MARTA has green-lighted an infrastructure project backed by federal dollars that agency leaders say will have a positive and far-reaching impact around Atlanta.
MARTA’s Board of Directors today voted to move forward with an initiative called the Safe Routes to Transit Project that aims to ensure pedestrian infrastructure at thousands of locations across the city is accessible and up-to-snuff from a safety standpoint, according to agency officials.
For fiscal year 2024, the safety project budget will be $6.7 million. Three Congresspeople from Georgia—U.S. Reps David Scott (GA-13), Hank Johnson (GA-04), and Nikema Williams (GA-05)—secured $1 million each for the initiative, which will span across three U.S. Congressional Districts.
MARTA’s Capital Programs budget will supply 20 percent of funding, with the remainder sourced from a Transportation Improvement Program Surface Transportation Block Grant, per the transit agency.
The next step involves site selection across the city and preliminary permitting coordination phases.
MARTA will then focus on pedestrian safety at high-ridership bus stops, with a goal of installing high-visibility crosswalks, ADA-compliant ramps, medians and “refuge islands,” curb extensions, pedestrian beacons, and other measures meant to spare riders from vehicle impacts and allow easier access to transit.
MARTA officials say safety enhancements will be extended to the agency’s Bus Network Redesign, an effort to improve efficiency that’s entered design phases but has been recently scrutinized in terms of its financial accounting.
In a project update today, MARTA general manager and CEO Collie Greenwood noted that almost every passenger trip on MARTA begins along Atlanta roadsides at one of 9,000 bus stops.
"Missing sidewalks or unsafe crossings can create real barriers to mobility for our customers,” Greenwood said in a prepared statement. “Safe Routes to Transit helps us remove, repair, and replace crumbling infrastructure so riders can get to and from the bus and other MARTA services safely.”
Added Congressman Johnson: “My constituents—particularly those with disabilities—who rely on transit to get to work, grocery shop, visit their doctor, or enjoy local entertainment must have a safe and reliable way to connect.”
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