Does MARTA Really Want Ridership?

Much hay was made last year in the AJC and at City Hall regarding an audit of MARTA. More recently though, a bus rapid transit (BRT) system has been under construction in Summerhill, and some less-than-favorable fencing has been taken down in Chamblee to spruce up the look and make the area more accessible. These are all great things and MARTA should be applauded for them. However, for those of us living in the city, it’s rather difficult to not see how derelict the overall transit approach is. While I’m a proponent of public transit, I can also see the obvious need for improvement.  At this point, I’m guessing it’s hard for the state to ignore all this as well, as HB 1358 was introduced recently, attempting to move the ATL Link under state control. While some may wring their hands about this, I ain’t mad. As many have said, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m going to let a few photos I’ve taken recently do more of my talking in this piece before I end with a personal anecdote that challenges state legislators and MARTA to consider what might or might not drive more ridership. Bonus: Any attorneys reading this who wish to exercise their skills in Atlanta Municipal Court over undesignated MARTA parking spots, gimme a call! 

You should know that I have been a long-time proponent of MARTA, albeit a rider by choice. In fact, many of my public Facebook posts are about the positive vignettes I see while on trains. While living in the city proper, in two different residences, MARTA access has always been a part of my search criteria for a home-first in the Poncey Highlands/ Midtown area and now in Mozley Park. Along with proximity to park space, these two indicators are the primary reason for our choice to live in Atlanta. MARTA enables my husband and I to share a car (particularly helpful in a city with super high auto insurance rates, attend the Symphony, various in-town events, and thanks to a group of sweet friends from the Capitol who reside in Johns Creek and Sandy Springs that are willing to meet for dinner around train stations, we can often meet up with friends without having to battle traffic! It’s not just a convenience either, I choose to take MARTA after years of commuting from Monroe to Gainesville daily, Monroe to the corner of Andy Young & Piedmont daily, & driving from my condo in Midtown to Macon & Augusta for work. I’ve put a lot of miles on Georgia’s highways. I have no interest in contributing to Atlanta’s commuter traffic if I can avoid it.

However, I also would prefer something other than BRT or a traditional bus. While the #3 picks up outside our house, I find the schedule to be vastly irregular, and we enjoy the ease and approximate regularity of the trains. Here’s a picture of the stop outside my front door. If you peer across the street, you can also see another stop- both uncovered and not particularly well marked. My husband has stood at the bus stop and the bus has literally driven by without stopping. Our experiences with the bus have not inspired further use of it, so I hope that the BRT in Summerhill will be a more positive experience for riders. 

These are similar to those on Delmar Lane, the feature of some news from the City of Atlanta’s insta account, and Atlanta News First article. It seems while City Council would love for us to celebrate their bringing in a new developer to paint the building white, they’ll leave holding MARTA accountable for leaving kids in the rain at the bus stops to someone else. 

Year of the Youth, anyone?

The inspiration for this piece was born out of a sight I see regularly in Grove Park- or what most Atlantans recognize as Bankhead. At the intersection of West Lake and Joseph E. Boone, on the side with the park, there is a covered bus stop. However, on the opposite side, sits this makeshift chair and sign combo. It’s really a sight, no? My husband of Alabama origin would glowingly refer to this as redneck engineering. 

Now turn the corner, head to the little laundromat on the right side, and I got a picture of the two stops on either side of Boone. Here they are, similar make and model, perhaps created by the same handy people who created the other. Here’s one.

I admire this, honestly. 

This is peak Atlanta. 

Out of the crumbs provided by legitimate organizations, our most vulnerable populations craft useful things to ease the burdens of quotidian life, often making up for the failure of others. Atlanta may be the ‘City Too Busy to Hate’ but it’s also the city too busy to maintain our police and fire departments’ training facilities or basic bus stops. And then there’s the classic- who needs speed bumps when you have pot holes and steel plates? 

In the area where: 

  1. Neighborhoods in the area took the time to create their own wish list
  2. Microsoft was planning to set up shop
  3. Brock Built Homes has been marketing heavily after their investment 
  4. Blank & Home Depot have been investing in housing for Veterans up the street
  5. I personally wrote my own thank you notes to both the Senate Appropriations Chair and the now Chief of Staff for Speaker Burns for the state allocation of funds for revamping of the Bankhead station

….MARTA can’t provide basic stops with benches, y’all!

Now I know we like to make comparisons between Bankhead and Buckhead, so I felt compelled to do the same for this piece. I don’t spend as much time in Buckhead as I once did, but for the sake of demonstrating fairness, and equality across the city, I drove up Northside Drive because I remembered a single seat under the MARTA bus stop sign across from North Atlanta High School. I can remember getting stuck in traffic one day with a kid sitting there, waiting for the bus and thinking it was absolutely INSANE that he had no bench, no cover from the elements and this was allowed outside a school! It was particularly scorching that day and that kid, like me, was a whiter shade of pale. 

You can imagine my surprise when I saw this- a completely new, well-covered stop complete with Eagle Scout project style seating beside, even encouraging more sidewalks! Bravo MARTA! Bravo students demanding more pedestrian access! Now, can you please do the same for the students off Delmar Lane and Boone? Pretty please?

As Peach Pundit readers probably already know, MARTA extends into Clayton and Dekalb counties. And a particular stop in Dekalb, near a friend’s home has always bothered me. Here’s a picture of it. 

This is located just off 285, at a corner, and just outside Emerald Estates subdivision. It is unclear to me how any human can stand here, much less the older residents of the nearby subdivision, on this pinestraw and sand hill, but at least it has a trash can! I suppose that’s something! God help you if you use a wheelchair, cane, or walker because like sidewalks, accessibility via a bus stop isn’t an option here.

While the above pictures were the original impetus of my writing, it seems I am not alone in wanting MARTA to get its act together. As luck would have it, the introduction of HB 1358  made me curious about what the state has up its sleeve with transit. I was elated to see Saporta Report’s coverage of the bill. It hasn’t been clear to me what the purpose of the ATL Link was from its inception nor can I think of anything its actually done, but if the legislators want to streamline transit- sounds good to me, just make sure you hire people that actually know transportation, not just political cronies, ok? 

Georgia DOT’s Board and has long been the repository of previous legislators and political cronies. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety as well. In a state where we seem to bark a lot about streamlining, conservatism, and saving folks’ tax money, having these multiple cubbyholes for nepotism seems like an easy place to begin restructuring and cutting the fat, wouldn’t you say? So I’m all for restructuring transit, although I hope this bill gets a study committee out of it to share with the public what these changes will actually mean. The bill is rather vague about specifics. “Reshuffling deck chairs on the Titanic” may have been a phrase I’ve heard in reference to this. As I understand it, ATL Link was supposed to be the conduit to draw down federal funds for unification across systems-I’m all for that! Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much unification nor do I assume that the state will be this new unifier. My bet is, this bill is another way to repurpose some federal funds, sadly.

If we really want to change transit in this state, promote connectivity, and get people to you know, ride it, we’re going to have to make each component more accessible to everyone, make our tickets interchangeable across platforms, and (dare I say it) maybe even take other city’s approaches to how we handle farebox recovery. I made the choice to drive out to Gwinnett County a couple of times in the last few weeks and the experience in traffic was hell-in the evening and middle of the day. And if we want to continue to attract business and people to our state, then we have to make sure we can move things and people in large groups easily and efficiently with either dedicated lanes of BRT, rail for trains, or we’re really lying to ourselves about our interest in scaling up to the next level. Ironically, Atlanta used to have a well developed transit system. Atlanta Magazine covered it recently, although the article makes no mention of the streetcar suspension as a result of the Atlanta Race Massacre, which was a defining moment in the City’s history as well as how transit remained segregated until 1959.

But more than just lawmakers are going to have to make this mindset shift.

This past Saturday night, my husband and I drove up to the Ashby train station to do what we’ve done countless times before in the six years we’ve lived here, frankly, what we’d done only a few days before when a friend unexpectedly gifted us with tickets to a concert at the Wimbish House. As we’d done earlier in the week, we parked our car in front of the station, where the parking spots are outlined, locked our car, and walked to the stairs. Only this time, a MARTA police officer stopped my husband and told him we weren’t allowed to park here. He told us these parking spots were for picking up and dropping off passengers and that if we were parking for any length of time, we needed to park at the West Lake station. 

Here’s a Google map image of the Ashby train station, Westlake train station, and Woodruff Arts Center, where the ASO performs. I’ve highlighted the destination with a circle, our home location in purple, and the available MARTA stations with “P”. If you want to play around with the map, here’s the link.

I think it’s pretty easy to see that the Ashby station is in the direction we were intending to go, right? We would have to drive in the literal opposite direction to then ride farther into the city to achieve the same goal. 

Now, let’s set those logistics aside. 

Let’s look at a bigger picture that includes the neighborhoods around  the Ashby station. You may wonder why would we try to park in a place that apparently only allows a kiss n ride parking? Or why we might not be willing to park at the HUGE parking lot off Lena St. that is clearly also marked on Google Maps. 

Funny thing about that. The parking lot at Ashby has now been locked for years. Here’s a picture of one of their two locked gates.

Here’s a photo of the weeds that are growing through the asphalt of the parking lot. Isn’t this a great use of land in the middle of a city that’s struggling with affordability of real estate? This is a GREAT use of land essentially across the street from that Walmart that burned (twice) and in the midst of an intersection with multiple small businesses, probably one of the most historic high schools in the Southeast and down the road from an elementary school. We couldn’t use this area for workforce housing and increase the density along a rail corridor, now could we?? One could hope a fully functioning Dept. of Planning might work with MARTA and developers to make such a thing happen but then again, one would have to have a fully functioning Dept. of Planning.

And for whatever reason, the parking lot on the Lowery side does not have Kiss N Ride spots nor does it say anything about a time limit on any of the parking spots. Here’s a picture of what it looked like on either side of the car that evening. It’s hard to see in the picture, but there are parking spot blocks painted on the pavement next to the curb.

Other side.

And (of course) from the police officer’s perspective. We took it while we were speaking with him. It’s easier to see the painted blocking of the parking spots on the pavement in this picture. I’m guessing it’s the lighting and where we were standing that it shows up better here.

If you can find any designation for Kiss N Ride or bus only in the pictures, I’ll pick up the next cocktail tab for you! I encourage readers to drive by, see if you see any signage that I may have missed. Send in pictures and let me know if any MARTA cops stop you!

Now why should any of this matter to Peach Pundit readers?

Allow me to explain how connectivity works in my section of the city. Here’s another Google Map image that features my neighborhood namesake, Mozley Park, the Lionel Hampton Trail within it, and the West Lake station. The Trail connects pedestrians from the West Lake Neighborhood across the MARTA tracks to both the West Lake station via the Lionel Hampton Trail and the Ashby station, in the case that like my husband and I, they’re going into Midtown, rather than away from the city center.

All of these neighborhoods and transit stations are connected via this bridge that is straight out of Freddie Kruger’s nightmares. Can you imagine walking this in the wee hours of the morning or night for 3rd shift jobs? Jeez! Lighting would do WONDERS here.

Here’s the other side, husband for scale. These were taken back in April of last year, when everything was green and growing. It’s right out of a freak show in the winter with spindly fingers of leafless trees and vines. It’s the stuff that makes even this urban dweller pause before crossing alone.

Or alternatively, the Lionel Hampton Trail and Elle Mae Wade Brayboy Park in this image can connect folks from the West Lake Neighborhood to the Ashby Station. Just follow the pink arrows.

Finally, the Lionel Hampton Trail connects to the Beltline on Lena St, that goes right past that locked parking lot and into the Ashby station. If MARTA hasn’t locked the gate, you don’t even have to cross Lowery to access the trains, as the tunnel goes beneath the road. But I can’t always promise that. When the gate is closed it’s real-life Frogger!

Now again, I’m a MARTA rider by choice. Whether I drive or not is pretty irrelevant to the overall MARTA scheme. But my neighbors aren’t. I’d further wager MARTA needs BOTH riders like me AND my neighbors to make their numbers work and Atlanta needs riders like BOTH of us to draw down their insane traffic. For folks who depend upon public transit as their primary means of transportation though, the connection points of these trails matter-as much as the connection points to GRTA & Cobb Link matter if you are using these systems to get to work. God knows we need more riders by choice to reduce our traffic problem and call me crazy, but if you make the user experience easier from one end to the other, the more the user MIGHT engage.

Now you may point out these images portray a REALLY long walk, and that’s true. Instead of driving to the Ashby station, my husband and I used to use scooters until City Council (in all their infinite wisdom) banned scooters from 10 PM to 4 AM. So while we can’t take them on our way home in a storm from Ashby after the Symphony (11PM-ish), nor can the Waffle House staff getting off at 2AM, but frat boys in Buckhead can get rip-roaring drunk and pick them up to roll home on Peachtree at 4 AM. At least regular commuters can use scooters or electric bikes as part of their work day. As legislators consider full integration of last mile connectivity, these options should all be taken into account. 

Now I don’t know what you do about parking your electric bikes or scooters at MARTA though. The availability of bike racks are pretty slim. The scooters are virtually non-existent on this side of town.

So when dressed for an evening out, we drive and park at the station in order to pick up our car to head home. In fact, I’m not sure how any person would know, other than the officer telling us that parking our car there was inappropriate. I said as much to the officer when he told us this, and not kindly, either. In glorious Karen fashion, I was yelling that evening with my finger pointing and everything. The officer originally tried to tell us that we were parking in the bus lane, but we knew that was untrue- the buses pick up on Lowery. We didn’t understand what this all was about, but it was pretty clear this officer didn’t know our MARTA station as well as we do. That’s probably because we live here and don’t just work here.

Fun fact: the affordable housing challenges our Governor and Mayor keep wringing their hands about yet doing nothing to empower tenants or cap rental fees means the Atlanta workforce (MARTA, DPW, AFRD, APD, you get the idea) all hire folks that reside in other jurisdictions. So instead of having a neighborhood cop or MARTA cop, Atlanta tends to get folks that ADD to our traffic driving in to police traffic and parking of folks who live, work, and play in the area (or at least try to). Earlier this week my husband bonded with another Atlantan on X for snapping a photo of a MARTA cop parking (as they do) in a handicap spot at MARTA. This contributes to an us vs. them mentality and while I can’t know exactly what was going through this officer’s head at that moment, I can draw a throughline of my experience based on what my husband and I were wearing.

You see, this happened to us once before- funny enough, when we were heading to the Capitol for the first meeting of the Senate Study Committee on Foster Care and Adoption. There we were, like Saturday night, my husband and I dressed in suits (I actually had a dress on for the Committee meeting) and while it didn’t register with me on Saturday night, it dawned on me later the officer probably thought we were out of towners driving into the city, and taking MARTA to score free parking. In fact, my husband remembered that this was THE SAME OFFICER that stopped us, and instead of challenging the officer, we made a different decision that day.  We chose to drive to the Capitol and pay for parking there. Bonus- we got to charge our plug-in electric vehicle. +1 for state legislators -1 for MARTA and public transit! As a result of that interaction, I both tweeted and posted pictures on Facebook asking about the parking lot off Lena St.

I did this for a reason.

Remember how I often refer to Atlanta as another small town? 

Well, turns out, my first job out of college was for a little consulting group called the Edison Group. One of the partners of that consulting group was Melissa Mullinax, who is now the Chief of Staff to the CEO of MARTA. I asked her about the parking at Ashby, why the lot was closed, and why we cannot park at the station anymore. At the time, Melissa was out of the office and didn’t get back to me until later, but there were people sent to both the Lena lot and Ashby station later that week and I was never bothered again. 

Until this past Saturday. 

I told the MARTA police officer I had spoken about the parking with Melissa, along with the fact that we’d lived in the neighborhood for 6 years. He stopped talking to me at that point and directed all of his attention to my husband. Fun fact: my experience of misogyny with police officers is not limited to APD officers in the city! My husband would like for me to point out that this may have been a de-escalation tactic used by the officer because I was yelling, and I would like to assume that’s true. What also happens to be true was everything I was telling the officer and he was no more listening to either of us, regardless of our tone.

Another interesting part of this personal interaction was that the officer who gave us a ticket was a SORT officer- as in, Special Operations Response Team. I’m not certain why this man was policing our parking, but if MARTA is running so low on officers that we are having counter terrorism officers to be meter maids, we’ve got bigger problems than even I realize. 

The officer did as he said he would- he left a ticket on our door. The car was cited under “OCGA 40-6-208 (A)(4) unattended vehicle”. My husband has requested a court date for a hearing. The fine for this violation is $25. The Woodruff Arts Center Parking garage charges $20 for parking, which makes driving and paying for parking literally cheaper, more efficient, and easier than taking transit. 

For me, this begs the question of does MARTA really want people to ride? 

Me, I’d still like to. But if we’re making it harder for people to use the transit option and this parking violation makes parking cheaper- why should I use it? Maybe this is one of the many reasons why many Atlantans don’t?

If the state is going to take over transit, I simply ask them to consider the user. It’s pretty clear MARTA doesn’t. 

Now, most people would probably suggest not penalizing themselves more, but I like using my life as an on-going exploration of policy options. It’s a fascinating intellectual exercise. Let me explain why. My hunch is, this officer thought we were from out of town and would just pay the ticket and not bother with court. That would probably be true for anyone other than us, dear reader. But my deeply kind & caring husband can be even more of a stubborn mule than me when it comes to things like this and this is a fight we’ll pick because even if we lose, we can use our experience to expose how absolutely absurd this situation is AND how the system needs to change. For me, it comes from a long line of Baptist farmers who were civicly engaged in our small town, and a mother whose community service was only outshone by her love of animals and small children. For my husband, he learned about what we now call social justice from the Jesuits of his mother’s faith and the willingness to nail a list of needed changes to a door from his father’s. And God and Peach Pundit readers know, we’re trying to use our personal experiences as means of demonstrating the areas of opportunity within our capital city.

This $25 fine isn’t enough to be significant in any meaningful way to us.

Maybe it generates enough for the cost of doing business with the MARTA police force, but who knows? Here in the U.S., the punishment is supposed to fit the crime, right? So if MARTA REALLY wants us to stop parking there (and can’t seem to find a way to put appropriate signage, open its existing football field of a parking lot, provide consistent enforcement, and whatnot) and if the state wants to take over transit, there is an approach to fines that is dependent upon income. If you’d like to do a little light reading before bed, here’s the Fines and Fees Justice Center’s findings on the Constitutionality of implementing an income-dependent fee system. This would make our fine go up to something that is both meaningful to us (enough that presumably we wouldn’t do it again) and would be equitably distributed no matter who receives the fine. This would also have to be doled out with the aforementioned changes with MARTA of appropriate signage, equal enforcement, etc., but presumably it would also have a more clear definition rather than my inquiring with Melissa, lack of enforcement, and then a ticket.

However, this is a logical policy point and logic is something that largely evades the city.

Meanwhile, it appears MARTA is planning to acquire more land (through eminent domain, if necessary) of existing businesses and undeveloped land of Black churches in the city (h/t to Saporta Report again). 

MARTA has drafted an acquisition plan for the first section of rail along the BeltLine that could displace businesses, claim undeveloped land owned by historic Black churches and eat into slices of the city’s most valuable real estate, according to a review of an internal document.
The transit agency would need the land for tracks, stations, utilities, and other purposes for a 2-mile extension of the existing Atlanta Streetcar route, which would connect Downtown to Ponce City Market, according to the tentative plan from May 2023.
Atlanta Business Chronicle obtained the draft through an open records request. MARTA could take control of the properties through easements and by buying them. Eminent domain would be considered as a last resort, according to the document.
The streetcar would reach the BeltLine by traveling through historic Black neighborhoods. MARTA may acquire part of a vacant Sweet Auburn site owned by Ebenezer Baptist Church, which would allow the streetcar to turn at Edgewood Avenue and Jackson Street, according to the plan.

The Street Car named Debacle lives on and is gaining steam although I’m not sure about riders. This sounds like a GREAT recipe for ingratiating themselves to more riders, doesn’t it? Steal land from MLK Jr.’s church and build a streetcar to no where. What could go wrong? They know the current pastor is a U.S. Senator, right?

For me, I’m consistently left with a city around me that likes to tout its “forward” thinking ways about transit in contrast to a state government that consistently approaches transportation exclusively through the purchase of asphalt. Not to put too fine a point on it, but at this point, I can’t tell that one’s serving citizens better. And this is the implicit fear of HB 1358- if the state takes over transit, we’ll have less connectivity, more crowded highways, and less opportunity for upward mobility of our citizens. Yet if Atlantans are being candid, MARTA doesn’t offer us that currently. I will leave lawmakers and those at MARTA (and any other transit organization) with this question that will tell us what Georgians will support more:

Which of you is going to make it easier for people and business to move, providing Georgians across the state with more upward socio-economic mobility?

6 Replies to “Does MARTA Really Want Ridership?”

  1. Scarlet,

    While I agree with you on MARTA PD and the deploable conditions of some of our bus stops, there are a few things I wanted to point out.

    If you want to know what the ATL is doing, it is all on their website at and they live stream their board meetings. While they have no authority for force cooperation, they have:

    * Established a joint regional program for Zero Electric Buses
    * Are managing the procurement of new fare boxes for Xpress, Cobb and Gwinnett to save costs for a larger buy
    * Managing FTA grants on behalf of smaller agencies like Three Rivers Regional Commission, Coweta, Forsyth and Rockdale counties so they technical assistance and don’t need to become FTA direct recipients
    * Being the FTA grant manager for GSU on replacing GSUs bus fleet
    * As required, publishing an annual report on Atlantas entire transit system complete with national comparisons (and sometimes international)

    MARTA hasn’t always been the most willing partner, but the ATL has done more for regional transit cooperation behind the scenes than most people realize.

    On Ashby, I agree MARTA PD should let the parking lot reopen. However, developing the parking lot is incredibly difficult because the subway box is a few feet below the surface. If you didn’t know MARTA was the first transit agency to have an explicit affordable housing goal in their Joint Development guidelines passed in 2010 and you can see that in the developments at Edgewood, Avondale and King Memorial as well as the ongoing efforts at Kensington and Indian Creek.

    Disclosure: while I am a former MARTA employee, I’m no longer associated with MARTA and have never had any association with the ATL

    1. Thanks so much for all of this! I really appreciate that you took the time to share this list. I always wonder if people actually read what I write. 🙂 I will read the ATL’s annual report. I also appreciate knowing about MARTA’s affordable housing goal. My challenge regarding the parking lot isn’t just the land itself, but it’s my understanding that MARTA also doesn’t wish to budge on air rights as well. This seems like an area of opportunity that could be explored for development around rail stations, even when it isn’t possible to dig. Believe it or not, many years ago, I looked into the Kensington Station Apartments because it was an area that I was somewhat familiar with after graduation from Agnes Scott and it would have enabled me to take the train into work, which would have been far superior to the hellish drive I had at the time. I ended up saving up longer and buying a condo close to Piedmont Park, but MARTA was my saving grace for getting into the Capitol during the snow in 2010.

      Thank you again for taking the time to read my piece and moreover for sharing your knowledge so that I could learn more about the ATL.

      1. Several other thoughts:

        * On air rights, it isn’t that MARTA isn’t interested, it is getting a developer familiar with them and financiers comfortable. One reason the Arts Center project fell apart back in the mid-2000s and the North Avenue project seems stalled.
        * MARTA actually does have air rights at Lenox (Resurgens Building) and at the IBM (cough) One Atlantic Center Tower.
        * Fun fact, there’s a time capsule in Lenox Station due to be opened, I think, in 2035.
        * MARTA gets all kind of crazy proposals like building an indoor ski-slope above Doraville Station.
        * MARTA’s bus shelters are outsourced to a third party outdoor advertising company. They are required to provide a number of non-ad shelters, but (IMO) not enough. It is a legacy of when the Georgia Legislature required MARTA to split the sales tax revenue 50/50 between capital and operating funds and MARTA was looking for any additional revenue to support operations. Some cities like Hapeville and Roswell install their own shelters, but only with an Intergovernmental Agreement with MARTA and the cities maintain them.
        * Those pedestrian bridges you pictured between Ashby and West Lake stations are City of Atlanta owned. (I love the art work at both those stations – the mosaics at Ashby the tile work at West Lake)

        1. Hey- thanks for sharing these points.
          1. I recognize banks are not as freewheeling (and we’re all glad of that) as they have been in the past, but would it be reasonable to think that we’re in a better place to revisit air rights for developments in the last 20 years? I hope so.
          2. I am familiar with the Resurgens building. While working for the MS Society, I could commute to the offices and take the escalator up. Fun times when I was bringing a wagon load (not kidding) of stuff into the office to drop off!
          3. That’s neat! I’ll watch for it!
          4. I can NOT imagine a ski-slope, yet when living in Gwinnett Co, I lived sorta halfway between both the Doraville and Indian Creek stations. I used Indian Creek more, so am not as familiar with Doraville.
          5. An IGA, you say? That sounds like an opportunity for Mayor Dickens and MARTA. The City of Athens engaged artists to design their bus shelters and they were paid for through grants. We would need a TON of grants here in the metro area to provide even a modicum of covered shelters.
          5. Why does this not surprise me that this bridge of nightmares is City of Atlanta owned? *sigh* *shakes head*

  2. Hi there,

    I’m just wondering about this comment: “Steal land from MLK Jr.’s church and build a streetcar to no where.”

    The idea of the streetcar extension is that it will connect downtown to ponce city market. Where does the idea come from that it will go nowhere? The beltline was originally envisioned as a transit corridor, not a linear park playground for the rich, which is what the eastside trail will become if the streetcar extension project is killed (which seems likely). The service industry workers serving all the wealthy folks who live along the beltline need to get to work, and light rail would be a great way for them to do so. It would also greatly increase streetcar ridership, because I highly doubt that people are going to walk or bike or waste money on an electric scooter when it’s raining or it’s 95 degrees. Not to mention folks with mobility issues, etc.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to nitpick too much, but I’ve looked over all the streetcar extension project documents, FAQs, presentations, etc. and it seems to me like it would be a great, sensible project for the city, especially if we can eventually get light rail all around the beltline and have a true integrated wheel and spokes transit system

    1. Hi, First, thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my piece. That’s truly appreciated.

      This statement was my poor attempt at humor and drawing a connection/play on the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ in Alaska. I was trying to highlight the fact that we seem to consistently be willing to sacrifice Black church space to redevelopment (The Dome & Benz stadium come to mind). While I favor density, rail, BRT, and perhaps the streetcar is the next best thing to sliced bread- I don’t think this should come at yet another sacrifice of a Black church. Now, if this land is to be ceded from Ebenezer in order to facilitate better public access to the church, King Center, and birthplace, I could see that being a reason for meaningful consideration.

      I’m pro Beltline rail and I hope the powers that be don’t force us into a prisoner’s dilemma of choosing either the extension or Beltline rail. To me, that would be an egregious about-face from the promises Dickens has made. I have used the streetcar, and while I don’t find it useful, its primary usage is for tourists, so I’m not really its intended audience/ rider. I have more thoughts on this, but will probably save them for a full post. Since writing this, I travelled down to the coast with my family and after using the Dot in Savannah, it really reminded me how far behind Atlanta is in our transit game.

      As for the bike, walk, or electric scooter thought- we will agree to disagree. I would currently LOVE to be able to take an electric scooter from my house to or from the Ashby station, ESPECIALLY when it’s raining or hot. In fact, I referenced using a scooter in this post as a way to beat the rain after returning late one night from the Symphony. This last mile connectivity point is something I fear our policy makers really are neither acquainted with nor consider because, well, most of our policy makers sadly don’t take transit.

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