Remember three years ago, when Atlanta showed its first signs of crawling from the Great Recession and — just maybe — becoming a boom town again? Remember that sentiment about "starting small" and building intown apartment communities that weren't 100 stories tall, in order to get investment flowing and put more feet on the streets? So is the ongoing apartment-palooza a lesson in not being careful what we've wished for? Gripes are growing louder that all this life-injecting but unbridled development is far outweighing the city's investment in transportation — in actually moving these new apartment dwellers from place to place. Dire forecasts about worsening traffic on surface streets are swirling in the blogosphere. And at least one Midtown resident is fretting about all the potential greenspaces the developments are gobbling up. He writes in with concerns that pocket parks (like the one shown here on West Peachtree Street) won't cut the mustard in the long run. He longs for a parking lot or two in Midtown to be transformed into a little green oasis, to balance so much concrete.
Curbed Atlanta —
It seems every day an announcement is made regarding new residential development. I reside in a condo in Midtown. The lot across the street was a "green" space. It has now been converted to a construction site for student apartments. Many of my neighbors frequented that greenspace with their pets. It seemed to be the only open greenspace remotely close to our building.
I am thrilled that so much development is happening in the neighborhood, but I am worried about the lack of planning that has occurred related to greenspace or parks. I know that many of the new developments have been asked to include pocket parks in their design, but frankly, I don't think this will solve the problem. I am lucky that Piedmont Park is a short walk away, but it would be nice to have a current parking lot or two converted to a park in order to give the neighborhood closer options to enjoy a bit of nature. What can we as residents of Midtown do to encourage the city to add more parks? Is it a lost cause? It only seems prudent that along with all of this development the city would consider more substantial greenspace.
I know that other areas of the city are experiencing this type of growth as well so it is an issue many local neighborhoods will have to resolve in the future. Any insight from your readers would be helpful. It may also be interesting to get someone from city planning to discuss with you the future urbanization of Midtown/Buckhead/Inman Park/etc.
[ABOVE: Original plans for West Peachtree pop-up park, via Jamestown Properties.]