The Decatur Metro blog caught an interesting story this week: MARTA Shortens Morning Rush Hour Trains on East/West Line
According to the post, a reader reported a recent change in MARTA’s east-west Blue line, saying that trains have become “so crammed with passengers…that several people had great difficulty holding on, boarding and unboarding.”
Riders of the north-south line in the weekday mornings will recognize that situation as fairly normal through the Downtown and Midtown stations, but it hasn’t been the case on the Blue route until now. The reason? MARTA responded with this:
“Recent data shows that the ridership during the weekday, morning peak service period on the Blue Line did not require the use of the 8-car configuration during that time of the day. As a result, the configuration was changed to the standard 6-car train.”
Another letter from MARTA notes the decline in their ridership as being a factor. As I noted in a post earlier this year, MARTA is bucking a national trend in ridership. Where other systems in the US have gained passengers, MARTA has lost them.
CEO Keith Parker is aware that the agency needs to gain ridership in order to survive and wants to expand the service area to achieve that goal, saying earlier this year that “[MARTA’s] footprint is too small…We need to be in Cobb county. Many of the folks who ride our system are moving well beyond our service area.”
Which makes the news about the move of the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County all the more troubling, since county leaders there are taking a stance against expanding transit in order to serve the stadium.
— Scenes of Half-Empty Parking Lots on the Busiest Shopping Day of the Year | Streetsblog 12/2/13
— A Stroll Around the World | New York Times, 11.22.2013
The above image of Florence, Italy (left) versus the interchange of interstates 285 & 75 outside Atlanta (right), at the same scale, made the rounds across the web a couple of years ago. I posted it here at the time.
Obviously it isn’t meant to be a direct comparison between the average development styles in Europe and the US. After all, this beast exists on the outskirts of Florence:
And Downtown Atlanta has some decent walkable density, thank you very much:
But it does offer a good lesson when it comes to thinking about how we use our precious land space in the future. Compact uses should prevail in order to reduce the wasteful use of undeveloped land via car-centric sprawl. That’s the whole raison d’etre for this blog, in fact.
But I wanted to revisit this original Florence vs Atlanta image now because of the recent news about the Atlanta Braves moving their stadium to Cobb County, away from Atlanta. That lovely patch of dark green just NW of the interchange will be the home of the new stadium and also an adjacent mixed-use facility with green space:
There are many things to dislike about the Braves stadium move. But in fairness, there will be a little tiny sliver of Florence present in this image in 2017 that wasn’t there before. If this portends better land use for Metro Atlanta as a whole, then I can’t complain too much.
(OK, I’ll still complain. They should’ve built over existing developed space and left the trees alone. There.)
— Drivers, bicyclists to share more road: intown streets allow for safer mix of traffic Atlanta Journal Constitution 11/12/13