History of Atlanta housing projects

These young people are walking their dog on the Northside Trail, shown here in April 2010. The trail is one of the completed sections of the new Atlanta BeltLine.Here is a recent article published in the Federal Highway Administration’s Public Roads Magazine. WARNING: it’s a bit on the long side (3, 600 words) so you may want to print it out. The article, which I authored, provides a short history of the project from its conception in Ryan Gravel’s thesis through the present day. Interesting to see how far we’ve come.

by Ethan Davidson

History of Atlanta BeltLine Project in Public Roads MagazineA grassroots solution to transportation challenges, this pedestrian-bicycle-transit loop will encircle Georgia’s largest city. Could this be a model for other communities too?

These young people are walking their dog on the Northside Trail, shown here in April 2010. The trail is one of the completed sections of the new Atlanta BeltLine.

Atlanta, a city built around the intersection of railroad lines, is known today for its congested highways and sprawling developments. The Atlanta region consistently ranks in the top 10 for the worst traffic congestion and commute times in the Nation. Is it possible that a partial solution to these chronic transportation problems could come from a graduate student’s thesis about repurposing old rail corridors in Atlanta? The region will soon find out.

In 1999, Ryan Gravel wrote a graduate thesis, titled “Belt Line — Atlanta: Design of Infrastructure as a Reflection of Public Policy, ” that proposed reclaiming a 22-mile (35-kilometer) ring of mostly abandoned and underused rail corridor and transforming it into a new public transit system combined with economic development and connectivity strategies. Gravel’s thesis sat on a shelf for a few years after graduation before it inspired a grassroots movement to build the most ambitious public works project in the city’s history: the Atlanta BeltLine.

The completed Atlanta BeltLine will encircle the city’s core with pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly shared-use paths that are replacing the rail lines and connecting to parks and transit. The transit cars will be able to accommodate bicycles, and the shared-use paths will help reduce highway congestion by decreasing the number of short-distance motor vehicle trips. The goal is a total of 33 miles (53 kilometers) of trails to be built out over the life of the project: 22 miles (35 kilometers) are envisioned to follow the transit alignment in the corridor, with an additional 11 miles (18 kilometers) of “spur” trails that veer off the corridor, creating greater connectivity for many abutting neighborhoods. To date, roughly 11 miles of the trail system are open, including permanent paved trails and temporary hiking trails.

By attracting some of the region’s future growth, the Atlanta BeltLine corridor, its promoters hope, will improve mobility and change the pattern of regional sprawl, while creating more vibrant, walkable, and livable communities.

This map of the Atlanta area shows the 22-mile (35-kilometer) loop that originally was railroad track and now will become the Atlanta BeltLine. For most of that loop, a trail will run adjacent to the loop, and another 11 miles (18 kilometers) of spur trails will connect neighborhoods to the loop. The transit vision is evolving but at present includes building streetcar segments that will connect to the loop. City officials hope to complete the entire green corridor within the next 10 years. These railroad tracks are shown in November 2009 before construction of the Eastside Trail in the BeltLine’s northeast corridor. Photo. These Atlanta officials and stakeholders are posing with shovels in-hand at the groundbreaking of the Eastside Trail in October 2010. This artist’s rendering shows a section of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor that will include transit, trails, green space, and abutting development.

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Q&A

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I know that this form of government was demolished, but...?

I know that America no longer has One House in congress, but for the sake of a history project, what would you consider the benefits of One House?

It begs the question, how would this house be set up? The House of Representatives is based upon population, the Senate is two per state. If it is set up just like the HoR then those states with the most population would have a greater say which obviously has its downside for smaller or less populated states.. poor Wyoming. If it is set up like the Senate then all states have an equal vote which means the majority of the population is subject to the whims of the collective minority. If you have more information on how it is set up, edit your question and I'll add more.