MARTA and some of its regional partners have started the Ga. 400 Corridor Transit Initiative, or Connect 400, in an effort to find out viable traffic solutions around Ga. 400 in Milton, Alpharetta, Roswell and Sandy Springs. Currently, the project is working on an alternatives analysis to discover what options would be best for the residents, workers and businesses in north Fulton.
“Our goal is to finish the study up around the spring of next year,” said project manager Jason Morgan at a meeting at the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce Aug. 30. “The ultimate result of that analysis and study is going to be the identification of what we call a ‘locally preferred alternative.’”
This “locally preferred alternative” will come from a combination of community input and gathered data. It may include possible combinations of transit, routes and costs as well as funding options to complete the project.
Morgan said feedback from the community has already shown people want some kind of transit option along Ga. 400, along Highway 9 and even in areas deviating away from those points.
“That gets at the whole idea that there is a desire and a need for something that allows people to not only move up and down but also move away from 400 and access those communities and those activity centers.”
The plan will also take into account land use plans throughout the corridor, looking at where growth is expected and where traffic patterns will go. Generally transportation investments are made to anticipate this growth, but the MARTA team said it becomes a vicious cycle where the region rarely gets caught up.
Funding options for the potential projects could include federal dollars or public/private partnerships, but Morgan said they are doing the study in such a way that they do not close any possible doors to receive funds.
“What we’re trying to do is to not foreclose any funding options,” he said. “And by keeping this study going and continuing to follow federal guidelines it keeps the doors open.”
Brandon Beach, president and CEO of the chamber and Georgia Department of Transportation board member, said he believes a public/private partnership is going to be the ultimate outcome for funding.