Cover Story: Northeast: Build a rail segment that links Atlanta's most booming neighborhoods

Ever feel like Atlantans will be flying around on jetpacks before they get the chance to ride light-rail along the Beltline? We've got news for you: A transit line between Ansley Park and Glenwood Park — the quadrant of the Beltline with the highest concentration of residents — not only makes sense right now, it could be possible within three to five years.

Beltline officials say the project's transit line will be built in segments and are expected to ask the state to make at least one segment eligible for billions of dollars in new transportation funding that could be generated by a 1 cent sales tax. (Beltline officials will hold public meetings in the next few months to educate residents about which phases would be built first.) Considering that the densely populated, amenity-laden arc between Ansley Park and Glenwood Avenue is the only railroad segment that the nonprofit Atlanta Beltline Inc. owns outright, Beltline officials — and the mayor — should start lobbying for such a project soon.

Should state officials give it the OK, light-rail or streetcars would eventually zip through Morningside, Poncey-Highland, Inman Park and Reynoldstown — not to mention City Hall East, the soon-to-open Historic Fourth Ward Park, and the soon-to-break-ground Eastside Bike Trail. What's more, project officials think the light-rail line could one day connect to the proposed east-west Peachtree Streetcar on or near Edgewood Avenue. Plus, if rail gets built there, it could kick-start rail elsewhere along the loop.

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