How to Tell if a Plot of City Land Could Someday Become a Greenway

PHOTO: Big Creek Greenway 2009

Wondering whether the empty land near your neighborhood could be turned into a greenway project? Before you call a surveyor or organize a sit with your local city representative, have a look at the simple guide we’ve compiled. Like all our articles, it is suitable for printing, and it could save you one hell of a lot of time.

Make sure that you can smell sewage.
Cities thrive by shoving as many businesses and homes into their square area as possible and then taxing the occupants until they almost relocate. Those developments generate sewage, but no one wants to live or do business on a sewage ditch.

As such, land directly adjacent to ditches often goes undeveloped, which means they’re perfect for rebranding as a greenway. Get out there and take a big whiff of the air. If that whiff causes you to launch your breakfast, you may have a future greenway on your hands.

Make sure that the area is a flood plain
The only thing better than a stink of sewage is a roiling torrent of floating sewage every time there’s a rain storm. We get lots of rain here in Atlanta, so it should be easy to tell if your potential greenway is as flooded as possible. And hey, nothing gives city leaders a chuckle quite like presenting residents with a lovely active greenway that they can’t use because it’s every bit as underwater as the city’s loans.

In dry conditions, look for plastic shopping bags of silt entwined around low foliage, or clouds of mosquitos thick enough to support a picnic blanket.

Make absolutely sure that the land can be used for nothing else
Wild tree growth? Busted truck storage? Heaps of misappropriated building materials? Surely that land could be used for something, anything other than a greenway. What kind of city do you think we’re running here, one where you can get around on foot or by bike? Think again, hippie!

Get out there and look around, citizen. If there’s absolutely positively no other use for the land, city officials could be patting themselves on the back in just a few short years for turning your flooded, stinking parcel into a greenway!