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MARTA seeks public comment on transit expansion that will change nature of Campbellton Road

David Pendered
campbellton road, 2017

By David Pendered

MARTA’s Campbellton Road expansion plan is expected to change the nature of the roadway from the Oakland City Station to I-285, a distance of about 5.7 miles. The plan for how that is to happen is to be completed within nine months.

campbellton road, 2017

Additional travel lanes and small transit stations could be added to Campbellton Road’s residential areas to accommodate planned transit expansion. Credit: David Pendered (2017)

Two crucial issues are now priority considerations:

  • Should vehicles run in the center of the roadway, or along the curb?
  • Are the nine proposed stations in the correct locations, and are their four distinct purposes appropriate?

MARTA planners are imploring the public to provide their opinions. Each of the 11 slides in a virtual project update ends with the same request on an interactive tab: Give Us Feedback.

The next major deadline is early 2021. By that time, MARTA planners expect to have a recommendation to MARTA’s Board of Directors about the concept for which MARTA intends to seek federal funding. The concept will identify issues including the route of transit; where in the roadway vehicles would run – and with that the determination over purchase and possible condemnation of private property; type of vehicle, such as bus or trolley; anticipated travel times of vehicles; and detailed cost projections.

To reach the phase of a concept plan, transit planners are starting with the purpose and need for the Campbellton Road Transit Project. The needs and situations identified by planners include:

Senior citizens represent 15 percent of residents in the Campbellton Road area. Some use MARTA, such as this man boarding a “kneeling bus” at the Oakland City Station. Credit: David Pendered (2017)

  • Density – the highest concentration of multifamily in the city is along the corridor, near the intersection with Delowe Drive, planners said at a June 25 virtual town hall;
  • Transit demand is high – Route 83 had a pre-pandemic average weekday ridership of 4,556 passengers; this is MARTA’s second-busiest route;
  • Transit dependence is high – 25 percent have no access to a vehicle, and 15 percent are seniors who have age-related mobility issues. Compounding issues include household income: 30 percent of residents are at poverty level, and half the households spend more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing;
  • Safety concerns abound – 410 vehicular crashes a year happen along a roadway that varies in width from two lanes to five lanes.
  • Economic development – one of four commercial properties are vacant or underutilized.

The question over where in the roadway vehicles should run is now a focus of study. MARTA planners have identified four types of systems that they think are appropriate for the corridor. Two types would run in the center of the roadway. Two types would run along the curb. This is a set of highlights from the detailed information available on the page of the virtual project update with a tab in the center of the page: Click here to view details on tier 1 alternatives:

MARTA envisions four types of transit stations to serve the Campbellton Road corridor. Station size would depend on the expected development in the area. Credit: campbellton.scoutfeedback.com

  • Center running, fully dedicated – Vehicles would run in the center of the road on dedicated lanes; the method would have a big impact on the corridor and is the most expensive option;
  • Center running, mostly dedicated – About ¾ of the route would be on dedicated lanes; the method would have a medium impact on the corridor and a medium cost;
  • Curb running, mostly dedicated – Vehicles would run in the outside lane of a roadway that would continue to have curb cuts; the method would have a medium impact on the corridor and a medium cost;
  • Curb running, mixed traffic – Vehicles would share a lane with existing traffic and curb cuts; the method would be the least invasive in the corridor and the lowest cost.

The nine proposed stations would be designed to serve four distinct purposes. The purposes are based on the existing area, and the area as it is to expected to be developed once the transit enhancements are installed. Here are the four stations, definitions, and their neighborhoods:

Community Activity Center – A mixed use area, somewhat like that at the Lindbergh Station:

  • Oakland;
  • Delowe Drive;
  • Ben Hill.

Neighborhood Activity Center – A walkable neighborhood with small, freestanding buildings offering restaurants, medical providers and other neighborhood support:

  • Fort McPherson
  • Harbin
  • Westgate

Neighborhood residential – A walkable residential neighborhood with a small transit station:

  • Willowbrook
  • Willis Mill

Regional Activity Center – A major regional center of densely developed residential and commercial uses:

  • Greenbriar Mall area


Note to readers: MARTA is accepting comments for the Campbellton Road Transit Project at publichearinginfo@itsmarta.com, and provides contacts for multiple digital platforms on the last page of the virtual project update.


David Pendered
David Pendered

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.


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