Thomas Wheatley reports in the Fresh Loaf blog that people of Gwinnett County are not keen on transportation tax if Beltline gets slice of funding.
The Beltline will do great things for the intown neighborhoods, but I kinda sympathize with anyone who doesn’t see the it as a project that would be appropriately funded with general transportation money for the metro.
My initial reaction to the Beltline as a transportation route was negative — the Beltline path neither passes through an established jobs center (like the downtown, midtown & buckhead office districts) nor connects well with MARTA as a way of feeding people to those jobs centers. Given this, it can logically be seen as more of an amenity for intowners (yes, a really great one that provides needed park space, connectivity, and community projects to neighborhoods) rather than a transportation tool that benefits commuters.
I do think that the Beltline is a route worth funding with tax money and I’ll personally be happy to have an extra tax added to do this. But to convince people across the metro of it’s transportation worth, I think we need to see a master plan for both the route and the new commercial/office/residential density it will serve.
It’s no longer good enough to plan transportation alone. We need to plan the areas the transportation will serve and move away from the lazy ‘let it sprawl’ attitude of the past — one where transportation routes are constantly trying to keep up with the moving targets of a sprawling metro. Sure, fund the Beltline, but please plan for added density to make that funding pay off in the long run.
Beltline photo from the Flickr stream of Jason Eppink