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MARTA in Cobb: envisioning hypothetical transit in suburbia

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Pipe-dream maps show a future of BRT and heavy rail to Cobb, a four-decade holdout

MARTA is planning to extend rail lines into Cobb County, connecting hundreds of thousands of suburban Atlantans to the rest of the city via viable public transit for the first time and eliminating the need for thousands of cars on area roads. Well ... hypothetically, anyways.

Thanks to visionary Curbed Atlanta reader Jason Lathbury, we know what a MARTA expansion into Cobb County could look like, with heavy rail and bus rapid transit service stretching from Vinings to Acworth via places like Kennesaw, Austell, and Marietta. This is the same transit oracle who dreamed up a gloriously comprehensive (and probably impossible) regional transit network. And the much-simpler MARTA Greenline Loop for Atlanta's western neighborhoods.

When it comes to Cobb, Lathbury explains:

If the county chose to, Cobb could more than afford a comprehensive network of transit options, whether that was through MARTA, or on its own via CobbLinc (CCT). For example, a 1 percent sales tax in the county could fund between $5 billion and $8 billion worth of heavy rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit, as well as one heck of a local bus network of all levels of service.

(Whether those financials check out remains to be seen. But below is the grand vision implemented, and below that, a more scaled-back map with rail only).

Lathbury continues:

Frankly, the only thing that keeps Cobb with a less than a quality system, is the county itself. It is the county's choice, politically and financially, to have a system that will not handle the coming years of growth, provide practical ways of living without a car, nor offer alternatives to the ever worsening traffic on the metro's strained roads...

Clayton [County] recently overturned their choice to stay out of the larger system, Gwinnett is getting closer to doing the same, and Atlanta is preparing to build an incredible intercity system that everyone can build off of. The metro, as a whole, [can] be much more connected, and all of us [can] reap the economic and social benefits of that connection. The most realistic way to move forward with that is for Cobb to join MARTA, rather than attempt to improve transit on its own. The region will grow no matter what. We will add people, and we will add business, so the question is whether or not [Cobb County is] ready to prepare for that future.

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts on such big proposals?