According to the reputable travel and tourism gurus at Fodor's, the Atlanta Beltline is merely the fifth best bikeway among American cities right now, lagging projects in Greenville, S.C. and South Dakota, among others. Fodor's Travel published a thoughtful, ostensibly well-researched list in May called "America's Best Urban Bike Paths," slotting Atlanta's favorite multi-use boardwalk between the Capital City Trail in Madison, WI and the Virginia Capital Trail in Richmond, respectively. Granted, the Beltline is still a nascent project, a mere infant version of the 22-mile trails-and-parks network it's envisioned to be. But maybe the Fodor's folks failed to account for a little award that labeled the Beltline the greatest environmental rehab project in the entire world.
Fodor's top slot went to Southern brethren South Carolina, where the corporate-sounding Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail is an 18-mile path that cuts through downtown and offers stops for gourmet coffee and cheesy Turkish pastries. Okay, cool. That sounds fair. And second place went to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which consumed downtown driving lanes and connects to everything. Golf clap.
But lest we forget mildly relevant international accolades! A year ago, the Beltline received the prestigious Prix d'Excellence Award for Best Environmental Rehabilitation Project from the International Real Estate Federation. The fancy award ceremony was held in Luxembourg, which instantly verified its legitimacy. How much European hardware has Greenville hauled in?
Jealous ranting aside, let's hope the favorable coverage pays dividends in terms of Beltline publicity. Here's Fodor's spot-on assessment of the Beltline thus far:
"Turning 22 miles of abandoned railway into a network of parks and multi-use trails, the Atlanta BeltLine will provide eco-friendly transit for 45 communities once it's complete. Your best bet for a tour of the city is the Eastside Trail, which meanders through the city's treasured Historic Fourth Ward Park and allows for pit stops at Krog Street Market or Ponce City Market, a pair of foodie-forward culinary bazaars where some of the top local chefs, including James Beard Award-winner Anne Quatrano, have set up shop."
And here's a list of Fodor's Top 10 urban bikeways in the country, along with some reactionary, condescending mouth-noises:
1. Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail, S.C. (pffsscht!)
2. Indianapolis Cultural Trail (pah!)
3. Sioux Falls Bike Trail, S.D. (puh-ha!)
4. Capital City State Trail, Madison, WI (cheahright)
5. Atlanta Beltline (smooch)
6. Virginia Capital Trail, Richmond (ka!)
7. Schuylkill River Trail, Philadelphia (judgmental snicker)
8. Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, Sacramento (pwahaha)
9. King Street Protected Bike Lane, Honolulu (okay, maybe)
10. Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, St. Petersburg, Fla. (pfffffff!!)
· America's Best Urban Bike Paths [Fodor's Travel]
· Beltline's Eastside Trail Extension Shows Signs of Life [Curbed]
· Westside Trail Construction is Roaring Ahead, Says Photos [Curbed]
· Beltline: The Best Rehab Project In The Whole Wide World? [Curbed]