A big-picture Georgia Public Broadcasting story about the Atlanta Beltline includes this thought-provoking quote: "Mommy says nobody walks the streets of downtown Atlanta anymore. You're either riding in a car, or walking across a bridge between the buildings and the sky." That's the voice of a child in a 1968 television ad describing the growing city's automobile dependence and lack of pedestrian activity as a good thing. My, how times have changed. Or have they? That kid's antiquated opinion is the story's segue to a who's-who of Beltline officials and urban planners reminding us how significant "one of the most ambitious urban redevelopment projects in the United States" really is, and how it "connects 45 neighborhoods that previously had little in common, such as Midtown and Old Fourth Ward," the writer states. One Georgia Tech professor even hints that the Beltline is underrated. "The High Line of New York is often cited," Dr. Nancy Green Leigh, a professor of regional and city planning at Georgia Tech, told GPB, "but (the Beltline) is much bigger than that and much more ambitious."
Lest we get whipped into an ATL-Beats-NYC frenzy, GPB calls upon Beltline president and CEO Paul Morris to temper our enthusiasm. While Morris acknowledges there's "a cultural change happening in the city" and a phenomenal social aspect to the Beltline, he notes that completion of the 22-mile loop is still a long, long ways off, barring some sort of financial miracle. As the Beltline's Strategic Implementation Plan pointed out last year, the project is currently on pace to wrap by about 2030. Womp womp. Let's hope that entails completion of the Westside Reservoir Park, as pictured above. Because if there's one key recreational activity that Atlanta's been lacking, it's got be cliff-diving.
· The Atlanta Beltline: Transforming Atlanta's Urban Culture [GPB]
· A Chat With The Guy Whose Thesis Birthed the Beltline [Curbed Atlanta]