Transit Alone Won’t Lead to Transit-Oriented Development

Top: The area around what is now the Garnett MARTA station in 1913. Bottom: The same area today. Images via ATL Urbanist
Top: The area around what is now the Garnett MARTA station in 1913. Bottom: The same area today. Images via ATL Urbanist

When MARTA opened its Garnett rail station in south downtown Atlanta in the early 1980s, the city expected development to follow. Darin at ATL Urbanist writes that documents from the 70s show that planners believed the station could spur offices and a residential high rise.

More than three decades later, that hasn’t happened. In fact, over the years commercial buildings and houses in the vicinity of the station were obliterated for parking. The station currently sits in the middle of a parking crater.

Writes Darin:

A catalyst like a transit station is similar to a garden — it can produce great things, but only if you take care of it and give it the nurturing environment it needs. City government did not do that with Garnett. In regard to its potential for spurring growth, it’s turned into a waste of money because of the lack of care taken to give it a proper environment for growth.

Here’s what it looks like now, from above. A city that sits back and waits for the market to work is not doing everything it can to help the station fulfill its potential. Imagine what could be here.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Second Avenue Sagas has a smackdown of transit deadbeat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; A View From the Cycle Path examines how the decline of the public realm in Wellington, New Zealand, was mirrored across the globe; and Chicago Bicycle Advocate says Uber is designed to evade responsibility for driver crashes.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Parking Madness: Atlanta vs Denver

|
In the race to the bottom that is Parking Madness, Streetsblog’s Sweet 16-style tournament of terrible downtown parking craters, 10 cities have faced off so far. But there are more, so many more awful parking wastelands in otherwise proud American cities. In this post, the match up is Atlanta versus Denver. Remember to cast your […]

Fix Parking Craters With a Parking Tax

|
Like many American cities, and maybe more than most, downtown Atlanta is riddled with surface parking lots that return little value in terms of revenue or curb appeal. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition recently noted there’s an idea gaining momentum that could change incentives for land owners: a tax assessed either on the owners of parking […]
The Garnett MARTA station in downtown Atlanta, surrounded by parking

A Fixation on Parking Threatens Transit Progress in Atlanta

|
Darin Givens is frustrated with how Atlanta is planning for the future. “We don’t feel like the city is building transit that fits needs, or places that fit transit,” says the founder of local advocacy site Thread ATL. “You see nodes of density nowhere near transit, located nowhere near a MARTA station or a regular MARTA bus. We’re not matching development and transit.”

Atlanta’s Big Turnaround in Walkable Development

|
A new report that quantifies development in walkable urban places (“WalkUPs”) has good news for Atlanta. Darin at ATL Urbanist reports: A full 50 percent of new properties developed in the Atlanta region from 2009-2014 happened in walkable urban places, which is not only a higher amount than what’s happening in the other regions as charted […]