50 Years Ago This Month: Rapid Transit Pipe Dreams
“It is no mere flight of the imagination to say that an inadequate, unbalanced transportation system in the Atlanta area could cause economic stagnation,” wrote the magazine’s editors in a lead article in a special September 1961 issue on getting around Atlanta. After all, as they noted a few pages earlier, the metro area’s population had surged past the 1 million mark. The article touted a planned sixty-mile transit network, which would be completed in 1969.
In fact, it was not until 1971 that voters passed a referendum that allowed for the start of what is today’s MARTA system, and not until 1979 that the first rail spur—from Avondale to Georgia State—began operation.
A few months earlier, the magazine reported on the proposed “circumferential highway,” aka the Perimeter. That project was completed by 1969. Today an estimated 2 million people travel on the Perimeter daily, while MARTA buses and trains transport 500,000 passengers.