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Atlanta Pedestrian Bridge—Not a Good Example of Public Dollars Well Spent

The bridge was touted as a connection between downtown and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it is more a reflection of the city’s misplaced fiscal and planning priorities.
August 21, 2019, 6am PDT | Camille Fink
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Felix Mizioznikov

Sean Keenan writes that Atlanta’s Northside Drive pedestrian bridge was a fiscal boondoggle that highlights income inequality in the city. The bridge, which connects the Vine City neighborhood to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, cost about $33 million to construct—$10 million more than initial cost estimates. And the bridge was supposed to be ready for the Super Bowl earlier this year, but it was not open to the public.

Keenan compares the pedestrian bridge to the 5th Street bridge in the Midtown area, which cost just over $10 million in 2004. "The 5th Street bridge repurposed an otherwise 'mediocre swath of concrete spanning the city’s vast Connector' into a complete streets success, replete with green space, seating, bike lanes, and wide sidewalks."

Keenan points out that building a costly pedestrian bridge to the stadium reflects the larger issue of the use of public funds in Atlanta. "Especially this summer, Atlanta has been criticized for prioritizing and subsidizing projects that make life more comfortable for motorists, sometimes at the expense of non-drivers," says Keenan.

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Published on Monday, August 12, 2019 in Curbed Atlanta
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