"Close to 280, with slightly better traffic"
When I started college, my first apartment was located on Lakeshore. It's a great street for college students, because it's close to the nearby schools (UAB, Samford), and there's lots of places to eat sprinkled all around Lakeshore (including the Brookwood Mall, which has tons of newish restaurants). Lakeshore runs just under 280 and 31, passing over i65 one way and going through historic Mountain Brook in the other direction. The traffic is typical for a city, but rush hour can get a little sticky towards 65. It is FAR better than 280 and 31, however. Lakeshore is, to me, along the "safer" edges of Homewood. I didn't ever get scared driving on it by myself at night like I do on 31. It's a quiet street, but still in "the city" so everything is convenient, just the way I like it.