Atlanta Greens With $2.8 Billion 'Beltline'

A plan is unfolding to create a 22-mile loop of green space and transit routes in downtown Atlanta, one of the most car-dependent cities in America. The plan started out as a graduate student's thesis and is now fully adopted by the city.
September 7, 2006, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The city and a host of nonprofit groups have begun what urban planners say is a singularly ambitious municipal undertaking, transforming the railroad right-of-way into a 22-mile loop for hikers and bikers; a mass transit route; and a green corridor that strings together many of the city’s parks and serves as a framework for new ones."

The City of Atlanta has already started buying up hundreds of acres of land for the $2.8 billion project, dubbed the Beltline. Along with the green space and transit routes, the Beltline project is also proposed to include nearly 28,000 housing units and create more than 30,000 jobs.

"Yet the many feasibility studies that have been done read like a litany of impossibilities. The loop, consisting of four different rail lines, does not link up smoothly. Different sections of the right-of-way are owned by different entities. Federal money for transit projects is scarce. Some parts of the track are still in use; at one point, near the historic Oakland Cemetery, there is a major transfer yard where containers are moved from trains to trucks."

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Published on Wednesday, September 6, 2006 in The New York Times
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