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Atlanta’s MARTA Modernizing Transit Fleets, Boosting Ridership Via Transit-Oriented Development

There’s good news on the transit front from Atlanta. Atlanta, long infamous for its car-oriented development, is now focused forward with an eye toward sustainable redevelopment.

MARTA initiative has been focused on modernizing transit fleets. Atlanta travelers will enjoy one of the newest fleets nationwide — after using some of the oldest in the country for years. Boosting ridership enhances urban development, and Atlanta is hoping that is the effect it will see. But that isn’t the only approach MARTA is taking to achieve its goals.

Atlanta streetcar reports that this is actually a two-fold effort. The other part is a series of “new generation developments” at MARTA’s stations (Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority). Attractive transit centers and developments directly around transit centers attract riders, and good ridership increases dense urban developments, which then again contribute more ridership.

“MARTA CEO Keith Parker said Spoke, the $40 million privately-funded mixed-use development at the Edgewood/Candler Park station, reflects the system’s re-invention and commitment to better service. Atlanta-based development firm Columbia Ventures will lease underused parking lots at the station and develop a mix of 224 apartments, retail, restaurants, a park and a performing arts center.”

This is just one development of a program focused on transit-oriented development (TOD) that brings in private investment and presumably much more revenue.

Atlanta citizens can consider the positive connectivity and vote for it on November 8 via a referendum. Back in June, a local media outlet wrote, “The Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously voted to schedule a referendum in November to decide whether to hike city’s sales tax by a half-penny to generate $2.5 billion over the next four decades for a MARTA expansion and other transit upgrades.”

Key points to consider:

  • Atlanta-based development firm Columbia Ventures will lease underused parking lots at the station and develop a mix of 224 apartments, retail, restaurants, a park and a performing arts center.
  • MARTA’s transit-oriented development, or TOD, program aims to boost system ridership and revenue as well as the quality of urban environments around transit centers.
  • The office, retail, and residential development around MARTA’s Lindbergh station is the system’s best-known prior example.
  • Other TODs in various stages of planning are at its Arts Center, Chamblee, Brookhaven/Oglethorpe, King Memorial, and Avondale station.

The ongoing movement towards connectivity met with stagnation or worse earlier in the year. This referendum follows the Georgia legislature’s decision to kill MARTA’s initial proposals along these lines.

On a brighter note, Bikocity provided good news from Atlanta/MARTA in August (see: “Atlanta’s MARTA Will Pilot Soccer + Transit Program“) and  last June (see: “Atlanta’s $98 Million Electric Streetcar System Now Open“).

Image: Atlanta Streetcar, via MARTA

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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)


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