Maria’s Metro

Chris Leinberger: Atlanta region ‘absolutely needs rail transit;’ question is will you lead or be a laggard?

How can Atlanta be both a “poster child of sprawl” and a burgeoning example of “walkable urban places” – creating a metro area with compact town centers?

That was the question Chris Leinberger, a real estate executive and urbanist who specializes in market trends, decided to ask himself during a “Creative Changemakers” talk at Serenbe on April 11.

It was an appropriate topic for Leinberger because he, as much as anyone, is responsible for labeling Atlanta a poster child of sprawl. Now Leinberger is leading the back-pedaling movement — armed with facts and figures — letting both local and national developers know that the sprawl pendulum is swinging the other way.
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Lindsay Street Park a model of what needs to happen along Proctor Creek

After decades of being ignored and abused, Proctor Creek’s time has finally arrived.

Proctor Creek begins downtown in the concrete jungle located around the railroad gulch and the Georgia Dome. Like all good headwaters of creeks, it only comes alive during major storms, and even then the runoff often finds it way to the low spots of the Vine City neighborhood.

The Proctor Creek disappears into tunnels off and on during its journey to the Chattahoochee River — becoming a vital part of our city’s water system.
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Civic leaders come up with a development agenda for Atlanta — what would yours be?

MARTA galvanized the vision of dozens of developers and civic leaders who want to dedicate their energies on a handful of Atlanta projects in the upcoming year.

The Urban Land Institute’s Livable Communities Council spent all of March 26 at the Ritz Carlton Atlanta working on ideas on where they could have the greatest impact on the future development of Atlanta.

This is the first time that the reconfigured group has gotten together since the Livable Communities Coalition merged with the Urban Land Institute. Developer David Allman helped orchestrate that merger, and Mark Toro, managing partner of North American Properties, is the new LCC chair.
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Let’s salute Maynard Jackson – 40 years after becoming Atlanta’s mayor – helping integrate city’s economy

If Maynard Jackson were still living, he would have celebrated his 76th birthday on Sunday.

Yet, even in death, the larger-than-life former mayor of Atlanta was honored at a special celebration Saturday night at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis to mark the 40th anniversary of becoming the city’s first African-American mayor at only 35 years old.
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Saving the Fox Theatre showed the value of preserving Atlanta’s history – a lesson we must never forget

Forty years ago, Atlanta faced its biggest preservation battle in its history.

The telephone company — Southern Bell — wanted to build a new headquarters building on the site of the Fox Theatre. They claimed the neglected theatre had outlived its usefulness and needed to be demolished to make way for a fancy new skyscraper.

And so Atlanta’s preservation movement was born with the passionate “Save the Fox” movement that began at the grassroots with students from Georgia Tech and other young activists to progressive business leaders who worked behind the scenes to come up with a solution that saved the Fox and permitted Southern Bell to build its tower next door.

One of those activists was Beauchamp Carr, a young banker who quit his job to volunteer full-time for the Save the Fox campaign by raising funds for the effort. Carr went on to become campaign coordinator for the annual Woodruff Arts Center campaign, a role he had for about 35 years – raising $177 million for the organization.

But throughout the decades, Carr has always had a passion for preserving Atlanta’s history.
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Atlanta BeltLine buries Peachtree Streetcar to favor other streetcar lines

Second part of a two-part series on current plans for the Atlanta BeltLine. Looking at the proposed phases of the Atlanta Streetcar

It was Friday, Nov. 15, 2002 at the annual meeting of the Midtown Alliance when guest speaker Andres Duany, the father of new urbanism, challenged Atlanta.

“Peachtree Street was created by the Streetcar,” Duany told the hundreds sitting at the Fox Theatre. “If you restore that pattern, it will restore the area immediately.”

Duany went on to say that Atlanta was unique because of Peachtree Street — no other city has such a well-recognized commercial corridor only a couple of blocks away from “pastoral” neighborhoods.

That simple challenge sparked a decade-long effort by hundreds of Atlanta’s civic and business leaders to establish a streetcar up and down our city’s signature street.
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Saving trees should be top priority in building the SW BeltLine corridor

First of a two-part series on current plans for the Atlanta BeltLine. This week: the Southwest leg.

Just for the record, I’m a huge fan of the Atlanta BeltLine and I’m a huge fan of transit.

That said, I also become somewhat irrational when I become aware of plans to cut down a significant number of trees in our city. It goes without saying that Atlanta is a beautiful city largely because of our extensive tree cover — an asset that is threatened on a continual basis.

One of the reasons I have been so enamored with the Atlanta BeltLine has been because it has been presented to us as an “Emerald Necklace” encircling our inner city — a linear park connecting larger urban parks.

So imagine my surprise, and dismay, when I recently walked the southwest corridor of the Atlanta BeltLine and realized that in one of the most forested parts of the 22-mile corridor, hundreds of trees — many of them mature trees — would be cut down to make room for a proposed transit line as well as the multipurpose trail.
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City of Atlanta’s income divide of rich and poor – it didn’t have to be this way

The growing inequality among the rich and the poor is becoming the issue of our times — in the City of Atlanta, our region, our state, our nation and our world.

It’s a problem that we must face — once and for all.

A new study by the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution captured headlines last week when it disclosed that Atlanta is the most unequal city between rich and poor among the top 50 cities in the United States.
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Revisiting Papa’s round house

You can travel back in time.

For our journey to the past, we went to 935 Crest Valley Drive in Sandy Springs to visit an 18-sided (virtually round) home that my father had designed 50 years ago.

Curbed Atlanta had posted a story on Feb. 11 about the house complete with a series of photos. A friend suggested we should try to get a tour of the home.

After a wonderful telephone conversation with real estate agent Jason Morris, we were invited to come to the house on Sunday. There was an added bonus — the owner Ann Jones — would be there.

Papa — better known to the world as Ike Saporta — had designed the house for Mrs. Jones in 1964. She had kept it suspended in time for five decades — barely altering Papa’s original vision.
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To our three Kings – Bernice, Dexter, Martin – make peace for all our sakes

My heart sank when Bernice King issued a statement last week that her two brothers wanted to sell their father’s Nobel Peace Prize medal and his traveling Bible. They had gone so far as to file a lawsuit to get possession of those priceless treasures.

One could almost hear a collective groan from Atlanta and beyond. Here we go again. Here are the King children squabbling among themselves, taking each other to court, showing the world that they are unable to resolve their differences.
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