Southeast - Wanted: Info About Chattanooga, TN
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04-04-07, 03:36 PM
Hello, anyone from Chattanooga here? I'm considering leaving the Northeast and settling in your area. If I may ask a few questions:
How feasible is it to live car-free there?
Will I need a car to find a job?
How is the public transportation?
Is it generally safe to ride on city streets? Are the cops bike friendly?
Which are the safe, affordable neighborhoods? Any places I should avoid? (Currently paying $900 for a 1BR, and that's considered cheap!)
Should I live accross the state line in Georgia?
Anything else I should know?
Myself - 37yo college-educated M, getting by on general office jobs.
04-04-07, 07:53 PM
I lived in Chattanooga from late 1983 to early 1995 out in East Brainerd. Chattanooga is very hilly in many places. I was able to cycle from East Brainerd to the Missionary Ridge area by way of Shallowford Road. Traffic was tolerable, but I did it outside of the rush hour. Many streets and roads in the Chattanooga area are a bit narrow with a drop-off into a steep ditch. The speed limit on these is generally in the 35 to 45 mph range. Many drivers there are on the aggressive side. Tailgating is a sport and art form. Sometimes it is possible to work out a route that crosses the city and uses less traveled streets, but often there are only a very few arteries that cross natural boundaries insurmountable by bicycle.
In general housing is very inexpensive in Southeast Tennessee. You may be able to live in a revitalized neighborhood close to your work. Downtown streets are probably more friendly for cycling than arteries coming in from the 'burbs.'
There is no light rail system. There are busses.
As far as living in Georgia is concerned, a lot would depend on where in Georgia you wish to live and where you must cycle in Chattanooga. Take a look at a topographical map. You would not want to climb many of the ridges that populate the area. Hwy. 27 is busy but connects parts of North Georgia with greater Chattanooga while presenting a rather unhilly path.
My first-hand information is a dozen years old. I hope some of this helps.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a major employer, but subject to the vagaries of congressional budget setting. There are also some insurance companies and other concerns there.
Southeastern BBQ is a real treat. Make sure the pork is pulled and not chopped. Pulled pork eliminates the grissle and fatty pieces.
04-04-07, 10:55 PM
Yes, if I had to climb the Cumberland Plateau everyday that would suck. I don't currently commute by bike, but I have grocery stores within walking distance. No car.
04-05-07, 06:15 AM
A lot would depend on the part of the city where you work. If it were downtown, you might live on Cameron Hill (north of downtown area--a large apartment complex now) and cycle to work. Or, you could live north across the Tennessee River and cycle across the Walnut Street Bridge. It has been converted to a bike path and jogging/walking trail--no longer any cars. But, the main shopping mall is Hamilton Place at Shallowford Road and I-75. You would want access to it. I think you can take a bus. To cycle there would call for some careful planning. East Ridge might be a good area in which to live and from which to cycle. If you were going downtown from East Ridge, you would need to cross Missionary Ridge either by raw climbing followed by steep descent, or through one of two tunnels.
There are some bicycle shops in Chattanooga. I was in one only once. (My needs were few.) I went on one organized ride outside of town. It was hilly.
I have also ridden from East Brainerd (near Shallowford Road and Jenkins) to Cleveland, Tennessee on Hwy. 11/64 (mostly). It is the old highway that parallels I-75 and it did not have too much traffic. I also rode from our prior residence near Igou Gap Road and Gunbarrel Road south to a home a couple of miles east of Chickamauga National Military Park in Georgia. I frequently rode from the area of the intersections mentioned above east to Ooltewah-Ringgold Road between East Brainerd Road and Shallowford Road. I used different routes, depending on which of the two residences we lived in while there was the starting point. I have also ridden to Collegedale. There would be times you would want to take a bus or a taxi rather than cycle, depending on where you are going.
04-05-07, 10:55 AM
Thank you, that is very helpful. I don't mind taking the bus initially.
04-05-07, 11:34 AM
You may want to go on-line and check on information about bus service in Chattanooga. It has been a dozen years since I lived there. I never had occasion to use the buses.
There is a lot of Civil War history in the area and you will want to tour the Chickamauga Battlefield. It is without any significant hills and could easily be done by bicycle, once you get there. The top of Missionary Ridge and the area west toward Orchard Knob was a Civil War battlefield, too. Today it is built up in houses and businesses. The third major battlefield is on the slope of Lookout Mountain. You could ride a bike to the tram station at the base and ride the tram up. Unfortunately, you would not be able to get off of the tram at Craven's House, which is worth seeing. Getting there on a bike would be a long uphill climb.
There are also a lot of small sites here and there where incidents related to the Civil War happened. These are fun to explore, too. Guidebooks for such things are easy to find in local bookstores and at the visitors' center at Chickamauga Battlefield.
I hope the fact I, a FORMER resident, am the only person to respond to your inquiry is not really a witness to a dearth of cyclists in Chattanooga today.
04-05-07, 11:40 AM
I'll be sure to introduce more Chattanooga riders to BF. Thanks.
04-05-07, 04:18 PM
Perhaps you have found these, too: www.bikechattanooga.org and the bus system, CARTA, has a program to encourage hanging your bike on the bus for part of your commute.
04-06-07, 11:27 PM
A lot would depend on the part of the city where you work. [QUOTE] If it were downtown, you might live on Cameron Hill (north of downtown area--a large apartment complex now) and cycle to work.
Sorry! This no longer exists! It has been torn down to make room for a new office complex.
Or, you could live north across the Tennessee River and cycle across the Walnut Street Bridge. It has been converted to a bike path and jogging/walking trail--no longer any cars.
The "North Shore" as it is now called has been and continues to be re-vitalized. There is a new park just opened and except for the hills, the north shore/North Chattanooga area tends to be a more bike friendly part of town. A lot of downtown is being "gentrified" with new a lot of new housing but I think that much of it is relatively expensive.
here are some bicycle shops in Chattanooga. I was in one only once. (My needs were few.) I went on one organized ride outside of town. It was hilly.
There are 2 bike shops in the North Shore area, one in Hixson, and one in East Ridge.
04-07-07, 12:41 AM
You can always visit Merlin (http://www.merlinbike.com/) right there in Chattanooga if you need to purchase a new frameset someday.
My wife lived in Chatanooga for about 1 1/2 years right before we got married. I wasn't into cycling then, but I just remember being really impressed with the town. Its a bonofied southern small-town / city. I thought it was an all-around great place.
The Tour de Georgia is going through there this year. I think its an uphill time trial. Merlin's already been mentioned, but I think the original Litespeed guys are still in Chatanooga making custom Ti bikes as well.
04-25-07, 10:20 PM
i live in chattanooga... the east brainerd/ shallowford part as twobikes was talking about. downtown is a lot more bike friendly than the burbs but i make due and ride down east brainerd road and into apison and ooltewah and such, its not bad really... i would just like to say if you have to cross brainerd road or work there then good luck on the bike, especially in rush hour. Oh, and there are a lot of hills, have fun! :P
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