It looks like a lot of people want to be up in our business this week. #kindofabigdeal. The NY Times discusses the Atlanta BeltLine.
ATLANTA — Until last year, the old railroad tracks that snaked through east Atlanta were derelict. Kudzu, broken bottles and plastic bags covered the rusting rails.
The Eastside Trail, as the path is known, is one of the first legs of an ambitious proposal that has been in the works since the early 2000s — to transform 22 miles of vine-covered railroad into parks, housing and public transit around Atlanta.
But the Eastside Trail is only a start. And while some civic boosters, among them Mr. Reed, are calling for the pace to accelerate (he wants to see the entire loop paved and streetcars installed within a decade), the fulfillment of the grand plan, called the Atlanta BeltLine, is not assured.
Voters last year rejected a penny sales tax that would have allotted $600 million. And a special property tax, created in 2005, has generated less revenue than expected before the market collapse. Last week, the State Supreme Court heard arguments from a group of taxpayers who say school taxes have been spent unconstitutionally to pay for part of the BeltLine.
Critics have urged that the project be scaled back. The city’s biggest transit challenge, they argue, is not beautifying in-town neighborhoods but reducing gridlock from the suburbs.
“The BeltLine doesn’t go where people want or need to go,” said Michael Dobbins, an architecture professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who has studied the project’s feasibility. “The parks and trails are great, but it makes no sense to add streetcars while traffic elsewhere is so bad, especially in this economy.”