Beltline Progress … ever enough?

I admit, I have expressed extreme frustration with transit, transportation, and connectivity in Atlanta. Apparently the Beltline concept was conceived when I was finishing up high school, which was A PRETTY FRIGGING LONG TIME AGO, frankly. I remember seeing a Beltline advocacy booth at an outdoors event 5 years ago, and getting excited to talk to someone about it. I asked what, specifically, we could do to help, and at the time, all they had was “well, you can go to our website and register to get email updates.” A little disappointing.

But lately I’ve been getting excited about the Beltline. We’ve finally started seeing progress – there are actual trails you can walk (or mountainbike, but after my first experience with those stupid little rocks on a bike I’m going to wait for some pavement), there are gorgeous parks and a skatepark underway, there’s a mile paved in the Northwest bit, the art is making people talk, and this weekend Mayor Reed accepted some major checks from Kaiser Permanente and the PATH Foundation to create a bike trail from Dekalb Ave to Piedmont Park.

Now, I have a purely selfish interest in this, as that particular trail stands to make my bicycle commute even more pleasant (railroads are pretty flat; the beltline will save me from Atlanta’s awesome hills and heat combination). Andisheh Nouraee at Creative Loafing is kinda pissed though, that it’s taken

so long to come up with so little. “12 years of talking. 6 years of doing. And I’m supposed to be impressed by a bike trail? Not just any bike trail, but a bike trail the city wouldn’t have been able to build without generous charitable donations.”

Well. Yes, that’s pretty miserable. But it’s still pretty major progress that I’m allowing myself to be excited about. Just not going to hold my breath on the light rail.

(Photo: Eco Home guy

2 Comments so far

  1. collinsb on June 21st, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

    I’m pretty excited about it, too. We have to keep in mind that we are only about 5 years in on a 25-year plan (25 years???? that’s a whole ‘nother issue.), and that the economy hasn’t been so great the last couple of years. Property values are down, tax revenues are down, etc, so charitable donations are probably the only way to make progress like this happen right now.

  2. james hervey (jeherv) on June 24th, 2010 @ 7:57 am

    yah, huge success. years, millions of dollars, hundreds of “study groups,” “comment sessions,” and other pointless meetings and we have some trails. typical of atlanta’s complete lack of will to do something about our lack of viable alternative transportation.

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