A request from Cobb commissioners to “look a little deeper” at transit-related projects that could be funded by state and federal dollars could dig up a previously shelved plan for bus rapid transit lanes.
Earlier this month, county transportation director Erica Parish proposed a resolution to Cobb commissioners that would submit several projects related to the county’s CobbLinc bus service to the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority. The ATL is responsible for implementing transit projects across 13 metro counties, including Cobb, and ensures plans connect efficiently across jurisdictions.
It has a July 31 deadline for its member governments to submit projects for its inaugural Regional Transit Plan.
Commissioners expressed reservations about the resolution, which put several facilities up for consideration: a new CobbLinc transfer center for the south Cobb area and new transfer centers to replace the existing ones in Marietta and Cumberland.
Those projects remain on an updated resolution Parish will present to the board next week, along with several additional ones:
♦ Connect Cobb Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which proposes the addition of Arterial Rapid Transit (ART) along Cobb Parkway. A plan previously studied by the county recommends the majority of the ART system to operate on dedicated lanes from the Kennesaw area to the Cumberland area. From the Cumberland area, service would continue to the MARTA Arts Center Station via Interstate 75 on existing high occupancy vehicle lanes and major roads in the city of Atlanta.
♦ An I-285 Managed Lane BRT project that would implement a new bus system to be operated along the planned I-285 managed lane system, providing east and west connectivity. Studies are currently underway and are being funded by several metro Atlanta governments and community improvement districts.
♦ A Six Flags BRT from H.E. Holmes MARTA Station, which would provide access to MARTA from southeast Cobb.
♦ Transit signal priority within adaptive signal areas. In high congestion areas, implementation of transit signal priority can reduce transit delay.
♦ The Cobb County Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan, which includes ADA-compliant sidewalks, curb ramps and crosswalks along various transit bus routes.
“We were told to look a little deeper at what other projects might be able to be considered,” Parish said Friday. “These are some of the ones that we picked and wanted the board to think about, and hopefully allow us to submit to the ATL by the end of the month.”
Should the ATL add some or all of Cobb’s proposed projects, Parish said, it would not obligate the county to fund them in the future. The selected projects, she added, could also be removed in future Regional Transit Plans.
But one county commissioner said he is resistant to the addition of a number of the newly proposed projects.
“I have serious concerns about anything related to BRT, especially Connect Cobb, because Connect Cobb was shown that it would not relieve congestion; in fact, it would make it worse. There’s no way I’ll support anything that has as a minimum Connect Cobb on it,” said Commissioner Bob Ott, who had not been among the commissioners who discussed the transit proposal when it was originally scheduled to come up for a vote earlier this month.
Chairman Mike Boyce, meanwhile, says he remains concerned about the ATL asking for Cobb’s proposed project list when the county has yet to vet possible projects with the public.
“But I go back to my original statement that I don’t want to stop something just because Mike Boyce has some concerns about it,” Boyce said. “This is something all the commissioners should be able to address, and the only way to do that is by agenda prep or by having a meeting.”
Commissioners are likely to discuss the transit matter at their 9 a.m. agenda prep session Monday in the Cobb Government Building. The matter could come up for a vote at the board’s 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday.