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The Atlanta BeltLine
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Hey folks- sorry it’s been a little while. It’s been an eventful couple of weeks with some exciting new developments. First off, construction began for the new Atlanta Streetcar! U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood came to town to kick off construction and show the administration’s support, which is the reason this project is happening.
Just so everyone understands, this streetcar line is a big deal. It will be an even bigger deal if the Transportation Referendum passes on July 31, because then it will be a key connection across town between the east and west sides of the Atlanta BeltLine.
As the Mayor said that day, “The Atlanta Streetcar also marks the first step for our broader regional approach to transit, which includes direct and seamless connectivity to existing MARTA and regional transit systems. Future phases will link recreational trails, the Atlanta BeltLine and its related transit efforts and projects associated with the Transportation Referendum that will be up for a vote this summer.”
Here’s a map of what the Streetcar would like like with the Transportation Referendum projects:
If that wasn’t enough, a recent report indicates that bicycle commuting in Atlanta increased nearly 400% between 2000 and 2009, more than any other city in the country. Rebecca Serna, Executive Director of the Atlanta Bicycle coalition gave an interview on the topic this morning on WABE. It is absolutely worth the listen.
Meanwhile, national media and thought leaders continue to look at Atlanta and what the Atlanta BeltLine could mean for its future. The New York Times looked at the built environment and its effect on public health, citing the Atlanta BeltLine as an example of a “forward thinking community.” Money quote:
- “In what may be the crown jewel in environmental restructuring for better health, the city plans to create an urban paradise from an abandoned railroad corridor over the next two decades, with light rail and 22 miles of walking and biking trails.”
Chris Leinberger of the Brookings Institution made the case in the AJC that if the region doesn’t invest in its transportation infrastructure via the Transportation Referendum, “Hotlanta” won’t be what it once was. Money quote:
- “In July, the area has a chance to take the first step toward rectifying this imbalance and sparking growth. A ballot measure would raise local sales taxes to invest in transportation. The measure would allocate about 52 percent of its proceeds to transit. This includes substantial investment in the BeltLine, the most innovative transit investment in the country, one that all American metros will study and follow during the next few decades.”
More to come next week. Hopefully there will not be such a long gap between blog posts going forward- we’re getting a new addition next week, but more on that after the weekend.