Atlanta is the capitol of the State of Georgia, for those of you that have forgotten Geography, or happen to be from outside the United States. Atlanta is located in the South-Eastern section of the U.S., more affectionately known as “The South.”
Unfortunately, sometimes this hampers the perception of Atlanta that the rest of the United States has, often leading to the view of the city and it’s inhabitants to “backwoods” or other similar terms. The retired radio talk-show host Neal Boortz often commented that his show was not carried in syndication by many radio stations because it originated from Atlanta and was considered a “Southern show.” A side note on Neal Boortz: He is a very opinionated, fiscally conservative who I find very funny. He did a daily radio talk-show in Atlanta for over 40 years, and was honest enough to say his only real goal was to keep listeners interested enough that they stayed tuned in through the commercials, thus keeping him employed. Since retirement, he post occasionally as he travels on twitter ( @Talkmaster ). Give him a try. You may like him, or hate him, but you will find him interesting either way.
Even with the 1996 Summer Olympics being hosted in Atlanta, the small-southern town image of Atlanta has persisted. Atlanta is actually a significantly sized population center, and decidedly not just a southern town. The Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is one of the busiest, and often rated as the busiest, airport in the world. Atlanta sits at the intersection of Interstates 20, 75 and 85, with all three of them intersecting in the downtown area.
The metro-Atlanta area is home to over half of the Georgia population. Georgia was the 8th most populous state at of the 2012 census (9.9 million) with the metr0-Atlanta area being home to 5.48 million. Frequently there are conversations comparing Atlanta to Los Angeles, CA. Are they they same, or even have the same general personalities as a city? No. However, it does seem that Atlanta is following a general L.A. growth pattern in population density, traffic and sprawl. My own opinion is that if you transplanted someone from L.A. in the early 1970’s, they would be able to point out many similarities.
In short, if you are not familiar with Atlanta and its sprawl, Atlanta has traffic and long commutes. It is not uncommon for people to live 45 or 50 miles from their workplace. The average commute distance in Atlanta is 35 miles (one way), but with that being the average, you have to remember that means there is a large number of people with much longer commutes. Of course Atlanta also has traffic, with all those people trying to drive to their work.
Public Transit you ask? Yes, Atlanta has Metro-Atlanta Transit Authority which has heavy rail and bus options. MARTA rail/subway actually does a nice job of running north/south and east/west through the city and transporting people, especially for special events. The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) also sponsors “Express” bus services that run dedicated routes from suburbs into the city connecting with MARTA. However, people in Atlanta seem to like to drive. We have HOV and HOT lanes and some very large interstates. (For some reason the term “Freeway” has not caught on in Atlanta like it has in other cities. There are several state highways that are “Freeways” – multi-lane, divided, Interstate-like roadways, but we usually just refer to them by number — 400, 166, 78, etc.)
Let’s see, anything else about Atlanta? Well, with tax rates in California, Georgia – and Atlanta itself is finding a significant increase in the movie and television industry, with a lot more T.V. shows and movies being filmed in the region. Atlanta is also home to several recording studios and is a major player in the production of a lot of hip-hop and rap artist. Oh yeah, back in the mid-to-late 1800’s it pretty much got burned to the ground in that little thing called a Civil War. A small undertone left from that is that Atlanta seems to constantly be rebuilding. “That’s old — yep — tear it down and build something else there, something new” seems to be the overall attitude within the city. I am sure that will change with time, but the city seems to constantly be renewing itself.