Atlanta Subway - Built For People or For 1996 Olympics?

I found out about Atlanta when I was a kid because of 1996 Summer Olympic Games. As with many cities across the world, Olympics, World Expo...

I found out about Atlanta when I was a kid because of 1996 Summer Olympic Games. As with many cities across the world, Olympics, World Expo or similar events help grow the economy for the host city and bring millions of tourists during and, hopefully, after the event. However, long before a host-city welcomes its first mass tourist, it usually spends a great deal of money to improve the infrastructure to be able to accommodate all guests. This normally includes building a rapid public transit, and I thought Atlanta was no exception and built its subway system (quite good, by the way) before 1996 Summer Olympics. Was I right? Scroll down to find out. 

No, I was wrong. Atlanta decided to build its subway system long before 1996 Summer Olympics - in late 1960s. Digging began in 1975, and the first line opened in 1979.
Today, Atlanta subway has 4 lines with 38 stations and 47.6 miles / 76.6 km of rails. It's the 8th busiest rapid transit system in the US.
Stations in Downtown and Midtown Atlanta are mostly located underground while stations in Atlanta outskirts and adjacent townships are above-ground.
Stations are dark grey due to excessive use of concrete. Apparently, this was quite popular in 1960s-70s, as I noticed this design trend in subways of other cities such as Montreal and Washington, DC. Bright paintings make dark stations look a bit less creepy. But it does not help a lot.
Subway cars are fairy old, and apparently here is a plan to replace the oldest cars in the nearest future.
The car inside is spacious and quite comfortable, but I didn't feel safe, especially when I used the subway after 9 pm.
I believe that you can find out lots of information about the real city, not the one on the postcards, by looking at advertisements in its subway. What bothers people in Atlanta? According to the picture below, missing doses and schizophrenia.
Two stations I particularly liked - Peach Center and Five Points. Both are located downtown.
Peach Center is the deepest station in Atlanta - 120 ft / 36 m underground. It looks and feels like a cave as the architects decided to keep the gneiss rock uncovered. 
Those metal circular holders resemble the dynamites. I've seen something similar in Northern Ontario where the new highway was being built by blasting a dynamite inside the granite rock. 
Five Points is the central station where all 4 lines interconnect. What you see underground from one of the platforms is the original facade of the Eiseman Building, and not a decoration. The building was destroyed to accommodate a subway station, and only the facade remained. Looks a bit surreal, doesn't it? 
Stay tuned for more posts about the most interesting subway systems across the world!

My other posts about subway systems:

You Might Also Like