Mark Arum: Gridlock Guy

Welcome to part two of the series on my favorite shortcuts around Metro Atlanta. Last week I told you my secret shortcut to get to Turner Field. This week I will tell you the best way to get to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Take MARTA. End of column.

Okay, that's not exactly a shortcut, but it really is the best and easiest way to get to the airport. If you have access to MARTA trains you really should use them to go to the airport. It's cheap, it's reliable and you don't have to deal with any traffic. Best of all, it drops you off inside the airport. You can't find a more convenient way to go.

But, if you are reluctant to ride the train or don't have access to a MARTA station, I have some helpful tips for you.

If you live in the northern suburbs you have the greatest challenge getting to the airport, especially if you travel through downtown on I-75/85 southbound. The Downtown Connector is a tough stretch of pavement, and it can make you pull your hair out if you are rushing to try and catch a flight. When I have to drive to the airport, I never use the Downtown Connector. It's too big of a risk.

So, how do I go? I take the I-285 on the west side perimeter. I head south down to Exit 5 (Langford Parkway). I take Langford Parkway (Highway 166) westbound back to I-75/85 southbound. From there it's a quick shot to I-85 southbound to the airport. Using this route allows me to avoid the usual jams found heading into midtown down to I-20 on I-75/85 southbound.

A lot of people take I-285 to Camp Creek Parkway to get to the airport, which is fine, but I've found the traffic lights on Camp Creek can be annoying. When you are late for a flight every traffic light seems to stay red forever! Overall I think it's quicker and easier to use Langford Parkway instead of Camp Creek Parkway.

My "shortcut" is a longer route (33 miles from Ga. 400 at I-285 to the airport exit on I-85) compared to going through downtown (21 miles from GA 400 at I-285 to the airport exit on I-85), but trust me, there's a greater chance of getting stuck downtown, than there is on the west side of I-285.

Of course this is all dependent on traffic conditions at the time you want to go. You should always check or before you leave the house to make sure I-285 isn't too bad. If you are on Twitter, you definitely need to follow @ajcwsbtraffic. And once you are in your car, tune in AM 750 or 95.5 FM to monitor current traffic conditions. Usually the west side of I-285 south of I-20 is not jammed unless there is an accident, so odds are you'll be fine.

If you live on the east side of town, this "shortcut" probably isn't your best option. You might want to take I-20 westbound to I-75/85, then head south to the airport.

If you live in the southern suburbs consider yourself lucky. I-85 and I-75 are usually okay heading northbound to the airport.