It's official: MARTA is northward-bound… maybe. The transit agency has released a new alignment for the proposed expansion of the red line, which would shoot north from its current terminus at North Springs to Windward Parkway, near the southern border of Forsyth County. As part of the long-awaited Connect 400 plan, the $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion dollar proposal would be the first extension of rail service for the system since the red line was last brought north to North Springs station almost 15 years ago. Service would run through Sandy Springs, across the Chattahoochee River into Roswell and terminate in Alpharetta, bringing five new stations along the 12-mile corridor paralleling — and criss-crossing — Ga. Highway 400.
It's been quite a ride to get to this latest proposed alignment, which has the rail line jumping Georgia Highway 400 from the east to west just north of its current end, and then returning back to the eastern side of the highway somewhere around Holcomb Bridge Road or Encore Parkway. Originally, MARTA had planned to extend the rail line along the eastern edge of the highway, but after neighborhood resistance to the proposal, MARTA made the final adjustments with two crossings of the road along the way. Overall, the crossings make sense, as it brings rail service to the western side of the highway, too, closer to the commercial corridor of Roswell Road in northern Sandy Springs.
Pending environmental impact study results, MARTA hopes to have the Federal Transit Administration sign off on the project in 2017. But no dirt will move until a funding source is found, which could take time, of course. Although with bipartisan support and public demand, it could be all-aboard for Windward station in the not-too-extremely-distant future.
· MARTA chooses route for North Line extension [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· Are Georgia Republicans Learning to Love the MARTA Train? [Next City]
· North Fulton wants All Aboard for MARTA Expansion? [Curbed Atlanta]