acquire for new parks. Seven miles of trail have been built
to date and another 10 may be added in connector trails.
The BeltLine goes through every kind of neighborhood,
from wealthiest to the poorest. The East Side Trail and historic Fourth Ward Park are in what was, in 2009, one of
the highest crime zones in the city. Today, over the last 36
months, there has been just a total of 18 crimes reported.
Morris said that has come through a lot of effort and
also the fact that 1.3 million people used the 2.3-mile
section that we built. We have our own police precinct
that specializes in patrolling and serving the BeltLine
— both built and unbuilt segments and adjacent parks.
The specially trained police patrol in bicycle teams
and work with fire and rescue units. “In a way, they
have become the face of the BeltLine for a lot of the
community,” he said. “It’s sort of like having our own
mounted patrol. People like having their photos taken
with the bike cops. They put additional eyes on the corri-
dor. With them around, people know it’s safe and secure.”
Come November, Atlantans will vote on two ballot ini-
tiatives to fund much of the BeltLine, its operating costs
and build and run a crosstown streetcar network. Com-
bined, the cost would be more than $2.5 billion.
Morris said he is optimistic they will pass.
“The community really has decided this is something that
is important — enough so that elected officials have put
it on the ballot to ask voters if it is something that they
should go ahead and fund their share of,” he said.
The 11th Street Bridge Park in D.C.
In Washington D.C., Scott Kratz, executive director of
Building Bridges Across the River (BBAR), said 700 meetings have been held since 2012 in neighborhoods on both
sides of the proposed 11th Street Bridge Park.
He said a key part of the project is the Equitable Development Plan aimed at making sure the new park — built
on piers left over from a now demolished bridge — benefits the lower-income, east side of the river. BBAR
runs the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus
(THEARC) in the east side’s Ward 8, which is 98 percent African-American.
“The communities on the opposite sides of the Anacostia River couldn’t be more different,” he said. “The west
side has the booming Navy Yard and Capitol Hill, while
the communities east of the river have historically been
under-invested. There is about a $390,000 difference in
the value of homes on one side of the river and the other.
And a $70,000 difference in annual household income.
So a pretty stark discrepancy.”
Stan Jackson is president and CEO of the Anacostia Economic Development Corp., which is based on the east
side of the river. He said the “inclusivity” of the planners
was well received.
“Our [east side] community will experience some transformation because of this project, and that needs to be
jelled into a continuum that can do something about the
wide disparities that exist in education, income, jobs and
housing. The bridge park can be a catalyst to stimulate
development and progress.”
Courtesy of Atlanta BeltLine
The police have become the
face of the BeltLine to a lot
of the community.