Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My problem with the BeltLine put simply

I've long been a supporter of the BeltLine, but I have often complained about both its long timeline and its order of implementation - I hate, hate, hate that they have focused on parks first and transit last. I have always felt that the key selling point of the BeltLine was transit, and we have to wait 20 fucking years for it. I mean, it is great that we will get some parks soon, but we NEED transit.

Thomas Wheatley's recent article contains a quote from a Ga. Tech professor that clearly enunciates one reason leaving transit on the backburner is a bad idea: it slows the momentum of development around the project, which is supposed to help pay for the whole thing.
Mike Dobbins, a former Atlanta planning commissioner who now teaches at Georgia Tech, thinks developers will be attracted to neighborhoods that aren't directly served by the Beltline and already have dense development and public transit options: downtown, Midtown and Buckhead.

He says of the Beltline: "There's not going to be any type of transportation in any kind of near-term framework. The market's not going to be effective where there's no transportation."
So it is good to see Kasim Reed at least talking about making things happen quicker (see the CL article). Lisa Borders says not to rush things because you might sacrifice quality for speed. But.... we are talking about YEARS here. Surely we can get a quality project done in 12 years, which is what Reed wants to look at as a possibility. We are talking about almost decade of planning already.


  1. What bugs me are the extraordinary expectations: Is there anything the BeltLine can't do?

    ..."transform the city from a car-dependent hodgepodge of villages to a smart-growth wonderland served by streetcar..."

    I need to study the transit plan. I think I'm still going to need a car.

  2. I'm for mass transit. The Beltline too.

    But it's not going to be built. It's not in Atlanta's character. MARTA only exists because of the prodigious effort made by Maynard Jackson and a few key political associates in Fulton and DeKalb County.

    The Beltline became a ploy used by local developers to build more "stuff". That's all. Most of them aren't anymore interested in mass transit than they are in rocket ships.

    Given the nation's financial state, we won't being seeing any mega projects for a long while, transit or otherwise.

    By the time political leadership in metro Atlanta realizes it really does need an extensive mass transit system, the country will be too broke to build it.

  3. Beyond my imagination that the BeltLine could ever be mass transit. I sure some folks hope for a maglev. Looks like they could start with a sidewalk in the short term.


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