MARTA, GDOT convene meetings to report progress on transportation plans

By David Pendered

MARTA and the Georgia Department of Transportation are advancing efforts to improve mobility around the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange and northward along Ga. 400.

The reconstruction of the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange is intended to ease congestion and improve safety of both roads. This traffic congestion is eastbound on I-285, seen from Ga. 400. File/Credit: David Pendered

The reconstruction of the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange is intended to ease congestion and improve safety of both roads. This traffic congestion is eastbound on I-285, seen from Ga. 400. File/Credit: David Pendered

All told, the planned transit and highway projects represent investments of more than $3 billion. They intend to address gridlock in an area that is both the state’s most traffic congested regions, and one of Georgia’s major locales for economic growth and development.

This Saturday, Oct. 10, MARTA is scheduled to provide an update on its plans to extend service from the North Springs Station to Windward Parkway. MARTA planners and staff plan to discuss the status of the Connect 400 plan at the 11th annual Center for Pan Asian Community Services Tea Walk, in Chamblee.

Early estimates put the cost of transit expansion in this region above $2 billion.

MARTA staffers will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to discuss the plan. They are to be located at CPACS offices at 3510 Shallowford Road, NE.

MARTA’s board of directors voted this year to authorize the evaluation of three alternatives to increase transit service in the corridor along Ga. 400. MARTA planners are evaluating a heavy rail system, which to date is the locally preferred alternative. It would begin at the North Springs Station, cross to the west side of Ga. 400 south of Spalding Drive, and cross Ga. 400 again at a point somewhere north of the Chattahoochee River. Planners have not yet determined where the rail line would cross the river.

Two other alternatives are bus rapid transit. BRT is a system that uses rubber tire buses that operate in restricted lanes, so as to avoid traffic congestion, or on open lanes of travel.

MARTA, Connect 400

MARTA is evaluating the possibility of expanding heavy rail or BRT service in the Ga. 400 corridor north from the North Springs Station to Windward Parkway. Credit: MARTA

One BRT route would follow the same alignment as the rail. The other would operate in the managed lanes GDOT intends to build along Ga. 400.

GDOT has received final proposals from each of the four teams that were chosen to compete for the projects. The cost estimate for the project is $1.1 billion.

The next step involves the public display of executive summaries from each of the four proposals, and two public meetings – Oct. 20 in Sandy Springs, and Oct. 22 in Dunwoody. These meetings won’t include a formal presentation, which means the public can drop in and visit at any time during the scheduled hours – from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Oct. 20 meeting is set for the St. Jude Catholic Church, Ministry Hall, located at 7171 Glenridge Drive, Sandy Springs.

The Oct. 22 meeting is schedule for the Dunwoody Baptist Church Chapel, Building E. The church is located at 1445 Mt. Vernon Road.

GDOT plans to review the four proposals and, in December, present GDOT’s board with an assessment and recommendation for best value proposal, and the recommended developer team.

“We are excited to be able to move this priority project forward on the targeted schedule and are eager to review the solutions these teams have captured in their proposals,” said GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said in a statement. “Our shortlist contains four well-qualified teams, and we look forward to selecting the one that will bring the overall best value to Georgia travelers and commuters in an area that is critical to Georgia’s economy.”


David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

3 replies
  1. Avatar
    Matthew Rao says:

    Let’s hope that the existing MARTA rail is the preferred alternative for the extension. Having a one seat ride is always better for growing ridership and getting people to choose MARTA.
    And when the rail reaches north near Northpoint and Encore, it would be sensible to offer riders stations not in the median or along the edge of GA400 , but instead within walking distance of these centers.Report

  2. Avatar
    Carl Holt says:

    Those developments can pay for pedestrian bridges to connect to stations. Having a MARTA station connection will make the development more valuable, therefore the bridge will pay for itself.Report

  3. Avatar
    Matthew Rao says:

    The question is “How far will/can people walk even with a bridge?” The distance from a stop to the mall or access point may be as much as 1 1/2 miles depending on if the station is at Mansell Rd or still 3/4 mile if at Encore Pkwy.
    Looking at the Perimeter Mall connection, that is a more more manageable walk!
    Maybe these automobile office park scale developments need a circulator of some sort to connect the far-flung destinationsReport


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