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East Lake MARTA TOD planning launches, aims to make station feel like ‘front porch’

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Where Decatur meets Atlanta, East Lake station is in search of a new, more neighborhood-friendly identity.

A bus exiting the parking lot of the MARTA station.
The East Lake MARTA station, currently surrounded by parking.
Google Maps

At the western edge of Decatur, where the ITP city meets Atlanta, East Lake MARTA station—like so many other hubs in the network—is surrounded by a moat of surface parking. But plans are afoot to change that.

MARTA, in collaboration with the cities of Atlanta and Decatur, has kicked off a planning study to determine how to create a transit-oriented development that embraces the area’s community and culture.

The station is a boon for Decatur/Oakhurst and surrounding neighborhoods such as Druid Hills and Kirkwood, but the underutilized parking lots are not. The goal, study leaders say, is to create a “front porch.”

Back in February, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) awarded MARTA $100,000 to complete a conceptual plan for development surrounding the station.

East Lake has more than 600 parking spaces, but it’s one of the least utilized stations in the network (35th of 38), with an average of just 1,100 riders per day. The goal of the study is to determine the next life of the parking lots that sit on both the north and south sides of the station.

To boost the initiative, which is being led by TSW planners, a website has launched to gather public comments and provide information about meetings and plans. It includes a survey for East Lake station users.

So far, many users have requested enhanced pedestrian access to the station, integration of existing commercial uses into the station area, and the creation of mixed-use residential, retail, and office spaces surrounding the station.

Comments will be open through the next few weeks, and those in the area are encouraged to attend one of the open houses this week and in October.

The plan is expected to be done by this time next year.