Atlanta's Beltline Has Long Road to Ideal Smart Growth Model

The Atlanta Beltline Partnership's annual report shows how revitalization programs, workforce housing, parks and trails have been blossoming. Yet transit development has lagged behind, reports Kaid Benfield for The Atlantic.
July 27, 2011, 6am PDT | Kristopher Fortin
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The Beltline, which loops around Atlanta, is a project expected to include 22-mile public transit, trails and parks that pass through the most distressed neighborhoods in the inner city.

The Historic Fourth Ward Park east of the Beltline has been a highlight because it uses energy-efficient LED lighting, the park's lake provides "capacity relief to the combined sewer system," and five acres of the park used to be a brownfield.

"Of the 20 pages of ABI's report allocated to substantive accomplishment, 14 are devoted to parks and green space."

On the other hand, the ABI report shows uncertainty about transit's future in the Beltline, Benfield reports.

"Even the near-term projects are described as 'moved into design' in the next five years. I suspect that, put another way, the city doesn't believe it is in a position to make promises."

"If a project of the BeltLine's massive ambition is to succeed, sooner or later it is going to have to become the top transit priority for the city. It's just too complicated to get done otherwise."

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Published on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 in The Atlantic
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