MARTA’s bunker-busting plans for developing air rights over rail stations

The top image above is of MARTA’s current bunker-like Midtown Station. Atlanta has a few stations like this, where the area above the underground platforms is occupied by a layer of concrete walls and little else. They’re not the most attractive things, and they certainly aren’t the most efficient way to use land above a rail stop that was built for high-capacity service.

That bottom image shows a brighter future that could be in store for four bunker stations — Creative Loafing has the story:

Some MARTA rail stations in the middle of Atlanta’s most dense areas might finally see developments built on top of them. Transit officials today officially announced that MARTA was gauging interest in developing above the Arts Center, Lenox, Midtown, and North Avenue stations

I can’t help but think of Thomas Wheatley’s call for a city design director given all the recent proposals for TODs at MARTA stations — we do need to make sure we champion excellence in the built environment and best practices for livability in the face of all this new construction that could be coming our way.

But in the meantime, I’m super excited about the possibilities of seeing greater density around Atlanta’s rail stations. Consider: this city was built on freight rail and has significant history of passenger rail and streetcars as well. Building the city up around rail lines is part of our heritage. After a decades-long break with development being centered around cars, even intown, it’s nice to see history repeating itself in a good way.

Daytime and nighttime colors in the city. Pics from a cloudy Sunday, Downtown Atlanta.

Tags: atlanta

Freaky morning weather: a strange but beautiful mix of bright sunrise and heavy fog this morning in Atlanta.

Freaky morning weather: a strange but beautiful mix of bright sunrise and heavy fog this morning in Atlanta.

Tags: atlanta

Curb Market, Atlanta — then and now. 

These great photos come from the Grindhouse Killer Burgers Facebook page. The top is the GKB booth at the Curb Market in Downtown Atlanta modern day. The bottom is the same space as it was in, I’m guessing, the 1940s. 

The Atlanta Municipal Market is a city owned building that was built as a market space in 1924. The market is currently operated by the Sweet Auburn Curb Market organization.

Curb Market, Atlanta — then and now.

These great photos come from the Grindhouse Killer Burgers Facebook page. The top is the GKB booth at the Curb Market in Downtown Atlanta modern day. The bottom is the same space as it was in, I’m guessing, the 1940s.

The Atlanta Municipal Market is a city owned building that was built as a market space in 1924. The market is currently operated by the Sweet Auburn Curb Market organization.

Tags: atlanta

"There is simply no way we can protect and maintain a beautiful, thriving, natural and rural landscape outside of cities if we continue to spread highways and suburban sprawl across the countryside."

City issues are environmental issues. Here’s why | Kaid Benfield, 9/11/14

Via peachtreekeen: Memorial Drive at Oakland Cemetery, 1949

What a great photo of Atlanta’s Memorial Drive! You can see a trackless trolley on the road — buses that ran on streetcar wires. In the background, behind the brick wall, is Oakland Cemetery. Off to the left, that gas station sign marks what I believe is the current location of Ria’s Bluebird.

Via peachtreekeen: Memorial Drive at Oakland Cemetery, 1949

What a great photo of Atlanta’s Memorial Drive! You can see a trackless trolley on the road — buses that ran on streetcar wires.

In the background, behind the brick wall, is Oakland Cemetery. Off to the left, that gas station sign marks what I believe is the current location of Ria’s Bluebird.

Underground Atlanta, before it was underground

This is a must-see collection of photos. Thanks to a collaboration between the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System and GSU, 100 images of Atlanta from 1927-1928 have been digitized from glass-plate negatives and put online:

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System Glass Plate Negatives Digital Collection

The photos were taken as part of a project to capture the store fronts and street life on the ground level Alabama and Pryor Streets, just before they became covered up by the enormous viaducts that would create a new street level one story above, burying these stores. What an incredible look these provide at the street activity that used to exist in this part of Downtown in the pre-viaduct sunlight.

A shadow of things to come, the viaducts were built to relieve traffic congestion downtown. It was the start of a trend that would put a primary focus on car infrastructure and parking in the district, while eventually leaving storefronts, small businesses and street life itself struggling by the end of the century.

The blocks of businesses in these photos were abandoned underground for decades before being turned into the Underground Atlanta entertainment district during the late 1960s.

Owned by the city and leased to a company that runs the current retail lineup, Underground Atlanta had a couple of bright eras of success, but it’s decline in popularity has produced a financial drain on the city for many years now. Earlier this year, it was announced that it would be sold for redevelopment.

Coincidentally, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed just a few days ago announced that Underground Atlanta’s new fate will be as a mixed-use complex that includes high-end residential. More details should be announced by year’s end. And while this is interesting news that could possible translate to a Downtown renaissance in residential and commercial activity, I can’t help but worry about these beautiful store fronts. I hope they are preserved and used well in the future.