Atlanta proposes 21 miles of light rail, other transit improvements

The transit projects would be funded through proceeds from an approved sales tax by Atlanta voters

May 15, 2018
Transit projects

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and the city of Atlanta have proposed building 21 miles of light-rail lines and other transit improvements with the proceeds of a sales tax approved by city voters in 2016.

The list of projects recommended by the city and MARTA, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, includes the Clifton Corridor light-rail line, plus a system of other rail lines moving through downtown and along Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta.

It also includes 18 miles of bus rapid transit lines, other new bus routes, two new transit centers and renovation of a slew of existing stations.

The MARTA proposal, however, includes only a third of the light rail envisioned for the Atlanta Beltline loop, which is not enough for Beltline advocates. The Beltline is a proposed 22-mile loop of trails and parks connecting Atlanta neighborhoods. Its vision includes economic development, affordable housing, public art and other amenities. Eventually, it also would include public transportation.

A heavy rail extension along I-20 west, several other light-rail lines and a bus rapid transit route along I-20 east are also missing from the list of projects.

MARTA employees have evaluated dozens of potential projects that would cost a combined $11.5 billion. The proposed final list includes:

  • The four-mile Clifton Corridor light-rail line from MARTA’s Lindbergh station to the Emory University/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention area recently annexed by Atlanta;
  • A light rail system stretching from the Clifton Corridor to Campbelltown Road in southwest Atlanta. The network includes the northeast and southwest portions of the proposed Beltline Loop, plus a connecting link through downtown along the existing Atlanta Streetcar route. The streetcar would become part of the light rail network;
  • Bus rapid transit lines on Capitol Avenue, North Avenue and Northside Drive. MARTA also would initially deploy bus rapid transit along Campbellton Road before upgrading the line to light rail. The buses may operate in their own lanes, making the service faster than local bus service;
  • Three arterial rapid transit bus lines, which would operate in regular traffic but may get priority at traffic signals and other enhancements to keep them moving; and
  • New bus transfer centers at Greenbriar Mall in southwest Atlanta and Marietta Boulevard in northwest Atlanta, plus numerous enhancements to existing MARTA rail stations.


Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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