The Livable Communities Coalition

Working to improve Atlanta's quality of life through smart growth

Podcast 4: Atlanta BeltLine builds connections

Like everyone else, the Atlanta BeltLine is trying to read the tea leaves.

Will metro Atlanta defy the model that made it an economic powerhouse in the Southeast and embrace transit?

If you spend a few minutes with Atlanta Beltline president and CEO Brian Leary, you start to believe it could happen.

According to Leary, “There are places in Atlanta right now that have transit demand, a mobility demand that cannot be met by the current road network.”

“What is the next idea that brings us all together to raise the level of quality of life?” Leary asks. “The more time I spend on this amazing project, the more I think the Atlanta BeltLine is it.

The unique thing [about Atlanta BeltLine] is that it will be city-serving and city-shaping.”

As part of the process mandated by the Transportation Investment Act, the City of Atlanta included Beltline projects in their transportation wish list. If the one-cent sales tax referendum passes in summer 2012 and the BeltLine projects are included in the final transportation list, the BeltLine will deliver a project that has failed to materialize to date: the BeltLine will create a rail transit connection between the City of Atlanta and Cobb Co.

“I am hard-pressed to find anywhere inside the core of the region where you can significantly add mobility capacity by building or extending roads,” Leary notes. “If we are real thoughtful about our transportation investments and economic development decisions, we will be much more sustainable and livable going forward.”

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