MARTA’s GA-400 Meeting – January 26

It’s MARTA! Looks like they’ve quietly started planning for another meeting to discuss bringing high-capacity transit up the GA-400 corridor. They’ve got a study area defined as the highway from Sandy Springs to the Forsyth County line and a mile on either side. Oh and there’s also a consultant. Yay consultants.

The first kickoff meeting is Thursday January 26th, 6:30 pm at the Fulton County North Service Center, 7741 Roswell Road, Atlanta, Ga. 30350. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make this due to a prior commitment. The language on the MARTA webpage suggests that more meetings may be coming.

If you’re an opponent of transit expansion in Alpharetta like I am, then you should consider going to a meeting. And if you’re a politician who campaigned against MARTA (like say David Belle Isle or Jimmy Gilvin) then I’d certainly expect to see you working against this.

Here’s some links for your clicking pleasure:

An article in the Revue & News, the only mention I’ve seen thus far in the press.

MARTA’s webpage on the project:

MARTA’s Facebook page on the project:


15 Responses to “MARTA’s GA-400 Meeting – January 26”

  1. GA Jim January 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Lee- You provide a great public service by pointing out these otherwise obscure meetings that will have a tremendous impact on the future of our community.

    My dilemma is whether to attend the MARTA meeting or the Hwy 9 LCI meeting being held at the same time. Both will have an impact on Alpharetta’s future quality of life but I can’t be in two places at once so I have to make a choice.

    Right now I plan to attend the Hwy 9 LCI meeting because it could have a more immediate impact on our city and residents. When the Northpoint LCI was instituted a few years ago it became the justification for adding thousands of high density housing units into Alpharetta’s comprehensive land use plan and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

    I do encourage everyone to speak up about MARTA though because the proponents will never cease trying to bring trains up GA 400.

  2. Lee January 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Jimmy, you’re probably wise to pick the Hwy 9 LCI meeting over this. The LCI study is nearing its end while this MARTA stuff is just kicking off.

  3. JB January 26, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Speaking of Hwy 9 land use, have you all heard that Goodwill wants to put in a new service center in that vacant land adjacent to Winthrope Park? After they were turned down to putting one in the Big Lots location. Don’t know about you but that is just not needed here and especially at that intersection with no light.

  4. Lee January 26, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I saw that in the Revue & News. The initial traffic studies don’t look good. It’s also curious that they want one in north Alpharetta when construction is underway on a large Goodwill on McFarland Parkway.

  5. Michael Cross January 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Seeking community input — the site identified for the Goodwill project already is zoned C-2. What does the community think should or could go there that falls within a C-2 zoning? Any thoughts?

    Michael Cross

  6. JB January 27, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    It especially makes no sense with all the vacant commercial space in the area. Not to mention that close to downtown which is striving for a retail/restaurant environment like Roswell. If it has to be anywhere in Alpharetta the area around Walmart makes more sense.

    What would I like to see there? Nothing for now. We have too many vacancies that are eyesores.

  7. Kim January 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    I don’t know what needs to go there but a loading dock does not need to be in such close proximity to a residential area. What you want it close to your home, Michael?

  8. Rusty Shackleford January 27, 2012 at 8:22 pm #


    Why do you not support bringing mass transit to Alpharetta? Is it just based off your dislike of how MARTA is run? Being somebody who uses MARTA on a daily basis, I would love to see expansion of rail service to our area.

  9. Kim January 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Despite a 20 percent increase in metro Atlanta’s population, there has been a 6 percent decline in those who use MARTA trains and a 17 percent decline in those who use MARTA buses. MARTA lost $503 million in 2009 and $508 million in 2010. Furthermore, MARTA has $2.3 billion in deferred maintenance. Although MARTA riders pay $2.50 per trip, the unsubsidized cost is $10. Most of us are against it because we don’t want to subsidize other people’s commutes. It doesn’t make good fiscal sense — our states and country are broke — and most of us have had our real wages go down due to the incessant printing of money by our government.

  10. Lee January 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    @Rusty – Kim just about summed it up. According to some estimates, extending MARTA heavy rail to Windward Parkway would cost upwards of a billion dollars. That kind of cosh would buy many, many roads.

    I would add that MARTA rail can only take people to places MARTA goes. A much better and cheaper alternative is to extend bus service.

  11. Raj Gondhalekar January 30, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    The problem with MARTA is not that it’s too ambitiously built, and costs a lot of money due to that. The problem is that it is an underfunded mess that stops just outside the perimeter, and the by the time you get to where the stations are, you have already sat in traffic for 45 minutes. From the point where MARTA trains start to run, it only saves a 30 or so more minutes to take the car into town. What we need instead is for MARTA to extend much farther into the suburbs. This way people can take a short ride to the station and then save a lot of time by avoiding the long traffic delays in driving any further. I predict that ridership could go up dramatically if the trains went into the outer suburbs. Buses are not a good alternative at all, because they are way slower than riding the trains, or taking the car. Washington DC’s metro system was started at about the same time as MARTA, but they extended it further, and built more aggressively. The ridership is much higher there for a town with similar size and density as Atlanta. That’s because the trains go everywhere and not stop at the beltway.

  12. Kim January 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Who is going to pay for it? Are you going to pay $10 per trip? Look at the evidence and find the public transportation system in the US that pays for itself. MARTA carries 5% of the total traffic. That, combined with the subsidies required, is unsustainable.

  13. Greg January 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    “According to some estimates, extending MARTA heavy rail to Windward Parkway would cost upwards of a billion dollars. That kind of cosh would buy many, many roads.”

    Actually, if the TSPLOST debacle has taught me anything, it’s that a billion dollars doesn’t seem to buy you that many roads anymore!

  14. Raj Gondhalekar February 3, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    No public transit system ever pays for itself, and no road does either. Both are subsidized in a way by the taxpayers to seed growth. We could all lengthen the roads with our taxes and keep expanding ever further out while leaving behind shells of empty big box stores behind and lots of smog in the air. Is that sustainable? From a pure engineering standpoint, rail travel is the most efficient per gallon of fuel because of the low friction resistance. The initial costs are high, but the long term cost per trip can offset them Building rail does mean subsidizing something in the short term. But if rail is more convinient than car, then the ridership will go up, and you are looking at less subsidies per rider, and also reaping the environmental benfits.

  15. Shaun Hunt February 4, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Hi Raj,

    I’m a huge fan of public transportation and I take Marta twice a week on my commute. Personally as a rider I don’t see the issue as a technical one. I see the issue as complete mis-management of MARTA.

    During peak commute times buses are eradic and filled to capacity. Some bus drivers drive at 40-45 miles an hour on the highway when they have a speed limit commute. The reverse is true on off-peak times the buses and trains are absolutely empty.

    This isn’t due to not enough money but the fact that most people don’t like ride MARTA because of the number of loud commuters. I’ve routinely seen one MARTA customer yell at another MARTA customer for asking them to wear headphones. Until the MARTA management stops bleeding money due to mis-management why would we want to extend the train.

    Besides roads a fraction of the money coordinated with government and the largest office concentrations could dramatically increase telecommuting and rideshares. Honestly a few hundred mini-vans that funnel people from the largest office areas in Alpharetta to the North Springs station would be a significantly better use of money.

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