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Midtown sees uptick in transit ridership as nationwide usage wanes

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Residents, workers, and visitors have said they want the district to shift from its car-centric ways

Aerial view of Midtown Atlanta, with a skyline at left and the highway to the right.
Who needs the highway when the neighborhood has three train stations?
Curbed Atlanta

Although national mass transit usage has dampened over the past few years, people coming to and from Midtown appear to be warming up to the car-free commute option.

From 2014 to 2018, Midtown train stations—the Arts Center, Midtown, and North Avenue MARTA stops—have logged an uptick of about 12 percent of riders leaving, and 17 percent coming to the district, collectively, according to Midtown Alliance.

In that same timespan, nationwide transit usage dipped by nearly 8 percent, per a report by the Cato Institute.

Midtown leaders believe the spike in transit ridership is due in part to the subdistrict’s seemingly endless trend of development, especially of office space and residences.

Essentially, more jobs and homes means more people commuting in and out of Midtown.

The proximity to train station options, of course, doesn’t hurt.

“In the Midtown district, 96 percent of office buildings and 97 percent of residences are within a six-minute walk of a MARTA station,” according to Midtown Alliance.

Midtown has also been wooing major companies left and right lately.

Norfolk Southern’s relocation alone is expected to produce 850 new high-paying jobs.

Additionally, according to a survey recently conducted by Midtown Alliance, residents, workers, and visitors are hankering for more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly infrastructure.

As evidenced by so many cranes, Midtown’s growth spurt is far from over.