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MARTA Eyes North Fulton Expansion

A public hearing for MARTA's proposal will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday Sept. 26 at Alpharetta City Hall.

Credit: Patch file photo
Credit: Patch file photo
MARTA is exploring the possibility of expanding its footprint in north Fulton County.

The public transit system is looking at possibly providing buses or train service on a 12-mile stretch of Georgia 400 between Dunwoody and Alpharetta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

MARTA has filed a notice with the Federal Transportation Administration to study the probability, and a public hearing has been set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday Sept. 26 at Alpharetta City Hall.

The proposal could range from providing bus rapid transit service, extending the line from the North Springs station to Windward parkway.

That would involve adding stations at locations such as Northridge, Holcomb Bridge, Mansell Road, North Point Mall, Old Milton and Windward Parkways, according to the AJC.

Tell us: would you support extending MARTA's service in North Fulton County? 

Julie Hollingsworth Hogg August 31, 2013 at 05:30 PM
I don't mind if you don't debate me. But, until I hear a logical rationale for bringing MARTA rail to Alpharetta, I will continue to debate it. And as a debater I am willing to be persuaded to be in favor of the other side, but so far this blog does not give any good reasons for light rail in Alpharetta. Large companies coming here? They've already been here and we haven't needed rail. Ease traffic on 400? In your dreams. Supply the needs of a rapidly expanding Alpharetta? What rapidly expanding Alpharetta? I already addressed that above. Still waiting for a good reason for rail to come here.......
Jill Burrows Jones August 31, 2013 at 05:36 PM
I do not believe the growth of Alpharetta is limited to the new city center or Avalon, those are just two very visible additions at this time. My daughter used to live in Chicago when she went to college and took public transit everywhere she went as she did not see the need for a car in the city. Their transit also extends to much of the suburban area which made it easy for her (and others) to visit friends and areas outside the city area without having to drive and vise versa. I'm not sure why those of you that think public transit extending further into our area will bring in a "criminal element". Look to the larger cities in the US and almost anywhere in Europe where public transit is a safe and more eco-friendly alternative than driving a gas guzzling car to and from work every day. Would that it were that we could all have jobs within a short distance of our homes, but that's not the case for many people. How about kids going to college at GSU, GA Tech and the myriad other schools outside of this area? I think making it easier and more cost effective for people to travel both into this area and out of it is a good idea.
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg August 31, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Well, don't lump me in with 'those of you who think it will bring in a criminal element" because I never said that. I simply want to hear a good rationale for it. I actually do agree with one thing you said above...it would make it easier for kids to get to GSU or Ga Tech. With regard to Chicago.... it's fine to look at other places, but Atlanta is no Chicago.
Lisa August 31, 2013 at 07:36 PM
WHEN was the last time you saw one of these choking exhaust spewing buses full? Half full? A quarter full? THIS Marta expansion stuff is BS. If anything I would REMOVE existing Marta. I drive all the streets in northern Alpharetta and these buses slow traffic, clog our streets (local, residential, etc) and there is NO ONE riding them. And heck yes there is a criminal element involved when you bring in massive mass transit. A man in Sandy Springs remarked to me that we (ALpharetta residents) deserved to get what he as a Sandy SPrings resident has gotten with all the expanded crime. If we wanted to life of the perimeter cities - WE WOULD HAVE MOVED THERE. But we did not. Don't destroy Alpharetta just yet with more Marta. It's already hard to breathe next to these buses. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Let's not hurry with yet another. PS. Marta is so God awful to ride that I won't take my little kids on their trains even though they love trains. Every time I have been I do not feel safe, people are cussin and yelling, changing dirty diapers in front of me and the smell of urine is pervasive. Clean up what you have MARTA before you want to move your dirt trap trains into my neighborhood.
Lisa August 31, 2013 at 07:38 PM
KT do you use Marta trains to get to your job? (Would love to know given your viewpoint)
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg August 31, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Jill speaks of growth in Alpharetta that is not Avalon or City Center. Please name it so we can have it all out there on the table and discuss whether or not it merits MARTA rail expansion. Also, despite the fact that I sympathize with the few kids that need to get into Ga. State and Ga. Tech from Alpharetta and depsite the fact that I had to take MARTA rail during my tenure at Georgia State way back when in the 1980's, I would venture to say that the majority of kids we have in Alpharetta will NOT be riding rail to Ga. State and Ga. Tech. That's a demographic fact.
Daniel McAlonan August 31, 2013 at 10:02 PM
I ride MARTA trains down to school 2 days a week every week and I live just off Windward Parkway. Currently, I drive down to North Springs MARTA station, park, and ride from there. Are the buses empty? Yep, sure are. But we aren't talking about buses here, we're talking about rail. Are the trains empty? Not close; in fact, they are often standing room only. I hear people say crime will increase, but I honestly don't worry too much. What are people gonna do? Break into my house, unmount my flat screen TV then carry it over to MARTA with them and ride down to the southside? I feel like someone might catch on during that mile walk carrying a big ole TV. Let's not fool ourselves, thieves and criminals have cars like everyone else, even if they are stolen. And those cars are 100 times faster than MARTA will ever be. MARTA is probably the worst getaway method in the history of crime. The people who worry about crime and MARTA expanding amuse me because you probably never ride MARTA or very rarely do (aka just to get to a Falcons game.) You don't like MARTA? Fine, don't ride it, but get out the way and quit blocking it for those of us who do rely on it.
Lisa August 31, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Do you own property up here Daniel? Ever heard of "quality of life?" Well there are documents that detail how the addition of transit stations increase crime in their areas. If you love mass transit rail then move south to Northsprings. Enjoy. But don't ruin what we (still) have up here. PS. You don't know criminals very well if you think that they "need" cars. LOL. My bros house was robbed and the guy did not have a car... do rapists need cars? thieves and thugs? Nope. All they need is an easy way to meet a new neighborhood to prey on.
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg September 01, 2013 at 08:49 AM
I'm thrilled to read that Daniel takes MARTA rail to school. :) I do think you are in the minority and will stay in the minority when it comes to folks taking rail from Alpharetta for classes though. re: Lisa's point. I'd like to see those documents that detail links to crime and rail.. I'm not doubting it. I'd simply like to see them. Wonder if Ga. Tech does all the studies on MARTA rail since they did the Beltline studies?
Lisa September 01, 2013 at 09:16 AM
Julie, here is just one that I found when I googled it... but you don't have to even have all this to know it.... you just have to look at cities, neighborhoods, residents, and their property values. Alpharetta should remain Alpharetta and not transform into the next crime riddled Sandy Springs. http://newtownline.pa-tec.org/documents/TrainStationsCrime.pdf
KT September 01, 2013 at 09:45 AM
Lisa - YES, I just recently used Marta for over a year and the buses are FULL in the early morning and early evening, as well as the trains. Many professionals that need to commute and do not wish to drive GA400 at these times of day use Marta. Yes, and sometimes the buses do smell, but this is not a regular occurance. I know of several large companies that have recentlly moved into Alpharetta/Roswell and are still seeking large numbers of employees. These employees need a convenient way to get to work. Not everyone wants or can afford to live in Alpharetta. These companies bring revenue to Alpharetta. The argument that we've had large companies come to Alpharetta and not needed a rail system is short sighted at best. As I personally know of the difficulty of hiring qualified/skilled personnel in the Alpharetta/Roswell area.
D September 01, 2013 at 09:48 AM
I come from Long Island where we have a system called the LIRR. Each morning thousands of commuters drive to the station, park their car in the station's parking lot, for which they pay the town a yearly fee, and go to work in Manhattan. In the meantime the Long Island Expressway is bumper to bumper as is Southern State Pkwy, Northern State, etc., etc. The towns along the rail line are the equal of anything here and no, it doesn't bring criminals...Escalades do. If you think a Marta train is bad, dirty or smelly, then you obviously have never ridden a New York Subway train. If you want to blame anything for ruining our bucolic way of life here in Alpharetta and Milton it's the hundreds of homes that are being built. Tell me, how do you plan to drive down Rucker Road, Crabapple and Mayfield???? Can't do it now...you want a Library at a corner that is backed up every night, but that's ok, after all, it's MILTON! Everywhere you look they are building and now the Islamic center is going to expand...I can't get out of my sub-division before 10:00 in the morning because of traffic. This is the land of "no left turns." Remember, young families...2 cars, grown families...5 cars. Think about it.
Lisa September 01, 2013 at 10:05 AM
D - I DO COME FROM NY! I ESCAPED IT! I did smell everything! In the city I smelled the subway and the streets, and in the oh to nearby burbs I smelled the Metro North! YUCK. It's all a union, gov't mess. Those trains are way too expensive. I refused to pay (and couldn't afford to) when I was in NY last month. If there is a demand here businesses can find a way to fill it! Let them start their own van lines, carpools, pickups, etc. Private industry will innovate when NOT given a gov't crutch in the form of a hand out. Privatize! We don't need more gov't, pseudo biz (Marta) intrusive solutions. And Atlanta is way different than NY. The configurations of the city are totally different. Our perimeter cities and biz growth is not like that NY. People should live near where they work anyway. Or live where you want to live but don't expect tax payers to find your solutions. Yes, I totally agree with you about all the OVER building on Mayfield, Rucker, etc. The zoning laws are the destruction of the area. There is NO reason the zoning, or city council should have allowed for such DENSE building in these areas you describe. I am moving exactly there and I firmly believe that a great disservice has been done to the community and historic infrastructure. Why the gov't allowed this I can not understand. Greed? More tax dollars (or REVENUE) as they like to call it? Shame on them. And I do not like paying for libraries, an unfortunate utopian and Socialist vision, chosen by some but paid for by ALL. So of course the gov't chose a ridiculous location. They will be telling us which doc to go to soon and what we can have or not have done.
Lisa September 01, 2013 at 10:16 AM
D - As for the Islamic center, welcome to our new country of Islamic domination. Behind my childhood home NY lived a modest church.... The Muslims bought it, erected a full school, put in soda machines, basketball courts, huge parking lots, a giant lit up fluorescent green Arabic sign (facing our home), and shout the calls to prayer while keeping the neighborhood awake till all hours to fit their needs. They also put up all the largest flags you could find of every Islamic country in the world. On Fridays you find the residential streets clogged with cars parked on the lawns of private citizens. I know Islam and their intentions quite well. When they told the city of Alpharetta and its citizens that it would not expand it was using TAQIYAH, lying to benefit the furthering of ISLAM. Islam means submission, and to get there they will use whatever means possible. Residential, illegally zoned mosques are a plague across the country. On this near anniversary of 9/11, the worst attack by Islam on our soil, they are ever closer to achieving their goal, submission of our culture. I go to Kroger now and see only a woman's eyes through her Burqa. How long or short till we become the UK? COME TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING ON SEPT 5th at 7:30pm and the ALPHARETTA CITY COUNCIL MEETING ON Sept 23rd.
Lisa September 01, 2013 at 10:19 AM
KT, since when did the issue of biz needing labor become the taxpayer citizens issue? Stop thinking as a dependent and find solutions on your own or have your biz find those solutions. Like I said above, biz can innovate and come up with ideas if they want to be located in Alpharettta so badly. This country was NOT founded upon asking for gov't handouts. Private businesses are the great drivers of innovation and customer solutions.
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg September 01, 2013 at 10:55 AM
KT, who exactly ARE these companies moving to Alpharetta that you speak of and that are going to need a northern expansion of the MARTA rail service in order to get employees? Fact remains that the modern day Alpharetta boomed in the 1980's precisely because of large companies coming here. We are very well acquainted with this....and we have done it quite nicely without rail service north of the North Springs station. I don't hate rail per se, but your justification is not a good one. And again to the point of comparing Atlanta to Chicago or New York....Atlanta is NO Chicago and NO New York. The differences are extreme and MARTA is extremely different from rail in both those cities. This is one reason I have been so wary of the Avalon development....I see a whole barage of issues following it, including rail. Avalon is looking to become another Atlantic Station (NAP owns both). I loathe and detest Atlantic Station.
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg September 01, 2013 at 11:40 AM
Also, KT, what KIND of 'highly qualified personnel' have you been unable to find in the Alpharetta area? Because judging from what I know about wage earner demographics in the Alpharetta area, we have extremely qualified people in many professions. What profession do you speak of that necessitates MARTA rail?
Lisa September 01, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Right on, Julie! Feel the same way about rail and Avalon.
Gael Antone September 01, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Love these 'educated' naysayers! Bring it on! Long time coming and allow those that are against continue to commute at 3 miles per hour.
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg September 01, 2013 at 09:10 PM
@Gael -Actually I'm asking the pro-MARTA expansion folks to educate me. I prefer objectivity and would love to hear some objective reasons why MARTA expansion outweighs the negatives. Can you provide this? Would love to hear it.
EV September 02, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Lisa-- Did you actually read the link you posted. I ask because the Conclusion clearly refutes your argument (copy/pasted below) "It is ironic that rail access is actually found to reduce crime in the representative white suburban neighborhood, because most of the opposition to rail transit has come from white suburban residents. This opposition, however, may only superficially have to do with concerns over crime. The real motivation may be racial bigotry (Bayor 2000)."
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg September 02, 2013 at 09:39 AM
@EV I read it - thoroughly. If this is the only research to support expansion of rail, then it's not enough. Several problems with the paper: 1) it uses data from 1991-1994. 2) it uses data from 31 rail stations located within city of Atlanta which spans from Fulton to Dekalb; 3) it does NOT use data in the suburban 7 stations north of the city which are most relevant to this discussion because of their similarities to Alpha/Milton; 4) it does not include specific illegal drug-related crimes; 5) and finally, the research clearly states that rail access is found to increase neighborhood crime in those neighborhoods located close to poor people.....I know this is shocking to some, but we actually have poor people out here in Alpharetta and Milton. Is an interesting study, but take it for what it's worth.
Julie Hollingsworth Hogg September 02, 2013 at 09:44 AM
2 other problems with the paper: it does not specifically state the exact parameters of the study area in terms of proximity to the MARTA rail stations (or did I miss this) and lastly - it does not give data on crime near bus stops. Just rail. Lots of holes in this study.
Steven Stewart September 05, 2013 at 05:17 PM
I think long term having a MARTA rail expand outwards is a logical solution to reducing traffic and providing easy access to the airport/sporting events. The population in this area is only going to get larger and traffic is only going to get worse. In the short term; however, until Federal Money is available for expansion, we need to seek other options. For example, why is there not a no-fee car pool lane on GA 400 during rush hour like there is on almost every other artery into Atlanta? It would seem the car pool lane would be a no brainer as an quick fix to alleviate traffic congestion.
Dick Run September 19, 2013 at 02:36 AM
Just say NO!!! We don't want it. That's why we moved out here!!!!! You want it? Move into town. Why didn't you move into town in the first place? Because you enjoyed the less crowded suburbs with less crime and good schools. And where is the money coming from? Nobody will tell you, but guess what? They don't have any $$$$ They'll get the deal passed, start the project, then come back with a bunch of taxes after the fact and claim that it's the right thing to do because we're already committed!! Who do you think is going to pay for it? WE ARE, AND WE DON'T WANT IT!!!!!
Joey De St Aubin September 29, 2013 at 01:19 PM
The fact that 2 people recommended Lisa bigoted anti-Islam rant makes me very sad. It seems ignorance and hate will never end.
Lisa September 29, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Milton police confirmed that there are two places that they REGULARLY find and arrest shoplifters in our area..... McDonald's and MARTA stops! It's a fact about Marta and crime. Come to terms with it. Joey, ask the more than 200 dead Christians Kenyans, Pakistanis, and Nigerians (killed in just the last week) about hatred and bigotry. Read creepingsharia.com for a month and you might just change your mind. Or if you had attended the Alpharetta city council meeting last week you would have witnessed the sheer disdain for our laws that the Muslims in attendance had. More than half did not pledge allegiance and the women were strangely absent. After being turned down unanimously by the council for an illegal expansion in 2010 and then by a judge, they hired a fancy zoning lawyer, who forced a mega-mosque into Lilburn in the same way, by filing a federal discrimination lawsuit. No matter how great the arguments by our local citizens, the council cowered in fear of the fed gov't and submitted to Islam. There will now be an 8k sq ft mosque with a minaret towering over the residential neighborhood. This is Islam. It means submission.
Joey De St Aubin September 30, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Lisa, if you cared to learn about other peoples cultures you would know that it is against Muslim religion to pledge allegiance to anything other than god. The genocide in Africa and the Middle East is terrible and evil act and should never be condoned. That doesn't make all 1 billion Muslims guilty, just as not all Christians are responsible for the crusades or the acts of the Klan. The zoning issue is a different story, but taking it to blaming people for 9/11 was ignorant and uncalled for. As for marta, give me a link to the Milton police report, I'm having a hard time beeline it considering Milton doesn't have many marta stops. But the FACT is marta remains one of the safest transit systems in the country. The FACT is, despite the generally lie crime, they are taking even more security measures such as cameras on busses and the wonderful see say app (which anybody who rides marta should download, along with Marta's main app with the trip planner and schedules). Crime happens for a number of reasons, public transit not being one of them. It's is about damn time this metro region gets away form it's 1960s mentality and modernizes its transportation options. We all benefit from good transportation.
Joey De St Aubin September 30, 2013 at 10:49 AM
* believe * low
Bill A September 30, 2013 at 08:13 PM
I fully support MARTA moving to North Fulton. Having moved here from suburban NJ where I commuted into NYC, I find it hard to believe the opposition to the expansion. Buses already come into Alpharetta, so if people are intent on carrying out criminal activity, they already have the means. However I doubt I will ever see someone boarding a bus or train with a stolen flat screen. I agree with Joey De St Aubin, growth is going to continue and we will all benefit.

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