MARTA would build a bus rapid transit line instead of light rail along Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta under a proposal unveiled Thursday night, according to AJC.
The line would run in the middle of a 6-mile stretch of Campbellton Road between MARTA’s Oakland City station and the Barge Road park-and-ride lot. It would feature limited stops, transit stations and other features designed to mimic a rail line.
If the MARTA board approves the plan, it would become part of a proposed network of bus rapid transit lines crisscrossing metro Atlanta. But it might not satisfy some neighborhood residents, who have pressed for a rail line along the busy corridor.
MARTA could build light rail in eight to 10 years, the analysis found. A trip along the full 6-mile route would take just 16 minutes.
Bus rapid transit uses exclusive lanes, limited stops and other features to keep traffic moving. The analysis found it would be almost as fast as light rail — 19 minutes from one end of the line to the other.
It would cost $100 million to build and $5 million annually to operate. MARTA would need to acquire 2 acres of property, and 20 driveways would be restricted.
At Thursday night’s online meeting, MARTA said the new service would begin in 2028.
The Campbellton line would be part of a larger bus rapid transit network across the region. In Atlanta, MARTA plans a similar line along Capitol Avenue, along D.L. Hollowell Parkway and North Avenue, and along Metropolitan Parkway.
Residents appear divided. About 45% of neighborhood residents MARTA surveyed favored bus rapid transit, while 43% preferred light rail.
The Campbellton line is part of a $2.7 billion Atlanta transit expansion made possible when city voters approved a half-penny sales tax for MARTA in 2016. Two years later, MARTA approved a project list that included 29 miles of light rail across the city, including Campbellton Road. The list also included bus rapid transit lines, station renovations and other improvements.
Since then, MARTA has been studying Campbellton Road to determine what kind of transit makes the most sense. Last summer it asked neighborhood residents to consider the merits of bus rapid transit versus light rail.
A MARTA analysis found light rail on Campbellton Road would cost $340 million to build and $13 million annually to operate. MARTA would need to acquire 12 acres of property along the route, and 144 driveways would be restricted to right turns only.
Eventually, the region’s bus rapid transit network could be more extensive than MARTA’s existing rail network.