The Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail, one of the more complete sections of the project. Photo by Atlanta BeltLine via Flickr.
Atlanta, GA’s BeltLine project will complete a major section of its multi-use trail network three years ahead of schedule thanks to a Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The $18 million grant awarded earlier this month will help develop a 2.5-mile stretch of the BeltLine’s southwest corridor. This portion of the BeltLine is a former freight line that has not been operational in over 30 years. Funding from this fifth-round TIGER grant will cover the cost of right-of-way, design, demolition and construction for a mix of shared use trails, trailheads, access points, and the preservation of the future streetcar transit corridor.
When completed, the BeltLine will be a network of public parks, multi-use trails and housing along 22-miles of historic railroad corridor connecting 45 neighborhoods around downtown Atlanta. The Eastside Trail, a completed portion of the BeltLine pictured above, has seen over $775 million in private real estate development occurring within one half-mile of the trail since 2005. Businesses in the area have seen significant increases in foot traffic along the corridor, especially on weekends when families are out using the trail.
“The Southwest Connector Trail is another exciting step towards making Atlanta a more green and sustainable city,” said Mayor Kasim Reed at a dedication ceremony in August. “We must continue to ensure that residents throughout the city have safe options for exercising, walking or biking to school, and enjoying the outdoors. With seamless partnerships, we will continue to build impactful projects like this one.”
The BeltLine is a wonderful example of how a city can build a livable and sustainable community by taking advantage of green space between neighborhoods to connect people to public transportation, parks, and jobs.
The Department of Transportation’s TIGER program is a part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between DOT, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Partnership works with communities to create more housing and transportation choices, and support neighborhoods’ sustained vibrancy by attracting new business. TIGER has invested over $3.1 billion in over 200 projects around the country, improving access within cities and towns, spurring economic growth, and making communities more sustainable since 2009.
If you want to see more projects like this, ask Congress to fund these programs today.