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On the Drawing Board: MARTA Transit Station Enhancement Plans

Created with flickr slideshow.

With a transit station a block off Peachtree Street at each quarter mile interval between North Avenue and 15th Street, transit offers one of the most convenient modes of transportation in Midtown. Each day, more than 18,000 people access Midtown’s three main transit stations—Arts Center, Midtown, and North Ave—to ride MARTA rail, MARTA buses, or regional express buses. As major gateways into Midtown, these stations significantly impact a visitor’s first impression of our district and our city. Yet the convenience of transit in Midtown is undermined by lackluster conditions at the stations themselves.

Earlier this year, we received an $80,000 grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission to fund a planning effort to enhance the functional, operational and aesthetic aspects on the exterior of each station.  The goal is to improve the experience in and around the stations, thereby increasing the appeal of transit to a broad range of users—young, old, residents, commuters, visitors, natives, newcomers and more.

We solicited proposals through an RFP process last month and received a robust response from the local and national design community.  Ultimately, a team led by Smith Dalia was chosen based on their human-centered design approach and expertise with over 150 major projects including White Provisions, Southern Diaries and Puritan Mill, which have successfully repositioned existing buildings through creative place-making.  In addition to urban design expertise, the distinguished team includes:  Alex Brewer (HENSE) for curatorial advice and collaboration with multi-media public artists, Heather Alhadeff of Center Forward Planning for transportation planning, Jacob Vallo for community outreach and fundraising, Susan Stainback of Sylvatica Studio for sustainable landscape design, and Morgan Gabler of Gabler Youngston for lighting design.

The planning effort is a 5 month process culminating in mid-November 2013.  The design team will prepare transit station assessments, preliminary concepts and a proposed project list detailing near term and long range improvements to enhance the user-experience at each station.  There will be public dialogue throughout the process utilizing social media channels, an online survey and a community design charrette.  We will continue to work collaboratively with our partners at MARTA and the Atlanta Regional Commission to structure an implementation plan that is achievable and impactful. 

Tags: Arts, Midtown Alliance, Midtown ATL, Transportation, Urban Design, Community, Placemaking, MARTA

Posted: July 1, 2013

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