When blogger Kaid Benfield wrote about Glenwood Park in 2009, he was effusive in his praise for its walkability and the sustainable nature of its construction:
If you’re looking for an example of a newly designed and built neighborhood that embodies just about all things smart and green, I know of few that can rival Glenwood Park in Atlanta….it’s one of the best places in the city to live, and also one of the most environmentally sustainable in the country.
Soon after, a widely circulated video by American Makeover found Glenwood Park to be a perfect example of a new-urbanist antidote to car-centric sprawl in the US.
So you can bet that many people will be concerned to find out that, next door to this walkable paradise, a new development may bring the kind of big-box retail that not only favors car traffic but makes safe pedestrian travel difficult.
Thomas Wheatley reports that a developer is planning a large-scale retail development that will abut not only Glenwood Park but the Atlanta Beltline path. One of the rumored retail tenants is Walmart, though nothing is confirmed.
To prevent this pedestrian/bike friendly space from having its potential compromised by car traffic and infrastructure — the type that usually (though not necessarily) accompanies big-box stores — the developer will have to be committed and the community will have to be assertive. WIll this be the exception to the big-box rule in Atlanta, where large retail spaces throw pedestrians a bone but stop short of good connectivity and safety, or will this development spoil Glenwood Park’s record of walkability? Stay tuned.
GP photo by Flickr user peterlfrench
——— UPDATE ——-
Wheatley has now posted images of the project, sent by the developer.
The group of images contains neither the parking nor the big-box anchor store. It pretty much just shows the smaller retail spots and the sidewalks. But from what is shown, it looks promisingly walkable. This could end up being pedestrian-friendly after all, but I want to see the rest of the plan.