Atlanta Highway Cap Project Gets New Life

The city council voted to apply for a $1 million federal grant to study the potential benefits of building a park over downtown freeways.

July 13, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Atlanta Skyline

Georgia National Guard / Flickr

An Atlanta highway cap could finally become a reality, writes John Green. "Recent actions by the Atlanta City Council and Georgia legislators could lend hope for greenspace advocates that downtown’s grandiose, highway-capping 'Stitch' proposal still has a pulse."

Despite popular support, "[i]n more recent years, Stitch studies, panelist conferences, and calls among stakeholders for launching fundraising and engineering efforts haven’t translated to a shovel’s worth of dirt being turned. But with a transportation infrastructure push afoot in Washington, D.C., the Stitch concept is showing signs of renewed interest—and possible viability." To move the project forward, "the Atlanta City Council voted to move forward in applying for a $1 million federal grant that would help fund a study for implementing the Stitch, which advocates say would effectively weave interstate-bisected parts of downtown back together." However, "that federal cash boost would be a far cry from the Stitch’s estimated cost of $300 million or more, per ADID’s ongoing analyses. "

"But ADID officials are optimistic for what the Stitch could mean for downtown: between $1.1 and $3.1 billion in value creation; up to $58 million in new revenue; and a boost in the city’s bonding capacity from $308 to $847 billion 'by increasing the value of existing properties and catalyzing the redevelopment of underutilized properties,' per the most recent summary." The city is weighing creating a 25-acre park that would cap the I-75 and I-85 freeways and "reconnect neighborhoods torn apart by the interstate."

Friday, July 9, 2021 in Urbanize Atlanta

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