Though residents differed on the type of transit option they preferred — whether heavy rail, light rail or bus rapid transit —many recognized the need for some solution to reduce traffic in the area and shorten commutes into Atlanta.
“I do not want to see the heavy rail all the way up,” said Alpharetta resident Chuck Eberle, who commutes daily to Five Points. “I think there are a lot of alternatives and flexibility with the combination of the light rail and the bus. In addition to that, costs could be saved and it would take less time to implement if you did that combination.”
Eberle said he also preferred the light rail and buses because he thought they would create better aesthetics and less noise impact.
Alpharetta resident Daniel Bryant said he preferred the heavy rail option for greater accessibility.
“I do think that it’s very important to have stations that are in downtown areas like downtown Alpharetta so we could have a walkable community,” Bryant said. “I could potentially walk out of my house with a suitcase, ride the train down to the airport and be in New York and never have to get in my car.”
Pam Clark, an Alpharetta resident who used to drive to downtown Atlanta each day for work, told transit officials different options should be implemented in phases.
“I refuse to drive anymore,” Clark said. “The commute has gotten truly unbearable. I’m looking for MARTA to come up with a solution. The hard rail [option] sounds very good because it’s the quickest in transporting people to where they need to go. But in the interim, we do need more express buses.”
Janide Sidifall, a member of MARTA’s Ga. 400 alternatives analysis team, told residents the transit system is only in the beginning stages of planning the expansion. The project development process could take anywhere from six to 12 years, she said, and a plan to fund the expansion has yet to be determined.
“We do know one thing. We’re not going to be able to fund it the way we’ve funded projects like this in the past,” she said. “We’re going to have to involve other partners and probably the private sector.”
Sidifall said MARTA will continue to gather public input before moving on to the next stage in the process, which will be determining the environmental impact of expansion.
A closer look:
For more information on MARTA’s Ga. 400 Transit Initiative, visit www.itsmarta.com/north-line-400-corr.aspx. Written comments about the project can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Janide Sidifall, MARTA, Office of Transit Systems Planning, 2424 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30324-3330, by Oct. 28.