ATLANTA — MARTA is looking to rename five of its rail stations. The transit agency says the names are outdated and that MARTA will seek community input to find new names.
The Georgia Dome is demolished. The Civic Center is shuttered. Bankhead Highway is ... bounced. Yet their names all live on in the names of MARTA rail stations.
"Everything else is changing with the times. I think they should change, too," said Wanda Bradley, a MARTA user.
The list of five stations with arguably outdated names also includes Ashby, named after a street since renamed for Joseph Lowery; and Ft. McPherson, which is no longer an Army post.
But at least at Bankhead, the old name, has deep meaning. The highway, now named after civil rights attorney Donald Lee Hollowell, was once called Bankhead. It cuts through a community many residents still call Bankhead.
"I love the name Bankhead," said James Hodo, a MARTA user at the Bankhead station Tuesday. "Good things come from Bankhead."
"When people think of Bankhead they think, 'ooh, that’s the west side,'" said Marino Simon, who was outside the Bankhead station. "But they already changed the street to Donald Lee (Hollowell). You can at least leave the train station as Bankhead."
"We just want it to stay Bankhead," said Peaches Pennamon, another MARTA user. She says the name has cultural significance, recalling a hip hop song that memorialized "the Bankhead Bounce."
But Wanda Bradley says all she needs to know about Bankhead is that its namesake was John H. Bankhead, an Alabama politician who served the Confederacy as a Civil War captain.
"I think it makes sense to change it, since we’re changing all the other names that was associated with Confederate stuff," Bradley said. "Change it. I say, change it."
A MARTA spokeswoman says no train station name will change until there’s an abundance of community input. Those meetings are being scheduled.