It's official: The city wants to move forward with planning for a 1.5-mile extension of the streetcar line to connect with the Beltline near Krog Street Market. According to the Saporta Report, the proposed extension is included in a budget that's an impressive 27 percent larger than last year's, totaling $62.1 million. After being cleared by a review committee last week, the budget should be adopted by Invest Atlanta on Thursday. With the fiscal year beginning July 1, the money could start flowing toward land acquisition, feasibility studies and lobbying before rails are laid down Edgewood Avenue to Randolph Street and along Irwin Street to the Beltline. But according to the budget, a streetcar extension is hardly the only thing on the books.
Beyond the streetcar front, the budget includes a study of how to link the Beltline to MARTA, signaling a renewed interest in transit connectivity. One of the biggest surprises in the budget is money for extending the Eastside and Westside trails. The Eastside could be extended from its current terminus at Irwin Street — at Krog Street Market — to Memorial Drive, navigating below the railyard along DeKalb Avenue.
In less shocking, though equally exciting news, the Westside Trail could be slated to gain another 2.9 miles, stretching from Lena Street to University Avenue. Along the future Southside Trail, Arthur Langford Jr. Park is slated for an upgrade while a new green space — Enota Park — would be built.
A surge of construction in the Beltline's Tax Allocation District is contributing millions more per year than it used to, which could help explain the Beltline's bold financial requests from the city. It's unclear what role, if any, the city's ongoing dispute with Atlanta Public Schools is playing here.