MARTA is crafting a plan for southwest Atlanta’s Campbellton Road that would commit $300 million toward a “gold standard” bus rapid transit line and a new transit hub at Greenbriar Mall, according to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In a letter and presentation sent to City Council members on March 7 providing new details on the project, the transit agency said it is also eyeing improvements that, combined with local and federal funding, could total half a billion dollars in transit and infrastructure investments for southwest Atlanta.
“We are finalizing details on a total investment package to make Campbellton a vibrant main street for southwest Atlanta,” Interim MARTA CEO Collie Greenwood wrote in the letter, which emphasized that the plan is only in draft form and could change before it comes before the MARTA board for a vote. The letter was in response to a resolution the council passed in February asking MARTA for more information on the funding related to the Campbellton and Greenbriar projects.
MARTA announced in February that it sought to build a bus rapid transit line along the corridor that would total about $130 million. Local officials and residents, including Mayor Andre Dickens, have since pushed for MARTA to commit $300 million to Campbellton Road. That total is in line with a previous proposal for light rail along the corridor, which had an estimated cost of over $300 million.
The bus rapid transit would run in the center lane of Campbellton for six miles between the Oakland City station and Greenbriar Mall, with designated lanes and stations.
After originally proposing light rail for the area in 2018, MARTA studied the project and said bus rapid transit would cost substantially less, could be built sooner and would require MARTA to buy less property.
Some residents say MARTA should stick with its original plan and build rail. Other leaders, including local Councilwoman Marci Collier Overstreet, have said they aren’t opposed to a bus line, but they want the community to get the full $300 million investment they were initially promised through other improvements. They worry money initially slated for Campbellton Road will go to other parts of town.
“We’ve also made sure that MARTA knows that the Southside of Atlanta wants to get all $300 million worth of investment in transit, in sidewalks, lights, cameras and the whole network,” Dickens said Tuesday, adding that he thinks the community will be responsive to the “revised plan.”
Greenwood’s letter states MARTA’s plan is based on feedback from the councilmembers, and ups the proposed investment for the corridor by including the construction of a mobility hub “superstation” at Greenbriar Mall with “enhanced amenities that would exceed the commitment for a transit hub at this location,” Greenwood wrote.
The draft plan also proposed increased bus service to the neighborhoods around Campbellton, new bicycle lanes, road and sidewalk improvements, a connection to the Beltline and station renovations at Oakland City and Hamilton E. Holmes. Some of those investments are dependent on local and federal funding.
“It is important to timely achieve consensus so MARTA may be in a position to request up to $150 million in federal discretionary funds for this project to avoid adding a year and escalated costs to the project. We stand committed to doing so in moving forward,” Greenwood wrote.
The MARTA board will have the final say on the agency’s preferred course of action, but Greenwood said during a meeting last Thursday that “we will not bring anything to the board until we have broad support from the community, the council members and the mayor.”
THE STORY SO FAR
After initially proposing a $300 million light rail line for Campbellton Road in 2018, MARTA announced last month it was instead proposing a bus rapid transit route that would cost about $130 million. In a letter to council members this week, MARTA says federal and local dollars could fund the full $300 million for a BRT system and new transit hub in the corridor, plus an additional $200 million on infrastructure improvements across southwest Atlanta.