Downtown MARTA stations getting a makeover
Here’s a pic of Five Points MARTA Station in Downtown Atlanta from my morning commute. I love watching a train zoom by then seeing the people on the platform across from me. It’s a whoosh of loud, exciting speed and bright colors, contrasted with the sight of people standing around serenely.
There’s a very interesting project happening involving this station and the next one to the south of it, Garnett Station. Both are part of the Downtown South MARTA Stations Makeover, which will gather community input on “creative placemaking and ‘tactical urbanism’ enhancements” and then put the ideas into action.
If you’re in Atlanta and want to participate, the first event to gather input is on October 20 at 11:00am - 1:00pm at Five Points Station. Look for people in bright orange T-shirts that say “I Choose MARTA.”
Garnett Station (below) in particular could use some tactical TLC. It sits in the middle of south Downtown’s surface-parking blight. It would be nice to see this parking turned into transit-adjacent development some day. Until then, a spruce up for the station could be a nice way of giving people a glimpse at what the space could look like long-term with big investments.

Downtown MARTA stations getting a makeover

Here’s a pic of Five Points MARTA Station in Downtown Atlanta from my morning commute. I love watching a train zoom by then seeing the people on the platform across from me. It’s a whoosh of loud, exciting speed and bright colors, contrasted with the sight of people standing around serenely.

There’s a very interesting project happening involving this station and the next one to the south of it, Garnett Station. Both are part of the Downtown South MARTA Stations Makeover, which will gather community input on “creative placemaking and ‘tactical urbanism’ enhancements” and then put the ideas into action.

If you’re in Atlanta and want to participate, the first event to gather input is on October 20 at 11:00am - 1:00pm at Five Points Station. Look for people in bright orange T-shirts that say “I Choose MARTA.”

Garnett Station (below) in particular could use some tactical TLC. It sits in the middle of south Downtown’s surface-parking blight. It would be nice to see this parking turned into transit-adjacent development some day. Until then, a spruce up for the station could be a nice way of giving people a glimpse at what the space could look like long-term with big investments.

Signs in the Five Points MARTA station, Atlanta

Tags: atlanta marta

"When the Atlanta Braves announced last year they would build a new baseball stadium in Cobb County, the team and local officials pointedly did not include any plans to make the stadium accessible by any kind of transit. Several more suburban counties lie beyond MARTA’s intended footprint, further complicating efforts to build a regional transit system."

The Driver Behind Public Transit’s Transformation in Atlanta : Keith Parker took over one of the most beleaguered and least loved transit systems in America — and almost instantly reversed its course | Government Technology, 10/7/2014

Could Doraville GM plant become the biggest transit-oriented development site in the US?

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Things are about to get real when it comes to transit-adjacent development in Metro Atlanta. Demolition of the 162-acre GM plant begins this month and, according to an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the space could become 20 blocks of mixed-use buildings, all next door to the Doraville MARTA station (just northeast of the City of Atlanta).

[There’s a cool recent article on the background work done to allow this project to take place — it’s a nice read.]

The ABC article points out that there’s a significant hurdle to overcome in regard to transit connectivity: creating a pedestrian bridge between the project and the Doraville MARTA station. The bridge would overpass a wide stretch of freight rail infrastructure.

At least one person is confident that a deal will be reached to build the bridge. Here’s a quote:

If negotiations are successful, the pedestrian bridge would link the Doraville MARTA station to the GM redevelopment, a huge draw for developers seeking to add a rental housing around the site. The bridge would help residents connect by rail to existing job centers in Buckhead, Midtown and downtown and be linked to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“We’ve been working on this site, along with Doraville, for a decade, and we will continue to work with them,” [Dan Reuter of the Atlanta Regional Commission] said. “This can become the biggest transit-oriented development site in America.”

If all works out, this Doraville project has the potential to one-up Midtown Atlanta’s Atlantic Station. A similar redo of a closed large facility (the Atlantic Steel site), Atlantic Station’s site cleanup was aided by federal funds that came attached with an unfunded mandate to provide public transportation — which so far has consisted of a relatively low-capacity shuttle bus service. 

This Doraville site, however, would see the development of 20 new city blocks with a close connection to high-capacity rail transit. That’s big. 

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, wherein development was centered around cars, even intown, it’s nice to see history repeating itself in a good way.

From Chamblee to Atlanta on a train. A few shots from my ride & walk home tonight. The Chamblee MARTA station, the rear view from the train, and a couple of pics of Peachtree Street during the walk to my downtown home.

The Atlanta Transit Agency’s Big Plan to Convert Parking Lots into Housing
The following is a re-post from thisiscitylab - Darin 
Like many U.S. transit agencies, MARTA has long struggled to secure reliable funding. The agency doesn’t receive money from the state, instead relying on sales tax income from participating counties, making it vulnerable to big economic swings. After the Great Recession, MARTA reduced staff and service while increasing fares, and when an effort to expand the revenue base failed in a 2012 referendum, the agency found itself facing a $33 million deficit.
So MARTA got creative. Keith Parker, who took over the agency in late 2012, implemented a transformation initiative that involved, among other things, a new planning strategy emphasizing TOD. In spring of 2013, Parker announced that MARTA would have five station-area projects underway within two years; to date the agency has identified developers for three projects, targeted several stations for the final two projects, and expects groundbreaking on some of the buildings as early as next year.
Enabling the projects is MARTA’s recognition that certain stations have devoted too much space to parking—an insight that several transit agencies around the world now share. At King Memorial Station, an urban station that Rhein says doesn’t make sense to reach by car, the agency owned four acres of parking lots adjacent to the station that it didn’t even use. Instead, the space had been subleased to a nearby hospital.
READ MORE…
[Image: Tim Adams/Flickr]

The Atlanta Transit Agency’s Big Plan to Convert Parking Lots into Housing

The following is a re-post from thisiscitylab - Darin

Like many U.S. transit agencies, MARTA has long struggled to secure reliable funding. The agency doesn’t receive money from the state, instead relying on sales tax income from participating counties, making it vulnerable to big economic swings. After the Great Recession, MARTA reduced staff and service while increasing fares, and when an effort to expand the revenue base failed in a 2012 referendum, the agency found itself facing a $33 million deficit.

So MARTA got creative. Keith Parker, who took over the agency in late 2012, implemented a transformation initiative that involved, among other things, a new planning strategy emphasizing TOD. In spring of 2013, Parker announced that MARTA would have five station-area projects underway within two years; to date the agency has identified developers for three projects, targeted several stations for the final two projects, and expects groundbreaking on some of the buildings as early as next year.

Enabling the projects is MARTA’s recognition that certain stations have devoted too much space to parking—an insight that several transit agencies around the world now share. At King Memorial Station, an urban station that Rhein says doesn’t make sense to reach by car, the agency owned four acres of parking lots adjacent to the station that it didn’t even use. Instead, the space had been subleased to a nearby hospital.

READ MORE…

[Image: Tim Adams/Flickr]