MARTA to take up bus rapid transit plan for Campbellton Road Thursday

MARTA has proposed a bus rapid transit line along Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta. (Courtesy of MARTA)

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MARTA has proposed a bus rapid transit line along Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta. (Courtesy of MARTA)

MARTA is preparing for final approval of a plan to build bus rapid transit – not light rail – on Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta.

The MARTA Board’s planning and capital programs committee will take up the proposal at its meeting Thursday. If the committee approves the plan, it could go to the full MARTA Board for final approval in July.

A final decision would culminate months of controversy over what type of transit to build along the six-mile Campbellton corridor.

In 2018 MARTA announced it planned to build a light rail line along Campbellton Road. It was part of a proposed 29-mile light rail network made possible when Atlanta voters approved a half-penny sales tax for transit expansion in 2016.

After announcing those preliminary plans, MARTA spent two years studying the corridor to determine whether rail made sense. In February it announced it would propose bus rapid transit instead, saying it would cost less, could be built faster and would disrupt fewer properties than light rail.

The announcement sparked a backlash from residents who fear southwest Atlanta will be left behind as wealthier parts of the city get rail. Those concerns may have been lessened with the recent announcement that MARTA is considering bus rapid transit for the Clifton Corridor to the Emory University/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention area.

In recent months MARTA has been trying to sell area residents on the benefits of bus rapid transit. Sherry Williams, a neighborhood activist, said MARTA has done a better job in recent months of explaining its decision. But she said it still has work to do.

“I hope that the people who are affected by the (transit) mode the most understand the pros and cons of both modes,” Williams said.

MARTA continues to seek public input ahead of a final decision. The agency will provide information on its plans at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Junction 2800, 2800 Campbellton Road SW.

Tuesday’s presentation will focus on land-use, affordability and design related to its plans for a new transit line along the six-mile corridor. You can learn more about the project here.