ATLANTA -- It appears Monday morning commuters might be able to hit the snooze button one more time before heading out the door to MARTA.
The transit authority announced Friday that it plans to expand the parking lots at five high-traffic stations, adding nearly 1,200 new parking spaces.
Ridership has been up nearly 20 percent in the last week, according to MARTA, after a piece of I-85 fell to the ground during a massive fire under the interstate bridge. But the increase in passengers has led to limited parking at some end-of-the-line stations, adding to an already stressful commute for drivers.
City officials anticipate that drive will be even worse, come Monday morning, thanks to many metro area school districts being back in session after Spring Break.
“Next week will serve as a clear test as we welcome back many of our regular customers as well as many first-time MARTA riders,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Keith T. Parker.
To help, the following MARTA stations will all offer additional parking spaces for morning commuters beginning April 10:
- Chamblee -- 75 addittional spaces
- King Memorial -- 400 additional spaces
- Brookhaven/Oglethorpe -- 175 additional spaces
- Kensington -- 385 additional spaces
- East Point -- 168 additional spaces
Spokesperson for MARTA said the spaces will be in lots adjacent to existing ones, and transit representatives will be on hand to help direct drivers where they need to go.
MARTA also pointed out more "underutilized" lots and decks where riders can park, including the Lenox Station Garage, Lindbergh Center, Lakewood/Ft. McPherson east lots, and their park-and-ride lots at Barge Road, Masell Road, South Fulton and Windward Parkway.
MARTA said they also will make plans to make the "necessary adjustments to meet the demands" and increase police and security presence.
"We look forward to rising to the occasion as we remain committed to providing safe, cost-efficient transportation," Parker said.
In addition, MARTA will be rolling out a tracking site for real-time parking information, Monday morning. The data will track 10 of the busiest parking lots from 6 to 10 a.m., including the North Springs, Sandy Springs and College Park lots.