South Downtown MARTA Stations Makeover


Client: Central Atlanta Progress & Atlanta Downtown Improvements District

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Status: Completed in 2015


  • Extensive public engagement and research components
  • Immediate, short, and long-term enhancements to the MARTA stations that are low cost
  • Tactical urbanism installation in Spring 2015
  • 2015 Georgia Planning Association – Outstanding Planning Process for South Downtown Transit Station Enhancement Plan


Central Atlanta Progress hired TSW to create implementation-focused design recommendations for the two South Downtown MARTA Stations Makeover (Five Points And Garnett Stations). The recommendations address immediate, short-term, and long-term needs, and are considered through the lens of short-term feasibility. The team will install a “tactical urbanism” project, which could become a permanent fixture, at the stations in Spring 2015. Both stations have similar elements that inhibit their success, but because of the differing contexts and environments, require modified recommendations to address the overarching challenges.

To gather feedback from the community on the South Downtown MARTA Stations Makeover (Five Points And Garnett Stations), TSW engaged in a vigorous public engagement process. The project design team formed a strategy using pride-building concepts of “I Choose MARTA” and “MARTA Makeover”. The project team visited the two stations, Georgia State University, and Woodruff Park during station “intercepts” to survey people riding MARTA and non-riders.

The team synthesized all of the previous feedback and devised guiding principles to attain MARTA’s overall goal of increasing ridership. The design recommendations address the principles through three themes: reconnecting interrupted corridors, enhancing views to the stations, and activating underutilized public spaces. TSW is currently receiving feedback on the preliminary design recommendations in order to make adjustments and prioritize needs. Many of the ideas can be addressed through immediate, “tactical” methods, known as tactical urbanism, or within a short period of time (ideally, within two years) with limited funding.

Overall, TSW’s goal was to create design recommendations that address the immediate, short-term, and long-term needs of the community and MARTA riders.