MARTA spending $18.3 million to build North entrance at Buckhead Station

Marta Buckhead Station ~ What Now Atlanta
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Transit authority files permit for the construction of a new station entrance.

MARTA is adding a “North entrance” to its Buckhead Station.

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The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority filed a permit with City of Atlanta Friday to construct a pedestrian bridge over the northbound and southbound lanes of GA 400, in addition to an elevator, “stair tower” and sidewalk, as part of its new North entrance.

MARTA will spend an estimated $18,282,589.00 constructing the new entrance, according to the permit.

Construction on Buckhead Station’s new entrance will begin this fall, according to the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID). It will open mid-2013.

MARTA was not immediately available for comment.


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  1. Well it is convenient that they are re-opening the north entrance. It is convenient to 3340 Peachtee, Tower Place 200, the two little hotels there, Buckhead Grand, and the Buckhead Church, but $18.3M to re-open something that is already partially in place?

    I can see convenience to Stratford Dr, which has the Paramount and of course the frequent MARTA users that live in Mansion. Sarcasm aside, seriously spend the $18.3M somewhere else MARTA.

    Tower Place is a discombobulated, phased mixed-use development where every building has its own garage and nothing is connected. It does not truly deserve $18.3M in transit funding, no offense to Regent Partners, which has been very successful with Tower Place. They have been successful without this $18.3M “improvement”, and as someone who works in Terminus nearby, I can guarantee that there will be marginal convenience improvements at best with this massive investment. WASTE.

    How about spending the $18.3M on Art Center Station, Midtown Station, and North Ave station? Art Center has leaks and security issues, and often stinks. Midtown Station uses the empty block owned by Cousins across the street, a block that should be made most easily developed when Cousins believes there to be a market (it seems to me they can’t or won’t with MARTA easements and constructions all over that block). Fix up North Ave a little, too. These are all stations visitors to our city also see and residents and office workers use 7 days a week (as opposed to Buckhead, which is a commuter station 5 days a week).

  2. Why can’t MARTA work with the city on building successful transit-oriented developments around its subway stations? If you look at transit stations in other cities, they are teeming with people and retail and restaurants in housing. Examples include Clarendon and Rosslyn on the DC subway, as well as many stops on the Chicago and Boston subways. They are teeming with life and people. Why can’t that be duplicated here? Lindbergh Center has been a complete failure, with numerous restaurants closing, and the housing units failing to attract people? Is there such a negative stigma with public transit here compared to other cities? Do people just love the 30 mile commute, paying $3,50 for gas??

  3. Dave,

    Could you please identify the housing units that are failing to attract people at Lindbergh? My company manages property at Lindbergh. They have a very low vacancy rate and very high price points. Contrary to popular belief, there is no Section 8 and never was any Section 8. I’m wondering where you’re getting your numbers. Your @ss, perhaps?

    Also, MARTA isn’t the problem. They are the ninth largest rapid transit system in the US and the only one that has never received any operational funding from its state. That is a scandal. The state spends billions of dollars paving more congested roads and lexus lanes but refuses to support Atlanta. I grew up in south Georgia. I know the mentality. Atlantans are ‘uppity.’ When in actuality, if it weren’t for Atlanta, GA would be another Mississippi.

    The original plans for MARTA called for lines up North Avenue, down Peachtree St., and rails reaching as far as Cobb and Norcross. Had the State stayed on board from day one, the landscape of Atlanta would be much, much different.

    The State is very hostile towards MARTA. Everytime MARTA is on the brink of collapse, the State refuses to let them to tap into their own capital reserve. In 1999, Governor Purdue refused to call a special session so MARTA could access its own funds. The result was 300 people being laid off to meet budget cuts.

    With MARTA’s budget, I’m surprised buses don’t run out of gas.How do you expect them to hire more security when they barely afford to pay people to drive the buses?

  4. Dave, check out the Decatur MARTA station. That has tons of residential and retail surrounding it.

  5. @ Dave – MARTA stations aren’t “teeming with life” because few people, relatively speaking, ride MARTA, and there are plenty of reasons as to why.

    First, our city is one big Tower Place – a clusterfuck of disconnected buildings, all with little to no connectivity to, or thoughtfulness for, the rest of the neighborhood and the city. As such, things are scattered all over a massive swath of land, which basically necessitates car travel to get to.

    Second, MARTA is a sad excuse for public transportation. The lines take you to a few points in the city, but because of the above issue, there’s limited businesses/services that you can actually get access to on foot, if you take public transportation. On top of this, a lot of their lines take you to parking lots, with virtually nothing within walking distance around you. These lines to nowhere were built for reasons God only knows, while denser areas of the city were neglected transportation that they desperately needed.

    Third, A lot of people in this city are the equivalent of retards with ballots, when it comes to urban design/planning. They gripe about MARTA being unsafe, and then hop in a car. They’re scared of people that aren’t from the same socioeconomic background as themselves, and don’t live the same stale, boring lifestyle as themselves. They look at public transportation as a stupid way of traveling that is reserved for the poor, despite public transportation being an integral part of a city’s infrastructure in most major, and far more sophisticated cities than Atlanta.

    Fourth, MARTA gets no support from the state (which I believe makes it the only urban public transport system that doesn’t get support from it’s state), likely because our state legislature is made up of people that are elected by retard’s with ballots all over the state.

    I could probably keep going…

  6. The wording in the article suggests that’s the BCID put down 1.2 million from its own pocket and helped raise the rest. It doesn’t necessarily say that MARTA payed (X) amount as the headline claims.

    1. hi chris, thanks for your comment. as far as we’re concerned, marta hasn’t spent a dime yet. the $18 million figure is an estimation from the city on what they will spend. regardless of where the money is coming from, marta is spending it.


  7. Sounds like the BCID is “matching funds” and that was a way to get MARTA to spend a good chunk of change in Buckhead. I’m sure had Midtown Alliance done the same thing, MARTA would be spending in Midtown, where it needs to spend more money.

  8. Does anyone know where you can find the actual tax revenues and budgets for the city, for prior years?

  9. Grab my smelling salts!

    The a**hole know-it-all (you know, the one that just called us retards) has lowered himself to ask us a question. You would think that princess would know how to look such things up by herself.

  10. @ urbanist – when you say:

    “Third, A lot of people in this city are the equivalent of retards with ballots, when it comes to urban design/planning. They gripe about MARTA being unsafe, and then hop in a car. They’re scared of people that aren’t from the same socioeconomic background as themselves, and don’t live the same stale, boring lifestyle as themselves. They look at public transportation as a stupid way of traveling that is reserved for the poor, despite public transportation being an integral part of a city’s infrastructure in most major, and far more sophisticated cities than Atlanta.”

    do you drive a car? I do, but not because I am scared of people that aren’t in the same socioeconomic background as myself, and definitely not because i have a stale and boring lifestyle.

    nor do I see public transportation as a stupid or poor way of getting around – I do not use it for the simple fact that it is not convenient. I live in buckhead and work in midtown. i would gladly take a train to work, but it would take me over 4x the amount of time.

    damn son, you cant blame the people for not paying to use a service that sucks. so, not a socioeconomic issue – a logical one.

    why doesnt atlanta build smaller, more convenient stations instead of building massive ones by churches.

  11. @tricksfordays

    If you dont understand transportation planning then you sure as hell shouldn’t speak about it. But first off your statement regarding it taking 4x times as long to go from Buckhead to Midtown is a bunch of bull and you know it. Unless you live deep into Buckhead’s single family residential areas there is no way it takes the train (and trains are what we are discussing right now) 4x as long to get to Midtown as a car. I know because I have tried it and I often do the same type of route as you.

    Secondly Atlanta doesnt build stations, but I am sure you knew that. Being that every station from Garnett to North Springs is located in a relatively dense environment, they are pretty well located. Unless you expect a stop to be smack dab in the middle of a low density single family residential development, which can never work because it would never reach the appropriate amount of riders within the walking distance radius, you cant get much more convienently located. Multiple stops in Midtown, Downtown, Perimeter Center, and Buckhead are all commercial and residential key locations with appropriate density.

    And yes those stations should be smaller, so that we can have smaller rail cars. Maybe it can be like the ride at Disney World. Insert sarcasm. The stations are the size that they are because they need the space for the trains as well as the buses that link up the rest of the region. All systems stations are relatively large, you just cant always tell because they are underground. All of MARTA’s stations could not be placed underground because of the changing topography of Atlanta. It is not a flat region like say Chicago, Dallas, or New York. For all of the stations to have gone below ground it would have been much more expensive while also slowing down the trains (which typically travel between 50-70 mph) in order to accomodate the change in elevation.


    As long as you keep making the statements that you make on this website, retard is the most appropriate term to apply to you. I am sure there are other more suitable ones, but there might be children reading.

  12. @ tricks – I have a car, but I only drive when necessary. I take the train to and from work on a daily basis, and if it works for me on the weekend as well. However, as MARTA isn’t exactly an expansive service (which I said previously), I have to drive when I go to the grocery store, etc.

    That said, your comment about MARTA taking 4x longer than driving is a major misconception that most people have. It may be slightly quicker for you, as you live/work within a few miles of each destination, but 4x is a gross overstatement. I think that, if you were within walking distance of a station, you’d find that the timing is probably pretty similar between Buckhead / Midtown during the week. For me, it’s significantly quicker to take MARTA, as I live in Midtown and work up by Perimeter. It’s taken me upwards of 2 hours to get home before, whereas MARTA is a consistent 30-40 minutes in commute time. Oh, and I get to answer emails, read a book, etc. while on the train, which I don’t get to do while driving.

  13. Keep up BCATL (goody…another transportation expert!)

    The discussion is Marta and Marta stations. Marta stations serve trains and buses. So this discussion is not exclusive to trains.

    For years, I lived in Midtown 5 blocks from a Marta station and worked in Peachtree Center; 30-45 minutes by Marta either walking to the station or waiting on a bus, or 10 minutes to drive.

    I now live deep ‘into a single family residential area of Buckhead,’ as you put it. Marta to Downtown — 1 and 1/2 hours plus by the time you add up walking to the bus stop, waiting on the bus, taking the bus to the station, waiting for the train and taking the train in. Driving time — about 15 minutes.

    Tricks is correct and you are wrong. Marta is too inconvenient for the majority of the area to seriously consider.

  14. I guess thats my point urbanist. I live pretty much on top of the intersection of two major roads in ITP atlanta – and the closest marta station is over a mile away so i would have to take 2 buses to get to the lenox or lindbergh station and then take a train into midtown. yes yes, a mile isnt far, but lets be realistic here – i have a gym bag, computer, i’m usually on the late-side and I wear some pretty high heels so walking or running to the station just isnt an option.

    …and unfortunately my statement was not a “gross overstatement” but an accurate one. I have tried to take marta to work. its about an hour commute. when it takes me 15-20 minutes to drive (down peachtree street). so, when driving down peachtree at 9am is that much faster, no one is going to take marta.

    hence why smaller, more convenient stations would be better. Marta can’t even transport people who live ITP around to fulfill their basic necessities, let alone for any other reason.

  15. So there’s no question about that – MARTA is an inefficient system, with stations that do very little to serve the general population of this city. I’m pretty sure I already said that, so I’m not sure what the argument is.

    That said, that doesn’t change the fact that public opinion skews people from using MARTA, that should actually be embracing it. For example – MARTA, for me, is convenient and very accretive for my commuting purposes. I save a lot time by walking to the train, and taking the train, to and from my office (not to mention the money I save on gas, wear and tear, car repairs, etc.). However, there are a LOT of people in this city, that are in an identical situation as me – live and work within walking distance to a MARTA station – that simply refuse to take it, because of the stigma public transport has in this city, which is a sad thing. These people either don’t have the intellectual wherewithal to contemplate what they could save by using public transport, or they simply don’t value their time enough to give it proper consideration. I also believe a lot of this negative opinion about public transport stems from the morons in the burbs who claim things like public transportation is a magnet for criminal activity.

    Having such poor public opinion makes it that much more difficult to improve the system.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the suburban community is a tremendous strain on Atlanta’s urban infrastructure, and the city itself receives no compensation for the immense amount of catering it does to that segment of the population. That needs to change, starting with a commuter tax that is not only meaningful, but also appropriate.

  16. “For years, I lived in Midtown 5 blocks from a Marta station and worked in Peachtree Center; 30-45 minutes by Marta either walking to the station or waiting on a bus, or 10 minutes to drive.”

    I’m not sure if I follow. You take a bus 5 blocks?

    And your 10 minute estimate – I am just going to assume that it’s not at rush hour and not door-to-door. My trips from Atlantic Station – which have me wait for a shuttle to connect to the Arts Center (unless I walk) – to GSU downtown take barely longer than it takes to drive in rush hour traffic the same distance/route. Especially when you consider finding parking and walking to my destination. Now the same trip on a Sunday at 9:00 am? Totally different, and driving is much faster.

    It would be great if MARTA could expand its services to make it more convenient for more people. It would also be great if people would think about their commutes when they decide where to work and live. Many people in Atlanta do not and just assume that it has to be a huge time drain, and many seem to rarely calculate the costs of their commute.

  17. I could walk to the bus stop, take a bus 5 blocks to the train station or walk to the train station and then wait for the train to Peachtree Center– either way 30-45 minutes total time to Peachtree Center via Marta.

    And the 10 minutes driving time was rush hour and was door to parking spot. No exaggeration. I would call co-workers who lived in Fayette County when I walked in my door and they would still be trying to get on the connector. They hated me.

  18. @baatl – you crazy!

    1. Well … im pretty sure those who ARE coordinating MARTA and its future “don’t understand transportation planning” – because anyone who is reasonably logical with common sense can see the major flaws in it, but also can see the opportunities it has for this city

    2. I don’t really give a shit if Atlanta, your mom or barney builds the stations – plain and simple, they are terrible and useless to 90% of atliens.

    3. I did do some extensive clock-learning in college – and it has armed me with the ability to tell the difference between a 15 minute commute and an hour commute. Ill break it down for you:

    a. On marta my commute is over an hour. I was being nice when I said an hour. And I live a block from a major intersection of buckhead, right on the street – not in a neighborhood.

    b. In a car – from my doorstep to my work parking garage, my commute is 15 minutes – 20 if traffic is bad. This is to work. on the way home is a different story, but I never leave before 6/7, so the traffic isn’t that bad.

    And urbanist – marta does have a perceived high crime rate, but so is atlanta in general – because it’s true. You cant expect someone to take public transportation if they feel unsafe. I rode marta back in the day – and I have countless examples of people getting groped, people being robbed and just flat out crazy people yelling at you. I have also ridden it and it has been perfectly acceptable. But knowing how bad it can be, I cant fault someone for not wanting to take it. I work late at night – and you can bet that the last place my ass would be is in an empty marta tunnel. thats the reality.

  19. Sorry tricks, it’s not true. I’ve ridden MARTA every day for the last couple of years, and have not been privy to anything more annoying than some dipshit listening to his mp3 player out loud. Of course, I’m not saying MARTA is absent of any crime, but it’s not an “unsafe” place. The people that feel unsafe on MARTA are the same people that are scared of anyone outside of their socioeconomic background.

  20. @Tricks

    Unless you live at Roswell and Peachtree or Piedmont and Roswell you are no more than a 10 minute walk, tops, from the Buckhead Station. If you live anywhere else in “Buckhead” besides the single family residential neighborhoods then you dont really live in Buckhead and you just like to say you do because it sounds savy. If you chose to live in one of the single family residential areas then that is your choice. There isnt a transit system in this country that has a station in the middle of a single family residential neighborhood. If you got a problem walking to the station in heels, then wear tennis shoes and carry your heels till you get to work like most commuters do. Regardless those are choices, and to expect a transit agency to accomodate you because of your shoe choice or housing preference is ridiculous.

    In terms of crime, go pull any transit systems crime numbers and you will see that MARTA is either in line, or better than in crime. Perception and reality arent the same thing. Stop reading the AJC and you might see that. In fact find me another major metropolitan area in the Southeast besides Nashville and Raleigh that have lower crime rates. You wont.

    Regarding efficiency, financially MARTA has proven itself more fiscally efficient than Gwinett and Cobb, even the AJC had to bow down to that one and eat its words. In relation to its efficiency in coverage, I challenge anyone to find a bus system in the southeast as extensive as MARTA’s. For rail, it serves all of the most densely populated and commercial areas of this city as well as the airport. Again, a rail transit system cannot serve single family residential areas. It is not fiscally smart. Therefore, it is the planning of the city of Atlanta and the region that has rendered MARTA inefficient in covering those areas. Let them become more dense and I guarantee MARTA will serve them with rail, and if not MARTA someone else.

  21. @ BC – Being more efficient than Gwinnett & Cobb is like saying you’re wealthier than the homeless. Frankly, I think that’s a pretty poor mentality to have. We should be saying “We’re not as good as NYC or Singapore, so how can we improve”, instead of saying “We’re better than some bunk outlier county, so we should be happy with that”.

    Second, MARTA’s bus coverage is extensive, but it sucks horribly. Why? Because buses that run on clogged roads don’t provide any reliability or efficiency. The focus should be on getting people to live closer together, and linking them with transportation that makes sense. Not saying, “go live out in bumble and we’ll run a bus line out there that’ll be better than Gwinnett’s”.

    Point is, Atlanta has to stop comparing themselves to lesser communities and then declaring it’s dominance. Atlanta needs to compare itself to world class communities, come to terms with its deficiencies, and then act to improve those. The resources are here to be one of those world class cities, but it’s squandered by accepting the status quo as “better than our neighbors”…

  22. @Urbanist

    I would love to compare them fiscally to larger systems but the main problem with that is that the cities are not comparable. The population density of larger cities and their systems (NYC, Chicago, Toronto, Boston) are not even close to that of Atlanta’s. It is not an even comparison. While we should strive to be more like those places, the reason that we are not is in no relation to MARTA. It rests solely on the developmental practices of the city and the region.

    You are right. The roads are clogged, so the buses are delayed, but not MARTA’s fault. That goes back to poor transporation and regional planning by the counties, cities, and GDOT which has allowed traffic to reach the point it has. The delays the buses experience are a product of that.

    Lastly no one said we should settle with being comparable to the regional outliers. The point of that comparison is that if people are not going to blast them for fiscal inefficiencies, then they have no business blasting MARTA for it, especially when it is more efficient then those. All of the points you brought up are true, but none of them are the fault of MARTA and that is what is frustrating. Reading so many of these morons laying the blame at the feet of the transportation agencies when it is almost entirely the fault of city and regional planning and decades of raping the region with its lack of constraints on planning and organization.

  23. Also remember that MARTA is the largest system in the US to not get any state funding. It’s only funded by a 1c sales tax from Fulton and Dekalb counties. A handicap the state put on MARTA more than 3 decades ago. And also the counties Cobb, Gwinnett and Clayton have had many chances to votes to join the MARTA system throughout the years, and they have always voted NO. All of this not MARTA’s fault.

  24. It’s not like marta was blind-sided with these issues. they saw them coming and just planned poorly.

    are buses really the most efficient means of transportation? I guess I’m just another ‘moron’ placing blame because I suggest smaller, more convenient stations. Yah know, ones people will use. and they could at least open up their data to third-party developers the way BART and others have done ( thats a start to figure out how people are even using marta and how to improve it.

    And BCATL – I do live at one of those two intersections, so your post rant was unnecessary 🙂 and yes, i do expect decent public transportation living there.

    chris – there are plenty of ways to make money with marta … so state funding shouldnt be a huge hinderance IMHO

  25. @ BC – That’s precisely my point! Population densities are greater, so what should we be thinking about? Greater population densities and how to foster those! We should be looking at all the attributes that make other cities great, and we should be working to emulate those variables. That doesn’t mean that Atlanta is going to become NYC. Just because you share similar variables (which one can look at and say, those variables are contributors to success) as another city, doesn’t make you that particular city. If that were the case, then people would see little difference between NYC, Singapore, Vancouver, or Tokyo, which is clearly not the case.

    While I agree that MARTA isn’t at fault for all the transportation problems in this city, they have made a lot of missteps themselves. For example, they have lines that run up to North Springs, and they are lobbying for one up to John’s Creek, yet Ponce doesn’t have any reliable public transit access. You cant’ get from Highlands into the city on public transit, and there is no public transit taking you out to or around the Westside, which is arguably one of Atlanta’s best neighborhoods.

  26. @Urbanist. As part of the Transportation tax we are voting on next year, on the list is only an expansion from North Spring to Holcomb Bridge Rd. in Roswell. Not all the way to John’s Creek. However, the funding set aside is only for environmental studies and right of way acquisitions. No where near the funding to actual build anytime soon. But it’s a start.

    It would be nice to have MARTA go down Ponce and the Highlands but this is fully funded with the transportation tax as part of the Beltline. Light rail will come down North Avenue to connect with the Beltline and Ponce. If the tax passes, these light rail lines should be under construction by 2013. The Westside will be connected to the Beltline as well, but at a later time.

    Tunneling underground would have been astronomically expensive for MARTA to reach these areas, that’s why it’s original plans tried to following existing rail corridors as much as possible, which has not always been the best option as far as access. I think MARTA should have continued up Peachtree Street from Arts Center station to Buckhead instead of going out to Lindbergh. But again…cost.

  27. @Urbanist. Huh? You can’t get from Highlands into the city? Have you heard of the No. 2 Bus? When I was in my 20s, the No. 2 Bus was my car. Now that I am in my 40s I am saddened that you have to practically make an appointment with a bus in the ATL, but you CAN get downtown from Va-Hi.

  28. @ Chris – Roswell and John’s Creek are synonymous with wasteful, in terms of MARTA. The environmental studies and right of way acquisitions are just the beginning of massive economic waste.

    So we’re following pre-existing rails, because it’s less expensive, even though it’s not the best option for access. That, right there, highlights the massive amounts of stupidity surrounding that project. We’re designing an outrageously expensive public transport project that doesn’t have the “best access”. Of course! Why would public transportation need good access!? This city is shooting itself in the foot, and costing itself a lot more money in the long run, due to idiotic allocations of capital. Ship the entire Beltline project and expand rail into dense neighborhoods, and over time it would pay off…oh, but wait, that wouldn’t allow our dipshit reps to do a photo shoot or cut a ribbon.

    @ Michael – did you not pay any attention to the conversation about buses? The point of public transport is to be reliable and efficient, which our buses are not. So saying you “can” get from VaHi to Downtown, but have to do so via bus, is like saying yeah, I can get to Singapore without a plane…

  29. @Urbanist

    While the North Springs station isnt ideal it has worked splendidly. I pulls the suburban commuters going to the airport and the AT&T employees as well. If you ever look at a North Springs train coming from the Airport it is usually 2/3rds of the way full of suburbanites coming home. Same thing at the North Springs station going in. Lots of people catching flights. Fiscally it was actually a very smart move, especially since most of those people also park their cars there for multiple days.

    I do think we should strive to be like those other cities in terms of transit and density, but to put them up on a glorified pedestal that they have done no wrong is foolish. Like Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and Boston all have significant gaps in their transit. In Boston you cant take a train from the airport you have to use buses. Chicago’s west side and south side are horribly disconnected, and you cant live in Queens and parts of Brooklyn without a car. So they have plenty of gaps just like Atlanta does. And for now buses fill those gaps. While buses can be inefficient, denying their necessity is also foolish. None of those transit systems would be what they are without bus connectivity.

    Ponce definitely needs transit, but that is a funding issue. It is terribly more expensive to put rail through there than it was to extend a line. As you pointed out there is the existing track issue, but Ponce has the issue of new traffic patterns, old utilities, and right of ways. If the funding issue can be solved then MARTA’s hands would be untied and those areas can be served (which is on their target list anyways, they arent ignoring it, there just arent viable resources to do it).

    Placing blame on MARTA for not expanding more, or because this city grew in an unsustainable fashion is diverting the blame from city leaders, residents themselves, and politicians that wont supply the appropriate funding. Its a horrible way to divert the blame. The same way drivers blame everyone else for being stuck in traffic, forgetting that when they are sitting on these clogged roads, they are the traffic.

  30. @ BC – so you’re telling me it’s more important to provide transportation to the suburbs, so people who have chosen to live far away from the city can the to the airport, that to provide transportation access to densely developed pockets of the city, where a lot of people don’t have access to transportation at all?

    How do you define “significant gaps”? Every inch of Manhattan is accessible within walking distance from public transportation, and the city still expands it’s rail lines to make it more accommodating. The same could be said for most of Brooklyn and Queens, particularly when you factor in the bus service (which is actually reliable). Same can be said for the most densely developed areas of Chicago, San Francisco, etc. What you don’t see it these municipalities building city rail out to their nether regions, when the city itself is in dyer need.

    So, yeah, while there may be “gaps” in coverage, they are reasonable gaps, given the relative densities and development. Atlanta, on the other hand, has rail running out to the sticks, while so little of in-town has access to public transport.

    The issues on Ponce are poor excuses. However, I do agree with the funding issue – which I am so adamantly in support of a congestion tax. Hundreds of thousands of people commute into the city on a daily basis, and the vast majority do it alone. A $3, each way, fee would generate plenty of money to enable this city to start progressing forward.

    The point here is that the blame goes in 2 directions. First, to the city leaders, designers, planners. They’re vision is nothing more than short-sighted, and it’s created catastrophic problems. The second is to MARTA for developing lines to the suburbs, where public transport is not needed or necessary, and neglecting the in town needs as a result of that.

  31. No i do not think suburbanites should be priortized. Never did say that. You are attempting to put words in my mouth. But at that time it was the only option to expand, and from a revenue point of view it has worked out very well.

    Not sure how much traveling you have done, but Queens is absent of a lot of rail. Unless you live on the far west end of Queens (Astoria) your transit options are very limited. Yes they have bus, but as you said bus is inefficient, which it is, but is necessary. And at no point did I argue that Manhattan does not have the transportation it needs, but NYC as a whole does have gaps. Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island all have significant gaps. Chicago’s soutside is completely inaccessible via rail after 95th street, the west side is nearly ignored as well. Hell you cant even get to the University of Chicago via rail. Boston is the closest you can get to a cohesive system but even their airport is lacking in transit. I am also very aware of these because I lived in two of these three cities and experienced everyday accessibility to rail. And you said it yourself, the most densely developed areas of Chicago and New York have rail. So does Atlanta. All major business districts are served, as well as the areas with the most dense housing. Now it is time to fill in the gaps.

    The areas you are referencing that do need rail, are also areas that have only recently become more dense residential areas, coinciding with the fiscal issues of the state and MARTA creating a tough position to be in. Refering back to North Springs. It wasnt decided in 2000 to build that station, so it wasnt an intentional slight to other neighborhoods. When these stations are planned and eventually built, it is stretched over at least a decade, often more. So when stations such as North Springs were planned, it was a good idea at that time, because Atlanta was experiencing flight from the city, and the areas that are in need now, were in a serious decline. By the time things started to change, too much time, money, and planning were put into the station to abandon it, and start with a new area. Ideally yes, the focus would have remained on the city, but from a fiscal standpoint, and a shifting demographic at the time of planning that made the most sense. There seems to be a serious disconnect from people on how long they think these kinds of things take to evolve. They arent decided, planned, designed, and built in the same year.

    If MARTA was proposing today to only extend to the burbs I could see your point. But with the Clifton Road corridor and the Roswell lines they are able to appease both groups that are voting on this bill, the intowners and suburbanites. Sadly that is the way it has to be because they have to get the support of those that dont live in the city because it is a regional vote and not a city vote. If the city vs. rural battle was not as volatile as it was, and how it isnt in most cities, then they could probably get away with focusing just on the city.

    Atlanta is unique (in a bad way), and thats why it is so hard to compare to other places. While Chicago’s metro has 9 million people a third of them live in and support the city as a whole. Almost half of New York’s metro lives in the city. But Atlanta is 500,000 vs. another 4.7 million that dont. That is why there has to be some bowing down, unfortunatley to the suburbs, because they carry far to much voting weight. Trust me, I dont like it either, I think they made their mess they should have to live in it. But until voting structure and economic power shifts, compromise is the only way anything can be done. Otherwise we will see no transit improvement. We should all be looking at St. Louis who was able to bring together, counties, cities, states, urban dwellers, and suburbanites to begin their system. But even they arent expanding right now.

  32. @urbanist: If you are such a transportation snob that you won’t consider a bus, what kind of urbanist are you? My family just returned from a week-long trip to San Francisco where we got around on bus passes and saw every level of society on the buses — my dream for Atlanta. All it would take for there to be more buses on Ponce (the 2 used to run every 15 minutes) is more people willing to ride them, unlike the millions required to run light-rail or MARTA down Ponce. If the penny for transportation isn’t voted in (which seems likely) MARTA is toast in any case…

  33. @ Michael – I’m not a transportation snob. I’m an environmentally conscious urban dweller who wants to get from point A to point B in the shortest time possible, with minimal carbon footprint. I won’t consider a bus, in Atlanta, because buses in Atlanta don’t satisfy part 1 of my requirement, the short commute. The buses here, as noted, are horrifically unreliable, and are subject to the same traffic that everyone in a car is subject to.

    Congratulations on your big adventure to California. Buses work in San Francisco, because they’re matched by subways as well as trolleys. On top of that, San Francisco is an incredibly dense city, where many people don’t need any other transportation other than their own two feet to get where they want to go. This all cuts down drastically on the number of cars on the road, which makes it easier for buses to run. Oh, and lastly, and perhaps more importantly, your average San Franciscan is smarter, more environmentally conscious, and more socially/economically aware than your average Atlantan, so they are naturally more disposed to do something that is good for their environment, wallet, and time, than Atlantans are.

    “All it would take for there to be more buses on Ponce is more people willing to ride them”. And all I want for Christmas is a unicorn that can cure world hunger overnight. Get f’ing real. More buses down Ponce, or anywhere for that matter, will be subject to the same traffic that everyone else is, and will provide no efficiency.

    Piece of advice: The next time you take your family to Disney, you probably shouldn’t come back and say we all need a Splash Mountain in Downtown…

  34. @Urbanist. I so wish that you would get off of this kick that *everyone* needs to be living ITP. I work in the insurance industry and most of the major insurance carriers are located in Alpharetta, Duluth and the Perimeter area. I wanted to live closer to the companies that are more likely to employ me, so it made sense for me to look for housing in the northern suburbs. My commute to work is about 20 minutes tops. And contrary to what you often post here-not everyone living in the suburbs owns a McMansion, I live in a modestly sized townhome.

    Now, I do like to come in-town on the weekends to eat and shop, and at those times I take MARTA.

    When I retire in about 25 years or so, I might consider looking into making a move into the city. But for now, as long as I’m a working stiff, living close to work is my main priority and that means living in the suburbs.

  35. @ Lynette – I’m on now kick, and operating under no presumption, that everyone needs to live ITP. Frankly, I think quite the opposite. However, if you’re going to live in the suburbs and commute into the city, which hundreds of thousands of people do daily, then I think you should have to pay your way, instead of expecting the city to shoulder your burden any longer. Commuters wear on the infrastructure and services of the city, and they give little to nothing back. Who suffers? The people who want to live in the city.

    I don’t disagree with your reasoning – wanting to live close to where you work. I’d like to as well, except that if I did my housing options would be McMansions and McTownhomes, my cultural options would be zilch during the week, my dining options would be mediocre gimmicky restaurants and chains, and I’d have to pollute the shit out the environment driving everywhere I wanted to go. So, I suck it up and take a commute on MARTA, which is 30 minutes, I read every morning while I commute, and I get to go home to what this city has of a vibrant and urbane atmosphere.

  36. As a student, MARTA continues to disappointment. I live in Decatur and attend college in the AUC. It takes me almost 90 minutes to get to school via MARTA. I must take 2 buses and a train, or take one bus, one train and make a 15 minute walk through what is less than a desirable area to get to my classes. When I drive, I park on campus (often for free) it takes me 20 minutes and I am not subjected to long waits for the bus( 30-45 min) nor am I slowed by electrical issues with my vehicle, unlike MARTA where on any given day you may be asked to exit and wait for another train do to maintainence issues. Last semester I took 1 class at Clayton State University. I took MARTA and the connector route transport and it took me 2.5 hours from my home to the actual campus. The drive is merely 35 minutes directly down the 285. MARTA isn’t convient unless you are commuting inside the perimeter and even then it highly needs improvement. How the state has gotten away with not contributing to a system taht has TWO medical facility stops is a sin and a shame. I cannot afford to live ITP and still put myself through school, but a learned enough in my Public Policy class to know that beaurocracy has way more to do with MARTA woes than does the ridership.

  37. Everytime I ride MARTA it’s something. Whether it’s a homless guy jumping on trains asking for $ and then cussing people out when the ignore him or some idiot playing their phone outloud as if it’s a speaker to provide the train w/music, it’s always something.

    The Buckhead project is a waste of money, huge.

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