Living in Lindbergh
Since Reconnecting America evaluated Lindbergh City Center in Atlanta, things have been looking up. A new 352-unit condo building called “Eon at Lindbergh” opened in November 2006, with the slogan, “Bring Lindbergh to Life”. 100 mannequins were propped up around the square, looking more like a zombie invasion than a building opening. With the balance finally turning to condos over offices, maybe MARTA can turn this transit-adjacent development into the TOD they always wanted.
It is not enough to plant dense housing within a half-mile of the transit stop. Transit must be part of the public realm, an accessible gathering place with amenities that people want and need. The New Jersey transit agency understands that making its stations into good public spaces that could serve as a catalyst for the revitalization of town centers could have a dramatic impact on ridership. “Many communities in New Jersey grew up around their train stations and we wanted to make these stations the center of community life once again,” says New Jersey Transit’s Mark Gordon. “So we began working with communities to make the stations more people-friendly and to make them relate better to the communities.”
New Jersey Transit landscaped and built a pedestrian plaza opening onto a large park on one side of the station and on the other side built another plaza opening onto the business district. There’s a picnic spot, and local garden clubs have ensured that the station area is blooming. Ridership has doubled, meaning that one of every ten residents now commutes — there’s a commuter in one of every three households.
Tim Halbur is a research and communications associate at Reconnecting America.