I just got in from a bike ride on the Atlanta BeltLine, where it’s no surprise that everyone loves it. I was curious if people had an opinion about something I heard this week from a top editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The BeltLine will be bigger for Atlanta than the 1996 Olympics were.
I was never a big believer in the scientific veracity of “man on the street” interviews. But they can be fun and, as was the case today, illuminating.
I found Daniel Keiger lounging in the sun outside Atlanta BeltLine Bicycle. He loves the positive, creative energy the trail fosters, and notes that it just keeps building on itself. Like others I spoke to (and the AJC’s senior managing editor Bert Roughton) he said the permanency of the project could mean it indeed will have a great effect on Atlanta. “There’s apartments going up everywhere here,” he said. “Everything leftover from the Olympics is going to be torn down. You know Turner Field is gonna be gone” with the Braves leaving downtown.
I stopped in for ice cream at Jake’s, because who wouldn’t, and I met a guy behind the counter who gave his name as just Kenya. “I love the BeltLine. It keeps it moving — that energy of it, people expending their energy getting around on their own. I love the area, period. It’s going to do nothing but get better.”
And my favorite quote came from Anthony Spina, who’s moving here from New Jersey to open a pizza shop in the same building as Jake’s (on the Irwin Street end). He told me he chose that location partly because of the trail, and he is proud to live without a car, noting the eco-friendly nature of the BeltLine. He likes seeing folks walking their dogs and jogging, but notes there’s more to it than just recreation. There’s real community, he said. “It’s the culture of the BeltLine. I want to be a part of that.”
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