Box 21, Folder 6, Document 32

Dublin Core

Text Item Type Metadata


May 15, 1967

MEMORANDUM TO: Richard H. Rich, Chairman
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority

Glenn E. Bennett, Executive Director, Atlanta
Region Metropolitan Planning Commission,

Secretary, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Tr

SUBJECT: Some Planning Principles and Non-Engineering
Aspects of Rapid Transit

I would like to set down here some of the basic philosophy which

has guided us in transit planning, and also to mention possibilities
for the future. Transit in Atlanta will be a tremendous influence;
it will be the biggest single factor in guiding growth in many parts
of the Metropolitan Area.

The Planning Commission concluded in 1960 that a balanced transpor-
tation system with transit would (1) help shape the pattern of
development of the region in a desirable and efficient way, and

(2) provide the necessary access to central Atlanta so that the
orderly growth of employment and business activity could take place

The Planning Commission is concerned with serving the economic need
and shaping the metropolitan area. MARTA has been created primarily
to "build a railroad" in accordance with the generalized plan which
has been tested against planning factors. We have come to the en-
gineering stage now. This is a time when cost estimates need to be
based on specifics. If the Planning Commission could have built a
railroad, we would not have needed MARTA.

As we make decisions on precise locations we are continuing to test
and re-test basic assumptions made earlier with respect to popula-
tion growth, density, economic change, and many social factors.
Serving the disadvantaged people, the educational institutions, the
new centers of interest, such as the stadium, auditorium, and cul-
tural center, are of great concern to us at this stage. We are

aware of the opportunity we have for relating harmoniously all of
the exciting activities in the developmental stages in central
Atlanta, and upgrading the City's aesthetics and urban design.
These are non-engineering factors which are currently receiving
attention from planners.

The present work program of the staff of the ARMPC includes an up-
dating of earlier regional land use plans. In connection with

this we have developed statements of regional goals related to
transportation. These are policy statements. They set up cri-
teria against which transportation improvements can be measured.
For example, one section deals with aesthetic standards as follows:

"New or improved transportation facilities should be
located and designed so as to enhance the appearance
of the region, with appropriate regard to topography,
soils, wooded areas and water bodies, as well as the
character of existing and projected man-made develop-

The objective of a regional plan is to guide new growth into sen-
sible patterns, and discourage extensively scattered urban develop-
ment which is wasteful of land and other resources. Transportation
systems are the greatest single influence on development. Conse-
quently, planners study the effects of any proposed transportation
improvements, such as roads and highways of all categories and
transit, on future land uses.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from our policy statement on the
preservation of neighborhoods and community values, also on pre-
serving freedom of choice:

“Neighborhoods are considered the basic unit of resi-
dential community development. They may be defined

in one or more of several ways: by tradition, through
identification by the residents, from observed patterns
of commonality in age and character of development, by
natural or man-made barriers, as the limits of local
trade or service areas, and so forth Where they can
be defined, the integrity of sound or renewable neigh-
borhoods should be protected: major transportation
arteries should be located and designed so as to
bound, not penetrate, such areas."

"Residential development and renewal should be planned
and conducted so as to make available in every sector
of the region housing of a wide range of types and
cost, thus allowing the individual maximum freedom to
choose where he wishes to live. To enhance this free-
dom of choice, all residential areas should have com-
parable accessibility to areas of employment, recrea-
tional and commercial activity. Public transportation

facilities should provide this comparable accessibility
for residents least able to depend on private transpor-

All of this ARMPC planning policy relative to transportation is con-
sistent with the objectives of the H.U.D. programs. Federal money
has improved and expanded planning all over the country; there's

no doubt about it. Atlanta can boast a little over having the
oldest publicly supported metropolitan planning agency in the United
States. Because of local initiative back in 1947 we have had metro-
politan planning long before the feds got into the business. Now,
many cities have agencies something like ours, but because we had a
foundation of area-wide planning we could do a comprehensive transit
plan in 1961, a nature preserve plan in 1962, an airport plan last
year, code studies two years ago, and carry on many other activities
in the field of economic and social research. HUD knows this. It
has a bearing on present transit work; the transit routes are a part
of the overall metropolitan plan and not independent and separate.

We are now working on area-wide water and sewer problems, capital
improvement programming, preparation for the 1970 census, and other
items in addition to MARTA non-engineering work. HUD knows this.
Sidelines include metropolitan training schools for police officers
and improved communications and records systems for law enforcement
agencies, to mention a few.

Let's look at Central Atlanta. This is a concern of ARMPC because
it's the heart of the region. It is the subject of much study by
the City of Atlanta in the community improvement plan (CIP) which

is aimed toward the establishment of priorities for redevelopment

of land all over the City. Now that Central Atlanta Progress, Inc.
is organized and well staffed, we have the opportunity to better
serve the original purpose of rapid transit with respect to downtown
interests, both private and public.

Growth and development occurs in Atlanta with or without public
planning. Portman's Peachtree Center is far along; Cousins' air
rights project is starting with an 8,000-car parking facility; the
Nasher Park Place 18-acre air rights project is under study by
architects, planners, and economists, and Georgia State College has
a big and significant expansion program. Later this year contracts
are expected to be let for Georgia Plaza Park, a landscaped open
space with underground parking garage. The State, Fulton County,
and the City of Atlanta are cooperating on this venture which will
result in an attractive government-centered public park which will
upgrade the area near the Capitol.

Now we have the opportunity to coordinate all of these activities
and others, and create before long a central Atlanta plan with both
short-range and long-range goals. Transit is an integral part of
any downtown plan, and our present alignments of routes will tie
together all the major developments mentioned above.

A corridor impact planning study is now in progress, as you know.
It will show the relation of transit to low-income groups and their
economic and social needs. Other considerations are the relation
of transit to educational institutions, vocational schools, com-
munity centers, and renewal projects. The transit corridors, the
lines of the system, will be pulsing and throbbing with growth and
our efforts to properly direct and control these dynamics must
never cease. Planners are now working with both private and public
agencies in an attempt to identify the many possibilities which the
transit corridors offer us for enhancing community values, serving
the largest number of citizens, and guiding development toward most
sensible and efficient patterns.

In our discussions with H.U.D. officials and when we talk to. our
transit visitors who will be in town next week, I think we ought
to keep some of these points in mind.

I want to take this opportunity, Dick, to express our gratitude to
you for the time and energy you are putting into this task, which
is at times extremely difficult and complex. Without your leader-
ship it would be much more so!

public items show