1888 map of Atlanta

Flickr user thornydalemapco posts this 1888 map of Atlanta, showing city limits (in darker yellow) that radiate in a circle from the city center. Click here or on the above image to see a much, much larger version.

It’s interesting to note that it wasn’t until 1904 that the City of Atlanta incorporated most of what is now Midtown; and Buckhead didn’t join the city until 1952. Read more about Atlanta’s annexations here.

On the top, right of the map you’ll see a section for Ponce de Leon Springs. You can read a very interesting history of that park here. It was a major destination for decades in the late 19th, early 20th centuries and was located near the current Ponce City Market.

Is this what transit-oriented development looks like?

Nope. This is not what transit-oriented development looks like. And yet this plan for a new Walmart, complete with an enormous surface parking lot, has been proposed for a piece of land one block away from Atlanta’s Lindbergh MARTA station.

Thomas Wheatley reports on the project today in a post that includes some very encouraging remarks from the Neighborhood Planning Unit for this area:

Sally Silver, who chairs NPU B, says she and many residents have high hopes for the area. According to the long-range plan, the area would be served by an improved grid system, new streetscapes, and a park - all features that, when coupled with the nearby transit stop, residents think would attract more residents and improve the area’s walkability.

I particularly liked this quote since I’m not a Walmart hater in general but a specific hater of suburban-style, carcentric shopping malls in the city:

"It could be a vibrant area and more like the long-range plan we wanted it to be, with parkspace, active street life, people living there, shops," says Silver. "There are better ways to do it without a sea of parking lots."

Here’s me hoping that this plan gets either shot down or majorly re-tooled so that there’s not yet another sea of surface parking needlessly located next to a MARTA station. Also, I really like Silver’s plan for the area! Park space, street grids and walkability are exactly what this part of Atlanta’s Buckhead area needs.

EDITED TO ADD:

Blogger Cityhaul has some good comments in a re-post of this, focusing on the question of what happens to the low-income people currently living in the apartments in this spot. A quote:

Even in the somewhat unlikely event that the units are planned as mixed income, the current residents have to live somewhere between the time they’re forced to move out for the demolition and when the new project is finished.

…Forgotten in all of that are many of the people who are already here - people for whom being able to walk to a transit station isn’t part of some car-free/car-lite lifestyle fantasy. It’s the only way they can get by.