Tag Archives: beltline

on what it’s like living the dream

I was biking to work on the beltline the other day and thinking of my siblings, in faraway places like Mississippi and California and how they don’t even know about the cool stuff I experience everyday, things that I just take for granted, like this dang BELTLINE! So I pulled my phone from my back jacket pocket (bike gear, yeah, gotta say, the pocket in the back is nice) and carefully snapped a few pictures. I stopped for some of them.

IMG_1450 IMG_1453

Seriously guys, this beltline is a big deal.

see City Hall East When I first heard of the Beltline, 3 or 4 years ago, it was just starting to become a reality. Though the eastside trail was still rocky (track ballast that’s called), and impossible to bike, it was regularly jogged by local residents. I eagerly read everything I could get my hands on about this idealistic trail that would connect a circle of intown Atlanta. I wrote a research paper (a short one mind you) and took lots of hikes mainly in search of graffiti-filled spaces just beyond the public’s eye, and I too dreamed of the day when my bike could take me from my home in East Atlanta to work in midtown, all the way west to the quarry, or, well, anywhere. Riding on a [paved] railroad bed is SO EASY, and riding across town on Atlanta’s hills and potholed streets is not.

In the intervening years I moved one neighborhood closer (to Reynoldstown) and the Eastside Trail was completed, connecting Inman Park directly with Piedmont Park. With a little not-too-difficult-at-all street riding on either end of my trip I now commute to work on the beltline.

The ride itself is lovely ESPECIALLY in the morning, by the time I’ve biked through my neighborhood, the infamous Krog Tunnel, past the developing Atlanta Stove Works complex to the beltline trailhead everything about the morning is great. Traffic is tight on the streets but as I turn right onto the beltline I am warmed up and can relax into the ride.

And while we’re talking about Awesome Atlanta, I get to ride past the 2nd most up and coming happening thing in this city and the world—Ponce City Market—and check on the progress. I see what’s happening in Piedmont Park, or along Peachtree and then I’m there, properly sweaty and breathing hard I duck into a bathroom de-helmetize my hair, change shirts, and reapply deodorant. Minor drawbacks to bike commuting.

It’s a dream come true, one of those awesome amazing ideas that actually happened—is happening, and is only getting better with every step forward.


Where the [Edgewood] Ends

Edgewood Ave

Edgewood Avenue has been a fly in the ointment, or a bee in our bonnet, or, well, it’s been crimping our style, our ability to get to and from anywhere, for a few months now. since… April?

The Beltline, you see, is going to pass through directly beneath the Edgewood Avenue Bridge, which sounds grand, but even despite it being a 107 years old it was one of those bridges that one hardly realized was a bridge until this discussion of it coming down (here a picture of THAT!). Maybe because it is so developed next to the apparently elevated Edgewood Ave, you might not have noticed that there was actually a bridge over the lowlands unless you’d been trepidaciously exploring the Beltline right-of-way. It was just a short section of the street where you suddenly had a good view of the Marta train.

Anyway, it’s been a a serious hindrance for commuters who pass through the Krog tunnel, from Inman Park to Reynoldstown and East Atlanta. N and I have been watching the process, whenever we go to Miso we walk to where the street ends and peer over the edge. It doesn’t look like a 107 year old bridge until you see a heavy layer of bricks a few feet down—part of an old road bed? I need to examine more really, and document. As for it’s need to be replaced, I can imagine that’s true, back when it was constructed, 1906 I suppose, reinforced concrete construction was a relatively new technology—although, the first reinforced concrete bridge built in 1889 is still standing as is the largest reinforced concrete bridge from that era, built in 1910, I guess ours just wasn’t as good as those.

It’s out for WHOLE YEAR, but one day the barricades will become impassible, so the other night N and I picnicked where the street ended, perched on sandbags watching the sky change colors and the light darken on a stray cat among the bulldozers below. We’ll keep strolling out there whenever we’re nearby and dangling our legs over the edge of what was once a ravine with a railroad running through it, until they put our street back in place. And then, oh THEN we’ll bike over AND under and not have to detour ever again!

Streets Alive!

well the days are cool, the sun is bright and guess what? the BELTLINE IS OPEN!! ok, well, just the stretch from Inman Park to Piedmont Park (the first a neighborhood the latter a greenspace you know). After some encouragement I went, and though i didn’t quite feel committed enough to bike over there it is SO easy to throw my bike (the “new” one) into the Prius and drive to Edgewood, that’s just what I did. Of course, once I’m on that bike I feel like I could ride forever, that’s just how wonderful it is, but I tend to forget that when I’m sitting at home. I digress though. I was phoneless but I kept my eyes peeled for familiar faces and sure enough, I soon ran into P and his friend D. I made a u-turn and we went searching for food. We hit the jackpot, foodtruck heaven, on the beltline overpass.

dary and paul, sittin' on a wall

Unfortunately P’s tire died, reason unknown, and he had to walk back in search of the Sopo stand while D and I navigated the much more crowded beltline. it was LOVELY. Picked up some pound cake that would go well with the lemon buttermilk sorbet I didn’t know I was going to get but I would, later. After making the loop back to N. Highland we found P again but no tire patches, alas. Luckily no one had far to go, and having to walk one way or the other wasn’t all that bad. We left P to fend for himself and I went off in search of something like that lemon buttermilk sorbet I eventually found and D pedaled off to his “class” at the Living Well Garden (jealous).

So, what IS Streets Alive! you ask? It seems to be an event for which they’ve just blocked off most of Highland Dr (from VaHi down through Inman Park) for a few hours on a beautiful fall afternoon, encouraged anyone who wants to set up a tent and hawk their wares (mostly businesses along the way but some bake sale types), and food trucks of course. cars are not too inhibited, with policemen at the major intersections to let traffic through when the light changes. it was all very friendly feeling and open. Meanwhile, bocce ball is played in the street here, or a bike polo game over there, a jumprope set up in the middle that we bikers slipped around carefully—the deal is just to get people IN THE STREET YO!. It wasn’t too crowded through most of the length which was very nice, pedestrians and bikers strolling together, but you SHOULD watch out—sudden veering toward bowls of free brownie bites can be particularly dangerous.

grocery cart + graffiti gallery

what is it with grocery carts in unregulated spaces?? Grocery carts and graffiti seem to go together like peas in a pod, both indicators of a “subculture” most of us are not privy to.

graffiti + grocery cart 1
Under I-85 overpass, found after walking around the top of the Ansley Park Golf Course. This is an excellent tunnel in which to find beautiful examples of Wildstyle graffiti.

graffiti + grocery cart 2
This is the metal wall along Wylie St in Cabbagetown that shields Hulsey Yards from the neighborhood. The wall is a gallery of Wildstyle pieces.

graffiti + grocery cart 3
Located across from the new Old Fourth Ward Park and just under an existing skate park on the west side of the corridor. Notice even notable Atlanta writers, “Born” and “Vomet” are not above tagging over publically sanctioned wall murals.

Beltline adv #585

So, 2 weeks ago with P and R, we followed my Trust for Public Land driving tour around the south side and up the west of the beltline. We drove past the old Bellwood Quarry (several times) which is one of the beltline’s many key features, and through the giant Tillford railyards, but we were unable to really explore much beltline in this heavily industrial and still undetermined stretch of the route. But yesterday I went on an official bus tour of the whole beltline and gained a little more insight.

The tour itself was super-informative, she discussed tax allocations and the responsibilities of the various organizations formed around the beltline project as much as she discussed the projects, plans, parks, and history of sites along the route. in short, everything. We went into Bellwood Quarry and peered over the edge to the cool blue-green pool of water below—you may recognize it from parts of Walking Dead. The quarry will be a reservoir for the city’s drinking water and will be filled practically to the top edge where we stood! The hills around will likely have hiking trails while the flat plains in the center of the huge park to come could be ball fields or, as me and my seatmate concurred, an open space left to natural grasses and a winding boardwalk trail through…

At Tillford Yards, right outside the quarry’s entrance, our helpful guide pointed out a cute little railroad tunnel headed under the whole thing. The beltline couldn’t actually cross through there, it’s too narrow and prob used by the yards which aren’t going anywhere of course, but i know where i’d like my next adventure to be!

adv #584


P and R’s visit provided a great opportunity for me to explore Atlanta, we accidently happened upon the beltline exploration as we wandered around by Trader Joe’s, but it became a 2 day adventure. We started out behind the Landmark Theater and strolled south in search of something interesting. Once the interesting things started popping up (sidetracked by the back door of Paris on Ponce, then crossing Ponce on the RR bridge and coming upon an Andy Goldsworthy-esque picnic table, on to a fantastical woven hut, and a bridges of graffiti, skateparks, and before we knew it we were in Inman Park. Oh well, let’s stop for ice cream at Jake’s, and then back to our car. Everything was so close via the beltline path! who knew! why have i just now come to it??!

Last night we (and J too) sampled the cocktails at H. Harper Station, a fancy restaurant and bar in the historic Atlanta & West Point rail station. We examined the materials used to refurbish the building and determined that, really, the drinks were better done. How historic this station is i have yet to find out. Point is though, this station, now on Memorial Dr, is alongside the beltline and the next morning, this morning, we picked up our explorations there.

We hiked south on the stretch that runs through Ormewood Park to south of Grant Park (park). After examining the cool methods for moving sand near the cement plant at Glenwood, there was mostly new construction or projects in the vista near the tracks and high overpasses like that over Ormewood. Then it was back to the car where P guided me on a driving tour around the south and to the westside of the route. We found other RR tunnels, more piles of sand and decidedly did NOT find a way through an enormous rail yard (Tillford?) but we did see all there was to see there.

After a paleo brownie (meaning “dinosaur appropriate diet”) at Urban Pl8 we hiked up the hill in search of a stretch of the proposed beltline that should run near the Goat Farm. It was, we discovered, still in commercial use and always would be, but that meant there were REAL TRAINS going by! R was so excited.

I am seriously considering a switch from a highway 78 tour to a guided tour of the American Built Environment along the Beltline.

beginning of a very nice long cold walk

the beginning of a very nice long walk
december 5, 2009