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Residents Tell MARTA How to Solve Traffic Problems

At a public meeting Tuesday night, area residents told MARTA what's needed to solve traffic congestion. The meeting was part of the Connect 400 project.

Tired of sitting in traffic? Area residents got a chance to say so Tuesday night, and to propose some solutions to MARTA.

About 10 people came to a public meeting held by MARTA at in Roswell to get public input on solving transportation problems.

MARTA is conducting a study for a project called Connect 400, which is looking at traffic problems in Fulton and Dekalb counties. The project is specifically targeting the busy area around Ga. 400, from the medical center at I-285 to McGinnis Ferry Road near the Forsyth County line. It also includes Route 9 and Dunwoody.

“You all live and work in this area, so you know traffic is a major issue,” said Jason Morgan, the project manager and a regional planner with MARTA.

Besides looking at congested areas, MARTA is asking residents what they need. That could include extending the rail line northward from North Springs station, or it could mean creating new bus routes. The agency is already hearing that buses need to go from east to west, Morgan said.

Dawn Dyer agrees. She lives on Old Milton Parkway in Alpharetta and doesn’t drive. She walks a half mile to her office and otherwise relies on public transit. First and foremost, she said she wants the MARTA train line to extend to Windward Parkway, but more immediately, she would like buses to take a direct route westward from her home to downtown Alpharetta. Now, it takes her an hour to get to Alpharetta because she has to take a bus to the Windward station and then change to another bus.

She would also like to see more buses go from Windward Parkway into Atlanta. Now, the buses only run during commuting hours.

“I get frustrated because I love to go into Atlanta – and I want to go into downtown Alpharetta,” she said.

Another problem area that residents pointed to: Holcomb Bridge Road. With lots of retail businesses and restaurants, it draws people to the area for jobs. But people who commute to Roswell end up walking several miles to work after the bus drops them off, Roswell resident Janet Russell pointed out.

Russell also expressed frustration saying that Roswell should get more for its money within the one percent sales tax for transportation.

“As a taxpayer, I am totally for mass transit,” she said. “But we should have more and it should be more comprehensive.”

She also asked for an express train to the airport, so riders don’t have to wait for another train at Lindbergh station.

Morgan replied that the tracks are not currently set up for express trains.

MARTA asked residents to draw routes on a map that covered the 400 corridor, taking into account current areas and future developments. Several residents mentioned Avalon, a proposed shopping/retail development in Alpharetta, as an area that needs to be considered.

MARTA’s study is scheduled to be finished around the summer of 2013, and improvements could take six to 12 years to complete, MARTA officials said.

“The goal is to engage with as much of the community as possible,” Morgan said.

If you missed the meeting, don’t worry. MARTA plans to hold more meetings, and may set up a kiosk at North Point Mall. You can also contact MARTA directly through their website, email them at connect400@itsmarta.com, follow Connect400 on Facebook, or call their hotline at 404-524-1822.

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