This Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Atlanta Streets Alive will shut down a 2.7 mile section of Peachtree Street for people to use for whatever they want - including but not limited to biking, skating, break dancing, rapping, and pushing cats in strollers. The only stipulation is that people can't operate anything other than human-powered forms of transportation. (Sorry, Segway enthusiasts.) The route runs from Ellis Street, past Ponce de Leon Avenue, and ends at Spring Street.
The $600,000 federal award - funded by the EPA's Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (ARC) grants - will help improve polluted areas along the Beltline's northeast corridor between Monroe Drive and Buford Highway.
"We are thrilled to showcase the project to a national audience," said Lisa Gordon, Atlanta BeltLine Inc.'s chief operating officer and interim leader. "We are looking forward to sharing and learning best practices with projects from around the country."
This isn't the first time that the environmental agency has lent financial support to the Beltline. In 2009, the EPA awarded a similar $1 million grant to help pay for the clean-ups of hazardous properties along seven redevelopment areas. Among the toxic sites included were parts of Memorial Drive, Pryor Road, Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Simpson Road, Campbellton Road, Jonesboro Road, and Stadium Area/Summerhill.
"Through these grant resources local, communities can continue to assess, cleanup and redevelop properties to meet local needs for jobs, housing and recreation while protecting people's health and the local environment," Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, said in a statement.
When LaHood announced his departure, it was thought that Georgia would lose an essential federal connection as it pursued hundreds of millions of dollars for the dredging of the Port of Savannah. LaHood and Gov. Nathan Deal served together in Congress.
The new path of influence: Foxx not only calls Obama friend, but is likewise close to Kasim Reed. The mayor of Atlanta paid a visit to Charlotte in February, to help the mayor of Charlotte over two hurdles - funding for a new Panthers football stadium, and a city streetcar system. The same streetcar system cited by the White House as a reason for Foxx' nomination - and similar to the one being built in Atlanta.
Foxx also knows Keith Parker, who became general manager and CEO of MARTA in December. Parker led Charlotte's transit system in the late-2000s when Foxx served as a councilman. The transit honcho often mentions that Foxx once called Parker a great communicator, saying he "listen[s] 75 percent of the time and talk 25 percent of the time."
There's no way to tell exactly how these relationships will benefit the city and state. You could probably even argue that considering Charlotte's friendly rivalry with Atlanta, having Foxx calling the shots on federal funding could hurt us.
But when your city is building a streetcar network and is home to a transit system that could always use help from Washington, D.C., it can't hurt to be on a first-name basis with the federal transportation secretary.
UPDATE, 2:23 p.m.: Reed has formally commended Obama's appointment of Foxx. In a statement, the mayor wrote:
I applaud President Barack Obama's decision to nominate Mayor Anthony Foxx as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. A committed public servant, Mayor Foxx worked tirelessly to improve infrastructure and foster manufacturing and economic development in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. I have no doubt that the U.S. Department of Transportation will benefit tremendously from his leadership and that it will continue to secure our nation's economic future through vital infrastructure investments that create well-paying jobs and enhance our global competitiveness.
It wouldn't be the first park or greenspace project that Street View's documented. The behemoth company has also photographed the High Line and the Grand Canyon, among other well-known spots. Here's hoping he a.) momentarily stops to snap a shot of Piper and b.) doesn't get tripped up by people standing in the middle of the Eastside trail, jeez, come on, you guys.
Lisa Gordon, ABI's chief operating officer who has led the project since former CEO Brian Leary was ousted last year, made the cut. So has Atlanta Regional Commission Chairman Tad Leithead and Tom Weyandt, Mayor Kasim Reed's senior transportation policy adviser and well-known wonk. Paul Morris, the former deputy secretary for transit for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and Aundra "Drew" Wallace, the executive director for the Detroit Land Bank Authority, are the only outside-Georgia candidates to get a closer look from ABI's board.
In a statement, Reed praised the smart-growth project and said the executive search process resulted in "a strong slate of qualified candidates to continue the momentum of this vital transportation organization."
Said ABI Board Chairman John Somerhalder: "We were pleased with the tremendous interest of candidates from across the country in leading this organization. The caliber of the finalists and others interested in the position is a testament to the opportunity it represents for the City of Atlanta and the region. Each of the finalists has the necessary skills and experience to continue the project's momentum and success and the Board looks forward to making a final selection. Each of these candidates can work with the Board, critical partners of the organization and diverse stakeholders to continue to move Atlanta forward."
According to Maria Saporta, the selection of the finalists was made by ABI's Executive Committee on April 17 in a closed session. The names were withheld until last night "because they had to make sure to touch all the bases," the veteran civic and business columnist reports. Nine candidates were interviewed, she says, and Somerhalder hopes the board can make a selection in the next month.
Worth noting: Saporta says Reed tasked ABI staff with acquiring or controlling a third key segment of the project's rail corridor. It'd be tough but worth it. The so-called southeastern segment of tracks would seem to be the most likely piece. The approximately 6-mile stretch of tracks serves one customer and, when combined with the Beltline's southwest side, which it leases from the Georgia Department of Transportation, and the northeast, which ABI owns, would create a seamless arc of trails and transit.
But we digress! After the jump, bios on each of the candidates, courtesy of the city.
In a statement expressing condolences and support for Boston and the people affected by the explosions, Mayor Kasim Reed said: "Here at home, the City of Atlanta's First Responders are currently taking additional measures to enhance the safety of our citizens and protect them from senseless acts of violence."
A MARTA spokeswoman says in a released statement there are no "credible threats to transit at this time," but adds that the transit agency is asking its employees and police department to "be vigilant and remain on high alert."
The transit agency's police force is working with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, the statement says, in addition to the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority - which is led by former MARTA CEO Bev Scott - and Transit Security Administration in Washington, D.C. MARTA is also in contact with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency, and its liaison to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
In addition, MARTA is, among other measures, deploying K-9 units to make additional patrols, increasing its police presence, and encouraging the public to report suspicious activity or unattended packages to a MARTA Police officer or employee or call 404-848-4911. The transit agency is also recommending riders download the See & Say app that helps straphangers to report crimes.
That means downtown traffic will be a mess from April 4 - 8 as numerous lane and street closures will take place. Atlanta Police have asked those headed any of the related events in the area to consider taking MARTA (or any other mode of transportation that doesn't involve your car).
See a lengthy list of closures after the jump:
The sneak peek was unveiled at the downtown civic association's annual meeting held this morning at the Georgia World Congress Center. After showing the photo to the audience, a CAP spokeswoman tells CL, Mayor Kasim Reed told the crowd that he "wanted a first-class streetcar, one that James Bond would dive on."
We were tied up with wrapping up our annual look at the Georgia General Assembly's finest public servants and couldn't attend the fete. Maria Saporta has a good roundup and notes that the mayor received an Atlanta Falcons jersey from team owner Arthur Blank.
State Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Brookhaven, who chairs MARTOC, the Gold Dome committee that oversees the transit agency, had been hell-bent on forcing MARTA to privatize some functions.
The outsourcing strategy was one of several cash-saving fixes recommended by a KPMG audit that the system's board of directors commissioned in 2011. CEO and General Manager Keith Parker, who joined MARTA in December, has said he agreed with some of the study's findings and has tasked staffers to seriously consider putting in place some of those recommendations.
But Jacobs, who's proved to be just as tenacious as Jill Chambers, his MARTOC predecessor who lost re-election in 2010, wanted to force Parker to make the changes and overhaul employee pension plans. Union and transit officials warned that some of the proposals could run afoul of federal laws. The state Senate balked at the proposal - and, from what we hear, didn't appreciate Jacobs' efforts to stick the language on other pieces of unrelated Senate legislation once he saw the proposal sputtering in the upper chamber.
Jacobs' plan to privatize MARTA is apparently on the back burner until the next legislative session. But considering that the tail end of the 40-day session is when the unexpected rears its head, we wouldn't rest until lawmakers adjourn on Sine Die.
The state House of Representatives yesterday did, however, agree with Jacobs' plan to give mayors in North Fulton and DeKalb cities the power to appoint representatives to the transit system's board of directors. In addition, the governor gets to appoint a voting board member to MARTA. The proposal also temporarily lifts an antiquated, state-imposed restriction on how MARTA spends revenues from a 1 percent sales tax levied in Fulton and DeKalb counties, its main source of funding.
This is the part of the article where we remind readers that the state contributes zilch to help the transit system operate its buses and trains. MARTA is responsible for removing several hundred thousand cars off metro Atlanta's roads, freeing up the notoriously clogged interstates. In addition, it connects transit-dependent people to their jobs, which helps the economy.
The more revenue the stadium generates, them more tax revenue the state generates, since they…
you're crazy and your only saving grace is that your craziness prevents you from recognizing…
*****UNHIJACKED THREAD POST REVITALIZER****************
Pretty good recent vid, climate change hoax intermixed:
ok this my limit, i will be dragged no deeper.
have fun jerking yourself…
@ Plain Talk
The State owns it and gets all the rent, even though it…
"Last month, Loring Heights Neighborhood Association president Jeremy Faughtenberry said that Stoddard's representatives approached the…