Friday Produce Market Opens at West End MARTA Station

As part of its ongoing commitment to provide customer amenities, MARTA has opened a weekly pop-up produce market at its West End MARTA station.

The Fresh MARTA Market will provide a convenient location to purchase fresh, affordable and locally grown produce in a community with many transit-reliant individuals.

The pop-up market will operate outside the station each Friday from 2- 6 p.m. through October and will be managed in partnership with Food Oasis, Community Farmers Market and the Southwest Atlanta Growers Cooperative. These organizations work closely with West End residents to promote healthy, affordable and sustainable eating habits. Food Oasis is a program of the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

A soft launch took place last week, with an official launch and ceremony scheduled Friday, July 17 at 2 p.m. and will include remarks from Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow; Rob Johnson, VP of Community Services at the Atlanta Community Food Bank; and, Jamila Norman, Owner/Operator of Patchwork City Farms.

More than 75 percent of West End residents and MARTA customers surveyed indicated they would likely purchase fresh produce at the station, if it was available.

Cash, credit and EBT payments will be accepted. Additionally, the Fresh MARTA Market will provide the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) two for one match, doubling the amount of fresh produce customers can purchase dollar for dollar.

WestEndMarketFlier 071315

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Atlanta…Get Out of Your Car!

By William Woolery, Georgia Tech Student

William Woolery, Georgia Tech Student

William Woolery, Georgia Tech Student

 

Growing up in San Francisco with BART,

I already know riding MARTA is smart.

Take a pledge, starting now to be green,

The result? …a less congested Atlanta that has never been seen.

 

Give up your car and join in,

Get there faster, safer, less stress, and everyone wins.

Get the cars off the road,

Walk, take transit …be BOLD

It is the right thing to do,

Mother Earth thanks you too.

 

Stand up, Stand up, for transportation, it’s National Infrastructure Day,

Help change the business model for future growth to stay.

Acknowledge, raise awareness, to transportation’s funding plight,

Get the word out to Congress, the overdue investment is not slight.

MARTA’s commitment to small business is key,

“Join the efforts of the Strategic Alliance Memorandum!” said he.

 

Transit oriented development… TODs are here to study,

To increase service delivery and customer loyalty …tell your best buddy.

Economy and service, MARTA strives to provide,

With mix-use development, it will end that unnecessary drive.

Mix-use living awaits you, so continue your pace,

But take time to appreciate, you’ve saved valuable space.

 

Buses and trains have your route covered, so don’t be nervous,

They are working in tandem, to give you great service.

Create the perfect ride for all,

Be reliable, economic, safe, easy, without stalls.

Buses and trains will be high tech,

With mobile payment, Wi-Fi, and cellular connect.

 

Hop on success, Clayton County signed on,

Don’t delay the decision take a S.E.A.T. with the throngs.

Buckhead Station bridge has debuted, so take a walk to the train,

Customers agree, it was worth the small change.

 

Be “smarta” go MARTA, we know the routine,

Be popular again, take MARTA every day and join the MARTA team.

Don’t drive drowsy or stressed, play it safe, leave the driving dread,

Check out the new H.E. Holmes bus loop instead.

 

MARTA is “HOT”, the ridership is high,

This is the time to never say die!

“Ride with Respect”, keep your eyes wide for safety,

The effort by MARTA security has never been hasty.

Apprehending bad behaving people quick as they can,

For fare evading, initiating destructive deeds, or another evil plan.

 

The thought for the day is toilets you say?

Marta brought this necessity back to stay.

The hope is long term,

That toilets return.

Safe, sanitary, hands free, self-cleaning, and loiter-proof, it’s the “piece de resistance”,

The new washing unit/bathroom at Lindberg Center Station needs no assistance.

 

Mix smart growth with smart transit, and what does that mean?

It equals “routine excellence” and MARTA’s future is “green.”

We all can do our part…so sit back, relax, and enjoy your ride,

Support the ever evolving MARTA to be by your side.

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Public Transport Survey Finds MARTA Safe, Reliable Alternative to Cars

By Jennifer Jinadu-Wright

Jennifer Jinadu-Wright, Director of Marketing, MARTA

Jennifer Jinadu-Wright, Director of Marketing, MARTA

The past few years have been transformative for MARTA. The agency is on a much stronger financial footing, rail and bus service is more frequent and more people are riding the system.

Recently, MARTA used an independent research firm to conduct a market survey to better understand our customers and identify opportunities to grow our ridership.

Our findings reaffirmed that we should continue to make the case that public transit is a safe, reliable and convenient alternative to the automobile. Research shows that MARTA has an opportunity to:

  • Increase awareness of where the system goes, both region-wide and at the local level. Many potential customers don’t know if there is a stop or station near where they live, work, or travel for personal business.
  • Use MARTA rail as an introductory point to the system; potential riders are far more likely to try rail first.
  • Increase awareness of the value of MARTA – which is a flat fare system that costs $2.50 to ride (and $1 for a Breeze card) with free transfers.
  • Increase participation among area employers in the Employer Partnership Program, targeting those with their workers who are the most likely to ride.
  • Promote MARTA’s safety and low-crime rate, particularly among non-riders.
  • Improve customer service through better employee training

The population within MARTA’s service area has been segmented into four categories – primary riders, secondary riders, potential riders and no potentials. Millenials are especially keen on riding MARTA and find it a good value compared to driving.

Of those surveyed, rail is the preferred public transit mode. Even so, MARTA is committed to making bus service a more attractive transportation option. MARTA’s Planning department is putting the final touches on the Comprehensive Operational Analysis, an in-depth reworking of our existing bus routes to make them more efficient, effective and customer friendly.

Expect to see and hear more advertisements in the next few weeks encouraging you to give MARTA a try, especially for trips to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. A recent survey ranked Hartsfield-Jackson as the tops in the nation for transit accessibility because of the direct connection to the main terminal gates that MARTA provides.

The Midtown Alliance has named June “Try Transit” month and is encouraging individuals who live or work in Midtown to put down the car keys and pick up a MARTA Breeze card or commute with one of our transit partners: Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Xpress buses, Cobb Community Transit or Gwinnett County Transit.

Use MARTA’s MyCommute trip planner or check Google Maps to find the closest MARTA bus stop or rail station near you. Ensure you’ll have a stress-free trip by downloading our “On the Go” mobile app to get real-time train and bus arrivals. Also, don’t forget to check out our new video and let us know what you think MARTA should be doing to grow its ridership.

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4 Takeaways from Development Day

Conor Sen headshot

Conor Sen is a portfolio manager with interests in demographics, media, technology and Atlanta’s urban development.

By Conor Sen

I spent most of this morning at the 3rd annual MARTA Development Day, a forum for MARTA officials to talk to real estate developers about the progress the system is making, and to facilitate the development of land around transit stations.

4 Takeaways:

1) A new boldness from MARTA CEO Keith Parker and MARTA Chairman Robert Ashe. An old boss liked to say when things were going well that he had the leverage to “play offense.” I attended the State of MARTA address a few months ago and at that meeting Parker/Ashe said that their goals were to remove all legitimate obstacles from the state or other higher government bodies investing in the expansion of MARTA and they believed they had done that. The tone at that meeting was one you might find from a team making a presentation on Shark Tank, where the presenters know that ultimately the individuals on the other side of the room were the ones in control. This morning the tone was different. They spoke with the boldness and the forcefulness of a team that knows it’s done its job and wants to act now. It was heartening to see.

2) Walkable development will be the predominant form of real estate development in this country for the next 20-30 years. Well-known urbanist Chris Leinberger’s presentation was a highlight of the event. He compared Atlanta not to DC but to Boston, saying that the Boston built environment is a direction metro Atlanta appears to be headed towards. Over the past 30 years Boston has gone from a Route 128-focused development cycle to one focused on core Boston around the T and Boston’s universities. The region is still 90-95% suburban/car-centric, but most new real estate development is happening in walkable areas. Real estate in walkable areas carries roughly a 100% premium over non-walkable areas, which is the market saying “to build more of this stuff.” Even in a boom year the built environment only grows by around 2%. Even if the walkable share of metro Atlanta only grows to around 5-10% of the total built environment like in Boston, it will take many, many years of walkable growth to catch up with demand.

3) Gross tax revenues of walkable areas are up to 12x those of non-walkable areas. I’ve mused on this on Twitter a bit in the past, saying that the economic efficiencies gained in walkable places should appeal to the fiscal desires of conservatives, but had never seen the data before. In metro Atlanta we’re seeing in areas as diverse as Cobb County with the new Braves stadium, in Alpharetta, in Johns Creek, in Duluth, in Roswell, in Sandy Springs, and in Dunwoody, hardly the bastion of progressive hipsters, that walkable places are important both because they attract Millennials and because their tax bases are too reliant on suburban residential and not enough on commercial. There’s a need to rebalance the tax base to support the needs of aging infrastructure and aging residents. Younger homeowners want walkability as an amenity and older city leaders need a more balanced tax base which can be brought about by incorporating walkability, so even though the values of the two constituencies may differ their incentives are surprisingly aligned.

4) Financing new forms of walkable developments remains challenging. Everybody wants to build grocery-anchored mixed use developments capped with a ton of luxury apartments. But just because that’s what developers want to build and investors want to finance doesn’t mean that’s capturing all or even most of what needs to be built. But non-traditional walkable developments don’t fit into existing financing models very well, and as a result financing them has up to now been somewhat difficult. This will surely work itself out over time, but for now it’s holding back the creation of more walkable places.

Conor Sen is a portfolio manager at New River Investments. 

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MARTA to Announce New Transit-Oriented Developments

 

At its third annual Development Day, MARTA will announce the achievement of a goal established by GM/CEO Keith T. Parker in 2013 to have five Transit-Oriented Developments underway within two years. MARTA’s Office of Transit-Oriented Development and Real Estate, led by Senior Director Amanda Rhein, will update attendees on the agency’s TOD progress and announce the next two TOD opportunities. Attendees will also hear remarks from Parker and MARTA Board Chairman Robert L. Ashe III.

Projects underway include the Avondale, Brookhaven/Oglethorpe, Chamblee, Edgewood/Candler Park and King Memorial stations.

The event will feature a keynote presentation from Chris Leinberger, President of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute and coined the urbanism term “walk-ups,” an industry term to define pedestrian access.

Leinberger’s keynote, “How TOD is Meeting the Demand for Urban, Walkable Places” will address the long-term, regional impact of MARTA’s TOD program. Columbia Ventures, a MARTA TOD partner and mixed-use developer, will follow with a presentation on a TOD financing case study.

All speakers will be available for media interviews following the event. Register to attend: http://bit.ly/MARTA2015DevDay. Follow the event hashtag using #MARTADevDay.

2015 Development Day

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Stand Up for Transportation Day

By Lyle Harris

Lyle V. Harris, Chief Spokesperson, MARTA

By Lyle V. Harris, Chief Spokesperson, MARTA

The federal Highway Trust Fund authorization legislation is set to expire in less than eight weeks. To make matters worse, the fund will be bankrupt by the end of August. Time and time again, Congress has passed short-term funding measures, hampering state and regional transportation agencies ability to finance and implement big-ticket infrastructure projects.

At 11 a.m., Thursday, April 9 at the Five Points station Amphitheatre, join Keith T. Parker, MARTA CEO; Luz Borrero, DeKalb County Deputy COO; Doug Hooker, Atlanta Regional Commission Executive Directory; Stacey Key, Georgia Department of Transportation Board Member for Stand Up for Transportation Day.

The event will feature opening remarks from the Honorable David Scott, Congressman for Georgia’s 13th District and community thought leaders in an interactive conversation about the importance of investing in transportation infrastructure.

Stand Up for Transportation Day will be a local day for national education and outreach to the public and our elected officials. Our goal is to raise awareness for the nation’s long-term transportation infrastructure funding plight.

Help send a message to Congress that the expansion, maintenance and upkeep of our public transit, roads and bridges need to be dealt with now and we need long-term investment in our aging infrastructure.

Active on social media? Help make this event a trending topic across the country by using #SU4T.

SU4TSavetheDate

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MARTA, U.S. Small Business Administration Ink Strategic Alliance

By Lyle V. Harris

MARTA signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help start, maintain and expand small businesses in Georgia. SBA Regional Administrator Cassius Butts joined MARTA GM/CEO Keith T. Parker on March 3 for an official signing ceremony and small business networking event at the transit agency’s headquarters in Atlanta.

Pictured L-R: SBA Regional Administrator Cassius Butts and MARTA GM/CEO Keith Parker sign the agreement while Terri Denison, SBA Georgia District Director and Ferdinand Risco, Executive Director, MARTA Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity stand and witness the occasion.

Pictured L-R: SBA Regional Administrator Cassius Butts and MARTA GM/CEO Keith Parker sign the agreement while Terri Denison, SBA Georgia District Director and Ferdinand Risco, Executive Director, MARTA Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity stand and witness the occasion.

Through its Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, led by Executive Director Ferdinand L. Risco, MARTA works hand-in-hand with the SBA’s Georgia District Director Terri L. Denison, other government partners, local chambers of commerce and business organizations to cultivate business development opportunities for Georgia companies. MARTA, the ninth largest public transit system in the country, provides an estimated $2.6 billion economic impact to the state’s economy.

In his remarks, MARTA GM/CEO Keith T. Parker predicted the next few years will be critical to the agency’s growth and success. On March 21, MARTA will begin service in Clayton County, marking its first jurisdictional expansion since its inception more than four decades ago.

“As the economy continues to improve, more residents and visitors are choosing MARTA. We’ve made ridership gains and, with more customers, comes the need for more investment in the system,” said Parker.

“With that in mind, in December, we announced MARTA is boosting its commitment to small and disadvantaged businesses,” he continued. “Now, projects using federal dollars will require 30 percent participation from disadvantaged business enterprises through 2017.”

 

MARTA GM/CEO Keith Parker welcomes attendees to the signing ceremony. Photo credit: MARTA

MARTA GM/CEO Keith Parker welcomes attendees to the signing ceremony.
Photo credit: MARTA

“It is a true honor to sign this historic Strategic Alliance Memorandum with MARTA. This living document will allow our organizations to reach more small businesses that are looking for greater opportunities. Relationships such as this are critical for the growth of our small business community. We are both committed to growing the economy, adding jobs, and helping to make Metropolitan Atlanta a place where small businesses will thrive,” said Cassius F. Butts, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration.

Prior to the signing ceremony, staff from the Small Business Administration’s Georgia office participated in a meet and greet with local small business owners. Other organizations represented included the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Business League and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.

Local entrepreneurs engage with SBA staff prior to the signing ceremony. Photo credit: MARTA

Local entrepreneurs engage with SBA staff prior to the signing ceremony.
Photo credit: MARTA

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MARTA Counts Down Clayton County Bus Launch

Exactly one week before MARTA’s first jurisdictional expansion since its inception, the agency invited Clayton County residents to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Meet MARTA Day at the Riverdale Town Center. The event included remarks from U.S. Congressman David Scott, Clayton County Commission Chairman Jeffrey E. Turner, Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon, MARTA Board Chairman Robert L. Ashe III and GM/CEO Keith T. Parker.

MARTA motorcade rolls into Clayton County for a pre-launch event in advance of March 21 bus service.  Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

MARTA motorcade rolls into Clayton County for a pre-launch event in advance of March 21 bus service. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

The festivities kicked off with a 14-vehicle motorcade along MARTA Bus Route 196, one of three routes that will commence March 21.

In addition to the special guests and local elected officials, Clayton County community leaders attended the standing room only event as well as residents and MARTA staff.

In his remarks, U.S. Congressman David Scott (D-GA 13th District) praised the residents of Clayton County, his constituents, for overwhelmingly supporting the Nov. 2014 MARTA ballot measure. Rep. Scott has long been a champion of public transit and endorsed a 2010 nonbinding referendum for Clayton County to join MARTA.

He pledged to push for federal support of a commuter rail service and said, “This MARTA partnership will be an economic magnet for Clayton County.”

Congressman David Scott addresses crowd at event marking the launch of bus service in Clayton County. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

Congressman David Scott addresses crowd at event marking the launch of bus service in Clayton County. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

In Nov. 2014 Clayton County residents voted by a three to one margin to join MARTA.

MARTA Congressman from Planning and Customer Service were on hand to provide trip assistance for soon-to-be MARTA customers residing in Clayton County.

The three inaugural bus routes will feed into MARTA rail stations, providing free, seamless transfers to rail service in Fulton and DeKalb counties. Before the year’s end, MARTA will provide eight local bus routes and two flex bus circulators.

Parker pledged, “Once the buses start rolling, we will keep listening to our customers and make the necessary tweaks and changes to ensure our customers get the very best ridership experience possible.”

A Clayton County resident poses questions to a MARTA Congressman about new bus routes. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

A Clayton County resident poses questions to a MARTA Congressman about new bus routes. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

Members of the MARTA Police Department were on hand to introduce themselves to Clayton County residents. MARTA is working closely with local law enforcement partners to ensure the safety and security of its customers. The agency will open a mini-police precinct in the county and has assigned 13 officers to monitor Clayton County bus routes.

Local elected officials, community activists and members of MARTA’s Board of Directors cut the celebratory ribbon in front of a new MARTA bus.

“I’m from Atlanta and grew up riding MARTA,” said Ashe, the Board Chairman. “Four months after the November referendum, I am still overwhelmed by the vote that left no doubt in anyone’s mind that MARTA is needed in Clayton County and is here to stay. This is a watershed event for MARTA, for Clayton County and for metro Atlanta.”

MARTA and Clayton County Police Officers talk to local high school students. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

MARTA and Clayton County Police Officers talk to local high school students. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

Dignitaries cut the ribbon to celebrate the upcoming launch of MARTA service into Clayton County. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

Dignitaries cut the ribbon to celebrate the upcoming launch of MARTA service into Clayton County. Photo credit: Adam Shumaker

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New MARTA Bus Loop at H.E. Holmes Station

From new escalators to new roofs, MARTA is hard at work upgrading the Authority’s numerous rail stations to improve the customer experience and to keep the system looking as good as new.

One recent project involved the demolition and replacement of the entire H.E. Holmes bus loop. After decades of use, parts of the busway were severely damaged and had become a safety concern.  MARTA’s Job Order Contracting (JOC) team, tasked with implementing time-sensitive construction projects, was called in to bring the station back to its former glory.

We appreciate the patience of our customers during this renovation and hope you are enjoying the new and improved bus loop. More station improvements are to come, including the complete resurfacing of the Oakland City station platform.

H.E. Holmes Station Bus Loop Before Renovations

Photo credit: MARTA Before: Pictured is the original bus loop from when the station first opened in 1979 as the Hightower MARTA station. It was later renamed to honor Hamilton E. Holmes, a Civil Rights hero.

 

Photo Credit: MARTA After: The new bus loop has been repaved with concrete able to withstand the continuous pressure from 30,000-pound buses driving on it daily.

Photo Credit: MARTA
After: The new bus loop has been repaved with concrete able to withstand the continuous pressure from 30,000-pound buses driving on it daily.

 

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Transit Safety A Priority

By Reginald Mason

Reginald Mason serves as MARTA's Assistant General Manager of Safety and Quality Assurance.

Reginald Mason serves as MARTA’s Assistant General Manager of Safety and Quality Assurance.

Spend just a few minutes on metro Atlanta’s thoroughfares and in short order you’ll experience the angst and frustration of driving through traffic. In a matter of weeks, we’ve heard of a handful of tragic automobile accidents that have snarled traffic and resulted in the loss of lives due to drivers not knowing the best practices for safely navigating the Interstate immediately after an accident.

New research from the Journal of Public Transportation shows taking public transit is significantly safer than commuting by car; rail transit is approximately 30 times safer than driving and riding a bus is 60 times safer. Through proactive management, MARTA continues to be one of the safest transit systems in the country and serves as a reliable, stress-free alternative to gripping your car’s steering wheel.

Rail Map33x33-2015eTo gain a deeper understanding of how best to communicate critical safety messages, MARTA recently posted its draft safety posters on social media for public comment and received a host of suggestions that will be incorporated into the final version.

As with any public place such as the Interstate, city street, an airplane or a MARTA train, it is always helpful to understand how to navigate an unexpected emergency.

Remember these tips to safely ride MARTA:

  • Stand behind the gray, textured safety edge while waiting for a train.
  • Never lean against the train doors.
  • Use the handrails to steady yourself while the train is in motion and when boarding and exiting the train.
  • If a person falls on the tracks as a train is approaching, instruct them to immediately move to the overhang under the edge of the platform. There is enough space to take refuge and avoid making contact with the train. Do not jump down on the tracks in an attempt to save them.
  • Never place or throw anything on the rail tracks. This may cause a train to derail and potentially cause an injury.
  • Do not run after or alongside a bus to get it to stop. Operators turn their attention to the road and traffic once the bus is moving.
  • Do not stand in front of the yellow line. The area between the operator and the front door must always be kept clear to provide bus operators with as much visibility as possible.
  • Before getting on an elevator always make sure that the elevator is level with the floor.
  • If the elevator stops between floors, push the alarm button, or use the elevator’s telephone or intercom to call for help. Then wait for assistance.

When using the escalator, always stand to the right and walk to the left.

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