Monday, October 15, 2012
Street Scene: The Eastside BeltLine Dedication
This urban corridor was a different sort of place when I first dared to explore it on a spring morning of 1994. Overgrown in kudzu and home to an underground culture, the disused tracks were an hostile environment. As Mayor Kasim Reed remarked this morning, clean up crews were lucky not to have found a dead body. Mine, perhaps. Nor did I return from the walk with a plan for urban renewal. That distinction belongs to Ryan Gravel, whose Master's thesis at Georgia Tech gave Atlanta the blueprint. It was his vision and the contributions of many BeltLine supporters that a sizable crowd gathered this morning to celebrate with the dedication of the Eastside Trail. Now it is possible to ride from Piedmont Park to Sweet Auburn in ten minutes without having to contend with motor traffic. But what's the rush? Pause to admire the art installations, great city views and derring-do on display in the Old 4th Ward Skatepark. All of this is only the beginning of what many believe to be the best thing ever to happen in Atlanta.