Connect Downtown is a CAP/ADID initiative that targets young, intown commuters in Downtown-adjacent neighborhoods, encouraging them to pledge to take an alternative commute to work two times a week. The first phase of Connect Downtown focused on Cabbagetown/Reynoldstown residents who commute to Downtown.
Those who took the pledge were given a customized commute map and a ten-trip MARTA pass. For every month participants met their goals, they won a gift card to a local business, like Cabbage Pie. Those who participated in the program for three months were eligible to earn over $100 and be entered to win a $500 flight voucher.
We're pleased to share that the winning Cabbagetown/Reynoldstown commuter is Justin, a Reynoldstown resident who works in Downtown at CallRail, housed in the Equitable Building.
We sat down with Justin to talk about his commuting habits and his Connect Downtown experience.
What was your commute like before participating in ConnectDowntown, and how has it changed since participating in the program?
I worked in Midtown for a long time, and I’ve worked in Downtown for a year. Before this program, I commuted by MARTA mostly, from Reynoldstown. I don’t really know why I started riding a bike—I just wanted to be outside more. And this was an awesome summer for riding a bike. [Laughs]
I no longer have to buy a monthly MARTA pass, meaning I save money. I keep a pass with a package of rides on hand, and that lasts me a while.
What is your bike commute like?
I take Wylie to Krog to Edgewood—it’s not too bad. What’s helped a lot is the bike parking room in my office building. It holds 25-35 bikes, has a fix-it stand, and the building comes with gym showers. There are also tubes, spares and patches in the room that are “take if you need one,” which is nice. Other people who work in the building use the room, too. There are 10-15 bikes in there on a “busy” day.
Do you ever use your bike for midday trips?
Definitely. Once you start riding a bike, you realize places like Castleberry Hill just aren’t hard to get to. And a bunch of my coworkers like to use Relay to go to lunch at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. It’s just a two-minute ride.
Did your commutes ever involve driving?
I used to work in Town Center and would drive every day. It was frustrating and just the wrong tool for the job, especially in fall/winter with GSU traffic. It would take me a good 35-40 minutes, and honestl,y a train or bike would take the same amount of time, maybe less.
Riding a bike just fun—it’s a better, cheaper way to get around.
Congratulations to Justin, and thank you to all our inaugural Connect Downtown participants. Learn more about the program here.