MARTA tries to sell bus rapid transit on Campbellton Road, but some aren’t buying it

Credit: MARTA

Credit: MARTA

MARTA officials are trying to convince southwest Atlanta residents and city officials that bus rapid transit makes sense for Campbellton Road.

If Thursday’s MARTA board of directors meeting is an indication, they’ve still got some convincing to do.

Some residents told the board that MARTA should build light rail along 6 miles of Campbellton Road between Oakland City station and Greenbriar Mall, not bus rapid transit. Deborah Scott, CEO of the community group Georgia Stand-Up, told the board MARTA needs to do a better job of consulting with neighborhood residents before making a final decision on which type of transit makes sense in the area.

“You’ve got to get this one right,” Scott said. “There’s too much at stake.”

MARTA has faced a backlash since announcing last month that it plans to recommend bus rapid transit for the Campbelltown Corridor. The agency originally proposed light rail for the area in 2018. But after studying the project, it says bus rapid transit would cost substantially less, could be built sooner and would require MARTA to buy less property.

Some residents say MARTA should stick with its original plan. They fear money intended for Campbellton light rail will be used to build rail lines in other parts of Atlanta. Though he has not rejected bus rapid transit, Mayor Andre Dickens has said all the money intended for the Campbellton Corridor should be spent there.

The MARTA board will have the final say on the agency’s preferred alternative. Interim CEO Collie Greenwood told the board Thursday that MARTA officials have been meeting with city officials and neighborhood residents to explain the bus rapid transit proposal.

“We will not bring anything to the board until we have broad support from the community, the (City) Council members and the mayor,” Greenwood said. “We are making progress on those conversations.”