Beltline

Yesterday, the AJC had an interesting article about the different types of proposed transit for the beltline project. Based on what they said there and the general aesthetics of it, I’m in favor of the light rail system – even though it is most expensive, I think it’ll be the most useful and encourage the most use.This YouTube video is also a pretty good primer on the greenspace additions. What I love is how, in this video and in all artist’s renditions you see, the Beltline essentially brings paradise to all the places it goes. That’s right – there are absolutely no downsides to it at all.

6 Comments so far

  1. JP (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 9:45 am

    I’m strongly in support of the Beltline. What negative results are you getting at–increased population density in areas like Piedmont Park?


  2. Daniel (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 11:06 am

    JP – I too am a fan of the Beltway, but I find it a little disingenuous (and short-sighted) to pretend that there aren’t negative impacts that need to be addressed. Behind the obvious fiscal impact, there is the population density impact. It seems somewhat surprising to me that many of the same people who complain about “McMansions” are those who gloss over the effects of this increased population density in many neighborhoods that now consist of mainly single-family homes. Also, there are lighting, noise, security, and traffic effects for the surrounding areas to be considered (beyond the “People will drive less” utopia) both during construction and after. And the gentrification that is likely to occur in some of the poorer areas around the beltway brings with it many “growing pains.”

    The beltway is, on the whole, a good project, I think. But it is not without its issues. It is not a panacea.


  3. Joe (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

    I sure wish people would stop calling it the beltway.


  4. Daniel (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 8:19 pm

    um… isn’t that its name?


  5. Will (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 7:51 pm

    When I was living in Minnesota and they were installing a light-rail system from Minneapolis to the Mall of America, there were billboards throughout town paid for by protesters. These boards equated public transit with Communism.

    When the bus drivers went on strike that winter and public transit came up again, callers into local NPR shows argued that the citizens who take the bus should just “buy cars.” Or, alternately, that the city/state should buy them cars.

    That’s not really relevant, I guess. What I’m getting at is that lots of people will come up with phantom plagues to attach to the Belt(line/way) project over time. At this stage, I can’t fault them for staying in sales-pitch mode and not talking frankly about the drawbacks. Public transportation is important for the health of a city, IMO. All other arguments come second.

    That said, I trust that the developers of the Belt(line/way) project are working on minimizing the drawbacks now, and have people who know how to talk about them seriously and effectively. In MN, the counter-detractor argument seemed to be something like “Stop whining,” which, while valid, is not strategically sound.


  6. Maigh (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

    The first thing about this thread that strickes me as having been missed is this: people are moving back in-town with or without the Beltline.

    The other day while explain the project to my visiting brother, he was good enough to point out that this isn’t an original idea. There’s a national movement that I suspect our own local project is loosely based on: http://www.railtrails.org/ and I have faith we’ll take the time to learn as much as we can from what these other communities have experienced.

    I love the dialog, and admire the open minds, willingness to learn about the intentions of the project, and the active participation to move the project in the direction you want to see it go if it’s something that impacts you.



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