The Beltline’s Plan Through 2030

December 12, 2013 7:24 am

by Ed · 28 comments

Want to know what will happen to Beltline over the next 17 years?

Good because the Beltline Board approved its masterplan through 2030. It contains all the details about when each park will be linked up and other breathlessly exciting technical details.

The Strategic Implementation Plan s a 140-page document, so just read Thomas Wheatley’s report at Creative Loafing and then act like you read it all (my strategy). 

At the risk of sounding slightly hyperbolic, this and the Savannah Port deepening are probably the single most important pieces of infrastructure in the works for Atlanta and the state. Also having a strategic plan for smart growth that is nearly two-decades long is a really refreshing change for Atlanta.

peachpundit (@peachpundit) December 12, 2013 at 7:24 am

New post: The Beltline’s Plan Through 2030 http://t.co/rgFMx1WWpX #gapol

Thomas Adams (@GeorgiaCRE) December 12, 2013 at 8:28 am

The Beltline’s Plan Through 2030 – Want to know what will happen to Beltline over the next 17 years? Good because … http://t.co/eroBh9o36z

2g Strategies (@2gstrategies) December 12, 2013 at 9:41 am

From @peachpundit The Beltline’s Plan Through 2030 – Want to know what will happen to Beltline over the next 17 ye… http://t.co/mijKKxistk

seekingtounderstand December 12, 2013 at 10:24 am

If you have never taken a beltline tour, its a lot of fun. We had a funny tour guide whom had been a real estate agent before/during the real estate crash………….so he added a lot of interesting tells. Every tour guide brings his or her different background to share.
This surprised the heck out of me to say, but it was a great afternoon and the beltline is one great thing for Atlanta.
Grab donuts and do a group tour with your office, family or date.
They didn’t pay me to say this and I am an OTP native whos mother warned her to stay out of Atlanta because the hippies would get you. When did Atlanta last have hippies in the streets?

NoTeabagging December 12, 2013 at 10:50 am

Thanks for the plug to get out and tour the Beltline.
Something folks may not know, the Beltline is alive and working thanks to hundreds of volunteers clearing the core of the Beltline for walking, jogging and biking. Sure, some funds were available for the heavy lifting to remove old tracks etc., but a lot of work came from the community.
Also note: Art on the Beltline is an annual event that helps get people out to the Beltline areas, discover the trails, see some funky temporary art and performances. This event has increased awareness and use of the Beltline tenfold.

IF the transit loop never gets implemented, the Beltline will still function as an important community connector for pedestrian and biking.

Too bad it is not in proximity to the next great, unneeded sports venue. That would accelerate some development funds for sure.

seekingtounderstand December 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Your beltline tours are great and you could expand them and make more money by including more interesting tour guides or local fascinating people…………I would have paid more to ride with Charlie talking…………….

Mayor Reed tour guide…………what would folks pay………..

Charlie December 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

I agree with Ed in that the Beltline is the single most important infrastructure project on the board for Atlanta and what will shape it over the next 2 decades.

….and yet the infrastructure that got funded was a football stadium to replace a 20 year old football stadium next door.

NoTeabagging December 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

Tear down the TED. Put the Falcon Glamdome there.

Ed December 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

When did you become upset over the Dome-ilition? (Get it? Like demolition…)

MattMD December 13, 2013 at 2:22 am

If you have to explain a joke, it’s lame.

atl_man December 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

So both the Falcons and the Braves would be relocating to Cobb County right now? Yeah, that would have been a real shot in the arm for Atlanta and downtown. And right now the city would have to deal with 2 empty stadiums in 2017 instead of one. And the good ole boys in the legislature would never have approved GWCCA money to be diverted to the Beltline. (Remember, the Beltline was one of the items on the project list that was used to torpedo T-SPLOST. The same GOPers who ran away from the T-SPLOST as fast as they could would have to vote to approve this.) Also, the $200 million from the GWCCA tax would have been a drop in the bucket towards the $4.3 billion Beltline. As a matter of fact, it is only 1/5 of the $1.1 billion stadium!

Creative Loafing has been saying for years that the Beltline needs to be built using a commuter tax on the suburbanites who work downtown. As the Deal administration has fully embraced toll roads and toll lanes, there should me more support for allowing the city to do this than in the past. If not, CL has given increasing parking fees as a way of pretty much accomplishing the same thing.

Harry December 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm

A commuter tax – yeah that’s the ticket! The remaining private employers don’t renew their leases and go elsewhere. You’re welcome.

atl_man December 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

@Harry:

Please know that a significant portion of the population does not adhere to supply side economics. We can therefore presume that any corporation that chooses to locate in downtown Atlanta – as opposed to, say, Utah, Wyoming, South Carolina or at the very least Forsyth County – would not object to its employees having to pay commuter taxes. Or they would encourage said employees to move ITP or take MARTA (which more than a few downtown companies support anyway, which is why they supported T-SPLOST for instance).

But the reality is that so many people want the benefits of employment downtown without paying for it while living in the suburbs. If Atlanta was one of those cities that actually received support for its vital institutions from the state, then it wouldn’t matter so much. But as the state generally has a “Go Fish” attitude towards cooperating with Atlanta (yes that was a Sonny Perdue tweak) it has to raise the money that it needs for major infrastructure projects somehow.

And if you have the position that Atlanta doesn’t need major infrastructure projects to keep from becoming the likes of Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Cleveland (urban centers that young educated professional adults with significant earning potential get away from as fast as they can and are replaced with lesser skilled and educated workers moving to the city from rural areas trying to find jobs because the manufacturing and agricultural jobs that used to exist in those areas are gone) then please consider that no matter how many city employees Atlanta fires, how much Atlanta cuts its spending, how much Atlanta invests in jails and police officers, how many potholes are fixed, and how much Atlanta lowers its property taxes, your GOP friends in Cobb/Gwinnett/Cherokee/Rockdale/Forsyth etc. still aren’t going to move into the city because the “demographics” will repel them.

Atlanta’s economic reality is different from those supply side GOPers who get elected from suburban and rural areas. And honestly if those supply side types were running Atlanta in the 60s and 70s, Atlanta never would have built Hartsfield and as a result would be Birmingham, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati etc. already. Which means no Atlanta suburbs (no Cobb County Braves without there being an Atlanta Braves first), and which means that Georgia is actually poorer than Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. Think about it.

smvaughn December 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm

“the likes of Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Cleveland (urban centers that young educated professional adults with significant earning potential get away from as fast as they can and are replaced with lesser skilled and educated workers moving to the city from rural areas trying to find jobs because the manufacturing and agricultural jobs that used to exist in those areas are gone)”

You haven’t been to or read about Pittsburgh in over a decade, have you?

MattMD December 13, 2013 at 2:26 am

So should Cobb start taxing commuters who work in Cumberland? What about DeKalb and Perimeter Center?

This whole “everybody works downtown” is somewhat of a myth these days.

Also the commuter tax is a non-starter and it will NEVER happen. I have no idea why people even waste their time bringing it up.

mpierce December 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm

The GWCCA tax is closer to $600M than $200M

Scott65 December 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Now Charlie…I know you are aware that the stadium funding stream comes from the hotel/motel tax which is a dedicated funding stream that would not legally be available to the Beltline. In fact, its that same set of circumstances which facilitated the Braves departure. Mayor Reed stated that COA had other priorities for the money…perhaps the Beltline is part of that.

atl_man December 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Even if it didn’t, $200 million on $4.3 billion isn’t squat. The notion to redirect the stadium money to transportation began during the T-SPLOST battle, supposedly as evidence that we shouldn’t spend billions on new taxes for infrastructure when we’re not wisely spending the money that we collect now, and the stadium was supposed to be exhibit A. After T-SPLOST was defeated, some other folks started beating the “use the stadium money on the Beltline” but it was really just opposition to using public money on the stadium. Or at least so I thought. Now that Cobb County is going to be spending much more money on a Braves stadium that won’t generate anywhere near as much revenue with nowhere near the same level of vitriolic opposition that the Falcons stadium got (indeed a lot of the folks who opposed the Falcons stadium support the Braves deal) it appears that folks were just opposed to any new development downtown?

Anyway, Charlie isn’t among those people since he actually does support the Beltline and (to a degree) MARTA, Grady, etc. But the whole idea that $10-15 million a year over 20 years (the financing scheme for the Atlanta stadium) would ever do squat for the Beltline is ridiculous. The city and the feds are spending $100 million on that much-maligned streetcar in >2 years, but $10 million a year for 20 years was going to make a difference on the Beltline? Please.

Scott65 December 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I think you misunderstood my comment. The hotel motel tax is financing the public part of the Falcons stadium. That cant be used for the Beltline. The money I was speaking of was the money needed to keep the Braves downtown, which would have had to come from the general fund that needs to go to infrastructure projects elsewhere in COA. Those projects would have suffered had COA paid the money to keep the Braves downtown

Dave Bearse December 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

and an $830 million I-75 / I-575 toll lanes.

saltycracker December 13, 2013 at 7:49 am

Good luck with taxing commuters to get ITP to work. Would that be a non-resident payroll tax ?
Downtown job growth has been stagnant as the OTP rate has improved. Vacant office space has been one of the highest in the nation for years (haven’t seen latest). The City of Atlanta should do what they choose to attract people and business but trying to tax those in the metro or state to fund the city would be enabling and a mistake.

mpierce December 13, 2013 at 9:43 am
benevolus December 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

If we had decent public transportation that actually reached into the burbs it would all be moot. Like elsewhere, companies could actually provide transit passes for employees. Alas, the trains and buses would also have to run the other way and we can’t have that.

atl_man December 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm

An alternative way of looking at it is that folks in the metro “tax” the city by using the city’s infrastructure and services without paying for it.

And when you say “enabling” you are referring to Atlanta being a Democratic run city. Sure, the city could use reforms, but the next city that became prosperous by adopting Reaganomics will be the first. It won’t cause the residents or jobs to come back because their main problem is the folks that live in the city that elect those Democrats to begin with. Atlanta isn’t going to become Orange County (or at least Orange County in the 60s, 70s and 80s, not the Orange County of today that regularly elects Democrats) and its relationship with the suburbanites and the state aren’t going to change. It was bad when both were run by the same party (the city, the suburbs and the state legislature/governor were all predominantly Democrat well into the 1990s) so now that the divide is now partisan in addition to cultural/demographic you can forget about it. And the fact that all the state GOP turned its back on the T-SPLOST bill that they themselves wrote and the suburban leaders and voters rejected pretty much the only real chance for transportation relief beyond a toll lane here or there is the best proof of that.

Atlanta’s best bet is to attract residents and businesses who would never consider locating in Cobb, Gwinnett etc, the OTP places that are “adding jobs”, in the first place, but instead competing with other large urban areas for residents and employers. Basically, that’s why the city did their best to hold onto the Falcons, wants to keep the Hawks but didn’t lift a finger to pacify the Thrashers or Braves. Employers and residents who want the benefits of living near a city without the negatives of living in one are always going to locate in the suburbs. There is nothing that the city can do to attract people like that. But what Atlanta can do is compete for people and employers who actually want to locate in an urban area. Doing a better job of leveraging Hartsfield (and other things that the suburbs can’t compete with) is part of it, and that is why Reed is pushing Hartsfield away from its longtime emphasis on passenger traffic to increasing its freight traffic, and the Savannah ports issue is part of that, as well as proposed highway and rail lines to Atlanta from Savannah. But the Beltline is a part of it too. It’s goal isn’t to get people to choose Atlanta over Norcross, but Atlanta over Miami, Charlotte, Nashville and Dallas. Cutting taxes and laying off city workers in some vain attempt to appeal to Reagan conservatives won’t do it. Except the Beltline requires revenue, and nothing should be off the table in terms of revenue sources.

saltycracker December 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Don’t think Atlanta’s best course is to cut taxes anymore than OTP politicians passing out breaks to the influential. What Atlanta won’t do is get their head around an environment where the average businessperson is not asking WTF ? 10 times a day and facilitate them doing what they do.

seekingtounderstand December 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

What we need is wealth builder ideas besides real estate development with the understanding that investment in infrastructure and transportation will happen after.

Think bigger when we look at the world and see the need for entertainment places for the rising middle class to travel on vacation we could come up with a vision or reason for them to come here.
Instead of tax credits for the movies to be edited here perhaps tax credits for more building of entertainment/music/tech tourist attractions like Disney world in south Georgia?

Media Enhancement schools would add to our colleges attractiveness. Did you all read that some fools are paying $150,000 to train to fly drones?

Dave Bearse December 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Presumably you mean the rising foreign middle class, since the US middle class has at best been treading water for over 30 years.

MattMD December 15, 2013 at 3:50 am

Orlando and Anaheim are a far cry from South Georgia. What are you talking about?

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