Inside City Hall: Frustration brews over MARTA Five Points station closure

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A rendering of the renovated Five Points station. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2024 and finish in 2028.

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

A rendering of the renovated Five Points station. Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2024 and finish in 2028.

Both council members and community leaders voiced frustration last week over MARTA’s plans to shut down pedestrian and bus access to the Five Points station for four years while the transit hub gets an overhaul.

Riders who frequent Atlanta’s busiest station will still be able to transfer trains but the facility will be closed to foot traffic and buses beginning July 29. MARTA officials said that street access at the Five Points station will temporarily reopen for the FIFA World Cup in 2026, but close again until construction is finished in 2028.

MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood told council members during his regular report to the transportation committee on Wednesday that the closure plans as they stand are necessary to complete the $230 million project.

“We’re making sure that we get it right and we’re allotting the time it takes to get it right,” he said.

But council members were upfront with their opinion that four years is too long.

“I have so much trouble wrestling with the idea that we’ll be closing access to five points monetization through 2028,” said Council member Jason Dozier. “It’s very long time for people not to have access to our busiest station.”

“This will be a significant impact on a lot of people’s quality of life,” he said.

Concerns go beyond the closure period and extend into the redesign of the station. Council member Amir Farokhi called the design “watered-down.” design for the central transit hub doesn’t reflect its vital use in the city.

“It’s our center station, it’s our most heavily used station and — I know we have limitations, this ship has left the port — but I find it underwhelming at best that this is going to be our final work product,” he said. “I don’t think this would fly and a lot of other major cities.”

Atlanta residents who live in the downtown area agreed. Shayna Pollock, managing director of transportation for Central Atlanta Progress — a nonprofit comprised of business leaders — said community input has been ignored as the project design has been changed.

“We have watched the project’s goals and top priorities, which were agreed upon by the city of Atlanta, have morphed away from the original intent of creating a more approachable station,” she said during public comment.

The group, along with the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, requested the design be revisited, construction be delayed until after the World Cup and measures be put in place to avoid closure to pedestrians and buses.


Mayor Andre Dickens speaks during a program celebrating his Year of the Youth initiative at Atlanta City Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. (Natrice Miller/

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens continues to measure his comments on the shocking public testimony earlier this month from the city’s top accountability officer. During the May 20 City Council meeting, Inspector General Shannon K. Manigault gave an unprecedented speech, saying that her office has been blocked internally from doing its job.

The city’s Office of Inspector General was created in 2020, in the wake of a yearslong federal Department of Justice corruption investigation at City Hall. It independently investigates Atlanta’s government.

Manigault said that during a probe into the city’s human resource commissioner, investigators discovered a “concerted effort” within city departments to obstruct investigations.

With the law department conducting it’s own independent investigation, Dickens has been quiet on the matter. We caught up with him last week and he said he wasn’t fully aware of Manigault’s concerns before she addressed City Council.

“She did not give us specifics, when she went down to the city council — she didn’t have a specific ask me or anything of that nature,” he said, adding that he expects the law department’s independent investigation into allegations against the human resources commissioner will be completed in the upcoming weeks.

Here’s what he said when we asked if he believed Manigault was acting within her duties:

“It’s within her rights to investigate because if a whistleblower says look into something she definitely should approach her board,” he said. “And they will determine if she can go further in that investigation. I think sometimes those steps are not always clear — and we’re trying to make it clear.”

After her public testimony earlier this month, the inspector general told the AJC that she did notify the mayor’s office that she was planning on addressing council.


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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's City Hall reporter Riley Bunch poses for a photograph outside of Atlanta City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.
Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

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Credit: Miguel Martinez