One If By Air, Two If By Transit
Atlanta (and the rest of the world) is at speculation of the Aerotropolis that is in the works for one of the nation’s biggest airports. The question is: will this be another car or die scenario where the rental car center will be your best friend, or will the airport community embrace another alternative mode of transport?
So I attended the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Transit Committee meeting today, and I listened to one of my colleagues present on the new transportation management association, or as the transportation biz calls them TMA’s, for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International area. Known as “aeroATL”, their goal is like other TMA’s in Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead: promote alternative transportation solutions to employers and employees. It’s great that this is happening, seeing as that community improvement districts (CIDs) are now popping up west and south of the airport, and the Aerotropolis plan to turn the modal hub into a 24/7 airport community is becoming the savior for this area the way the BeltLine is for the intown neighborhoods.
Now what’s going to DRIVE all of this concentrated development? Let’s not make it obvious.
It is often joked by locals (and layover passengers who think that Atlanta is literally our airport) that the ATL SkyTrain and PlaneTrain are Atlanta’s only real transit vehicles. Sure, they do arrive on time, have fewer headways, fewer delays, and get to actual destinations, but they only reach as far as their intended purposes. Try doing that with a growing SunBelt metro who just peaked over 6 million. It’s not that simple, I say. However, when I search for plans for this Aerotopolis, I get
“a mixed-use development in Hapeville”, which I get scared because we haven’t had a true live-work-play-transit-oriented-mixed-use community in the metro. I only hope that the SkyTrain is being considered for expansion AS WELL AS the true cornerstone of the development. I mean, let’s face it. Are you really going to rent a car to get around the airport for a four-hour layover? I wouldn’t, but Federal Aviation regulations don’t make it so for you to walk around the premises, either.
So kudos to aeroATL and the surrounding Airport CIDs for uniting the airport region and turning the tide for the other options to travel to work at Hartsfield. I hope the focus can also be stretched for future residents and businesses that the Aerotropolis will be transit-focused and seamless to access surrounding amenities. Although, if I were to give a suggestion to them: do not use the picture above as the final blueprint. PLEASE. One Atlantic Station is enough.