January 26, 2015
Downtown continues to be one of the safest places within one of the safest large urban cities in the country according to Chief George Turner, Atlanta Police Department. Although some of the offense numbers are up for the six month period, some offenses are down for the year. Offenses are still below the average experienced just a few years ago, with the most recent two years reflecting record lows.
January 6, 2015
Jim Galloway Political Insider
Just before a shower of confetti and a sliced ribbon released a huge, navy-blue beetle from its moorings on Tuesday, A.J. Robinson, the president of Central Atlanta Progress, had a word for the old fogeys who can’t fathom why his city has spent nearly $100 million to revive a streetcar system that has been dead these 50 years.
“Frankly, we did not build it for you,” Robinson said. “We built it because Atlanta is in a global competition for attracting future human capital. We built it so that we will have a shot at having our children and grandchildren stay here in Atlanta.”
Many hopes undergird the back-to-the-future strategy made manifest this week by those blue behemoths. Like the 17th Street bridge built 10 years earlier, the Atlanta Streetcar project is an attempt to repair the 1960s bisection of Georgia’s capital city by the Downtown Connector.
The broad yellow bridge now connects Atlantic Station and the city’s west side to Midtown. Farther south, the new streetcars will reach out from thriving tourist spots to the Sweet Auburn community, which has been cut off from decades of downtown prosperity by I-75/ 85.
But that is small stuff.
The Atlanta Streetcar project is indeed an expensive gamble. Amid Tuesday’s celebration, MARTA chief Keith Parker warned against expectations of “immediate gratification.”
New rail systems “are not for the faint of heart. They are immensely challenging,” he said.
But if the streetcar system succeeds, we may someday look at the tail end of 2014 as the serious beginning of regional competition for the hearts and souls of Georgia’s millennial generation. if a generation of Georgians less smitten with cars and home ownership is in fact on the rise, millennials could become the anchor babies behind the revival of downtown Atlanta as an economic and political force.
“Millennials are definitely coming into the city of Atlanta. The recent census data verifies that,” a very happy Mayor Kasim Reed said after the ribbon-cutting. “Our population numbers are moving in a very competitive direction with the suburbs for the first time in a long time.”
Even somewhat dated 2010 census figures give the city of Atlanta a definite 10 percent bulge in population growth among those between the ages of 20 and 34. By comparison, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report last week cited a 31 percent drop in Fayette County’s millennial population between 2007 and 2013.
The millennials are a generation powered by smartphones and wracked with debt from student loans. Thus far, their biggest political impact, at least in Georgia, may be on the state’s attitude toward mass transit.
“MARTA’s no longer this pariah or bad word that folks run away from,” said Parker, the MARTA CEO. “We are part of the solution of what makes Atlanta iconic versus what’s holding it back.”
Hence the Atlanta Streetcar project, which will be at least temporarily overseen by MARTA. And hence MARTA’s coming decision to equip all its buses and trains with wireless Internet access.
“For some of our longer-term, traditional riders, what excites them is a bus and train that gets them there on time for an affordable price,” Parker said. “What attracts millennials a whole lot more — we have to up the technology game. We’ve got to keep them connected. They don’t care as much about the speed. They care more about the qual ity of the ride.”
The connection between millennials, economic development and transit is already reverberating in the state Capitol. At Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting for the Streetcar, much was made about the fact that it came just as Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl crowds were descending on the city.
More important was the fact that the Streetcar opening coincided with a report, released Tuesday on increased funding for transportation issued by House-Senate study committee. One revolutionary recommendation:
“Acknowledge the need for additional investment in transit systems around the state of Georgia. ... (I)t is critical that the state increase its commitment to the development of responsible, well-funded and coordinated public transportation in metro-- politan areas.”
The lines are an indication that MARTA could have a seat at the negotiating table later this month when state lawmakers try to find at least $1.5 billion in new, annual cash for transportation funding.
But revolutions are never a sure thing. In a scrum with reporters after the Streetcar ribbon-cutting, the ebullient mayor of Atlanta was suddenly cautious.
“I do believe that when you look into the details a of the legislation, you will see a friendlier tone toward MARTA,” the mayor said. “I don’t want to overtalk it because I don’t want to kill the bill.
Related Tag: Transportation
November 17, 2014
The Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, Midtown Alliance and the Buckhead Community Improvement District today announced the release of a new report that demonstrates the economic and fiscal impact of the Peachtree Corridor. The report by the Bleakly Advisory Group examines the 8.4 mile area and the collective economic impact of the Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead Community Improvement Districts within this corridor.
Related Tag: Economic Development
November 11, 2014
In honor of America Recycles Day on November 15, Downtown Green Source is organizing a "clean out your office" recycling drive at participating Downtown office buildings from November 3rd-14th. The drive will recycle used office binders, books, and shred paper on-site. The nine participating buildings are:
Last September, Downtown Green Source hosted a gently used clothing & textile recycling drive in five Downtown office buildings. Through the drive, American Textile Recycling Services collected 2,538 pounds of clothing and textiles to be sorted and reused or recycled from 4 office buildings.
Related Tag: Sustainability
October 31, 2014
The Atlanta Bike Challenge wrapped up on October 19. This year, 208 Downtown commuters, representing 10% of the regional registrants, participated in the Challenge. Throughout October, Central Atlanta Progress hosted multiple programs, including bike trains from intown neighborhoods, a confident city cycling class, a bike fix-it class, and a try-a-bike day.
Missed the challenge but still interested in biking to work? Great! There are lots of reasons why you should consider biking to work. In addition to the positive effect it has on the environment, there are numerous health benefits resultant of biking to work. Some of these benefits include:
Cycling produces the balance between exertion and relaxation which is so important for the body's inner equilibrium.
All the risk factors that lead to a heart attack are reduced and regular cycling reduces the likelihood of a heart attack by more than 50%
Moving both feet around in circles while steering with both your hands and your body's own weight is good practice for your coordination skills.
A week of inactivity reduces the strength of the muscular system by up to 50% and can harm them long-term. During cycling, most of the body's muscles are activated.
Cycling has a relaxing effect due to uniform movement which stabilizes physical and emotional functions. It reduces anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.
Cycling posture is optimum and the cyclic movement of the legs stimulates muscles in the lower back
Cycling is ideal for targeting problem areas. It enables people who can not move easily to exercise. It increases fitness and stimulates the body's fat metabolism. The average person will lose 13 pounds in their first year of riding to work.
The circular movement of cycling assists the transport of energy an other metabolic produces to cartilage, reducing the likelihood of arthrosis.
Downtown's bicycle infrastructure is expanding quickly! Whether you are a seasoned commuter or brand new to cycling, Downtown Green Source offers a myriad of support services and programs to get you peddling to work. Plus, if you log 10 round-trip bike commutes a month, you automatically qualify for a $10 gift card to a local business. E-mail Shayna Pollock to get more information about biking to work or to find a route and a ride buddy.
Related Tag: Transportation