So far, 2017 has been rocky. With the collapse of I-85 being the (infrastructural) cherry on top, it’s with great relief to say that a substantial amount of the BeltLine’s progress has kept its course. This is good for Atlanta, as the positive health and economic impacts of the BeltLine are indisputable.
“This summer, the Atlanta BeltLine will open in new parts of the city as the Westside Trail and Eastside Trail Extension will add more than four miles of completed trails along the 22-mile loop,” Executive Director for the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership Rob Brawner told Creative Loafing in March.
The efforts lead a greater goal for the city: to allow residents fluid transportation throughout 45 communities, better access to facilities and an intermingling of inner-city behaviors. According to Brawner, 1.7 million users of the Eastside Trail engaged in regular physical activity in 2016.
Simple things like strolling to brunch, walking to various markets, jogging and biking count towards this number. Developers have shifted from focusing on Atlanta’s fluidity to how much they can profit from the number of bodies on the trail.
Many organizations and residents voice their concerns in regards to affordable housing on the trail, but only time will tell. Legislators are having a hard time passing affordable housing legislation in the same amount of time that developers are buying up properties.
Thanks to these new developments sprinkled between hotspots like Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market, facilities and restaurants alike act as finish or starting point for these various activities leaving little to no room for accessible and affordable housing. For now, ATLiens just need to keep positive and voice their concerns. This is supposed to be a good thing for Atlanta, so making it sure it stays that way is the move.
Proposed additions to the BeltLine
A former mattress factory on Memorial Drive will be demolished to clear space for a $250 million retail and office space development. It will include a Publix and a movie theater.
A 3-mile path connecting Adair Park to Washington Park is also expected to be completed by the end of the summer. Once it opens, Trees Atlanta will install an arboretum (a botanical garden devoted to trees).
Offshoots of the Westside Trail are also planned to connect the Beltline with the Bellwood Quarry, which could become the city’s largest park, and the Chattahoochee River.