The Beltline is creating walkable neighborhoods – something denied by historic sprawl in decades past. The Eastside Trail, an eyesore that used to divide five neighborhoods, has been transformed into a 2.25-mile linear greenway and arboretum with a 14-foot-wide multi-use trail. It provides direct access to three major parks — including the Historic Fourth Ward Park — and connects to a 19-mile trail from downtown to the suburbs. This opens up new, safe, alternative commute options and will soon feature streetcar transit connecting neighborhoods throughout the city. Incorporating smart-growth features promote healthier, economically stronger and more socially diverse communities, and protects the environment by reversing historic trends of urban sprawl.
The Beltline is making a visible difference in Atlanta by creating a 22-mile greenway around the city that will connect 45 neighborhoods. It comprises four “belt lines” that were built as railroad bypass routes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Beltline has become a national model for smart growth by turning what was once an abandoned rail corridor into a vibrant community space where healthy living is encouraged, culture is cultivated, the environment is better protected and economic development is taking place.