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Atlanta 1996 / 1 DAY TO THE GAMES

Getting Around

July 18, 1996|ROBYN NORWOOD

The MARTA rail system, the backbone of Atlanta's transportation plan for the Games, typically carries 480,000 passengers a day. On July 26-28, the peak weekend of the Olympics, officials expect ridership to be 1.5 million a day.

With vehicle access to the three-mile "Olympic Ring" area downtown becoming increasingly restricted, outlying MARTA parking lots are already being taxed.

"A lot of people are anticipating the worst," said Paul Stegenga, an architect who lives in the trendy Buckhead area and commutes to work downtown. "It took me 30 minutes to find a parking place this morning, but it's only happening once. You have to enjoy it. I think what I'll do now is take a cab from my house to the MARTA stop. That or ride my motorcycle or walk."

With no parking at downtown venues, tickets to Olympic events (as well as performances in the "Cultural Olympiad") include free transportation, with buses supposed to be ready to shuttle passengers from MARTA stops to the venues. Those with tickets will only need to flash them as they pass through turnstiles.

Parking will be another story. Each of the 80,000 spaces in MARTA lots will cost $10 a day.

MARTA trains are not yet crowded, except at rush hour, but officials are worried about what will happen when hundreds of thousands take to the streets to watch the Olympic torch wend its way toward its destination on Friday.

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