A writer at the Virginia Policy review takes a look at the way race shaped the coverage area of MARTA, and how a proposed new line could help connect minorities to employment opportunities in suburban job centers: MARTA Offers Equality a Seat on the Bus
Here’s a quote:
MARTA’s new plan to expand their transit lines to reach North Fulton County is the first step towards ending racial discrimination in Atlanta’s railway transit system. The transit route will also provide greater access to Cobb, Gwinnett, and Forsyth County, one of Forbes’ 2013 top 10 Fastest Growing Counties in America.
The article doesn’t mention that suburban counties of metro Atlanta are much more racially diverse now than they were years ago, though I’m not sure how relevant that is given the clear segregation in the metro visible in recent mapped data.
To see how MARTA rail coverage compares with racial demographic data in the metro, compare the above rail map to this Racial Dot Map of metro Atlanta:
As announced last year, MARTA is following through with plans to find a developer to turn a parking lot at its King Memorial rail station into a mixed-use development of apartments and retail. The rendering above is from Walton Communities, which hopes to build almost 400 apartment units here.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a good story on the project this week, reporting that the deal still requires a vote from the MARTA board and further negotiations on property leasing. Here’s a quote:
MARTA is making plans to transform the unsightly tunnel and a large parking lot adjacent to the King Memorial station into the first in a series of pedestrian-friendly villages next to its transit stations. The King Memorial project is furthest along in the planning process, but similar developments are expected to be launched over the next two years.
To me, this effort on MARTA’s part is one of the most exciting developments of “good urbanism” currently happening in Atlanta. It’s something that I’ve hoped for over a lifetime of living here and riding MARTA: that some day we’d make better use of the potential for these rail stations with surface parking lots — that we would help them to be the transportation centerpieces of walkable, compact neighborhoods instead of drive-to locations for riders.