Investments will Improve Roads, Expand Transit, and Create New Bike-Ped options
Atlanta — Feb 26, 2020
The Atlanta Regional Commission Board today approved a major update to the transportation portion of the Atlanta Region’s Plan that allocates $172.6 billion in federal, state and local funding through 2050 to improve mobility and safety across metro Atlanta.
The Atlanta Region’s Plan is a long-range blueprint that details the investments, programs and services needed to ensure metro Atlanta’s future success by providing world-class infrastructure, fostering healthy, livable communities, and developing a competitive economy.
The update to the transportation part of the plan was developed in close collaboration with local governments and transportation agencies and with robust public input. It includes projects and programs designed to improve roads and highways, enhance transit options, expand the region’s network of multi-use trails, and encourage alternative commuting options such as carpooling and teleworking.
“The Atlanta Region’s Plan offers a balanced, strategic approach to keep our region moving forward, even as our population continues to grow,” said Doug Hooker, Executive Director of ARC. “This plan will help metro Atlanta remain competitive, with a high quality of life, in the decades to come.”
The Atlanta Region’s Plan is designed to accommodate significant growth that is expected to occur over the next three decades. ARC forecasts the 20-county region will add 2.9 million people by 2050, bringing the metro area’s total population to 8.6 million.
The plan’s potential impact is significant, from cleaner air to reduced congestion. For example, annual transit ridership is expected to more than double, from 510,520 riders today to over 1.1 million in 2050. And tailpipe emissions will decrease by 21,182 tons per year.
The full list of transportation projects, including an interactive map can be found at atlantaregionsplan.org. Here are some highlights:
Maintenance and safety
About $102 billion, or nearly 60% of the total, is earmarked to maintain and upgrade the infrastructure that’s already in place.
Projects include resurfacing roads, repairing bridges, and replacing aging buses and rail cars, as well as new technology that promises to improve safety and traffic flow by connecting vehicles to “smart” traffic signals.
New transit options
The plan programs $11 billion for transit expansion. Projects scheduled in the next decade include:
- High capacity transit in Clayton County, phase 1 of which will connect Jonesboro to the East Point MARTA station.
- Expansion of the City of Atlanta’s streetcar network from Jackson St. to Ponce de Leon Ave., which includes a portion of the Atlanta BeltLine, as well as a section on North Avenue that will be bus rapid transit.
- Bus rapid transit lines in Clayton Co. to replace two conventional MARTA bus routes.
- A bus rapid transit line to connect the growing Georgia State University Stadium area in Summerhill to the MARTA rail network to the north and the Atlanta BeltLine to the south.
- Engineering and other work will take place to prepare for construction of transit on other segments of the Atlanta BeltLine.
- Other key projects are programmed for later years in the plan, including a bus rapid transit line in Gwinnett County connecting the Doraville MARTA station and Sugarloaf Mills, and a bus rapid transit line in Cobb County, connecting Kennesaw State University and the Arts Center MARTA station.
About $10 billion is dedicated to projects and programs that reduce congestion by encouraging alternative ways of getting around the region. This includes:
- Expansion of the region’s bike-ped trails to provide new ways of getting around without driving
- Funding for the region’s Livable Centers Initiative, which helps communities transform into more vibrant places where it’s possible to walk from home to work to the store or restaurant
- Funding for initiatives such as the Georgia Commute Options program that help people change their travel behavior, whether that means carpooling, using transit, traveling at off-peak hours, or teleworking
Tackling traffic bottlenecks
The Regional Transportation Plan provides about $27 billion for key interchange and highway improvements throughout metro Atlanta. Highway projects due to start construction in the next decade include:
- Managed lanes on the top-end Perimeter, I-285 East, and I-285 West
- I-285 North at Ga. 400 in Fulton – reconstruction
- I-285 West at I-20 West interchange in Fulton – reconstruction
- I-285 East and I-20 East interchange in DeKalb – reconstruction
- I-85 North at McGinnis Ferry Road in Gwinnett – new interchange
- I-20 East at SR 20/138 in Rockdale – reconstruction
The Regional Transportation Plan also includes 215 arterial widenings and other projects that will add a total of about 600 lane-miles of capacity to the region’s arterial network by 2050. Projects expected in the next decade include:
- Widening Piedmont Road from Lenox Road to Peachtree Road in City of Atlanta
- Widening SR 20 from I-575 in Cherokee County to Post Road in Forsyth County, in five phases. (Phase 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Widening SR 85 from Old National Highway in Fayette Co. to Roberts Drive in Riverdale
- Widening Sugarloaf Parkway in Gwinnett County, from Satellite Boulevard to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard
- Widening U.S. 23 in Henry County from downtown McDonough to SR 138
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 73 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.
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