Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Time to crank up the way back machine! With Monday’s official opening of the Eastside Trail, it’s hard not to be excited by the possibilities this new public space provides for our city. As we look forward, it’s a great time to look back and see our city as planners imagined it all the way back in 1961. Georgia State University just recently made available a digital treasure trove of archival documents, including Atlanta Region Metropolitan Planning Commission’s June 1961 Atlanta Region Comprehensive Plan: Rapid Transit. Inside are early proposals for regional transit and the rendering below of what is now Ponce City Market. And lo and behold- there’s transit on the Atlanta BeltLine!

Sears Roebuck building, now Ponce City Market, in a rendering from 1960 showing rail transit on the Atlanta BeltLine and dense urban development

Using this great historical document as a jumping off point, let’s take a look at how far we’ve come in the last few years, and where we’re headed:

 Eastside corridor in late 2009:

Eastside Trail rail removal from N Highland Avenue
Eastside corridor viewed from N. Highland Ave looking north, November 2009. Photo by Christopher T. Martin

Eastside corridor in October, 2012:

Eastside Trail from N Highland during Atlanta Streets Alive 2012
Eastside Trail viewed from N. Highland Ave. looking north, October 2012. Photo taken during Atlanta Streets Alive.

And here’s another present day shot of some of the area in the funky old rendering above:

Eastside Trail between Ponce City Market and Ford Factory Lofts, October 2012. Photo taken during Atlanta Streets Alive.

And here’s a rendering of the same spot with a transit plaza:

Rendering of future transit stop at Ponce City Market and Eastside Trail from the Atlanta BeltLine corridor design.



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