By Carlen Hultgren
There have been many inquiries into the closed MARTA bus stops around East Atlanta Village. Most of them are on the route 34 which ran on the southwest side of the Village with many of the now closed stops in the area between Flat Shoals and Moreland (east-west). The route previously ended at the Inman Park/Reynoldstown transit station.
In an effort to accommodate those who previously took route 34, route 9 will be realigned to include some of the affected areas, but unfortunately, not all. There are still many bus stops that are completely gone, requiring significantly longer walks for those trying to catch the #9 (instead of the #34).
Here is a summary of the changes that affect East Atlanta:
Route 34-Gresham Road/Clifton Springs will be realigned to operate from MARTA’s East Lake rail station to Georgia State University-Perimeter College on all service days. The revised alignment will operate from East Lake station via East Lake Drive, 2nd Avenue, Flat Shoals Road, Gresham Road, and then maintain current routing to the college. The service along the Vickie Lane, Flagstone Drive, Flintwood Drive, Rollingwood Lane, Boulderview Drive, Wee Kirk Road, Horse Shoe Drive, Sombrero Way, and Corral Drive loops remain unchanged. Additionally, service to the Clifton Springs Health Center from 7:30AM to 5:00PM on weekdays only (no weekend service) remains unchanged. Trip times will be revised on all service days to accommodate the service modification and improve schedule adherence. The route will be renamed 34-2nd Avenue/Gresham Road/Clifton Springs Road.
Route 9-Toney Valley/Peachcrest Road will have the most significant changes in an effort to accommodate those who previously took route 34 which will no longer service the East Atlanta area. It will be realigned to operate from MARTA’s Inman Park/Reynoldstown rail station to Rainbow Way on all service days. The revised alignment will operate from Inman Park/Reynoldstown rail station via Seaboard Avenue, Moreland Avenue, Glenwood Avenue, Flat Shoals Avenue, continue Bouldercrest Road, Cecilia Drive, Brannen Road, Welland Avenue, Gresham Road, Flat Shoals Road, 2nd Avenue, Tilson Road, Candler Road, and Rainbow Way, which will be the new terminus. Trip times will be revised to accommodate the service modification. The route will be renamed 9-East Atlanta/Tilson Road/Candler Road.
There are three other routes that service the East Atlanta community, 74-Flat Shoals, 4-Thomasville/Moreland Avenue, and 107-Glenwood Road. None of these driving routes will change, only trip times for routes 74 and 4 will be adjusted to improve schedule adherence. There will be no changes to the #107.
While one might understand the cost cutting efforts of MARTA, polling has shown repeatedly that voters in metro Atlanta want transit alternatives to mitigate the congestion that plagues our roads and highways. The next generation workforce has demonstrated through nationwide behavior that walkable communities, access to transit and a cleaner environment are at the forefront of their decisions when deciding where to live. Businesses have shown through their relocation decisions near MARTA transit hubs that employers want to give their employees options beyond hour-long commutes and high gasoline expenses.
And while MARTA’s expansion plans includes rolling out increased bus service that is tailored to traffic volume and population density, why is it that the in-town, riders are continually being forced to wait longer and walk further? A large part of the problem was a vote back in the early days of MARTA when the Mayor Sam Massell was forced to make the concession that no more than 50 percent of the sales tax revenue that was supposed to fund MARTA, would go to operating costs. This has meant that whenever MARTA needed more money for operating expenses, it has had to cut elsewhere (like routes and buses) or raise fares. As a result, in addition to MARTA being one of the priciest transit systems in the country at $2.50 per ride, over the years, in-town services are made increasingly less accessible to those who really need it.
Please check www.itsmarta.com for the most current schedule updates implemented on April 16.