Contrary to logic and mathematics, living in Atlanta does not ensure the shortest commute for those who work in the area. Yes, the distance is shorter. Yes, you can actually see your office building from your window. But no, living close to your job might increase your commute if the routes aren’t planned properly.
Begin by avoid red lights. I don’t mean run them. I mean avoid renting an apartment that places you on a street with traffic signals at every block. For those who are from out of town, red lights are a solid sign that you’re on an obnoxiously busy street. When you need it least, you will catch every stop light in your path, extending your commute time significantly. (Similarly, a busy street with no traffic signals isn’t much better. The best indicator of traffic flow is to visit your potential renter in the morning and evening to see the congestion–or lack thereof–first hand.)
Avoid left turns without traffic signals. Okay, I just said traffic signals are evil but they are vital if your plan to rent in an area that requires a left turn onto major thoroughfares like Memorial Drive, Jimmy Carter Blvd and so forth. I don’t care if the apartment complex is offering rent for $50 per month, it’s not worth getting stuck in your community for 5-10 minutes each morning because no one will let you out. (Our Southern hospitality only extends so far.)
For those who work outside of the core of Atlanta (Downtown, Midtown) you might be better served renting farther away from the office. The trick to a short commute, in your case, is to go against traffic in both directions. When everyone is heading north into the city, you head south and vice versa. Even with a farther distance factored in, you can drive faster in less traffic and get where you need to be sooner.
Of course, not planning your route carefully could have serious consequences. See what happens when this caravan (going the wrong way) runs into a few disgruntled residents.
Got helpful tips for shortening your commute? Share with other Atlanta residents in the comments section below.