MARTA’s first BRT route is under construction after cost increases, delays

MARTA is breaking ground on its Summerhill project, which is poised to become the first bus rapid transit route in the region.

A few years from now, Atlanta residents will be able to ride between Summerhill and Downtown on a bus route aimed at mimicking the speed of rail.

MARTA broke ground Thursday on its Summerhill project. It is poised to become the first bus rapid transit route in the state with an anticipated completion date in summer 2025. Buses will complete a 4.8-mile round trip between the Atlanta BeltLine’s Southside Trail and the Five Points rail station every 12 to 15 minutes by running mostly in dedicated lanes.

Summerhill will be the first of several BRT routes planned to branch off from MARTA’s heavy rail network. The BRT system will be known as “Rapid” with different colors to represent each line, similar to the rail network, said CEO Collie Greenwood during a Thursday groundbreaking event.

Over the past few decades, MARTA has focused on placing residents and workers on the doorstep of transit in an effort to boost ridership. Local officials expect BRT to spur similar transit-oriented development around stations. The groundbreaking took place only a week before development firm Carter wraps up construction on a new Publix in Summerhill, a neighborhood now filled with mixed-income housing, restaurants and shops.

“A key component of a thriving neighborhood is the presence of quality, accessible transportation,” said Carter president and CEO Scott Taylor in a news release. “… With over $850 million of development already completed or underway in Summerhill – new businesses, homes, and jobs – the BRT will play a key part in ensuring continued growth and sustainability in our area for years to come.”

By Tyler Wilkins – Atlanta Business Chronicle

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