Atlanta I-85 collapse: MARTA adds 1,200 parking spots in time for Monday commute

6:02 p.m Friday, April 7, 2017 AJC Homepage
A train pulls into Doraville station. (Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com)

You thought MARTA -- and its parking lots -- were packed this week? Just wait. Spring Break officially ends on Monday and MARTA is gearing up for even more demand by adding parking spaces at five stations in time for the morning commute.

The 1,200 new spaces will be available Monday at five “high traffic” stations: Chamblee, King Memorial, Brookhaven/Oglethorpe, Kensington and East Point. Those were among the numerous stations whose parking spaces filled up early each morning this week as the shutdown of a critical stretch of I-85 forced many drivers to look for another alternative to get into the city.

MARTA reacted by encouraging people to carpool or get dropped off at stations even as it sought out additional parking solutions. At the same time, the transit system aggressively used social media to keep passengers informed of the status of parking at various stations. It also developed and “soft-tested” a web site that provides real-time parking capacity updates. That site -- find it at www.itsmarta.com/parking -- will provide information for ten of the busiest parking facilities at stations from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Mondays through Fridays.

Riding MARTA has become a necessity for many commuters stranded by the collapse of the I-85 bridge. Here are a few pointers for MARTA newbies.

“Next week will serve as a clear test as we welcome back many of our regular customers as well as many first-time MARTA riders,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Keith T. Parker. “We look forward to rising to the occasion as we remain committed to providing safe, cost-efficient transportation.”

   Other ways MARTA is preparing to deal with next week’s anticipated surge in ridership includes reassigning some staff to assist first-time riders at designated locations. And MARTA’s Police Department will have an increased presence around the expanded parking lots.

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