Kudos to Planning magazine for an insightful and interesting article in the January 2014 edition on the Atlanta BeltLine. Entitled, “Emerald Necklace, Southern Style,” author Alexander Garvin provides a terrific summary of this project by means of an excerpt from the soon to be published book, Planning Atlanta, which is due out in April.
This remarkable project of knitting neighborhoods and parks within the City of Atlanta together via trail and rail was the brainchild of then student Ryan Gravel. It must be quite rewarding to see his thesis become something other than a dusty memory on a bookshelf. Mr. Gravel and those who took up the challenge with him should be commended for their foresight and persistence. I am greatly looking forward to hearing much more about this exemplary project next week (Feb 13th) at APA Michigan’s “Transportation Bonanza” where Atlanta BeltLine President and CEO Paul Morris, FAICP will be making a formal presentation.
My only wish is that more cities around the country would have the guts to take a bold, sustainable concept and turn the vision into reality. So often, innovative ideas are cast off as whimsical, pie-in-the-sky, or unrealistic by those who are wholly entrenched in the status quo or can’t see beyond the end of their own nose. Too bad, because those narrow minded cities are likely destined for the trash pile of yesterday’s news.
Thankfully, such is not the case with Atlanta’s Beltline, or New York City’s High Line, or Blue Island’s Cal-Sag Trail, or Indy’s Cultural Trail or Detroit’s Dequindre Cut Greenway. Each of these projects stands out as a testament of good planning…projects that we as planners must celebrate as bold visions and as superlative achievements.