Buckhead will have significant MARTA bus service improvements in place, and rail connections to the Atlanta BeltLine and Emory University in design stages, by 2025 under a tentative “sequencing” plan approved by the transit agency’s board June 13.
The roughly five-and-a-half-year timeline is general and subject to change, but shows that MARTA wants to get a relatively fast start on its long-awaited “More MARTA” expansion plan. Focused on transit projects within the city of Atlanta, “More MARTA” is funded by a half-penny sales tax approved by voters in 2016 and expected to raise $2.5 billion over the next 40 years.
The sales tax will not pay for all of the desired projects, leading to controversy about how to prioritize them. MARTA has said it will seek other public and private funding sources as well.
One Buckhead-area project that was approved as part of “More MARTA” does not appear on the sequencing list: a bus rapid transit line on Northside Drive. MARTA spokesperson Stephany Fisher said that project was not selected for the first five-year expansion plan but remains on the list for later.
The proposed sequencing of other Buckhead-area projects includes:
Operational by 2025
Arterial rapid transit bus service on Route 110 on Peachtree Street/Road between Midtown’s Arts Center Station and Brookhaven’s Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Station, running through Buckhead. Arterial rapid transit means a bus that runs especially frequently and with priority at signals and in lines.
In planning and design phase by 2025
- The first phase of the new Clifton Corridor light rail line running between Lindbergh Center Station and the Emory University area.
- The Northeast segment of light rail on the BeltLine between the Lindbergh Center/Armour Yard area in Buckhead and the Ponce City Market area in the Old Fourth Ward.
The sequencing announced for projects in other parts of the city includes:
Operational by 2025
- Bus rapid transit on Capitol Avenue (Summerhill) and the first phase of North Avenue.
- Arterial rapid transit on Cleveland Avenue’s Route 78 and Metropolitan Parkway’s Route 95.
- North Avenue BRT Phase I: connecting the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail and Poncey-Highland to North Avenue Station.
- Bankhead Station improvements.
Under construction by 2025
- Streetcar East Extension: an approximately 2-mile route along the Atlanta BeltLine connecting the existing Atlanta Streetcar to Ponce de Leon Avenue.
- Greenbriar Transit Center: a multi-modal transit hub connecting local bus service to high-capacity transit on Campbellton Road.
- Five Points Station improvements.
Planning and design phase by 2025
- Campbellton Road high-capacity transit.
- Southwest BeltLine light rail.
Update: This story has been updated with information about the Northside Drive bus rapid transit project.