After MARTA started over forty plus years ago, Clayton County voted against transit expanding there. As the demographics have changed, so has the obvious need for transit. Less than 10 years ago, local bus service was started and then stopped leaving many residents stranded.
Then in 2014, a transit ballot initiative passed overwhelming bringing MARTA bus service a few months later connecting it to jobs at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the world’s busiest. And, it connects Clayton to the rail station in College Park. Now, MARTA is announcing plans to add heavy rail along the Norfolk-Southern rail line that is expected to eventually connect Macon and Savannah. That is exciting news for an area that has fell on hard times in the past decade (before 2014) where transit not being an option made every thing from grocery shopping to doctor visits to attending church to visiting friends and family an expensive, infrequent or impossible for Clayton residents who do not own a car.
In the link to the Atlanta Business Chronicle article below, Maria Saporta gives all of the exciting details.
Commuter rail is MARTA’s choice for Clayton County
By Maria Saporta
More on what I think:
While this is great news, many advocates are still working to get Clayton County officials and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to work together to and much needed sidewalks, crosswalks and so MARTA can add more bus shelters and benches.
It is very challenging to walk in the rain, along a muddy path, or in the street (because the muddy path is too slippery) and then wait for the bus in the driving rain. Add to that scenario a parent with a child in a stroller, someone with a cain, walker, or in a wheelchair. This are very serious safety issues. Advocates hope to get these safety items in place before a tragedy or lawsuit mandates them.
Recently, I took a MARTA bus (from Northside Drive near the Stockyards), train (at North Avenue station), and another bus (from the College Park station) to a MARTA focus group meeting in Clayton County, I got off the bus on Tara Boulevard where there were no crosswalks across the busy six-lane intersection, no side walks at the bus stop, or along the 1/3 mile walk to the Clayton Library where the meeting was held. Walking in the shoes of transit dependent riders will truly open your eyes. It also exposes why even more people, those who have a car, choose not to put their safety at risk in taking a bus in these areas. Hmmm. I wonder if anyone measures these “potential riders”.
Do you use public transportation? If not, why not? If you do, how often? And, what changes would get you to use it more?