(Forsyth County, GA) Could the future of Forsyth County include mass public transportation, bike trails and air taxis? That’s what the Forsyth County Public Transportation Department is trying to figure out through the McFarland Mobility Hub Feasibility Study.
Funded by the Atlanta Regional Commission, the study is supported by the Forsyth County Planning & Community Development Department, the Engineering Department, Kimley-Horn and Blue Cypress Consulting.
John Noe, the planning intern for Blue Cyprus Consulting, explained the purpose of the study during an informational pop-up event at Vickery Village on Monday, November 28.
“The idea is that this can be a connection point for people if they're trying to transfer between different modes and it could be a parking ride where maybe you want to just drive here or ride here and then hop on a bus,” Noe said. “It’s just the idea is to have different modes where you can transfer between them. It'll also have shops and places where you can recreate. So it's not just a transfer station, but it's also a place where you can take your dog or shop at local businesses.”
The session was one of two pop-up informational events the County is holding to get public feedback. The next session will be held on Sunday, December 4.
What is the McFarland Mobility Hub Feasibility Study?
The McFarland Mobility Hub Feasibility Study is the first major initiative from Link Forsyth to bring better and more accessible transportation to Forsyth County. Link Forsyth was the first public transportation master plan in the County. It was completed in 2021.
According to the Feasibility Study’s website, the goal of the initiative is to “create a multimodal hub in the McFarland area that seamlessly introduces multiple modes including cycling, walking, transit, and driving while including elements that accommodate for emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles and air taxis.”
If implemented, the hub will cover an area of land surrounding the GA SR 400/McFarland Parkway interchange.
Specifically, the plan includes ten aspects:
1. High-Capacity Public Transportation station
2. Bike and scooter facilities
3. Contactless order pick-up lockers
4. Wayfinding and directional signage
5. EV charging/surface parking
6. Rideshare pick-up and drop-off area
7. Bike and pedestrian infrastructure
8. Local vendors or retail
9. Technology with real-time travel information
10. Air taxi landing space
But the 15-year plans go beyond Forsyth County, with a goal of adding economic and social drivers in the surrounding areas. The plan would also keep the area ready for emerging technologies such as air taxis and autonomous vehicles.
As stated on the website, with a successful mobility hub in place, the County hopes to create and improve the following:
- Connected mobility: “Establish regionally consistent and community-oriented mobility with options centered on convenient and affordable first-and-last mile access to transit.”
- Safety: “Create a safe environment for users while creating a sense of community.”
- Sustainability: “Reduce car dependency and encourage the use of sustainable/zero emissions modes such as transit, shared mobility, biking, and walking.”
- Equity: “Improve access for those with limited choices.”
Information and feedback
The County is offering a few ways for residents to learn more about the study and offer their opinions.
- A pop-up informational event will be held at the Holiday Concert at the Sexton Hall Enrichment Center on Sunday, December 4 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- A virtual open house can be visited at this link.
- A quick online survey can be completed here.
- Details of the study can be found on its website, which includes an interactive depiction and a document library.
Organizers of the study hope to finalize its recommendation by July 2023.
If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at firstname.lastname@example.org.