Harrison Potter | NationSwell

Marta Station in Atlanta, GA.Everyone who lives near a city knows all too well how much location – specifically, proximity to the commuter rail — matters. The shorter the drive is to the station, the better. And the ability to walk there trumps just about everything.

Such convenience is about to come to thousands in Atlanta. That city’s metro system MARTA has started making real estate deals to build housing to unused transit parking lots. MARTA plans to turn the space at the King Memorial, Edgewood, and Edgewood/Chandler Park stations into combination residential and retail developments.

“People have been looking at these parking lots for decades wondering why they were just sitting there,” Amanda Rhein, senior director of transit-oriented development at MARTA, told City Lab.

Now, that is finally changing — and it’s not only helping commuters, but also the railroad itself. Without state funding, MARTA’s bottom line is very easily impacted by the ups and downs of the economy. So, when Keith Parker took over the agency in 2012, he decided that a bold project like this is what was required to keep it competitive. The development will not only produce revenue from all the train riders, but also with each unit sold, will raise money for the transit system that it can use for improvements. Read more