Y’all. I’m super tempted to be flippant about this. “Atlanta gon’ Atlanta” and such and such. But I’m livid.
a) Building this thing was an “emergency” because not only was the Super Bowl looming, but the city signed contracts nearly double what City Council had approved back in 2016. It just had to get done, right? Contracts were signed. No time for debate, or deliberation, or accountability.
From the AJC: “Completing the project is considered an emergency now because the city will host the Super Bowl in February 2019.
b) It was so much of an “emergency” that to pay for the project, the City had to raid Renew Atlanta premiums. It so happens that now many of those projects are underfunded and have to be re-baselined.
From Curbed: “One point of contention involves the roughly $19 million in Renew Atlanta bond premiums that were used to pay for the construction of the serpentine pedestrian bridge near Mercedes-Benz Stadium, especially in light of news that some projects on the bond program are at risk of being underfunded or nixed entirely.”
c) And now, after all that, the bridge will be closed for the Super Bowl. It’s a big middle finger to Atlantans. Her citizens, her businesses, her taxpayers. The City argued that the bridge would “provide pedestrians safe and unimpeded access to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.” It’d “save residents’ lives”, supposedly.
But now what? If the existing crossing is apparently sufficient for the Super Bowl, then what was all of the fuss about in the first place? How did we get here?
I honestly don’t care if the closure is the fault of the City or MARTA or the NFL. This is unacceptable and we all should be asking questions.
Enough is enough. As it turns out, last year’s Council approval was decided with an 8-7 vote. One vote was the difference that set us on this path. One vote was the difference that did a massive disservice to the residents of Vine City, English Avenue, and Downtown. One vote was the difference as to why safe and complete streets are at risk of being underfunded or canceled across the City of Atlanta.
We all have one vote too. While the next round of city-wide elections isn’t until 2021, District 3 voters have an opportunity to make real and immediate change much sooner than that. There’s a special municipal election on March 19th, and that election could tip the balance of our city. I can’t vote in that race, but I can donate my time and treasure to making real change happen. With that, I’m extremely proud to be supporting my friend Greg Clay in his endeavor to build a better Atlanta. I just donated to his campaign, and I hope you will join me in matching that donation. Greg is fighting to improve the safety, affordability, mobility, and education of District 3 residents and I know he be will do a phenomenal job on City Council. And most importantly, he will be an independent voice fighting for the best interests of all of our city’s residents. You can donate to Greg here: https://secure.anedot.com/clayfor3/clayfor3
And you can learn more about Greg and his campaign here: https://www.gregclay.com/