MARTA Mayhem

Can you believe that since the beginning of MARTA, in 1979, MARTA has transported more than 5 billion commuters? If you’re like me, and an Atlanta Native, then you probably find this statistic highly shocking. Especially since MARTA is represented and historically known as a poor transit system that pushes more inhabitants towards carpooling or using their own form of transportation. It is a public rail system that only serves certain areas of the city and if they chose not to expand its coverage areas and invest in programs and technologies to increase the public’s perception then we, in Atlanta, will have one of the most underutilized public transit system for the amount of population in the United States. It is a complete necessity for cities the size of ours to have a well-rounded, efficient and user friendly mode of transportation or we will no longer be the thriving city we are at this point in time. In general, MARTA must morph into a well-oiled machine by appealing to the new workforce, creating an efficient system, making people feel comfortable and connecting more areas of the city otherwise it is doomed to fail in what is most definitely the most populated but sprawled out city in the Nation. The below image shows exactly why Atlanta needs an improved and efficient system. IT IS HUGE.


Atlanta's Sprawl

Atlanta, a town known for diversity, but still highly populated with prejudices, brings me to my point that MARTA must completely revamp if they want to appeal to both sides of the “riders spectrum” this ranges from the working class citizens that find public transport crucial, to the general users that might commute for a ball game or possibly for a night out. In an article written by, Doug Martin, entitled, “Why MARTA Ain’t SMARTA”. The exact close-minded behavior is represented completely. Here, Doug Martin, stigmatizes the majority of MARTA commuters into a general terms, you can only hope he coined, called, “Out of Sales Area Tax Cheapstakes”. This view point of the majority users is the reasoning behind MARTA’s CEO, Keith Parker attempt at rebranding the system. With this type of initial views on a system that thrives on repeat users, will do nothing but lead to an economic downfall of the system. In comparison, there was another article entitled, “Where it All At Went Wrong”, where a Georgetown Professor by the name of, Christopher B. Leinberger, clearly states that Atlanta’s biggest economic downfall was the lack of connectivity to all areas and types of people. This is in direct correlation to Doug Monroe’s immediate assumption of MARTA riders as “Out of Sales Area Tax Cheapstakes”. According to this link MARTA is only Atlanta, Fulton and Dekalb county, yet anyone can use the same amenities. Even after, areas such as Cobb County approved upon the expansion but yet decided not to push forward when the other areas did. Issues such as these, is what will forever continue to keep communities divided.

The second, and in my opinion, the most important necessary advancement in the growth of MARTA is the need to create a safe, efficient and welcoming riding experience to all users that partake. I think this has been, by far, the most looked after advances by MARTA Board of Directors and Keith Parker.  This is most shown by the recent teaming with BRS Labs and OUTFRONT Media, two perennial powerhouses in their own field that will greatly advance the public awareness, in a positive light, and also be directly associated with the safety and overall positive recognition of the rail system.

OUTFRONT Media, is the US leader in out-of-home advertising and has worked with areas as prevalent as New York Times Square and through-out California as well.  They are joining MARTA for a 5-year contract and hope to bring in an estimated $25 Million dollars’ worth of revenue. If this works out as well as anticipated, MARTA is able to extend the contract for another two years (1). This is a very exciting step in the right direction, since MARTA has operated on a deficit before MARTA’s CEO Keith Parker took over in 2012. It will be the first time MARTA has shown measurable signs of growth (2).

In Comparison to the teaming of OUTFRONT Media, MARTA has also joined forces with BRS Labs; which will make this gang of allies almost unbeatable. BRS Labs, actually stands for Behavioral Recognition System, that is the first of its kind and is based out of Houston. What they will do is study real time behavioral systems of all humans near or in MARTA and will allow developing a real-time approach to actual threats. This, to some, might seem intrusive, but the fact that they can pin-point a sudden threat based on the actions one shows that is invisible to the naked eye is astonishing. They will be able to prevent possible terrorist attacks and make MARTA the safest possible form of public transit available to the public (3 and 4). This due of OUTFRONT Media and BRS Labs in conjunction with MARTA, a system that has had the groundwork of being the best public transit system, is going to be unmatched. It will provide the public with the confidence and peace of mind that one wants when getting into a closed form of transportation with thousands of strangers.


MARTA, although seldom used by some, is a necessary form of public transportation throughout any large city or urban area. It is an area that connects all areas of a particular state and allows people the ability to economically transport from one location to another in hopes of prospering or partaking in jobs or nearby events. With that being said, it is safe to say, that MARTA was still take strides in advancing its overall user experience. Most importantly, the safety, efficiency and overall riding experience. Since Keith Parker’s take over, he has had an uphill battle from changing view points of the citizens on MARTA, to finding adequate funding and support to help target the entire city population as its target audience and not just the ones who are forced to use it. It is reminds me of the article written by Rachel Maddux and Kendrick Brihson entitled, “Communal Commuting: What I’ve learned from riding MARTA.” In this article, they talk about their several years while riding MARTA and how they initially viewed the riding experience. In short, they hated it, but they did see the purpose behind it and the fact that it was there to serve sometimes the lesser fortunate for the opportunity to travel long distances to find work even if they lived in a further outside area. At the end of this article, Kendrick Brihson, makes a bold statement and it says, “somedays, as smug as it sounds, I think MARTA has made me a better person”. This is by far, the most intriguing and genuine comment I read from articles with personal statements. She doesn’t block everyone into a category of “tax cheapstakes” or homeless people using the areas to mooch for money, but instead, she recognizes the riders as people just like her, and that riding MARTA has helped her become more down to earth and appreciative of the advantages she has in life. In my opinion, this is exactly what people handle on a daily basis, it is a constant grind to help them or their families grow and prosper. If you believe this, then why shouldn’t Atlanta Commuter’s, with no other means of transportation, be granted the ability to ride a clean, efficient, cost-effective and most of all universally equal public transit system? These are reasons why Atlanta must expand, grow and increase the overall experience of MARTA before, for the second time, we “miss the boat” again!



  1. PR, Newswire. “OUTFRONT Media Signs New Contract with Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.” PR Newswire US05 Dec. 2014: Regional Business News. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
  2. GIVENS, DARIN. “MARTA CEO KEITH PARKER.”Atlanta 5 (2015): 121–121. Print.
  3. PR, Newswire. “OUTFRONT Media Signs New Contract with Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.” PR Newswire US05 Dec. 2014: Regional Business News. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
  4. BRS, Labs. “City of Atlanta’s MARTA Selects BRS Labs as Provider of Artificial Intelligence Video Analytics to Enhance Public Safety.” Business Wire (English)8: Regional Business News. Web. 24 Apr. 2016.
  5. Maddux, Rachael, and KENDRICK BRIHSON. “Communal Commuting: What I’ve Learned From Riding MARTA.”Atlanta2 (2013): 82-97. MasterFILE Elite. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.
  6. Sigo, Shelly. “Atlanta Transit Funding Bill Passes.” Bond Buyer34484 (2016): 24. Business Source Complete. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  7. Monroe, Doug. “Why Marta Ain’t Smarta. “Atlanta 42.2 (2002): 216. MasterFILE Elite, Web. 19 Apr, 2016.
  8. Monroe, Doug. “Where It All Went Wrong.” Atlanta 52.4 (2012): 86-98. Master FILE. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  9. Toon, John D. “Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 19 August 2013. Web. 03 February 2016.
  10. Xu, Edmund. “What MARTA’s $8 Billion Proposal Could Mean for Public Transit in Atlanta.” Dailykos. 21 July 2015. Web. 3 February 2016.

Bibliographic Annotation 6 and 7

Bibliographic Annotation #6: Atlanta Transit Funding Bill Passes

Sigo, Shelly. “Atlanta Transit Funding Bill Passes.” Bond Buyer 1.34484 (2016): 24. Business Source Complete. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

This article, in relation to the other articles, is the most intriguing but yet concise article. It is very short and sweet and just mentions that recently Atlanta passed a bill for a proposed 8 billion dollar MARTA expansion. It will significantly expand MARTA inclusive of almost all areas on the beltline and will forever unite a vast majority of areas throughout the system. The draft plan is due in shortly and will be voted on against the Atlanta Council. This is clear evidence of a positive of built environment architectural advancement. Many of articles, dated prior to this one, reveal issues and necessities with our Public Transit System. This article is almost “the prize” that the hard work and tirelessly nights of dedicated few were able to bring into fruition. Most importantly, MARTA’s Chairman’s and current CEO, Keith Mack. I think the only negative/weakness to this article is that we are unable to see any sort of outline/proposed plan; simply due to the fact that it is such a recent article. As mentioned before, this will tie greatly into my other annotations, because I will be able to show the improvement and hope that we have in our progression of creating a better transit system.


Bibliographic Annotation #7: Why Marta Ain’t Smarta

Monroe, Doug. “Why Marta Ain’t Smarta. “Atlanta 42.2 (2002): 216. MasterFILE Elite, Web. 19 Apr, 2016.

This article is a first-hand experience a MARTA user experienced and the reasons why they would not transport via MARTA ever again. Also, he explains the reasoning behind Marta’s failures and some advice from board of directors on what it needs to do to succeed. My personal favorite is when he calls out the majority of MARTA users as “out of sales tax area cheapskates”. This is a close-minded idea/concept where he generalized all uses into a single category without even looking into the deeper picture. In my eye, this brings a lack of validity to this article. Mr. Monroe simply speaks his peace of mind throughout the entire article and only is focused on his own experiences. It is a very short-sided view point, and many of his references in the article might lead someone to believe that he has some form of bigotry in him. I would say this is relevant to my research though, since it gives you a first-hand user experience from early 2000’s. A time period that we know MARTA was struggling and helps us to at least see more areas where they can definitely improve. The relationship to my other sources shown here is the negative light that MARTA shined throughout the early 2000’s. No one enjoyed taking the train and someone people even vowed to never do so again.

Bibliographic Annotation 4 and 5

Bibliographic Annotation #4: Where It All Went Wrong

Monroe, Doug. “Where It All Went Wrong.” Atlanta 52.4 (2012): 86-98. Master FILE. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

This article is a concise article that takes you through a vision of MARTA from its early creation, struggles it had with funding and to where it is now is at. The article gives great insight into the struggles the lack of a proper public transit system is doing for Atlanta as a city. For example, on page 96, Christopher B. Leinberger, a professor at Georgetown who has watched Atlanta rise and fall, clearly states that our cities biggest failure was not allowing the public transit to thrive within the limits and perpetually connect our city. This article was completely valid to the topic of rhetoric in the built environment; because it demonstrates the struggles Atlanta has with its inability to attract a new workforce due to our mediocre transit system.  I have found no flaws in this article; it connects our lack of a proper built environment and even connects the dots on the racial struggles that the city faced while the development of our public transit system. I believe it could have been more relevant, since it is nearly 4 years old and we have been pushing leaps and bounds since then to advance our system, but the information provided was a direct link to the struggles Atlanta’s Public transit has on connecting users from throughout the state in a cohesive manner.


Bibliographic Annotation #5: “Making Marta… Cool?”

Burns, Rebecca. “Making Marta… Cool?” Atlanta 54.10 (2015): 17-20. MasterFILE Elite. Web. 19 April. 2016

This article is a plan of expansion to MARTA and the issues MARTA’s CEO Keith Parker has in developing a “cool” transit system that promotes a fun and safe environment but most importantly makes people think of public transit first instead of last. I was able to draw evidence of future growth to the population of areas nearby MARTA that helped me understand the built environment. It is beginning to shape the routes of MARTA and demands growth of the transit system. This source was chosen because it clearly demonstrates the struggle of our transit system and also it gives you hope that MARTA’s CEO is doing whatever he can to turn this around and help it to thrive in the city of Atlanta. No weaknesses were

Analysis Introduction

Title: Digital Masculinity and Gender Inequality in Digitally Built Environments

  • Comparison between Atlanta Falcons National Football League website and the Atlanta Steam’s Lingerie Football League

Start introduction with statistic that male designers hold 85% of the workplace in the digital environment. This will be hook in the introduction. At this point, I will introduce background information in regards to Falcons and Steam’s origin. Most importantly, I will open a broad idea of how the balance of men designers in the website and corresponding careers develop a hyper sense of masculinity and gender inequality.



Digital Records 4 and 5

Digital Environment: Digital Record #4

Digital Record #4

This screenshot shows Atlanta Silverbacks attempt to find people who are interested in working at their facilities as staff or even as a referee. The most striking mention is that you are required to be a bilingual speaker. This shows the amount of diversity that this park/facility has in that the majority of its users are Spanish speaking.


Digital Environment: Digital Record #5

Digital Record #5

The above screenshot is from the bottom portion of the main homepage. This shows the Atlanta Silverbacks contact information as well as their location in Atlanta, near spaghetti junction, and their location in Suwanee. It gives the ability to easily click on their email address and contact them directly with any inquiry you might have.  It shows two screenshots of their facebook page showing the amount of “likes” they have received.

Digital Environment – Digital Records

Digital Environment: Digital Record #1



Above is a screenshot from the home page for the Atlanta Silverbacks. Upon entering the website, you are immediately greeted with friendly faces from these kids and the ability to learn more about their after school program. They encourage kids from the Suwanee area to join their program and their want to help them exceed in academia as well as staying healthy and active. This homepage is easy to maneuver and intuitive. It gives you the idea that the Atlanta Silverbacks are community focused and an organization that appeals to the entire family.


Digital Environment: Digital Record #2

Digital record #2

Above is the screenshot from the Atlanta Silverbacks about me page. The Atlanta Silverbacks are located near Spaghetti Junction in a multi-million dollar facility. They have a streaming photo gallery that appeals to your avid soccer fan and includes imagery from summer leagues, indoor leagues, and even kids camps. Also, it gives the ability for you to rent the field. I was shocked that going into this site it didn’t have more information in regards to the Atlanta Silverbacks football club. To reach information on their actual club teams, you must navigate through the tabs located near the top. Although, it is easy to navigate, I was expecting more of the focus to be directed to the men and woman’s teams rather than social clubs and camps for the youth.


Digital Environment: Digital Record #3

Digital Record #3

For my third digital record, I actually navigated into the Mens Football Club tab that I referenced in digital record #2. This is what I expected the Atlanta Silverbacks main page to consist of. This starts by showing the Silverbacks logo, slogan, “welcome to the jungle”, and most importantly a running clock on how much time is left until they are back in action. The website, to me, is a bit busy and I find it hard to stay focused on a certain section. It doesn’t seem that it is was created professionally and I feel that it could definitely use some sort of “pizzazz” to appeal to the everyday user in hopes of turning an Atlanta native into an actual Silverbacks fan.


Falcons Vs. Steam: Digital Masculinity

Thesis: A comparative analysis between two digitally built environments – The structure of Atlanta Falcons Football team website and the Atlanta’s Steam Lingerie Football team strongly demonstrate the hyper sense of masculinity and gender inequality.

NFL players simply make the NFL for one reason, their ability to play the sport and perform better than anyone else on the field. It is a testosterone driven sport that puts men into harms way on a daily basis to give the American public their entertainment and ability to live vicariously through a player.

LFL players love the sport and want to play competitively but still succumb to gender stereotypes and forced to show their body off for the chance to compete in a sport they love.

Both designed by men for men but one is played by men and the other woman.

Digital Records #6, #7, #8, #9, #10 and #11

Digital Record #6

Digital Record #6

This was an interior painting inside the walls of El Myr. It was of a little village and it’s surroundings. The entire interior structure of this restaurant, I believe, was once a blank canvas for people to add their own drawings/piece of life for the world to see.

Digital Record #7

El Myr Interior Painting

Above is an image of a Swordfish painted by an individual. If you notice, the small boy in the image, he is portrayed as significantly smaller than the swordfish. Almost an image showing “larger than life” recreation of a natural occurrence that this boy might face while fishing. Each wall is filled with paintings that are painted over another image and it seems to always have the option to change if someone decides they want to freshen up the spot.

Digital Record #8

Digital Record #8

This is an actual picture of El Myr. This is the name of the restaurant and oddly enough the only location in the restaurant where you find an image of him. At least as far as I could tell. It is nestled in the rafters and is not drawn to by any means. We actually had to ask our server the purpose of this picture set off by itself.

Digital Record #9

Digital Record #9

Here is an image of the bar as we were heading out of dinner. It encompasses quite the variety of individuals. From “hipsters” to “business-men”. It is in all ways a replica of what the restaurant felt like to me and my girlfriend. It was a place in the foothills of Decatur but still welcomes all types of people. The ambiance was nice, music selection was from all genres and the types of people ranged on a wide spectrum.

Digital Record #10

Digital Record #10

Above is an image of El Myr’s crest. As you walk thru the entrance to the Cantina it is directly in front of you. Established in 1997 during the tail-end of Grunge era, this is the most played music genre while eating there but a variety was still heard to appease all types of music taste. If you look in the distance past the crest, you can see the artistic level this restaurant/cantina has to offer.

Digital Record #11

Digital Record #11

Not much of an interior image but this is the sign you see walking into El Myr. It is very dark and doesn’t seem inviting, exact opposite of the feel you are overwhelmed by as you walk in. Inside, I felt a surge of comfort come over me. The service was impeccable and the prices were low. It was an exciting experience and allowed people to come in and be who they were. Paint what they wanted. Say what they wanted. All in all, it was a restaurant that welcome any and all people and gave that person the ability to “write there name” on the wall. Well, of course until someone wrote over it.

ENGL1102: Derick Heitkamp Mid-term Reflection

Typically, in the past, writing was more of a black and white area for me. I read a text and responded directly to a question given to me from my instructor, turned in my paper and hopefully received an A. This class has changed my view on academic writing tremendously. From day one, Dr. Wharton, has attempted to show us the ability to read a text and make an understanding based on rhetoric and what the author was trying to convey.

Her methods have quickly adapted my ability to understand the texts versus just reading texts. Which in turn, has quickly evolved my ability to compose better responses. For example, I am now able to pinpoint certain modes within texts; linguistic, visual, aural or etc. I feel that I have noticed these in the past but I never had someone show me how to find them and relate them to built environment and how the author is trying to portray a setting. I think this is a main reason for my evolution of composition. In contrast, I still have some weakness’ that need to be addressed. Which, in my eyes, are completely understandable since we have only been in class for six weeks. This is my ability to stay focused on summarizing texts based on what the author is trying to convey and not my feeling on this. I think this is mainly due to the way I was trained in the past on reading texts and writing an essay based on my thoughts. This route follows the Golden Rule on given the author the proper respect to write a composed responded on rhetoric based on what they wanted the reader to focus on and not what they wanted the reader to make as a judgement.

All in all, this has been an exciting course thus far and has really opened my eyes on the ability to pull certain triggers from texts to better understand the author and people/objects they are addressing in their articles. I believe studying the built environment is something that can be translated into nearly any almost facet of life. It provides you the ability to see past the stigma’s that presented on a daily basis and to dig deeper into understanding, why? I hope to further expand my ability in write reflectively in this course and see the world in a different way than I have in the past.



Digital Records #4 and #5

Digital Record #4

MARTA nearby business for commuters

Above pictures shows a nearby Skyline near Dunwoody Marta that many commuters walk to from arriving on Marta. In my initial count, there are roughly 20 buildings nearby than range from 10-25 stories high. The proximity of the buildings show Dunwoody MARTA’s necessity of alternative transportation after MARTA. Some of these buildings are nearly a 20 minute walk after getting off the train.

Digital Record #5

MARTA Busy Parking Lot

Above picture is from the parking deck inside of MARTA. This shows the crowded parking lot at a “primetime” hour of the day. Many commuters park here and then ride MARTA into the city to their respective job. These people receive the perk of free parking throughout the day as long as they exit with a valid receipt from MARTA. I asked one commuter how much time he saved per day and he estimated anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.25 hours each day!!! That is almost 200 hours a year he saves from being behind the wheel or wasting gas in traffic. SMART MOVE, sir!