Ryan Gravel 

In 1999, Georgia Tech architecture student RYAN GRAVEL was in a crunch to find a subject for his master’s thesis. His counselor suggested he look into a 22-mile loop of mostly unused train tracks that circles intown Atlanta. Gravel delved into the project and reimagined the train lines as a mix of mass transit and jogging trails, creating the concept that is known today as the Beltline. Last year, Gravel founded Friends of the Beltline — a grassroots group led by former City Council President Cathy Woolard — that’s helped the Beltline get crucial funding and support. Though it faces enormous financial, structural and political hurdles, the Beltline is possibly the most beloved transit project in Atlanta history. And Gravel’s vision has given us hope that Atlanta actually can become a walkable city.

See related:

CL's Beltline coverage


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