Transportation Debate: Millenial’s Flex Their Muscles

Marta riders

The growing debate on whether transportation is needed outside the rail corridor is rapidly beginning to gain traction towards those in favor of an expanded public transit (rail or bus) system.  The phrase, “location, location location” is proving true in regards to businesses migrating to Metro Atlanta.  Insurance giant, State Farm, is consolidating many of its functions to Atlanta.  The planned 2 million square root development will be located in close proximity to the Dunwoody MARTA station.  The ability to have access to and from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, and also to provide an easier commute to the planned 8,000 employees was a key factor in opting for this location.  The Boston area-based Health IT firm, Athena Health, decided to relocate from Alpharetta to Ponce City Market.  The company will bring over 700 jobs to Midtown.  The company was drawn to the area because of its walkability, bike trails, proximity to Georgia Tech and a young population.  Millenial’s are insistent on alternative modes of transportation, less dependent on automobiles to maneuver around the city.

A recent move of a Sandy Springs company, WorldPay, prompted Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul to write an op-ed describing what he sees at the Sandy Springs MARTA station in the morning.  He explained how young urban professionals exit the train station from their urban environments, walking or biking, to many of the companies in the area (i.e. Cox Enterprises, Newell Rubbermaid, etc).  Mayor Paul went on to illustrate how MARTA is a key factor in attracting urban technology workers.  The challenge is getting developers to rethink projects to seriously embrace transit within the rail corridor.  WorldPay was one of a few technology firms located outside the MARTA rail corridor.  Most businesses in Sandy Springs lease their buildings, and when mobility issues significantly begin to affect morale, businesses like WorldPay can exit quickly.

WorldPay recently announced they will be moving to 201 17th Street in Atlantic Station, which will create 1,266 new jobs for the city.  Technology giant NCR Corporation, located in Duluth, has considered moving its headquarters to Midtown.  Young urban technology professionals currently living or wanting to live in an interconnected community remain the target.  The appeal of riding, walking or biking to work is far greater than spending an excessive amount of time sitting in traffic, idling.  Is the close proximity to Georgia Tech enticing many technology companies to move?  Do millenials possess the power to lure large companies from the suburbs to the city?  Who knows but the short answer could simply be, “location, location, location.”

Click HERE to read the full article from the AJC on The impact of Millennials on Georgia’s Transportation Debate