MARTA says new stations won’t replace eastside streetcar extension

City, MARTA officials still quiet on location of newly announced stations
September 22 2022 Atlanta - Aerial photograph shows Murphy Crossing project site along the Beltline Westside Trail in Atlanta on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Hyosub Shin /



September 22 2022 Atlanta - Aerial photograph shows Murphy Crossing project site along the Beltline Westside Trail in Atlanta on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Hyosub Shin /

MARTA officials said Wednesday that the four recently announced new stations across the city aren’t going to replace plans to extend the eastside streetcar — a project that’s seen as the first step in the years-long plan to install light rail along the Beltline.

During the agency’s quarterly presentation to City Council’s transportation committee, MARTA Chief Executive Officer Collie Greenwood was peppered with questions from Atlanta’s elected leaders about the mayor’s announcement on Monday about plans to expand the public transit system.

The conversation included probing from council members over whether the newly announced station would replace current plans for the eastside streetcar extension.

Greenwood said that both are moving forward.

“They’re both in right now,” he said. “We’re progressing both projects, as just mentioned, we’ve got a lot of work underway with streetcar east.”

The $230-million project would lengthen the streetcar from downtown to Ponce City Market and is funded by More MARTA money — funds approved by Atlanta voters in 2016 to go toward transit expansion.

Mayor Andre Dickens, the 61st mayor of Atlanta, looks at the crow after he delivered the 2024 State of the City Business Address on Monday, March 25, 2024, at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta. Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Miguel Martinez/AJC

In the days leading up to Mayor Andre Dickens’ State of the City address on Monday, rumors swirled about a potential transportation announcement — which many believed would reveal the mayor’s stance on installing light rail along the Beltline.

The first-term mayor didn’t weigh in on Beltline rail directly, but did declare lofty plans to build four new MARTA stations which, if seen through, will be the biggest investment in the city’s public transportation system in decades.

“Our current MARTA rail system is underutilized, in part, because we don’t have enough stations located where our residents need them most,” Dickens said during his annual address.

But the city and MARTA officials only announced the location of one of the new stations at Murphy Crossing along the Beltline’s Westside Trail, meaning the popular mixed-use trail loop will soon be connected to heavy rail.

Greenwood told Atlanta City Council members during his presentation Wednesday that five potential locations for the new stations are already listed as part of the More MARTA transit program approved by voters in 2016.

Five infill stations highlighted as possibilities included one at Murphy Crossing in Oakland City.

The other locations listed were Armour in Buckhead between Arts Center and Lindbergh; Boone in northwest Atlanta between Ashby and Bankhead; Hulsey/Krog in northeast Atlanta between King Memorial and Inman Park/Reynoldstown; and Mechanicsville located off McDaniel Street between West End and Oakland City.

Council members on Wednesday expressed excitement over the announcement and pressed Greenwood on the potential locations within their respective districts.

“I think that beefing up the lines that we have is a really good start,” said Council Member Marci Collier Overstreet, who recently questioned the idea of light rail along the Beltline. “I think we need it so much you can’t pick a bad spot, to be honest. I just want to make sure that we’re always using our equity lens while we’re doing it.”

Council member Alex Wan threw out his support for a station within his district at Armour Yards. While Council member Antonio Lewis also backed plans for the first new location to be at Murphy Crossing.

“That’s the one people want, that’s the one people need,” he said.

Greenwood said that the list of potential infill locations in the More MARTA plans are just a starting point for conversations.

“We’re not ruling anything out,” he said. “But I would say we’re not beholden strictly to what’s been said in the past.”

The mayor’s announcement on Monday didn’t bring an end to the debate over whether the city should move forward with longstanding plans for light rail along the Beltline, although stakeholders on both sides agreed that expansion of the current MARTA system is much-needed.

Walter Brown, president of Better Atlanta Transit — a powerful community group against Beltline rail — told council members that they are “encouraged” by the news.

“Four of five infill stations on the More MARTA project list are perfectly located to get riders to and from the Beltline,” he said. “These new stops will make the Beltline accessible to more Atlantans while at the same time improving the utility of MARTA heavy rail for intown riders.”

Brian Sumlin, a light rail supporter involved with the group Beltline Rail Now, said there are still many residents who want to see Atlanta’s neighborhoods connected by Beltline rail.

“Numerous NPUs on my side of town endorsed this project and really want to see this project happen,” he said.