to find a lot of options. There's been a enormous amount of new construction going on around here for the last 5 years or so, and the public schools are extremely good. There are several train stations, scads of regular and gourmet groceries, and massive midrange and high end shopping, restaurants, movies, etc. It's also easy to get on GA400 or I85, or to take surface streets into downtown. (If I commute downtown in the mornings it's usually around 30 minutes, portal to portal -- 15-20 if it's not rush hour). There are lots of good-sized new single family homes, low and highrise condos, cluster homes, and townhouses on the market. Lots of great churches, parks, gyms, medical centers, hotels, and just about anything you'd need in the way of services or retail. Of course there are lots of office buildings in the area, too.

Prices have been going up but they are still less than you'd pay for a close-in neighborhood in most big cities. There are plenty of yuppies if you like that but there's a lot of diversity, too. Buckhead has many of the city's older neighborhoods and businesses as well as mountains of new stuff, so I think it's an interesting mix of urban and suburban, 1920's apartment buildings, 40 story condo towers, Mom & Pop stores and mega-malls, greasy spoons and 5-star restaurants, 1930's cottages, stately mansions, gay, straight, young, old, you name it. Perfect it is definitely not, but I think it gives you a lot more options than the suburbs.

#5 rsk

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 06:52 PM

Awesome feedback. I had no idea Decatur had that level of following, sounds like a place to check out with a fine tooth comb.

Also Buckhead, no one had ever mentioned that to me, I will look into it ASAP on ColdwellBankerAtlanta.

Also does anyone have any idea how long of a MARTA ride it is from North (N11) down to GSU (E1 or something)?

#6 rsk

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 06:57 PM

Andrea,
Do you have any idea which county or city on this page:
http://www.coldwellb...pertyType=House

The places you were talking about would be? What you described sounded very colorful and active.

We also liked what mike and cat had to say about Decatur and the activities in the summer. We feel like we live in a bubble right now out in Tucson, so that would be a nice change... walking and all ;)

#7 atlrvr

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 07:17 PM

I think it's a disservice to recommend anything but Alpharetta. If you are looking for homogenity, a big house for the money, and surrounded by the "new money" like, then Alpharetta is the epitome of this fantasy. Nevermind the commute, its a small price to pay for a little slice of heaven, besides Atlanta police never give tickets unless you are driving over 110 mph, so you could easily do the drive in 20 minutes off peak (between 10:00 and 2:30, but watch out for the lunch time traffic).

It may not have the train stations like the North Buckhead area, but hey, that just insures that no lower income people will spoil Eden.

EDIT.....My remarks aren't necessarily meant to be derogatory towards RSK, as it's obvious his opinions up to this point are based on hearsay. I think coming from the west, you may be unfamiliar with the concept of community sterility to the extreme that occurs in the southeast. If you are open to other options, then my best suggestion would be to consult a real estate agent who specializes inside the perimeter. You may find something closer in that you are quite comfortable with, but my opinion is that many realtor's try to steer people as far north as possible because the 95% while racial mix is an easy sell....much easier that trying to sell convenience and sense of commuity.

Edited by atlrvr, 19 February 2006 - 07:28 PM.


#8 Andrea

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 07:43 PM

^^rsk, I've never been able to figure out Coldwell Banker's search engine. I'd try either the MLS service or Realtor.com, and search on Zip Codes 30319, 30342 and 30326.

I love Decatur and have a number of friends who live there and have lived there myself. Nothing in Atlanta, in my opinion, has the small town feel of Decatur. You might also take a look at Avondale Estates and the Emory area on that side of town.

However, I'm not sure you'll find as many large new homes there, which you mentioned as one of your preferences, and that's why I mentioned the Buckhead/Brookhaven/Lenox areas. Many of the new homes in these neighborhoods are creeping toward the $1 million (and up) range, but there are still a lot that aren't so pricey. Send me a private message if you want more details.

All the areas we're talking about are very safe, and they all have very reasonable commutes to downtown if that's where you'll be heading.

#9 teshadoh

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 07:50 PM

* Safety/Commute times
* New/Big house
* Affluent area
** Good public schools

My secondary concerns are:
* Convenient location: Grocery store, shopping, entertainment (not bars).

That is a tough one, as you will find - there are a number of intown transit elitists that will encourage you to move in the city, like me - but I'll try to be honest. But based on what you are looking for, it's tough for me to think of what you would be pleased with. It's true - you will most likely never get to downtown from Alpharetta within an hour, though it's possible if you're driving from Roswell. Other similar 'new' suburbs that you might like also would be East Cobb & Duluth - sigh... it's tough for me to actually say that. But commuting these long distances in Atlanta is one of the gravest issues we have in the metro & if you can afford to buy intown (as obviously you do - my budget was half of yours), I would quite frankly plead to you to not be another congestion / pollution causer.

I'll get off my soap box, but I'm just being honest - considering I live in a mixed income, 'transitional', old, pedestrian oriented neighborhood 1 mile from downtown.

Try finding one of those infill mcmansions in the N Druid Hills area. Dekalb County has some good schools & this is one area that is very stable & good schools. It's safe & is close enough to entertainment in Atlanta but far enough to be quiet & suburban. You might not like Decatur - though I love it, but to each his own.

Anyways - good luck finding a place, I work just a block from GSU & I graduated from there years ago.

#10 rsk

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 08:42 PM

I think it's a disservice to recommend anything but Alpharetta. If you are looking for homogenity, a big house for the money, and surrounded by the "new money" like, then Alpharetta is the epitome of this fantasy. Nevermind the commute, its a small price to pay for a little slice of heaven, besides Atlanta police never give tickets unless you are driving over 110 mph, so you could easily do the drive in 20 minutes off peak (between 10:00 and 2:30, but watch out for the lunch time traffic).


Atlrvr,
We laughed as we read your reply as I'm not sure I want to drive 110, but it's always nice to know you can. I would also like to add that given where we are comming Alph sounds exactly like what we are looking for. The core reason for this over Decatur is that my wife and I are really home-body people. We enjoy or privacy and love our family and friends but we typically are not into the more social aspects of city living. Because of that we have a high priority focus on our "home base", which would be big yard, big house, etc.

Now my friend that lives in Decatur his #1 priority over everything is convenience, in this case, proximity to work which is why he never considered anything OTP (outside the perimeter).

I wanted to let you all know my wife and I very much appreciate the input about all parts of town. There would have been no way possible for us to learn Atlanta as you have shown us just by travelling there once or twice on a weekend here or there. Or even getting a good real estate agent can be tricky because it's one person's interpretation of your needs and mapping it to an entire city, where as in this case I have EVERYONE's input into all the parts of Atlanta and the pros and cons and then I can map my own preferences ontop of them.

You all have really been wonderful. I suppose the next thing I should ask is, how much is gas? :)

I had a quick followup question, does anyone have any input on the builders in the Alpharetta area? It seemed to me Peachtree:
http://www.peachtree...com/default.asp

had quite a few beautiful homes we liked the floorplans for... do you know anything about their reputation or maybe others we should consider?

#11 Andrea

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 09:22 PM

I suppose the next thing I should ask is, how much is gas? :)


A pretty good bit, if you're driving from Alpharetta to Georgia State and back every day! :lol:


Hope you enjoy your new home!

#12 rsk

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 09:51 PM

A pretty good bit, if you're driving from Alpharetta to Georgia State and back every day! :lol:
Hope you enjoy your new home!


I was afraid you were going to say that...

*reluctantly craws into his new Prius that his wife happily approved of*

#13 LizellaJacket

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 10:14 PM

Speaking of gas. How bout the BP on Peachtree that is constantly 20 cents cheaper than anywhere else on that road. Last week it was 2.09, while the station a half mile down the road was 2.29. Weird stuff. I paid 1.99 in Macon today :yahoo:

#14 Andrea

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 10:16 PM

I was afraid you were going to say that...

*reluctantly craws into his new Prius that his wife happily approved of*



:lol:

Just on a personal note, you ought to try out satellite radio if you don't already have it. I personally think Sirius blows the competition away, but either way, since you're going to be sitting in traffic about 3-5 hours a day you ought to at least spare yourself the insanity of local radio. I love being able to tune into intelligent talk and a variety of music on road trips.

#15 Designerbee

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 10:51 PM

Speaking of gas. How bout the BP on Peachtree that is constantly 20 cents cheaper than anywhere else on that road. Last week it was 2.09, while the station a half mile down the road was 2.29. Weird stuff. I paid 1.99 in Macon today :yahoo:


I was wondering about that too! I saw it on Thursday at $2.03

Weird.. but no complaints here!

#16 rsk

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:15 AM

I'm happy to hear that gas isn't $4/gallon atleast... although I think I'm going to need to really sell the Magnum R/T to my wife over the Prius, maybe in the form of a falsified doctors prescription for my "abnormally agressive stress-related disease" :blink:


Andrea, I'll look into Sirius. I have no idea how the two compare but if you feel Sirius blows away XM, then I'm probably going to love it... I'm just happy when I don't have to listen to "monday MONDAY MONDAY ONLY SALE! Come on down to Boudry Ripoff Central NOW!" all the time... commercials really annoy me.


I suppose an alternative if the satellite (sp?) radio doesn't work out is an iTrip... then I just need to start getting some podcasts that take about an hour. I really wish books on tape were cheaper, say $5/apiece... but last time I checked they were $40/apiece, which makes sense, you are paying someone to read for hours on end I suppose.


Hey side question, my wife and I live in a Pulte home, and saw that Pulte has a new subdivision east of 400 right off of Kimball Bridge:
http://www.pulte.com...g_acctcode=3272

Anyone have any idea what the traffic is like getting onto 400 from that side of the road? We did notice most of the subdivisions we were originally looking at were west of 400. I did like that there was a Gym right there next to that Pulte subdivision as well as grovery stories, the mall and some other places.


I ask because where we live now, the commute time different between being on the West side of I-10 and the East side (4 lanes, versus 2) is honestly about 30mins, it's crazy.

#17 teshadoh

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:47 AM

rsk - this website will help you:

http://www.atlantagasprices.com/

Also - if you're choosing the 'east side of 400', you might wind up living closer to Peachtree Pkwy / Peachtree Industrial. Another consideration would be to look into GRTA commuter buses:

http://www.xpressga.com/

MARTA also has 2 commuter buses serving north Fulton.

#18 Andrea

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:57 AM

.... Pulte has a new subdivision east of 400 right off of Kimball Bridge:

Anyone have any idea what the traffic is like getting onto 400 from that side of the road?


I don't know that part of town real well but I don't believe you can get on 400 at Kimball Bridge -- you may have to go up to Old Milton Parkway. You'd probably only be about 25-30 miles from work if y'all locate in that area, which I understand is about standard these days.

#19 rsk

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 10:26 AM

teshadoh,
Great links, thank you for those. I'll have a look at the bus schedules.

Andrea,
You are exactly right, Milton to 400 and actually dead-on with the distance as well.

#20 Lady Celeste

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 03:59 PM

If you punch a clock and you work in downtown, I would not suggest Alpharetta....unless of course you are the boss and can get there when you get there or you don't mind leaving early everyday and some days get to work really early and some days barely make it there on time. If you were commuting from Alpharetta to the Perimeter Center area or the Cumberland/Vinings area then I would say that it's one of the best places to live in metro Atlanta. Almost everything one needs is right here in Alpharetta.

Although if I had my choice, there are some neighborhoods inside the perimeter that would be my first choice to live.