Q: Now that it looks like Beltline transit might finally happen, how do we make sure it delivers on its promise?
A: (faq.) If there was no transit planned for the Beltline, there would be no Beltline at all. We built the trail first because it is cheaper, but transit was always an essential part of the plan and was critical to getting community support and funding. Now, however, decades later, when it looks like MARTA might finally implement the first section, we’re hearing a lot of new discussion about transit – largely from people who didn’t live here back then.
For all those new people and anyone else who needs to hear this, please do you homework about transit. We need it, but we also need to make sure it works. In the ongoing public meetings and media, please help advocate for a few key things:
Keep it free-flowing. The beauty of the Beltline is that it’s traffic-free and free-flowing. But if it’s attached to the Atlanta Streetcar, it’ll likely jam up because the trains can only keep moving if the vehicle ahead of you is not stuck in traffic. Let’s fix that.
Make it grass track. The reason the Beltline is no place for a bus or autonomous shuttle is less about those vehicles and everything about the roadway they drive on. 1) It’s paved. 2) It’s not green. 3) It’s wider than track. 4) It creates dangerous conditions for cyclists and others who will use it illegally because the trail is so crowded. 5) It can’t reuse a lot of our historic bridges. And 5) it offers a slippery slope for service or emergency vehicles and buses that don’t belong on the Beltline but are looking for a quicker route into downtown. Let’s keep it rail and pay for grass.
Build the future for everyone. There’s a lot of privilege and racism being thrown around in today’s discussion about transit that wasn’t as prevalent when this idea came to life. The Beltline is supposed to be for everyone, and transit is central to that goal. But now we have a lot of new neighbors and some of y’all need to recognize that people who can’t afford as much as you made this place special, made the Beltline possible, and they deserve to be part of Atlanta’s future, too. Let’s be careful and constructive about how we talk about our future together.
Put your political capital into Hulsey. If the connection across Hulsey Yard to the Inman Park/Reynoldstown rail station had been formalized over a dozen years ago when MARTA made that (good) decision, we wouldn’t even be talking about making the Beltline and Streetcar the same project. Let’s invest some political capital and cash with CSX to advance that alignment. >> Ryan
- Don’t believe the Beltline was always about transit? Check out this video from 2003.
- Looking for some other thoughts from the archive?
- Think I’m too negative? Need a pep talk? Here’s some inspiration.