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 […]
Atlanta

Parking Madness 2019 Round 1: Oakland vs. Atlanta

|
We’re on to our second round one match in this year’s Parking Madness competition — comparing different cities that have repaired their parking craters with useful infill development: more city! This competition highlights a really hopeful trend underway in cities; Parking craters all over the country are disappearing. In our first matchup, Minneapolis knocked off a […]
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 Streetcar’s Early Ridership Numbers Disappoint

|
The first batch of numbers are in for ridership on Atlanta’s brand new $98 million, 2.7-mile downtown streetcar — and the project is off to a rocky start. The streetcar, which opened December 30, is carrying 18 percent fewer riders than anticipated, according to data released by the city this week. That’s actually worse than […]