The great thing about our superstar volunteers is that they don’t just talk the talk about the Atlanta BeltLine – they walk the walk, too. One of these superstars is Carly Queen. Carly has taken her hands-on experience as a volunteer to the next level, organizing cleanups and walks along the Atlanta BeltLine and developing a particular attachment to the southwest corridor, where the Westside Trail will soon be built:
I have done a lot of work on the corridor in the West End near Kroger City Center. It is really rewarding to see how far this area has come, even if the contribution that I and the volunteers I worked with made was relatively small. Trash used to line this section of the corridor, much of it blown out of the adjacent parking lot for decades. There were mounds of trash and invasive species everywhere. With each project we clear out more trash and drive back the invasive plants.
But the efforts of Carly and her fellow volunteers are anything but small. Carly began volunteering in 2012, serving as both a lead for cleanups and an ambassador. In 2013, she took on the role of Speakers Bureau Administrator, coordinating between community groups and the Speakers Bureau volunteers to schedule speakers for various events around the city. As a grad student at Georgia Tech studying Civil Engineering and City and Regional Planning, Carly has also drawn inspiration from the Atlanta BeltLine’s roots as a Master’s thesis by Tech student Ryan Gravel:
If a student’s idea could gain this much momentum and community support, such that it was actually becoming a reality, then what could I do to help improve the world around me? As an undergraduate I worked to launch several small projects on campus, including a volunteer bike repair program called ‘Starter Bikes’ in partnership with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Since graduating I have broadened my view to include Atlanta and the Southeast, but I am also focusing in on the issue of transportation.
Carly is even focusing some of her graduate work on developing the Atlanta Skyway, which aims to connect Atlanta using alternatives such as gondolas and cable-propelled transit technology. Carly’s ideas, like the Atlanta BeltLine, could help to bring new transit options to under-served areas of Atlanta.
The future of Atlanta relies on the passion and vision of people like Carly, and the Atlanta BeltLine wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of volunteers like her. On her end, Carly says she is glad to help a project that she feels is “inspiring and visionary:”
Everything I have done with the Atlanta BeltLine has been a really positive experience. They really value their volunteers, so I never feel that my time is wasted or that my efforts aren’t appreciated. I look forward to working in support of the Atlanta BeltLine in many ways for years to come!