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Along Atlanta’s northern I-285 arc, a multi-city push for transit is afoot

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Mayors from Cobb, Fulton, and DeKalb counties are mulling top-end Perimeter transit options.

Cars sit in traffic heading both directions on the Downtown Connector.
Could a transit solution on the north-end Perimeter spare many motorists a traffic-y fate?
Wikimedia Commons

Atlanta’s traffic-clogged interstates haven’t been subjected to another Snowpocalypse, but it seems like hell may have recently frozen over.

In a surprisingly non-Atlanta-like move, mayors from cities across the northern edge of the Perimeter recently gathered to discuss a potentially region-changing idea: a unified transit system, stretching along Interstate 285 from Cobb County to DeKalb County.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the meeting—featuring mayors from Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Doraville, and Tucker—covered only preliminary ideas about how to work cooperatively to combat growing traffic woes.

But, on the bright side, the discussion itself would’ve seemed farfetched just a few years ago. It illustrates, again, that even OTP opinions about transit are beginning to change.

While transit has become a hot topic across the metro over the past few years, the collaborative discussion across three counties marks an encouraging shift of strategy. Rarely have transportation discussions involved cooperation among municipalities, who often work in silos.

Typical weekday morning near Perimeter Mall (not really).
Image via Bric

According to many participants, the impetus for the meeting was the knowledge that the Georgia Department of Transportation is currently devising and enacting plans to ultimately restrict potential transit growth along major interstates in the future.

In order to secure the option for some form of public transportation down the road, a master plan must be created to set aside space.

Obviously, it’s unclear for now what form a transportation corridor could ultimately take, but the group’s next step will be to meet with GDOT to discuss options.

Baby steps, perhaps, but it’s all another sign that metro Atlanta is finally on the tracks to do something large-scale about transit.