The GreenRoom: March 2006

It’s been a good year so far for Metro Atlanta’s environment. The city and the Beltline Partnership purchased the Bellwood Quarry from Vulcan Materials. Plans call for a 50-acre lake with 351 acres of greenspace – the nation’s largest city park.

Mayor Shirley Franklin is also spearheading the Atlanta Streetcar, a 12-mile shuttle along Peachtree Street that could be online as soon as 2009. Central Atlanta Progress is raising funds to create free shuttle service along its path.

In addition to other “trolley” shuttles provided by Atlantic Station, Georgia Tech and Buckhead, the Streetcar shuttle would link emerging districts like Uptown, where Dewberry Capital Corp. plans a mixed-use high rise on Peachtree and West Peachtree incorporating a new Uptown MARTA Station.

Finally, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and MARTA have all signed onto the idea of creating a regional Transit Planning Board that could better establish funding for the region’s myriad transit initiatives.

A shot in the foot could be House Bill 523, authored by Rep. Steve Davis (R-McDonough), which would jeopardize $87 million in federal funding earmarked for commuter rail to Lovejoy (plus plans for downtown Atlanta’s multimodal station) by requiring referenda in participating communities. It wasn’t passed last year but remains on the calendar.

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