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Atlanta’s new BRT route: we have an update, concerns, and a link to a survey

Tonight, MARTA hosted an online meeting about the Summerhill Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, which will be a 4.8 mile round trip from South Downtown to the Atlanta BeltLine.

brt route

According to the presentation from staff, there will be a few sections of the route where buses share lanes with regular car traffic — very disappointing to hear, since that will effect service.

The reasoning they gave for shared lanes is that they’re needed for buses to make turns. “Sometimes we have to make these trade-offs” was the quote. Could the route be tweaked to eliminate some turns? We’ll send that question to them.

Greg Holder at MARTA took my question (this is Darin writing) about whether or not the BRT line be closed in South Downtown during big events, the way the streetcar is, much to our frustration.

Holder spoke well about why it shouldn’t be closed during events, without actually guaranteeing it wouldn’t be. He says they’re talking to ATL DOT and events facilities about making sure this doesn’t happen. This bears watching. At some point the compromises pile up too high.

On a positive note, the line will have signal priority at 28 intersections, meaning that a signal controller on the vehicle will communicate with a detector on traffic lights so that the bus low is prioritized.

MARTA wants your feedback on the BRT plans: please fill out this survey and provide your thoughts. 

Construction is expected to begin late next year, with service starting at the end of 2024. Here’s a project schedule:

According to a budget document from July, the BRT line is projected to cost about $61 million, though $12 million of that is covered by a federal grant. Here’s the breakdown:


Here’s a link to the slides from tonight’s presentation: