By Amanda Rhein, Senior Director of Transit Oriented Development, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
Transit oriented development is the antidote to Atlanta’s decades-long auto-dependent growth pattern. Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is development that is vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, and genuinely integrated with transit. MARTA is pursuing TOD in an effort to increase ridership, generate new revenue and to support both local community development and regional economic development.
Next year will mark 25 years since San Francisco-architect Peter Calthorpe proposed the concept of TOD in his book, The New American Metropolis in 1993. Calthorpe’s idea of using transit systems to spur the creation of mixed-used living communities in cities – where residents live, work and play with less dependence on cars and more use of mass transit – has become a major driver of real estate development in urban areas around the world.
To accommodate the 2.5-million people projected to join us in the region by 2040, new development should be concentrated around existing transportation infrastructure. MARTA seeks to work with the community, developers and policymakers to promote TOD in three distinct ways: as a TOD sponsor for joint development on MARTA property; as a TOD stakeholder, for any development that occurs near a station; and as a TOD advocate, for sustainable land-use decisions throughout the Atlanta region.
In 2010, MARTA adopted TOD Guidelines, which provide a framework for the type of development that we’d like to see at our stations. The Guidelines seek to achieve: relative density, a mix of land uses, a great public realm and a flexible approach to parking.
MARTA currently has three projects under construction, which follow these guidelines. The Edgewood/Candler Park TOD groundbreaking took place in August 2016, followed by Avondale in November 2016, and Chamblee in May 2017. Groundbreaking on TOD at the King Memorial Station is expected later this year.
We look forward to continuing our work in partnership with the development community to implement our vision to create transit-oriented communities that connect people to opportunities, drive sustainable community development and promote regional prosperity.
For more information on MARTA’s TOD projects, please visit: https://courbanize.com/maps/marta
Amanda Rhein is Senior Director of Transit Oriented Development and Real Estate at MARTA, the nation’s ninth largest transit system, which includes heavy rail, bus and paratransit services. She oversees the Office of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Real Estate, whose vision is to create transit-oriented communities that connect people to opportunities, drive sustainable community development and promote regional prosperity.
Ms. Rhein previously served as Interim Managing Director of Redevelopment at Invest Atlanta, Atlanta’s Development Authority and the economic development agency for the city of Atlanta. She oversaw the team responsible for managing and marketing the City’s primary economic development tools, tax allocation districts (TADs) and New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs). While at Invest Atlanta, Ms. Rhein doubled the number of TADs and funded over 30 projects, which resulted in the investment of $3.5 billion in Atlanta’s most underserved communities.
Ms. Rhein graduated from Boston College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2002. She earned a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2004.
Ms. Rhein is active in the Urban Land Institute at both the local and national levels. Ms. Rhein is a member of the national Transit Oriented Development Council, a group of 50 national industry experts. Locally, she is active on the Livable Communities Council, a facilitator for the UrbanPlan program, and a member of the Atlanta District Council Advisory Board.
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