Guest donaltopablo

Atlanta Beltline - Emerald Necklace

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Guest donaltopablo

This news is very encouraging. If it makes it in the budget for fiscal 2006, prehaps construction can begin and the line be operational by 2008.

Belt Line plan gathers support

Mass-transit proposal has attracted funding, moved to front burner in region's plans

By JULIE B. HAIRSTON

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 04/11/04

The proposed Belt Line around Atlanta's intown neighborhoods is racing to the forefront of area transit plans, fueled by financial and public support.

RICH ADDICKS/AJC

(ENLARGE)

Grady Smith, who is guiding the Belt Line study, says 'the possibilities are excellent' for the proposed 22-mile transit loop.

Not only has the line, first proposed by Georgia Tech student-turned-architect Ryan Gravel and championed by Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard, found its way into transportation plans, it has attracted millions in pledged funding. A nonprofit citizens group has formed to keep the Belt Line's public support growing.

Just two years ago, Woolard began to advocate building the Belt Line. Until then it had been little more than Gravel's graduate thesis: a 22-mile transit loop using existing and mostly idle rail corridor around the city's core. Now, the concept is enshrined in the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority's comprehensive transit plan, the Atlanta Regional Commission's proposed long-range transportation plan, MARTA's planning program and the city's long-range land-use plan.

MARTA is coordinating a $2.5 million study of the Belt Line and a proposed C-Loop line. The C-Loop would travel from south DeKalb County, loop through a number of downtown destinations on its way to the Clifton Road corridor and head north to end at Emory University.

Ed Ellis, vice president of transportation services for URS Corp., which is conducting the study for MARTA, said, "The more we look at this project, the better it looks

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Are the areas around where the stations would be densely built up right now, or are they sparse with parking lots, suburban densities, undeveloped land, etc.?

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Guest donaltopablo

There are dense by Atlanta standards, although some of the more urban cities (Chicago, Miami) most of this area is probably an older in down suburb than highly urban. Part of the plan is that a lot of the area that borders is reliatvely dense by ripe with the opportunity for redevelopment. I'll try to dig up some aerials or something that illustrate it better.

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Guest donaltopablo

It also might help, for those not familar with the project or the city, that this belt line is actually a belt line of neighborhoods in the city, not of the suburbs.

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I didn't realize this project was so far along. That's good news.

Could you post a map?

There is progress - but it isn't 'that' far along. No engineering work has been made, so far they're still trying to get support. I spoke to the project manager for it a few weeks ago, he works directly for Cathy Woolard, & they have practicly zero technical work concerning this. He has mainly been concerned with doing research on the area to support the need for a line.

I know I would love it if it's built - I'm a half mile away from one of the proposed stations.

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This certainly is a large project. I read somewhere that its not really going to be a part of MARTA in that it wont be the same kind of rail. It will also have sidewalks or something along side of the tracks for bikers or pedestrians. - all of which is nto like the current MARTA stations. Is that still the case?

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Guest donaltopablo

Yes, this project, as well as the proposed Peachtree Street Trolley, and the recently funded BRT lines (along 285 and 75) all will be independent of MARTA, although they will connect. Atlanta's express bus system will also be seperate from MARTA.

Makes you wonder how long it will be before GRTA (which will likely operate the BRT, Express Bus, etc) takes over MARTA.

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Yeah. It seems counter productive to have so many oranizations of public transit. I think generally competition is a good thing, but in this case you really need one entity that is powerful enough to get stuff done.

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Hopefully we will have a new govenor that will put more bite in GRTA's bite. When Barnes was in office the agency was in the position to take over MARTA & make it a regional transit authority, now the entire transit picture is going in the wrong direction. Cobb County is in position to control the bus rapid transit line - perhaps integrating CCT into it, the civic organizations for the Cumberland & Perimeter business districts may consolidate the bus rapid transit line on 285 into a seperate authority. But the belt line & C loop routes should likely be under MARTA's umbrella - MARTA is studying the routes after all http://www.itsmarta.com/newsroom/planstudy.htm.

What is unfortunate about the bus rapid transit lines - is that they will not invigorate transit oriented development. They are almost exclusively freeway oriented systems with few transit stops that will mostly be accesible for automobile drivers. In fact within the city of Atlanta, the only stop that is being considered in at Atlantic Station. They will be blowing a great opportunity to encourage a massive level of infill development within the city between I-75 & the south towards Marietta Blvd. I would say the balkanization of Atlanta metro is continuing - but the Atlanta metro has never enjoyed a regional approach to planning. The Atlanta Regional Commission has some power, but in most cases they can only make recomendations to the municipalities.

Speaking of which, there 2030 transportation plan is incredibly uninspiring. What happened to transportation plans that were revolutionary - visionary? Even if most of the projects don't make it - some projects that were never considered could. ARC's plan features very little transit (besides the projects that have been discussed the past 10 years).

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Guest donaltopablo

There was a huge debate about the routing of the Cobb BRT line. Cobb wanted it on the freeway, city of Atlanta - seeing the opportunity for redevelopment and improved land use, wanted it run on the street. Of course, the compromise was to "build both", the first being the highway run and my guess, never build the street level version. Very disappointing.

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Guest donaltopablo

I hope this works out, however I question whether this is a great solution over revitalizing the existing MARTA system and creating new development around existing stations and inner city streets to make Atlanta more densified first.

i think you will find that many of in town MARTA stations already have, will have, or purposed to have newer, denser developments near them. Certainly not completely, but there has been a considerable increase.

Plus, this would actually be cheaper to lay the ground work for dense development now, rather than to wait until after it is built. Transit leading the way is often the better option, it's cheaper to build before the development comes in, and it helps supprot development and redevelopment efforts. Developers are more likely to jump on board when there is a transit option they can see, feel, and ride, rather than "hoping" one is built. I think this is a great idea.

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Are these stops in traditional town centers? It's been my experience that people won't go from residential neighborhood to residential neighborhood. I think you need more spokes in the wheel.

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Guest donaltopablo

I think the concept is to bring more in town residential into the transit picture. Right now, the majority of Atlanta's intown neigbborhoods are not served by transit other than bus. However, the existing MARTA heavy rail runs right through the heart of the commerical centers. This way, more residential/shopping/resturant destinations are included in transit to supplment the existing line that services office/resturant/retail.

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Proposed intown loop seen as $1.4 billion economic engine

By JULIE B. HAIRSTON

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 01/19/05

Civic leaders and city officials Tuesday hailed a proposed intown loop of transit and green space as a potential economic catalyst as important as Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

More than 200 big-money developers, consultants, lawyers and supporters braved temperatures in the teens for an early-morning meeting on the proposed Atlanta Beltline, estimated to cost $2 billion to $3 billion to complete.

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Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was out of town but sent City Council President Lisa Borders to echo her recent comparison of the Beltline and the airport.

Borders highlighted the 46 urban neighborhoods that would be connected by the Beltline and the unusually large number of government and private groups working simultaneously to create it.

"We are excited about this project at City Hall," Borders said. "This is a political dream."

Consultant Barbara haga of EDAW, a landscape design firm now putting the finishing touches on the city's Beltline economic study, said new housing, offices and shops along the loop could generate $1.4 billion in property taxes in the next 25 years.

That money, she said, could be used to pay construction costs for the 22-mile circuit of transit, bike trails and new parkland.

Franklin will ask the City Council, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and the Atlanta Board of Education to approve a special tax district dedicating money to the project this year.

In addition, the Trust for Public Land, which co-sponsored the meeting with the Urban Land Institute, is promising to raise private funds to help pay for the 1,400 acres of parkland the Beltline would connect.

haga said the proposed tax district would allow the loop to be developed holistically. Work, she said, should begin with bike trail and green space portions. That would be followed by privately developed housing, offices and shops along its path.

Finally, haga said, transit could be added to link the attractions and destinations clustered around the line.

Developers already are jockeying to take advantage of the Beltline's promise to connect some of Atlanta's most sought-after intown neighborhoods.

Suburban real estate mogul Wayne Mason now controls a prime 4.6-mile swath of the loop in northeast Atlanta. He took the podium for the first time since closing the deal to declare an end to the days of the "half-acre, swing set and a dog" as Atlanta's residential standard.

Instead, Mason said Atlanta is evolving toward a lifestyle more like European cities where urbanites live over shops, travel frequently by transit and share public recreational areas.

"I follow trends," Mason said. "I invest in concepts."

Many of those gathered at the SouthTrust building in Atlantic Station, Atlanta's first large-scale experiment in urban redevelopment, appeared eager to line up behind Mason.

"We haven't seen this type of excitement since the [1996] Olympics," said James Oxendine, an Atlanta economic development consultant.

Bruce Gunter, an affordable housing developer who lives in Inman Park, called the Beltline "the best idea I've heard in my lifetime in Atlanta."

Beltline advocates were thrilled with the size and tenor of Tuesday's meeting.

Ed McBrayer, executive director of the PATH Foundation and a steering committee member for the recently released Trust for Public Land Beltline "Emerald Necklace" study, said further private investment in the project is virtually certain.

"Every developer from Nashville to Jacksonville was there," said McBrayer. "And I think that's a good sign."

Ryan Gravel, whose Georgia Tech graduate thesis became the Beltline's prototype, now leads a nonprofit advocacy organization called Friends of the Beltline.

He talked about the challenges of coordinating a project now involving at least 22 government and private organizations.

"There's a lot of work that needs to happen by a lot of different groups," Gravel said. "Everybody has to come to grips with . . . how all the pieces come together."

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Check out Beltline.org. It's the official site, I believe. I certainly hope Atlanta can pull this off!

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Your right Benjamin if this happens it will completely transform the urban core of Atlanta. I am the vice-chair of NPU-E (one of Atlanta's 24 neighborhood advocacy groups) and represent Midtown to the NPU. I am representing NPU-E on the Atlanta Development Authority's Beltline Advisory Committee. My only possible concern with this project is that it will ciphon development from Midtown and Downtown, wich are well on their way to becoming a truely urban environment where a car is not a necessity, but an option. Having said that though, the possible benefits to this projects far outweigh any drawbacks. There was an article in a local business journal today that I thought might interest some of you, I t deals with the possiblilty of creating a TAD to finance most of the expected $2-3 Billion construction costs. If you want to check it out the URL is:

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories...tml?jst=b_ln_hl

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My thought is that it would expand the area that has potential to be "truely urban." It might appear to take some development away, but I see it as developments that wouldn't have happened with out this.

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The new Atlanta Beltline is going to be a huge asset to the city. It will create more than $20 billion in new development around the city's core over the next 25 years. The AJC said the Beltline would create more than 37,000 new full-time jobs as well as about 48,000 one-year construction jobs. Also, it would add about 28,000 new housing units and 9 million square feet of retail, office, and light industrial space. This is what Atlanta has wanted and needed for a long time.

Edited by ATLman1

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