Four pieces of good news for urbanism in Atlanta These news…



Four pieces of good news for urbanism in Atlanta

These news items came at me one right after another — no time to write about any of them indepth, so here’s a glimpse at each. We’ve got: expanded bike lanes; a streetcar test using its electronic wires; solid numbers on the $ savings if you switch to MARTA instead of car ownership; and a massive surface parking lot in Midtown becoming apartments. So much good stuff! 

  • Bike lane projects planned in Midtown (Decaturish)
    This is a good report on the impressive number of bike lane projects in store for Midtown Atlanta. Councilman Kwanza Hall says: “Our aspirations are to take some pages out of some European cities and larger American cities, and offer a competitive experience, that our cyclists in town can enjoy.”
  • Atlanta Streetcar to make test run of full route on Oct. 1 (Atlanta Intown)
    In case you’re interested in having a really hard time staying awake this Thursday: the Atlanta Streetcar is conducting the first self-powered run of a train on its newly-electrified wires this Wednesday night, starting at 11pm and going until the following morning. It’ll be moving very slowly, I’m sure, testing out the power source and more.
  • Public Transit Provides Your Budget Consistency Compared to Fluctuating Gas Prices (APTA)
    According to a new report, Atlantans can save $9,467 per year by using transit instead of owning & driving a car. That number is made from a combo of average car ownership costs, current gas prices and the monthly cost of a transit pass. Not included in that number, the “stress miles” you save by sitting on a bus listening to podcasts, versus navigating through traffic.
  • Ground Breaks on Two More Midtown Apartment Towers (Curbed Atlanta) 
    I’m very happy to see this long-time car pit, directly across the street from a key transit station, getting a new and better use: a 4 acre parking lot across the street from Midtown MARTA station is now under redevelopment as apartments 

Photo: food trucks today on Forsyth Street, Downtown Atlanta; a block south of the streetcar tracks, which will be given another test run this week.

Streets Alive time-lapse Atlanta 2014 This is a cool time-lapse…



Streets Alive time-lapse Atlanta 2014

This is a cool time-lapse video from Chris Tilley. It shows what happened at Atlanta’s recent Streets Alive, when North Avenue was closed off to cars and filled with people on bikes, on foot and more.

Streets Alive is a regular event here that allows Atlantans a safe, car-free environment for interacting with the streets and neighborhoods while using human-powered transportation. For me, an occasional (and not very brave) cyclist, it’s been a good way to practice cycling on the streets — to get used to the terrain and the feel of this environment so that I’m not shocked into panic when I’m riding in mixed traffic.

A visit to Savannah Georgia My family took a nice trip to…











A visit to Savannah Georgia

My family took a nice trip to Savannah this weekend to escape Downtown Atlanta’s crowd storm, with Garth Brooks concerts, the Hip Hop Fest (Woodruff Park) and the Outkast concerts.

The weather was overcast, but it was the perfect temperature for taking long walks on the marsh trail at nearby Skidaway Island and through the historic old part of Savannah, where even the parking decks are pretty (top left pic).

The large photo in the center is of the children’s museum, next to a train museum — all built into great old buildings, this one with no roof.

Savannah holds a special place in my heart. It was the first walkable city (of any considerable size) that I ever visited. Trips there as a kid and as a young adult left a big impression on me regarding the joy of interacting with a city on foot rather than in a car, and also the power of urban revitalization, since historic downtown Savannah experienced a decline  like many urban cores did.

Savannah was Georgia’s first planned city, laid out by founder James Oglethorpe (who later also founded Augusta, GA). It’s nice to see these great precedents for human-scale, compact, walkable cities in Georgia. These are the historical templates that can be used for growth in a post car-sprawl era. We don’t have to use northeastern cities as a pattern — we’ve got a home grown pattern to use.

On this trip, I was particularly happy to see a big boom in the number of people getting around on bicycles.

For those of us who’ve grown up in a world where historic Savannah has always looked nice, full of life and in good repair, it can be hard to believe that this area suffered the same disinvestment and decay as many other historic downtowns in the car-sprawl boom of the post WWII era. But it did, and it took a major preservation effort in the 1960s-70s to undo the damage.

Post World War II was not kind to many of this country’s urban cores, and Savannah was no different. As the automobile came into mass use and suburban sprawl became the public norm, our historic downtown withered. By the 1950s Savannah’s remarkable inventory of 19th century buildings and its renowned Oglethorpe Plan had fallen into neglect and decay. Hundreds of buildings were demolished or turned into slum tenements and three squares were demolished for a highway. Most new buildings failed to relate harmoniously to older buildings in terms of height, massing, scale and materials. Planning for the automobile took precedence over planning the human, and resulted in disinvestment and blight.

It’s crazy to think that we may have lost even more of this beautiful city than we did. We’re very lucky to have it in good shape as an example of what a well-planned Georgia city looks like.

A visit to Savannah Georgia My family took a nice trip to…












A visit to Savannah Georgia

My family took a nice trip to Savannah this weekend to escape Downtown Atlanta’s crowd storm, with Garth Brooks concerts, the Hip Hop Fest (Woodruff Park) and the Outkast concerts.

The weather was overcast, but it was the perfect temperature for taking long walks on the marsh trail at nearby Skidaway Island and through the historic old part of Savannah, where even the parking decks are pretty (top left pic).

The large photo in the center is of the children’s museum, next to a train museum — all built into great old buildings, this one with no roof.

Savannah holds a special place in my heart. It was the first walkable city (of any considerable size) that I ever visited. Trips there as a kid and as a young adult left a big impression on me regarding the joy of interacting with a city on foot rather than in a car, and also the power of urban revitalization, since historic downtown Savannah experience a decline in the 1960s-70s like many urban cores did.

Savannah was Georgia’s first planned city, laid out by founder James Oglethorpe (who later also founded Augusta, GA). It’s nice to see these great precedents for human-scale, compact, walkable cities in Georgia. These are the historical templates that can be used for growth in a post car-sprawl era. We don’t have to use northeastern cities as a pattern — we’ve got a home grown pattern to use.

On this trip, I was particularly happy to see a big boom in the number of people getting around on bicycles.