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Report: Atlanta is a Transportation Powerhouse. Huh?

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Given the influx of post-Recession development around here, many Atlantans have been vocal with concerns about increased traffic, especially as it relates to thousands of new apartments popping up from Buckhead, to Decatur, to the Westside. A report by commercial real estate brokers Cushman & Wakefield, titled "Urban Development: Faster Greener Commutes Key to Sustained City Growth," makes an interesting observation about the Atlanta trend. Some 9,200 multifamily units are under construction around town, and more than 8,000 of them are located within a one-mile radius of a MARTA rail station or major transit hub. (The report also has duh-worthy moments when observing that areas near the Beltline and Atlanta Streetcar have experienced "heightened development activity.") Overall, the Atlanta region has earmarked $61 billion (or roughly 30 Atlanta Falcons stadiums) for transit-oriented improvements; the report lists a handful of iffy MARTA projects and highway enhancements that, on the surface, are made to sound like the panacea for Atlanta's traffic ills. Globe Street, a real estate news source, leans on the "CushWake" report to paint Atlanta as a forward-thinking, transportation utopia. Sort of.

As Globe Street points out, the report explores nine North American cities — Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington, DC. — to gauge the effects of "hyper-urbanization" within their central business districts. Since 2000, metro Atlanta has swelled by 32 percent — packing on 1.4 million more people — which is the highest percentage growth of all those cities, and the source of more than a few growing pains.

The numbers lead one CushWake honcho to make the following statement: "Fortunately, there are strong indications that the renewed commitment to transit-oriented development by both the public and private sectors will move Atlanta forward, helping it to continue attracting business and new residents."

The report stresses that Atlanta's population and job growth will make public-private investment imperative for all forms of transit. As evidence of hope, Globe Street singles out MARTA rail initiatives like the planned Ga. Highway 400 line extension into Alpharetta, the addition of managed lanes on interstates and smaller measures like diverging diamond interchanges.

And about that $61 billion: According to CushWake's research, 70 percent of those dollars will go toward maintaining existing transportation facilities, which isn't too exciting.

· The Century's Most Substantial Development Trend [GlobeSt.com]
· Ground Breaks on Two More Midtown Apartment Towers [Curbed Atlanta]

[ABOVE: Photo via Citizens For Modern Transit.]