While many Atlanta residents and transit-ites celebrated the recent $5 million donation to build the Beltline’s northeast segment bike trail, Andisheh remained unimpressed. For him, the donation was just another reminder of how far the project hasn’t come in 11 years.
From Fresh Loaf…
Viewed within the bigger picture of Beltline history though, the [donation] announcement was a big let down. It’s dispiriting that the city has made so little progress with the Beltline project that a short bike trail is considered huge breakthrough.
A thumbnail history — the Beltline was conceived in 1999 as a comprehensive urban re-development project, including parks, mass transit and new private construction. Embraced by city residents as soon as they began hearing about it, it was promoted first by the City Council President, then by a powerful and popular mayor. She helped give it an organizational structure and (controversial) funding mechanism in 2005 and 2006.
That’s a lot of time. A lot of money. A lot of public discussion. A lot of political capital.
And for what? So far, just a couple of short trails.
And then, just this morning, the news fates decided to throw the CL cynic an “I told you so” bone. From the AJC’s Ariel Hart…
At least $2.4 million that Congress awarded to transit projects in Georgia has gone unspent so long that it has expired, according to a report by a Washington, D.C.-based foundation.
Of that money, $980,000 was intended for part of the Beltline.
A spokesman for the Beltline, Ethan Davidson, said the Beltline never went through the application process to get the money, because federal regulations did not permit such grants to be used for projects in such early stages as the Beltline was.