I don’t have a car. And I live in Atlanta.
Those are two sentences that, to the casual observer, should not be uttered by anyone…in a single breath. But they are true of many Atlantans, myself included. Whether one is willfully car-less in our fair, sprawling city or whether one is financially restricted to public transportation (or a combination of both, such as I am), being without a car in Atlanta is not easy…but not impossible.
The most obvious and well-known option throughout Metro Atlanta is MARTA, with service in Dekalb and Fulton counties. MARTA isn’t perfect–limited bus services in many areas–but it is a feasible option. Planning ahead is imperative but, thankfully, that has gotten much easier with their website’s Trip Planner feature. Other mass transit options have come about over the past few years and, in conjuction with MARTA, can really help you navigate around the city. Buslines serving the Buckhead district (the Buc) as well as university communities such as Emory and Georgia Tech can also be a big help.
A great place for information about alternative transportation is the website for Citizens For Progressive Transit. Here you’ll find all the latest news about developments in Atlanta’s transit system (for example, What is Concept 3 and what does it mean to Atlanta? There’s a meeting about it tonight!). You’ll also find links to informative websites about other means of car-less transportation, such as the Path foundation for bikers, runners and walkers and P.E.D.S, a site about pedestrianism (is that a word?).
I’ve been surviving carlessly here in A-Town for about 5 years now…and I’m strongly considering giving up the ghost and getting my own set of wheels. But until I do, the aforementioned methods and sources are decent ways to get where you need to go without a car or at least getting close enough and hoofing it the rest of the way–thanks, MARTA.
Seriously…I am curious about Concept 3. I should try and get to that meeting. Could someone give me a lift?