Urban redevelopment


I spent this morning on a mini-bus.

Rather uncharacteristically, forward thinkers in Atlanta (not a particularly strong habit in these parts, recently) have marshaled money and public sentiment in favor of a 22-mile trolley or light rail route encircling downtown, mostly following abandoned or current rail corridors. The rails will be paralleled by sidewalks and walking trails, with frequent access to/from adjacent neighborhoods, parks, schools, and businesses.

This project is called the Beltline, and to continue to build bottom-up public pressure, one thing they do is offer free tours of the route, with a guide (Derrick Duckworth, for us, who did a fantastic job) to present history and discuss plans.

There’s lots worth remarking upon regarding this project, but I’m going to focus on just one. Trees Atlanta is part of the partnership, with an eye to planting trees along the Beltline corridor to make the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, extending for the entire 22-mile circle. For a city deficient in public parkland, this is visionary.

Kudos to EMH, who suggested this adventure and accompanied us. Her last major adventure was to the Valley of the Kings, so you know she’s flexible in her travels.


  1. Jay says:

    Seattle’s light rail starter kit should go into action later this year. The link from downtown to the U District is scheduled next. And the route through our neighborhood has been planned, but is not quite financed. It is really interesting to have been involved in our neighborhood discussions which leaned toward, “Yes, but where to put the specific stations” and the just starting discussions on the eastside. The first report I read was, “We don’t want it near our neighborhood, people might come here.” Difference between an urban and suburban attitude. They would rather continue to drive SOVs.

  2. kayak woman says:

    “They would rather continue to drive SOVs.” Until the next time gas spikes over $4.

  3. Pooh says:

    STL had a similar situation to Seattle with our light rail. St. Charles county, (classic exurb, for those who don’t live in St. Louis), had a proposal on the ballot to extend the Metrolink light rail to St. Charles. They voted it down, with many opponents saying it might bring criminals out to them. As one of my friends who rode Metrolink from her suburb to downtown said:
    “Yup, we’re coming to steal your big screen TV, and we’re carting it back to our urban center slum ON THE METROLINK!” Everytime I picture this purported crime wave, it makes me laugh.